Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary  superintendent Carol Bernthal

Sept. 2016

Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary superintendent Carol Bernthal first visited the Washington coast as a teenager. "I just remember walking out onto this point and looking out at the ocean and being overwhelmed by the power and the history of this place," she says. That moment inspired her, and today, Carol dedicates herself to protecting this amazing national marine sanctuary. Watch our video to experience her Story from the Blue. What special ocean places have inspired you?


When I was a young woman -- I grew up in the Midwest in Wisconsin on the shores of Lake Michigan -- I had really no connection to the ocean whatsoever other than living on this Great Lake.

I had the experience when I was in high school of coming out to visit two of my brothers who had moved out here.

After visiting the mountains we went out to La Push and we went out for a hike on the beach.

And I just remember walking out onto this point and looking out at the ocean and just being kind of overwhelmed by the power and the history of this place.

You really feel it when you walk through these ancient forests that you're one in a long continuum of people who are visiting.

It's a... it's a deeply spiritual place.

And it's interesting what happens when you visit a place and all the sudden you know about it on a deep kind of almost visceral level and you start caring and you start noticing things that are going on.

And as a young woman having that experience, it really set me personally on my course of deciding to work in the environmental field.

Today is absolutely gorgeous and calm and hot and we're walking around in shorts.

And I had no idea when I visited La Push when I was 14 years old that 40 years later I would be the superintendent of a national marine sanctuary.

And that very same beach that I went to when I was a young woman I'm going to this weekend as part of our coastal cleanup.

You know, you can make a difference personally in a way that kind of leverages up to making a difference as a society.

We really need to have people understand and connect to the ocean if we're going to help save it.

Well, I think we should protect it because it's important to all of us.