Wednesday, April 11, 2018


A year and half ago, a 400' creosote timber bulkhead was removed from this beach (Waterman: May 2016). Restoration projects are always difficult and complex, but this one was conceptually pretty simple. Remove the old bulkhead and let nature take over. Which it (she?) is. Erosion, slides, falling trees. Fresh sand on the beach. You can still tell that something was done, but in a couple of years this shoreline will look like much as it did 500 years ago (some of my friends among the forest elves may disagree). The active slope will always make the trail a little muddy and challenging (it's currently closed), but with a little ongoing upkeep, it seems like folks should be able to get down and enjoy the beach (Waterman Preserve).


I'm sure I've noted before how difficult it is to describe the typical Puget Sound beach - what makes them all so special is that they are all so different. But a sand and gravel beach at the base of an eroding bluff, drift logs caught up among the fallen trees, eelgrass draped from the overhanging branches, truly gigantic pieces of wood, and occasional glimpses of human history - that's pretty much it. Of course, there's also early morning sunshine, views across the water of snow-capped volcanoes, and recognition that while humans are amazing builders, they also have the amazing capacity to see the value in unbuilding things now and then.

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