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Volunters pitch in to erase graffiti sprayed at ‘pristine’ Clayton Beach

Volunteers turned out Saturday, June 25, 2016, to scrub graffiti from about 200 yards of rock, much of it sandstone, at Clayton Beach in Larrabee State Park just south of Bellingham.
Volunteers turned out Saturday, June 25, 2016, to scrub graffiti from about 200 yards of rock, much of it sandstone, at Clayton Beach in Larrabee State Park just south of Bellingham. Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

Graffiti that marred about 200 yards of rock, much of it sandstone, at Clayton Beach has been scrubbed away.

About 60 volunteers showed up June 25 at the beach in Larrabee State Park south of Bellingham to help remove what had been spray-painted on the rocks.

Among them was Bellingham resident Laura Steiger, who had read about the vandalism in The Bellingham Herald but was still shocked to see the extent of the graffiti during a recent visit to Clayton Beach with her daughter for a low tide.

“It’s time for our revolution,” read one inscription underneath a swastika and “SS.” Another simply read “no crime,” while other sections of rock were spray-painted with profanities, penises and the phrase “stay high cuz pigs can’t fly.” Some of the graffiti is gang-related, said ranger Amber Forest, manager of Larrabee State Park, after consulting with local police.

“I found it quite disturbing to see such ugliness in a pristine environment, and in one of our beautiful state parks,” Steiger said. “It was just sad.”

So she showed up to help when Forest asked people to volunteer for the cleanup.

It was very healing to have the community help clean up such a special place.

Amber Forest, manager of Larrabee State Park

The vandalism remains under investigation. Patrols are ongoing.

“Our park rangers are continuing to patrol this area with more emphasis to prevent this from happening again,” Forest said.

The cleanup took less than two hours, she said.

The volunteers saved the state several hundred dollars because officials didn’t have to pay a private company to remove the graffiti, Forest added.

“It was very healing to have the community help clean up such a special place,” she said, thanking volunteers. “It is powerful when you have a motivated group working together to solve a problem.”

Steiger shared similar thoughts.

“The people who came out to help with the cleanup were lovely to work with. Everyone was in such high spirits,” Steiger said. “It felt great to pitch in and erase some of the damage done at our beach.”

Graffiti sprayed on the rocks at Clayton Beach is visible Wednesday, June 15, and Thursday, June 16, 2016 at Larrabee State Park south of Bellingham, Wash. The graffiti will be removed with the help of volunteers on June 25.

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