Know the rules of Tarague Beach

by Airman 1st Class Marianique Santos
36th Wing

ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE - Few Air Force bases have direct beach access. Andersen is surrounded by beaches, and patrons are asked to follow rules, not only to protect the fragile ecology of these areas, but to remain safe while taking advantage of the convenient proximity to these recreational, family-friendly locations.

"I get a lot of comments in regards to our extensive rules listings, but in order to preserve the environment, flora and fauna that are protected down there, we have to maintain a responsible custodianship of the area," said Heather Colson, 36th Force Support Squadron outdoor recreation assistant director.

The main location available to the Andersen base populace is Tarague Beach.

"Tarague Beach is not merely government property," said Ms. Colson. "It is a pristine environment that is still within the environmental controls of our off-base agencies. We work in partnership with local authorities to maintain it for future generations."

Here are some of the rules various agencies would like to remind the base populace of:

· Water entry authorized only during daylight hours of 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

· Adults must accompany children under 12 years in water. The current can be deadly and there are no longer lifeguards posted.

· No glass containers on the beach.

· No water entry allowed during high surf or adverse weather condition.

· No standing on coral. The Tarague limestone coral formation is the oldest on the island. It took thousands of years to form. Stepping on coral destroys years and years of reef growth.

· No taking of coral. This also includes shells.

· No pets allowed. Dogs in particular like to find turtle nests and dig them up.

· Swimming and snorkeling only in buoyed area. The swimming area is in the only area along the beach in which the reef is fully intact. This protects people from tidal flows. Other areas of the beach have breaks in the reef that have massive tidal flows that can pull an individual out.

· No ground fires.

· No motor vehicles on the beach. Tire tracks impede turtles coming on shore to lay eggs and make it difficult for newly hatched turtles to get into the water.

Ms. Colson said that the Tarague Basin from the top of Sanders Slope is an established nature preserve and that is why these rules are in place.

"I always try to establish responsibility for the environment with our beach users so that they realize that this is not just a 'playground,'" said Ms. Colson. "It is a sensitive preservation that requires us to be careful about our actions while we are using it. It is the cleanest and most protected beach on Guam, and we need to keep it that way."

Contact 36th FSS outdoor recreation flight at 366-5197 for questions regarding the rules and use of Tarague Beach.

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