Puget Sound

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Puget Sound
Puget Sound by Sentinel-2, 2018-09-28 (small version).jpg
Satellite View of Puget Sound and surrounding waterways, taken by Sentinel-2 in 2018
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Puget Sound
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LocationPuget Sound Lowlands, Washington, U.S.
Coordinates 47°36′N122°24′W / 47.6°N 122.4°W / 47.6; -122.4 Coordinates: 47°36′N122°24′W / 47.6°N 122.4°W / 47.6; -122.4
Native nameWhulge
Etymology Peter Puget
Part of Salish Sea
Primary inflows Deschutes River, Nisqually River, Puyallup River, Duwamish River, Cedar River, Snohomish River, Stillaguamish River, Skagit River
Primary outflows Admiralty Inlet, Deception Pass
avg: 41,000 cu ft/s (1,200 m3/s) [1]
max: 367,000 cu ft/s (10,400 m3/s)
min: 14,000 cu ft/s (400 m3/s)
Catchment area 12,138 sq mi (31,440 km2) [2]
Max. length100 mi (160 km)
Max. width10 mi (16 km)
Surface area1,020 sq mi (2,600 km2) [1]
Average depth450 ft (140 m)
Max. depth930 ft (280 m) [1]
Water volume26.5 cu mi (110 km3) [1]
Settlements Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia, Everett, Bremerton

Puget Sound ( /ˈpjuːɪt/ ) is a sound of the Pacific Northwest, an inlet of the Pacific Ocean, and part of the Salish Sea. It is located along the northwestern coast of the U.S. state of Washington. It is a complex estuarine [3] system of interconnected marine waterways and basins, with one major and two minor connections to the open Pacific Ocean via the Strait of Juan de FucaAdmiralty Inlet being the major connection and Deception Pass and Swinomish Channel being the minor.

Contents

Water flow through Deception Pass is approximately equal to 2% of the total tidal exchange between Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. [1] Puget Sound extends approximately 100 miles (160 km) from Deception Pass in the north to Olympia in the south. Its average depth is 450 feet (140 m) [4] and its maximum depth, off Jefferson Point between Indianola and Kingston, is 930 feet (280 m). The depth of the main basin, between the southern tip of Whidbey Island and Tacoma, is approximately 600 feet (180 m). [1]

In 2009, the term Salish Sea was established by the United States Board on Geographic Names as the collective waters of Puget Sound, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and the Strait of Georgia. Sometimes the terms "Puget Sound" and "Puget Sound and adjacent waters" are used for not only Puget Sound proper but also for waters to the north, such as Bellingham Bay and the San Juan Islands region. [5]

The term "Puget Sound" is used not just for the body of water but also the Puget Sound region centered on the sound. Major cities on the sound include Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia, and Everett. Puget Sound is also the second-largest estuary in the United States, after Chesapeake Bay in Maryland and Virginia. [6]

Names

In 1792 George Vancouver gave the name "Puget's Sound" to the waters south of the Tacoma Narrows, in honor of Peter Puget, a Huguenot lieutenant accompanying him on the Vancouver Expedition. This name later came to be used for the waters north of Tacoma Narrows as well. [7]

A different term for Puget Sound, used by a number of Native Americans and environmental groups, is Whulge (or Whulj), an anglicization of the Lushootseed name x̌ʷə́lč, which means "sea, salt water, ocean, or sound". [8]

Definitions

The USGS defines Puget Sound as all the waters south of three entrances from the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The main entrance at Admiralty Inlet is defined as a line between Point Wilson on the Olympic Peninsula, and Point Partridge on Whidbey Island. The second entrance is at Deception Pass along a line from West Point on Whidbey Island, to Deception Island, then to Rosario Head on Fidalgo Island. The third entrance is at the south end of the Swinomish Channel, which connects Skagit Bay and Padilla Bay. [9] Under this definition, Puget Sound includes the waters of Hood Canal, Admiralty Inlet, Possession Sound, Saratoga Passage, and others. It does not include Bellingham Bay, Padilla Bay, the waters of the San Juan Islands or anything farther north.

