We all love the Oregon Coast. Known for stunning sea stacks, quaint coastal towns and breathtaking sunsets, residents up and down the West Coast all have amazing memories along the waterways that we call home. Our beaches are world famous, drawing visitors from around the globe, who like us, fall in love with the crashing waves and salty air. For them, this is their dream vacation destination, but for us, it is our backyard. Which is why we feel the responsibility to keep it wild, clean and free. This Earth Day, we invite you all to come out to the coast and help clean up the garbage that has drifted in over the winter months, and to transform the sandy shores of the Pacific Coast back into the wilderness wonderland we all enjoy.

Clatop County Earth Day Beach Clean up at Haystack image via 12 Days of Earth Day
Help clean the beach at Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach this Earth Day. Photo courtesy: 12 Days of Earth Day

Once a year, we take time away from the hustle of everyday life and direct our energy back toward the planet by celebrating Earth Day. Started in 1970, Earth Day has grown into a mainstream celebration of nature across the globe, with communities cleaning up their beaches, rivers, forests and lands. Whether you go down to Cannon Beach or decide to hit up Astoria, there are dozens of Earth Day activities for your whole family.

For nearly two weeks in April, the cozy, coastal community of Cannon Beach is holding their annual 12 days of Earth Day, starting April 11. What makes this increíble extravaganza so great is that it has events every day for stewards of the land of all ages, and has two full weekends of activities that are sure to have you making new friends in the community while helping out the coast and learning about the amazing ecosystem of the region. During the 12 days, you can choose from a handful of unique opportunities, ranging from hikes with ecologists, a bird-a-thon, a parade, a street fair and dozens of chances to hit the beaches and clean up plastics.

Clatop County Earth Day Welcoming the puffins image via 12 Days of Earth Day Welcoming the Puffins
As part of Cannon Beach’s 12 Days of Earth Day, one of the events is welcoming back the puffins to the region. Photo courtesy: 12 Days of Earth Day

On the weekends of April 14-15 and 20-22, there are events from sun up until sun down that promise to be great fun for the whole family. On the weekend of April 14, we highly suggest you plan a day at Cannon Beach from 10:00 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. At 10:00 a.m., there will be a coastal cleanup at Whale Park that will last until 4:00 p.m. This event is incredibly important and rewarding, as it is aimed at picking up both large pieces of garbage and micro-plastics. NOAA defines micro-plastics as being less than five millimeters in length and can be extremely harmful to aquatic life of all sizes. After the coastal cleanup, there will be a bird-a-thon from 4:00 p.m. until 7:30 p.m., just in time to catch a sunset over Haystack Rock. Speaking of Haystack Rock, on Sunday the 15, there will be a beach cleanup there from 12:30 p.m. until 1:30 p.m.

Then, on April 20, get to town early and enjoy the Puffin Welcome Ceremony, which welcomes back the migration of the iconic, orange-billed sea birds. This event starts at 8:30 a.m. at Haystack Rock. For the rest of the day, explore the town or hit up some stunning hikes in Ecola State Park before resting for a busy Earth Day celebration on Saturday.

Clatop County Earth Day Welcome puffins image via 12 Days of Earth Day
Nature lovers of all ages flock to Cannon Beach for the 12 days of Earth Day celebration. Photo courtesy: 12 Days of Earth Day

Saturday’s schedule has a beach cleanup in the morning, the amazing Earth Day Parade at 11:00 a.m. and then a street fair that lasts until 2:00 p.m. While there aren’t any scheduled coastal cleanups on April 21, visitors and locals alike are encouraged to walk the beach, picking up trash and enjoying the splendor of nature along the Oregon Coast. You will be hard pressed to find a more beautiful setting in the world than this stretch of the Oregon Coast for this great environmental holiday.

If you’d rather clean up along the Columbia River, the good people over at Buoy Beer and Portland General Electric are presenting SOLVE IT for Earth Day in Astoria. The SOLVE IT events occur all around Oregon on Earth Day and are the state’s largest Earth Day event, bringing thousands together for a common cause. The event in Astoria on April 21 was created to help keep the Astoria Riverwalk clear of trash. By helping to preserve the scenic walkway, as well as keeping the surrounding environment and marine life garbage free, this event is a great way to give back to our town. As a bonus, all who volunteer and work will receive a voucher for a beer or root beer from Buoy Beer. If you are going to do this, dress for any weather and be aware that SOLVE will be providing bags and gloves to volunteers.

Clatop County Earth Day Astoria River Walk Earth Day
Along the banks of the Columbia River, the city of Astoria is home to a great Earth Day event that cleans up the river walk. Photo credit: Tom Collins
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