Washington's Coast
Washington State Department of Ecology


Ocean Shores
Cape Disappointment
Washaway Beach
Leadbetter Point
Cape Disappointment State Park and the Columbia River North Jetty
Cape Disappointment State Park (formerly Fort Canby) has lost 260 acres
Over the past 40 years, Cape Disappointment State Park has lost over 260 acres of land to erosion. By 2009, erosion could eliminate 30 to 90 of the park´s 180 camp sites, scientists with the Southwest Coastal Erosion Study predict. North of the park, the shoreline could retreat up to 2,000 feet.
Shoreline changes
Until the 1870s, the shoreline traced the rocky headlands of Cape Disappointment (formerly Fort Canby). Between 1914-1917, the North Jetty was built on the Columbia River. Following jetty construction, the shoreline grew seaward rapidly. By the 1950s, this area reached a maximum size of 964 acres. Since then, most of the shoreline has continued to erode.

Storm damage, Fort Canby State Park, 1997 Erosion damage to park beach access road at Fort Canby, following winter storms, 1997.
Fort Canby area 1942 In the early 1900s, the North Jetty was built on Peacock Spit, a large shoal. Following jetty construction in the early 1900s, beaches north of the jetty grew seaward rapidly.

Fort Canby area 1970 During the 1950s, beaches north of the jetty began to erode. By 1958, Peacock Spit had eroded, accelerating erosion on Fort Canby beach.

Fort Canby area 1995 As Peacock Spit disappeared, erosion increased on Fort Canby beach. In 1998, El Niño storm waves knocked out the foredune fronting the beach.

Source: The Southwest Washington Coastal Erosion Study.
Images courtesy of: Brian Voigt

Southwest Washington Coastal Erosion Study. A recent study of Washington's coastal processes and shoreline changes.
Cape Disappointment State Park, Washington State Parks Cape Disappointment State Park is a 1,882-acre camping park on the Long Beach Peninsula, fronted by the Pacific Ocean. The park offers two miles of ocean beach, two lighthouses, an interpretive center and hiking trails.

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