Another definition, given by NOAA, subdivides Puget Sound into five basins or regions. Four of these (including South Puget Sound) correspond to areas within the USGS definition, but the fifth, called "Northern Puget Sound" includes a large additional region. It is defined as bounded to the north by the international boundary with Canada, and to the west by a line running north from the mouth of the Sekiu River on the Olympic Peninsula. [10] Under this definition, significant parts of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Strait of Georgia are included in Puget Sound, with the international boundary marking an abrupt and hydrologically arbitrary limit.

According to Arthur Kruckeberg, the term "Puget Sound" is sometimes used for waters north of Admiralty Inlet and Deception Pass, especially for areas along the north coast of Washington and the San Juan Islands, essentially equivalent to NOAA's "Northern Puget Sound" subdivision described above. Kruckeberg uses the term "Puget Sound and adjacent waters". [5] Kruckeberg's 1991 text, however, does not reflect the decision of the United States Board on Geographic Names in the year 2009 to use the term Salish Sea to refer to the greater maritime environment.

Geology

Snow-capped peaks are a backdrop to many Puget Sound scenes; here Mount Rainier is seen from Gig Harbor. Mt Rainier distant-600px.jpg
Snow-capped peaks are a backdrop to many Puget Sound scenes; here Mount Rainier is seen from Gig Harbor.

Continental ice sheets have repeatedly advanced and retreated from the Puget Sound region. The most recent glacial period, called the Fraser Glaciation, had three phases, or stades. During the third, or Vashon Glaciation, a lobe of the Cordilleran Ice Sheet, called the Puget Lobe, spread south about 15,000 years ago, covering the Puget Sound region with an ice sheet about 3,000 feet (910 m) thick near Seattle, and nearly 6,000 feet (1,800 m) at the present Canada-U.S. border. Since each new advance and retreat of ice erodes away much of the evidence of previous ice ages, the most recent Vashon phase has left the clearest imprint on the land. At its maximum extent the Vashon ice sheet extended south of Olympia to near Tenino, and covered the lowlands between the Olympic and Cascade mountain ranges. About 14,000 years ago the ice began to retreat. By 11,000 years ago it survived only north of the Canada–US border. [11]

The melting retreat of the Vashon Glaciation eroded the land, creating a drumlin field of hundreds of aligned drumlin hills. Lake Washington and Lake Sammamish (which are ribbon lakes), Hood Canal, and the main Puget Sound basin were altered by glacial forces. These glacial forces are not specifically "carving", as in cutting into the landscape via the mechanics of ice/glaciers, but rather eroding the landscape from melt water of the Vashon Glacier creating the drumlin field. As the ice retreated, vast amounts of glacial till were deposited throughout the Puget Sound region. [11] The soils of the region, less than ten thousand years old, are still characterized as immature.

As the Vashon glacier receded a series of proglacial lakes formed, filling the main trough of Puget Sound and inundating the southern lowlands. Glacial Lake Russell was the first such large recessional lake. From the vicinity of Seattle in the north the lake extended south to the Black Hills, where it drained south into the Chehalis River. [12] Sediments from Lake Russell form the blue-gray clay identified as the Lawton Clay. The second major recessional lake was Glacial Lake Bretz. It also drained to the Chehalis River until the Chimacum Valley, in the northeast Olympic Peninsula, melted, allowing the lake's water to rapidly drain north into the marine waters of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, which was rising as the ice sheet retreated. [12]

As icebergs calved off the toe of the glacier, their embedded gravels and boulders were deposited in the chaotic mix of unsorted till geologists call glaciomarine drift. Many beaches about the Sound display glacial erratics, rendered more prominent than those in coastal woodland solely by their exposed position; submerged glacial erratics sometimes cause hazards to navigation. The sheer weight of glacial-age ice depressed the landforms, which experienced post-glacial rebound after the ice sheets had retreated. Because the rate of rebound was not synchronous with the post-ice age rise in sea levels, the bed of what is Puget Sound, filled alternately with fresh and with sea water. The upper level of the lake-sediment Lawton Clay now lies about 120 feet (37 m) above sea level.

