Groups hit Port Angeles beaches to mark Klallam Earth Day
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Rich DeCou
Photo by Rich DeCou Girl Scouts from Port Angeles’ Troop 43872 take part Saturday in the Klallam Earth Day Challenge. Among the Scouts cleanup up the beach at Freshwater Bay were, from left, Kylie Hutton and Briauna Simpson, both 9, and Bailee Larson and Bryna Flores, both 8.

By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Peninsula Daily News

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PORT ANGELES — Girl Scouts, insurance agents, farmers: They all got out there Saturday morning to clean up beaches from Dungeness Spit to Pysht to Pillar Point, in the Klallam Earth Day Challenge.

“We had about 30 Girl Scouts; we started from the Freshwater Bay boat launch and went east about a mile,” said Rich DeCou, shepherd of a flock of girls who picked up steel grates, tires, shoes, eyeglasses and more early Saturday.

The youngest beach caretakers, including DeCou's daughter Mikayla, 6, were in this group.

“The best part was seeing four girls, lugging one of the tires. It was awesome watching them work together,” DeCou said.

“It was just a nice day out on the beach.”

Bill Estes of Port Angeles picked up oddities such as an oval of Styrofoam resembling a dinosaur egg, with a weathered weed grown through it. He found that and a collection of vintage Olympia beer and 7-Up cans near Angeles Point and the mouth of the Elwha River.

As the two dams on the Elwha River have come down, innumerable cans and other objects have tumbled down the river from the former lakes Aldwell and Mills, Estes said.

“I pick up trash on the beach all year round,” he said, adding that on Earth Day weekend, he just brings bigger bags for his volunteer team to carry it in.

Estes, along with insurance agent John Miller and Lazy J Farm owner Steve Johnson, were among the leaders of 15 teams of volunteers who combed Clallam County's coastline from 8 a.m. till noon Saturday.

Once the volunteers returned to The Landing mall headquarters, the Paul Cronauer Spirit Award was presented in remembrance of the man who conceived the Klallam Earth Day beach cleanups two years ago.

Cronauer, owner of The Landing mall and an advocate for Port Angeles' working waterfront, died of cancer in August.

The Spirit Award went to Doug Timmons, coordinator of this year's Klallam Earth Day beach cleanups.

“Doug has worked diligently in a way that channels Paul's spirit,” said Phil Lusk, a fellow Klallam Earth Day volunteer.

“Paul was a visionary,” said Timmons, who said he wept after receiving the plaque.

Timmons and Cronauer were neighbors in Port Angeles, and the two men looked out for each other, Timmons said.

Cronauer's widow, Sarah, still lives here, still serves on the Earth Day team and still has Timmons as her neighbor, looking out for her.

Features Editor Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5062, or at

Last modified: April 21. 2013 6:22PM
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