Oregon state park rangers spent part of this week cleaning up giant bags of chia seeds that washed ashore near Florence and Newport.
A beachgoer called the state parks department Tuesday to report a large, white plastic bag filled with sludge at Nye Beach.
“Sure enough, it was full of chia seeds,” said parks department spokesperson Chris Havel.
It was a gift that grew into a gelatinous headache for coastal rangers.
Another call came later in the day reporting a shipping container and more bags of chia seeds on a beach near Florence. Havel said it’s likely the container fell off its ship, spilling the bags into the ocean.
If you’ve ever put chia seeds into a smoothie, you know what happens if you leave it on the counter too long. Chia seeds expand into a gummy mess when they get wet.
The seeds aren’t toxic, but they did make for a burdensome clean-up.
“The bags were too heavy to move by hand,” park ranger Jason Hennessey said in a press release. “We had to cut them up to remove them, or use equipment to haul them out.”
If you see strange objects or debris on the beach, Havel said, you can send an email to email@example.com, and rangers will come to help clean it up.
Havel also reminded beachgoers to carry a bag with them to pack out trash.
You can also ch-ch-ch-check out the Oregon State Parks website for more information on visiting the beach safely.