The Downtown Seattle skyline, seen from a state ferry on Elliott Bay Seattle seen from Ferry on Puget Sound.jpg
The Downtown Seattle skyline, seen from a state ferry on Elliott Bay

The Puget Sound system consists of four deep basins connected by shallower sills. The four basins are Hood Canal, west of the Kitsap Peninsula, Whidbey Basin, east of Whidbey Island, South Sound, south of the Tacoma Narrows, and the Main Basin, which is further subdivided into Admiralty Inlet and the Central Basin. [13] Puget Sound's sills, a kind of submarine terminal moraine, separate the basins from one another, and Puget Sound from the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Three sills are particularly significant—the one at Admiralty Inlet which checks the flow of water between the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Puget Sound, the one at the entrance to Hood Canal (about 175 ft or 53 m below the surface), and the one at the Tacoma Narrows (about 145 ft or 44 m). Other sills that present less of a barrier include the ones at Blake Island, Agate Pass, Rich Passage, and Hammersley Inlet. [5]

The depth of the basins is a result of the Sound being part of the Cascadia subduction zone, where the terranes accreted at the edge of the Juan de Fuca Plate are being subducted under the North American Plate. There has not been a major subduction zone earthquake here since the magnitude nine Cascadia earthquake; according to Japanese records, it occurred January 26, 1700. Lesser Puget Sound earthquakes with shallow epicenters, caused by the fracturing of stressed oceanic rocks as they are subducted, still cause great damage. The Seattle Fault cuts across Puget Sound, crossing the southern tip of Bainbridge Island and under Elliott Bay. [14] To the south, the existence of a second fault, the Tacoma Fault, has buckled the intervening strata in the Seattle Uplift.

Typical Puget Sound profiles of dense glacial till overlying permeable glacial outwash of gravels above an impermeable bed of silty clay may become unstable after periods of unusually wet weather and slump in landslides. [15]

Hydrology

Low tide on Whidbey Island Low tide on Whidbey Island.JPG
Low tide on Whidbey Island

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) defines Puget Sound as a bay with numerous channels and branches; more specifically, it is a fjord system of flooded glacial valleys. Puget Sound is part of a larger physiographic structure termed the Puget Trough, which is a physiographic section of the larger Pacific Border province, which in turn is part of the larger Pacific Mountain System. [16]

Puget Sound is a large salt water estuary, or system of many estuaries, fed by highly seasonal freshwater from the Olympic and Cascade Mountain watersheds. The mean annual river discharge into Puget Sound is 41,000 cubic feet per second (1,200 m3/s), with a monthly average maximum of about 367,000 cubic feet per second (10,400 m3/s) and minimum of about 14,000 cubic feet per second (400 m3/s). Puget Sound's shoreline is 1,332 miles (2,144 km) long, encompassing a water area of 1,020 square miles (2,600 km2) and a total volume of 26.5 cubic miles (110 km3) at mean high water. The average volume of water flowing in and out of Puget Sound during each tide is 1.26 cubic miles (5.3 km3). The maximum tidal currents, in the range of 9 to 10 knots, occurs at Deception Pass. [1]

Evening on Puget Sound by Edward S. Curtis, 1913 Edward S. Curtis Collection People 047.jpg
Evening on Puget Sound by Edward S. Curtis, 1913

The size of Puget Sound's watershed is 12,138 sq mi (31,440 km2). [2] "Northern Puget Sound" is frequently considered part of the Puget Sound watershed, which enlarges its size to 13,700 sq mi (35,000 km2). [17] The USGS uses the name "Puget Sound" for its hydrologic unit subregion 1711, which includes areas draining to Puget Sound proper as well as the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the Strait of Georgia, and the Fraser River. [18] Significant rivers that drain to "Northern Puget Sound" include the Nooksack, Dungeness, and Elwha Rivers. The Nooksack empties into Bellingham Bay, the Dungeness and Elwha into the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The Chilliwack River flows north to the Fraser River in Canada.

