We can all feel it: summer is in the air! And, luckily for us here in the Puget Sound region, we can still go out and enjoy our amazing local shorelines while staying safe and maintaining social distancing.
But did you know you can also help the animals at the beach stay safe while you’re exploring? A little extra care will go a long way, and make a big difference for the multitude of creatures that are often literally below your feet!
Here’s our lucky seven list of top tips for practicing good beach etiquette:
- Walk gently in the intertidal zone. Life is everywhere around you including, as we mentioned above, beneath your feet. (Wait, what’s the intertidal zone? Put simply, it’s the strip of land between high and low tide—aka the area where tide pools are found.)
- Leave shells on the beach. They serve as homes for many different kinds of marine animals.
- Rocks are homes! If you lift a rock to look under it, make sure to return it exactly as you found it. All rocks have tops and bottoms. Some animals can only survive topside and others only survive underneath, where they find shelter and protection. Continuing on that note, don’t turn over rocks that need more than one hand to lift.
- If you’re on a beach with patches of eelgrass, walk around instead of through it. All kinds of animals use eelgrass for shelter and as a nursery for babies, including salmon. Walking around means you won’t crush anyone underfoot.
- Leave your furry family members at home. Dogs are not allowed on our Seattle beaches—on leash or off.
- Carry a small garbage bag to pick up trash. You’ll be doing the marine environment a favor!
- Feel free to touch the animals you find on the beach—but do so gently, with one wet finger.
Check out this video, made before the time of social distancing, to discover just a few of the animals you’re likely to spot on your tide pooling adventure—plus a few more etiquette tips. And stay tuned for updates on when our incredible Beach Naturalist program volunteers will be back on local shorelines!
The Beach Naturalist program is generously sponsored by the King County Flood Control District, Lake Washington/Cedar/Sammamish Watershed Salmon Recovery Council, Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation, The Boeing Company, The City of Burien, The City of Des Moines, The City of Shoreline, Washington State Parks and the Watershed Ecosystem Forum for WRIA 9.