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Tide Pool Etiquette

August 14, 2019

Tide pools are fun to explore, and offer adults and kids an opportunity to experience marine ecosystems. With this in mind, there are some important considerations to remember when exploring these special gardens.

  1. Leave No Trace– To Learn more about Leaving no Trace check out Camping Cooks: 7 Principles Every Camper Needs to Know
  2. Explore on bare rock or stay on sandy patches.
  3. Keep it simple: DO NOT PICK ANY THINK UP, especially if it is attached to something.
  4. It is generally best to refrain from touching anemones Especially sea stars, and if you do touch them, the waving tentacles are a safer choice than the center of the animal.
  5. If you want to look at creatures under rocks, rocks should be lifted up to view the animals and then gently placed back in its original position.
  6. Keep in mind, foraging is strictly prohibited in protected areas
  7. Make sure to keep beach safety in mind. The best time to visit tide pools is during low tide. Whatever the tide, sneaker waves can still be a problem depending on your location, even during low water

Once upon a time, there was an old man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach every morning before he began his work. Early one morning, he was walking along the shore after a big storm had passed and found the vast beach littered with starfish as far as the eye could see, stretching in both directions.

Off in the distance, the old man noticed a small boy approaching.  As the boy walked, he paused every so often and as he grew closer, the man could see that he was occasionally bending down to pick up an object and throw it into the sea.  The boy came closer still and the man called out, “Good morning!  May I ask what it is that you are doing?”

The young boy paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean. The tide has washed them up onto the beach and they can’t return to the sea by themselves,” the youth replied. “When the sun gets high, they will die, unless I throw them back into the water.”

The old man replied, “But there must be tens of thousands of starfish on this beach. I’m afraid you won’t really be able to make much of a difference.”

The boy bent down, picked up yet another starfish and threw it as far as he could into the ocean. Then he turned, smiled and said, “It made a difference to that one!”

adapted from The Star Thrower, by Loren Eiseley (1907 – 1977)