Thursday, December 20, 2018

Washington Outer Coast: Ruby Beach Notes

Ruby Beach is located in the coastal strip of Olympic National Park that is traversed by US 101. A short trail from the parking area leads to the beach with several rock stacks protruding from the beach and just off shore. 

Ruby Beach and Cedar Creek with Abbey Island in the distance

Stout Rock and Destruction Island in the distance

Arches within shoreline sea stack

The sea stacks and rocky islands along the coastal area are part of the Quillayute Needles National Wildlife Refuge. The Refuge is one of the earliest in America. It was set aside to protect birds and other wildlife by Theodore Roosevelt in 1907. At that time game hunters were decimating bird populations and the early refuges were critical in stopping the destruction of entire species of birds.

The Refuge is also included in the even larger Washington Islands Wilderness, a no public entry wilderness. The primary purpose of the wilderness area is to protect the bird and marine habitat around these critical islands. Destruction Island is not included in the wilderness but is included within the Wildlife Refuge.

The bedrock at Ruby Beach consists of ocean floor sediments that have been highly deformed in the process of accretion tectonics as ocean floor rocks were added onto the margin of North America. The rocks are Miocene in age. The highly disrupted bedrock layers can be best observed a short walk up Cedar Creek along the banks of the stream.

Tectonized ocean floor rocks on the banks of Cedar Creek upstream of Ruby Beach

4 comments:

Sharyn Mallow Woerz said...

One of my favorite places, a type of sanctuary for humans too. Sharyn

Geoffrey Middaugh said...

Check out the link to this component of the NWPS at:
https://www.wilderness.net/NWPS/wildView?WID=633&tab=General The link to the google maps is very interesting. Ouzette Island is a component, with its own amazing story. One of my favorite places too.

Geoffrey Middaugh said...

I should have said Google Earth, not Google maps.

Dan McShane said...

Yes, Sharyn, it is a refreshing place to be a human even on a cold windy day. Geoff: that is a great site. Found the map showing the rocks along the Destruction shore were indicated as in the Wilderness Area.