Periodically, beach patrons and authorities would light fires to reduce the amount of garbage on the beach. Over the decades waves pounded the shores and broke down everything but the glass and pottery. What was left was worn into the smooth and colorful glass and stone that cover Glass Beach.
The beach is now visited by tens of thousands of tourists yearly. Collecting is discouraged on the section of "Glass Beach" within and adjacent to the state park, although most of the sea glass is now found on the other two glass beaches outside the state park area.
About 1,000 to 1,200 tourists visit Fort Bragg's glass beaches each day in the summer. Most collect some glass. Because of this and also because of natural factors (wave action is constantly grinding down the glass), the glass is slowly diminishing. There is currently a movement to replenish the beaches with discarded glass.