Tides in Puget Sound are of the mixed type with two high and two low tides each tidal day. These are called Higher High Water (HHW), Lower Low Water (LLW), Lower High Water (LHW), and Higher Low Water (HLW). The configuration of basins, sills, and interconnections cause the tidal range to increase within Puget Sound. The difference in height between the Higher High Water and the Lower Low Water averages about 8.3 feet (2.5 m) at Port Townsend on Admiralty Inlet, but increases to about 14.4 feet (4.4 m) at Olympia, the southern end of Puget Sound. [1]

Puget Sound is generally accepted as the start of the Inside Passage. [19] [20]

Flora and fauna

Important marine flora of Puget Sound include eelgrass ( Zostera marina ) [21] and kelp, especially bull kelp ( Nereocystis luetkeana ). [22]

Sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) Oncorhynchus nerka.jpg
Sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka)
Steelhead trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) Lake Washington Ship Canal Fish Ladder pamphlet - ocean phase Steelhead.jpg
Steelhead trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss)

Among the marine mammals species found in Puget Sound are harbor seals (Phoca vitulina). [23] Orca (Orcinus orca) are famous throughout the Sound, and are a large tourist attraction. Although orca are sometimes seen in Puget Sound proper they are far more prevalent around the San Juan Islands north of Puget Sound. [24]

Many fish species occur in Puget Sound. The various salmonid species, including salmon, trout, and char are particularly well-known and studied. Salmonid species of Puget Sound include chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha), chum salmon (O. keta), coho salmon (O. kisutch), pink salmon (O. gorbuscha), sockeye salmon (O. nerka), sea-run coastal cutthroat trout (O. clarki clarki), steelhead (O. mykiss irideus), sea-run bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus), and Dolly Varden trout (Salvelinus malma malma). [25] [26]

Common forage fishes found in Puget Sound include Pacific herring (Clupea pallasii), surf smelt (Hypomesus pretiosus), and Pacific sand lance (Ammodytes hexapterus). [27] Important benthopelagic fish of Puget Sound include North Pacific hake (Merluccius productus), Pacific cod (Gadus macrocelhalus), walleye pollock (Theragra chalcogramma), and the spiny dogfish (Squalus acanthias). [28] There are about 28 species of Sebastidae (rockfish), of many types, found in Puget Sound. Among those of special interest are copper rockfish (Sebastes caurinus), quillback rockfish (S. maliger), black rockfish (S. melanops), yelloweye rockfish (S. ruberrimus), bocaccio rockfish (S. paucispinis), canary rockfish (S. pinniger), and Puget Sound rockfish (S. emphaeus). [29]

Many other fish species occur in Puget Sound, such as sturgeons, lampreys, various sharks, rays, and skates. [30]

Puget Sound is home to numerous species of marine invertebrates, including sponges, sea anemones, chitons, clams, sea snails, limpets crabs, barnacles starfish, sea urchins, and sand dollars. [31] Dungeness crabs (Metacarcinus magister) occur throughout Washington waters, including Puget Sound. [32] Many bivalves occur in Puget Sound, such as Pacific oysters (Crassostrea gigas) and geoduck clams (Panopea generosa). The Olympia oyster (Ostreola conchaphila), once common in Puget Sound, was depleted by human activities during the 20th century. There are ongoing efforts to restore Olympia oysters in Puget Sound. [33]

There are many seabird species of Puget Sound. Among these are grebes such as the western grebe (Aechmophorus occidentalis); loons such as the common loon (Gavia immer); auks such as the pigeon guillemot (Cepphus columba), rhinoceros auklet (Cerorhinca monocerata), common murre (Uria aalge), and marbled murrelet (Brachyramphus marmoratus); the brant goose (Branta bernicla); seaducks such as the long-tailed duck (Clangula hyemalis), harlequin duck (Histrionicus histrionicus), and surf scoter (Melanitta perspicillata); and cormorants such as the double-crested cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus). Puget Sound is home to a non-migratory and marine-oriented subspecies of great blue herons (Ardea herodias fannini). [34] Bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) occur in relative high densities in the Puget Sound region. [35]

It is estimated[ by whom? ] that more than 100 million geoducks (pronounced "gooey ducks") are packed into Puget Sound's sediments. Also known as "king clam", geoducks are considered to be a delicacy in Asian countries.

