Saturday, October 18, 2008


Fort Popham is located at the mouth of the Kennebec River. This is a heavily indented bedrock coastline and the river has no exposed delta, but the lower estuary and river mouth contain large submarine sand bodies and exhibit a complex pattern of sediment movement between the estuary, the offshore, and the adjacent beaches.

The beach wraps south around the point to Hunnewell Beach and then west toward the State Park. This shoreline undergoes large cyclical patterns of erosion and accretion, in part related to the offshore dynamics and complicated by the shifting mouth of Morse Creek to the west and its position relative to the somewhat ephemeral tombolo that forms between the main beach in the park and Fox Island.
At this time, the dunes at the Park are eroding back, forming a distinct scarp with old dune surfaces, buried logs, and park debris (from how long ago?) poking out of it, but the beach to the east towards Hunnewell, where so many homes were threatened in the past, is doing fine. At the east boundary of the park, riprap protects the few cabins that are near the shoreline.

(the substance of this is gleaned from overly quick scans of stuff by Duncan Fitzgerald, Joe Kelley, and others. If you are writing your report on erosion at Popham, you should go to those sources. Don't cite me, I'm just a tourist from Washington State making some informed guesses!)

I came here with friends on Senior Skip Day in May, 1976 – when my interest in the beach was simply as a distraction from the final days at Brunswick High. Big events in the beach's history, like the 1978 Northeaster that dramatically altered so many northern New England beaches, didn't catch my attention as they might today.

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