Friday, June 05, 2009

Kopachuck State Park

Parks are a far more appropriate use of big deep-seated landslides than subdivisions. Kopachuck, west of Gig Harbor, is a great example, and offers a nice counterpoint to the many big homes in this area built on gravity-prone hillslopes.

The beach at Kopachuck weaves in and out, the result of the uneven geology of the toe of the landslide (which is at or below beach level) and a series of gravel bars and proto-spits formed as the northward drift runs out of steam rounding the corner.

When we last visited with this class - four years ago - we used the failing, creosoted timber bulkhead as a discussion point about the effects of such structures and the opportunities for removing them. Since then it has been pulled out, allowing erosion to reclaim some of the old fill and re-exposing an even older concrete boat ramp. Some high school students (with some sledgehammers, wheelbarrows, and supervision) might be useful here. A couple small drain pipes need to be rethought - maybe combined with some plantings and some solidly built wooden steps.

A south-west facing beach on a summer afternoon with temperatures in the high 80s. The class clustered under the overhanging trees, evidence of both our skeptical attitude towards sunshine in this part of the world and the importance of riparian vegetation in influencing habitat choices

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