Saturday, May 03, 2008

Jack Block Park

Unfortunately, the early 1990s photo linked to the title of this post predates the major work done at Seattle's Southwest Harbor container facility and the creation of this great, but poorly publicized, "industrial" public access site along the shoreline. A wonderful trail links several great overlooks of Elliott Bay port operations and the Seattle skyline. It's easy to get find - the turn off is just south of Salty's on Harbor Avenue.

Within the last couple of years, a couple of gravel pocket beaches were created along this shoreline. Until recently, I hadn't been aware of them. I like the concept of building beaches on industrial shorelines, but I'm puzzled by these. They both have a high gravel berm that rolls back onto a much lower backshore. Maybe they were built exactly like this, but it looks like maybe they were built with a lower berm crest and a flatter slope and nature has simply pushed them up into their current form. Orientation is a key design element (well, it should be) on artificial pocket beaches. The western beach (top photo) is at an angle to the primary wave action, as best as I can tell, so I expect material will shift southward with time. The angle on the eastern beach (lower photo) makes more sense, but I'm not sure what would keep the gravel from spilling out of the far end.

Regardless of their geology, I hope keeping them fenced off isn't part of the long term plan.

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