From the Puget Sound Urban Nature Series
Richmond Beach Saltwater Park
Love the dune grass
by Rebecca Bailey
It felt like a beach as soon as I crossed the gate. More wild and natural than other parks around the Seattle Metropolis. So much so that I was disoriented for just a few seconds, but soon delighted.
The entrance was high above the shoreline and a panoramic view of the Puget Sound and Olympic Mountains made me sigh.
The weather was good, considering it was two days before spring. Filtered sun and 50 degrees with a slight breeze is a good March day in the Pacific Northwest.
I followed the park road, winding down almost to sea level, passing tiered parking lots, picnic tables, staircases, a playground and picnic shelters.
A footbridge from the lower parking lot led me over the railroad tracks to the beach. Lots of driftwood piled near the shore, benches, and a picnic shelter gave me ample choices for sitting and taking in the view.
I could feel the warm sun on my face as I watched the antics of Goldeneye ducks doing their mating thing. Seriously, they made me laugh out loud as they stretched and twisted their necks in impossible ways. Surf Scoters were swimming and diving, too. I love their little clown faces.
A large freighter was being pulled by a tugboat. The Edmonds Kingston ferry crossing was just to the north. The ferry's iconic green and white mass moving slowly across the Puget Sound. A few brave boaters in their sailboats seemed to be drifting with the waves. Although a little hazy, the Olympic Mountains were still magnificent in all their snow-capped peaks glory.
It was idylic.
As I continued my exporation, later I discovered a lovely upper terrace covered by a trellis that is popular for wedding ceremonies.
I also found a way to get a little cardio in. Walk up the connecting staircases to the top of the park. Or explore the park trails.
Richmond Beach Saltwater ParkInterpretive signs tell of the intense efforts to restore the park to its natural state by removing invasive plants such as Scotch Broom. Much of the park slopes are covered with dune grass. Other native plants such as pampas grass, red-flowering currant and common snowberry have been planted to help create the natural habitat and stabilize the steep slopes.
It's a lovely community park with a healing space for one who needs a break from craziness. Smiles and friendly hellos were the norm. One woman was more than happy to help me identify the ducks that were swimming offshore.
All in all, I found it quite nice. A small beach oasis that reminded me of some parts of the Oregon Coast and seemed a world away from our busy Seattle metropolis.
The park neighbors thought so, too. Walkers, joggers and especially dog-walkers took advantage of the open spaces, sloped paths, stair cases, and long shoreline. People were perched on stair rails, benches, railings and parked in their cars to take in the very satisfying view.
For your gps: 2021 NW 190th. Shoreline, WA. 98177
Bring: Picnic, beach shoes, canvas bag for beach combing. And, of course, a sense of adventure!