Saturday, August 23, 2014

Boulevard Park

This past year, a new beach took shape in Bellingham at Boulevard Park. The park inherited a large area of historic fill on which a log mill once operated. Unattended, fill tends to erode away, and to prevent this the foreshore was covered in riprap and old concrete debris. The lawn was a nice place to listen to a concert or throw a frisbee, but getting to the water was a treacherous walk through a dump.

For many years folks have talked about making this shoreline more friendly, and finally, last year, the city went forward with plans to excavate some of the old fill, reconfigure the edge to complement the incoming waves, and construct a gravel beach. This was the first chance I'd had to visit since it was completed.


Orientation is a key factor on these sites and sometimes the shoreline you're given isn't consistent with a stable pocket beach. In this case, the local designers employed a rock groin at the northeast end and even added a small rock hook at low tide to keep gravel from getting away. I understand there is still considerable offshore aerial transport of the pebble, but it would take a lot of kids throwing a lot of rocks to put a big dent in the local sediment budget.  And the waves will tend to move some of them back - with time.

Now if the city could figure out how to clean up the rest of the debris along this shoreline, this could become the crown jewel of what will ultimately become a wonderful string of pearls along the Bellingham waterfront!

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