History

U.S. Coast Survey nautical chart of Puget Sound, Washington Territory, 1867 1867 U.S. Coast Survey Chart or Map of Puget Sound, Washington - Geographicus - PugetSound-uscs-1867.jpg
U.S. Coast Survey nautical chart of Puget Sound, Washington Territory, 1867

The earliest known presence of indigenous inhabitants in the Puget Sound region date to around 13,800 B.C. Some notable Salish Indian tribes of the Puget Sound region include the Duwamish, Nisqually, and Snoqualmie.

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Puget Sound's location in the U.S.

Dispatched in an attempt to locate the fabled Northwest Passage, British Royal Navy captain George Vancouver anchored on May 19, 1792, on the shores of Seattle, explored Puget Sound, and claimed it for Great Britain on June 4 the same year, naming it for one of his officers, Lieutenant Peter Puget. He further named the entire region; New Georgia, after King George III. [36] [37]

After 1818 Britain and the United States, which both claimed the Oregon Country, agreed to "joint occupancy", deferring resolution of the Oregon boundary dispute until the 1846 Oregon Treaty. Puget Sound was part of the disputed region until 1846, after which it became US territory.

American maritime fur traders visited Puget Sound in the early 19th century. [38]

The first European settlement in the Puget Sound area was Fort Nisqually, a fur trade post of the Hudson's Bay Company (HBC) built in 1833. [39] Fort Nisqually was part of the HBC's Columbia District, headquartered at Fort Vancouver. In 1838, the HBC's subsidy operation, the Puget Sound Agricultural Company was established in part to procure resources and trade, as well as to further establish British claim to the region. [40] British ships such as the Beaver , exported foodstuffs and provisions from Fort Nisqually, and would eventually export Puget Sound lumber, an industry that would soon outpace the dominant fur trading market and drive the early Puget Sound economy. [41] [42]

The first temporary American settlement was at Fort Nisqually, where missionaries J.P Richmond and W.H Wilson settled for two years in 1840. [43] The first organized American Expedition took place under the helm of Commander Charles Wilkes, whose exploring party sailed up Puget Sound in 1841. However, the first permanent American settlement on Puget Sound was Tumwater, founded in 1845 by Americans who had come via the Oregon Trail. The decision to settle north of the Columbia River was made in part because one of the settlers, George Washington Bush, was considered black and the Provisional Government of Oregon banned the residency of mulattoes but did not actively enforce the restriction north of the river. [44]

In 1853 Washington Territory was formed from part of Oregon Territory. [45] In 1888 the Northern Pacific railroad line reached Puget Sound, linking the region to eastern states. [46] Washington State was admitted to the union in 1889 as part of the enabling act, and the regions borders have since remained unchanged. [47]

Transportation

Puget Sound from Space Needle High Rex.jpg
View northwest from the Space Needle, overlooking (left to right) Elliott Bay, Duwamish Head, Puget Sound, and Restoration Point.

A unique state-run ferry system, the Washington State Ferries, connects the larger islands to the Washington mainland, as well as both sides of the sound, with vessels capable of carrying passengers and automobile traffic. The system carries 24 million passengers annually and is the largest ferry operator in the United States. [48]

Environmental issues

Over the past 30 years, as the human population of the region has increased, there has been a correlating decrease in various plant and animal species which inhabit Puget Sound. The decline has been seen in numerous populations including forage fish, salmonids, bottom fish, marine birds, harbor porpoise, and orcas. The decline is attributed to the various environmental issues in Puget Sound.[ citation needed ] Because of this population decline, there have been changes to the fishery practices, and an increase in petitioning to add species to the Endangered Species Act. There has also been an increase in recovery and management plans for many different area species. [49]

