Good news for the rebirth of the Long Beach Razor Clam Festival as state shellfish managers have approved a morning razor clam dig that will run April 26-29 at Long Beach
Two beaches – Long Beach and Mocrocks – will be open to morning digging for four days and Copalis will be open for three days during the seven-day period. No digging will be allowed at any beach after noon.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) approved the dig after marine toxin tests showed the clams on those beaches are safe to eat.
Randy Dennis, whose family owns The Dennis Company stores told KAST News Monday morning that this weekend will see the re-establishment of the Clam Festival that he says hasn't been held since 1948. In fact Dennis said that when he came up with the idea and started talking to other business
owners about putting a festival together he discovered that at one time the town had sponsored just such a festival some fifty years ago. He said 'I've been driving past that giant frying pan mounted next to a big statue of a clam for years and never realized that the pan was created for the old festival
years before". He also says that the clam statue was originally designed to squirt water every hour on the hour when it was first installed, something Dennis says the city will work on restoring in time for next year. One feature Dennis says comes from the old festival will also be featured this year and that
is a Clam Festival Court which will be led by the Queen from 1948 who agreed to be part of the new celebration. The festival will have a clam chowder cook-off, clam digging lessons with a professional digger, a clam gun decorating contest in which peninsula school children have already
submitted 30 cleverly decorated clam guns. The public is asked to judge their favorites which are on display in the windows of the Long Beach Dennis Company. For more information on the festival go to www.longbeachrazorclamfestival.com
Digging dates, along with morning low tides, at the four beaches are as follows:
· April 26, Fri., 7:38 a.m., -1.5 ft., Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Mocrocks, Copalis
· April 27, Sat., 8:24 a.m., -1.7 ft., Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Mocrocks, Copalis
· April 28, Sun., 9:11 a.m., -1.7 ft., Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Mocrocks, Copalis
· April 29, Mon., 10:01 a.m., -1.5 ft., Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Mocrocks
To participate, diggers age 15 or older must have an applicable 2013-14 fishing license to harvest razor clams on any beach. Licenses are available online (https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov/), by phone (1-866-320-9933) and from license dealers around the state.
By law, clam diggers are limited to 15 razor clams per day, and are required to keep the first 15 clams they dig. Each digger's clams must be kept in a separate container.
State resource managers are cautioning clam diggers and other beachgoers to avoid disturbing western snowy plovers, which nest on the state's coastal beaches from April through August. The small white birds are listed under the federal Endangered Species Act as threatened and by the state as endangered.
Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager, said snowy plovers – and their eggs – are extremely vulnerable at this time of year because the birds nest in the dry sand.
"We urge clam diggers to be careful when driving on the beach or walking through the dunes," Ayres said. "Under state law, all vehicles are required to travel along the extreme upper limit of the hard sand. When in doubt, follow the path marked by multiple tire tracks."
He also asks that diggers avoid signed upland beach areas at Long Beach and Twin Harbors, which are closed to protect nesting western snowy plovers.
At Long Beach, the closed areas are located north of the Oysterville Road from the state park boundary north to Leadbetter Point. At Twin Harbors, the closed areas are located from just south of Midway Beach Road to the first beach-access trail at Grayland Beach State Park.