Thursday, September 25, 2008


High bluffs of sand and gravel above a beach with great views of Mount Rainer and the Olympics (well, not this day). The shoreline of Marine View Park is relatively natural - if you discount the stair tower and its rock base, a scattering of cut-timber driftwood, and an infestation of English Ivy. No armoring. There's a house in a ravine just to the north, but it's well back from the beach. There's lots of drift wood, some large madrone trees, a small stream mouth, and the normal mix of sand, gravel, and large boulders. A sand bar was extending northward (downdrift) from the little stream delta - apparently as waves tried to work the sandy stream deposits back onto the beach.

Farther north, the base of the 250' angle-of-repose slope is marked by a 1950's era concrete seawall. The beach doesn't look much different, except there is no drift wood, and the lower beach is coarser grained - probably a function of changing geology, erosion patterns, and shoreline orientation as the beach curves around the point. But one can't help but wonder how different this shoreline would be had the bluff continued to erode for the past 50 years. That's an awful lot of gravel that would have contributed to beaches farther north.

The view down the beach from the Marine View Park stair tower shows very nicely where the Mean Higher High Water line typically lies on Puget Sound beaches - the previous high tide, which left an obvious waterline, was within a couple of inches of MHHW. It shows why the old practice of allowing bulkheads to be built out to MHHW was so destructive. This picture should be paired with the picture taken, and posted, last year (Normandy Park) - when the tide was even higher.

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