Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Saltwater Park

Most people simply call this shoreline park Richmond Beach, but technically, I guess it is the City of Shoreline's Saltwater Park. Not to be confused with Saltwater State Park in Des Moines. But it does call atttention to the fact that there is more to the community of Richmond Beach than just the beach.

The beach is on a broad point of land that at first glance appears to be a barrier. It is a "constructional" landform and it may be okay to call it an accretion beach (Bauer did) or a barrier (I probably have), but it's actually the leftover pile of sand and gravel that built up around the pier below the big pit when this place was in full operation early in the century. The upland part of the park, which is currently being renovated, is a big bowl that began as the gravel (sand?) mine...sort of like the big divots on the southeast shore of Maury Island or north of Chamber's Creek. The best analog might be Sunnyside Beach in Steilacoom, where a park has been built on an artificial promontory with similar origins.

The landform is highly assymetric with a broad sweeping beach on the southern shore and then an abrupt northern end (see map linked to title of this post), marked by a cobble lag (as often is the case, the cobble masks an underlying substrate that is much sandier). Besides the sand/gravel operation, this site has been shaped by the railroad, which first arrived here in the early 1890s, and cuts through the park. Like many other parks along this "Great Northern" shoreline (Picnic Point, Carkeek, Howarth, etc) you reach the beach on a pedestrian overpass over the tracks.

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