Oct. 23, 1972: Cumberland Island National Seashore (at right) is established. Accessible only by boat, the Georgia seacoast island boasts some of the most unspoiled beaches and marshes on the U.S. East Coast.

Oct. 23, 1988: One of the three gray whales trapped in shore ice off Barrow, Alaska, disappears from view, and is presumed to have drowned.

Oct. 23, 2003: The global treaty on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), like PCBs, DDT and other toxic substances takes effect — but without U.S. participation.

Photo: jmd41280/Flickr

This feature is compiled by Peter Dykstra, an MNN contributor and publisher of Environmental Health News and The Daily Climate.