Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Gulf Road

A cold, clear day at the southern end of the Strait of Georgia. The wind was blowing out of the Fraser Valley but that meant this section of southwest facing beach was remarkably calm (farther south, Mukilteo and Edmonds were getting hammered by waves).

Gulf Road ends at this wonderful little stretch of beach, just south of Cherry Point. While there are bluffs in the distance in both directions, this section is a barrier beach with a nice back-barrier wetland, fed by two small streams. An old conveyor extends across the beach, dating to some unknown (by me) operation decades ago.

The roadway is eroding - as roadways on beach berms usually do. It would be neat if they could rethink this shoreline a little - maybe remove the road prism from the berm, restore the altered parts of the wetland, and make some simple public improvements - restrooms, some interpretive signage, some trails.

This shoreline reach extends from Point Whitehorn at the north, south to Sandy Point, a large, heavily developed spit that extends south into Lummi Bay. Sediment transport (beach transport, at least, I can't speak for finer grained sediment farther offshore) has always been a little controversial here. South winds are common, but the influence of a very large fetch to the north is significant and may be more important for drift.  I mentioned this in a previous post from Point Whitehorn (March 2015).


There are three major industries along this shoreline -- a refinery (BP) to the north and another refinery (Phillips) and an aluminum plant (Intalco) to the south. The recently proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal, which was set back by the Corps last spring, would have extended offshore just north, between this site and the BP pier in the distance.

Previous post from here:
Gulf Road: March 2010

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