Purse seining on Puget Sound ca. 1917 Fishermen purse seining in Puget Sound, ca 1917 (COBB 71).jpeg
Purse seining on Puget Sound ca. 1917

The causes of these environmental issues are toxic contamination, eutrophication (low oxygen due to excess nutrients), and near shore habitat changes. [49]

On May 22, 1978, a valve was mistakenly opened aboard the submarine USS Puffer releasing up to 500 US gallons (1,900 L; 420 imp gal) of radioactive water into Puget Sound, during an overhaul in drydock at Bremerton Naval Shipyard. [50]

Prominent islands

See also

Related Research Articles

Deception Pass Strait between Whidbey and Fidalgo Islands on Puget Sound

Deception Pass is a strait separating Whidbey Island from Fidalgo Island, in the northwest part of the U.S. state of Washington. It connects Skagit Bay, part of Puget Sound, with the Strait of Juan de Fuca. A pair of bridges known collectively as Deception Pass Bridge cross Deception Pass. The bridges were added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.

Whidbey Island Island in Puget Sound in Washington, United States

Whidbey Island is the largest of the islands composing Island County, Washington, in the United States. Whidbey is about 30 miles (48 km) north of Seattle, and lies between the Olympic Peninsula and the I-5 corridor of western Washington. The island forms the northern boundary of Puget Sound. It is home to Naval Air Station Whidbey Island.

Strait of Juan de Fuca Strait between Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada and the Olympic Peninsula of Washington, United States

The Strait of Juan de Fuca is a body of water about 96 miles long that is the Salish Sea's outlet to the Pacific Ocean. The international boundary between Canada and the United States runs down the centre of the Strait.

Admiralty Inlet

Admiralty Inlet is a strait in the U.S. state of Washington connecting the eastern end of the Strait of Juan de Fuca to Puget Sound. It lies between Whidbey Island and the northeastern part of the Olympic Peninsula.

Strait of Georgia Waterway between Vancouver Island and mainland North America

The Strait of Georgia or the Georgia Strait is an arm of the Salish Sea between Vancouver Island and the extreme southwestern mainland coast of British Columbia, Canada and the extreme northwestern mainland coast of Washington, United States. It is approximately 240 kilometres (150 mi) long and varies in width from 20 to 58 kilometres. Along with the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Puget Sound, it is a constituent part of the Salish Sea.

Georgia Depression

The Georgia Depression is a depression in the Pacific Northwest region of western North America. The depression includes the lowland regions of southwestern British Columbia and northwestern Washington along the shores of the Salish Sea.

Salish Sea Marginal sea of the Pacific Ocean in southwestern British Columbia and northwestern Washington state

The Salish Sea is a marginal sea of the Pacific Ocean located in the Canadian province of British Columbia and the U.S. state of Washington. It includes the Strait of Georgia, Strait of Juan de Fuca, Puget Sound, and an intricate network of connecting channels and adjoining waterways.

Ferries in Washington (state) Overview of ferry transportation in the U.S. state of Washington

The U.S. state of Washington is home to a number of public and private ferry systems, most notably the state-run Washington State Ferries.

Princess Royal was a British merchant ship that sailed on fur trading ventures in the late 1780s, and was captured at Nootka Sound by Esteban José Martínez of Spain during the Nootka Crisis of 1789. Called Princesa Real while under the Spanish Navy, the vessel was one of the important issues of negotiation during the first Nootka Convention and the difficulties in carrying out the agreements. The vessel also played an important role in both British and Spanish exploration of the Pacific Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. In 1790, while under Spanish control, Princesa Real carried out the first detailed examination of the Strait of Juan de Fuca by non-indigenous peoples, finding, among other places, the San Juan Islands, Haro Strait, Esquimalt Harbour near present-day Victoria, British Columbia, and Admiralty Inlet.

Puget Sound region Region around Puget Sound in Washington

The Puget Sound region is a coastal area of the Pacific Northwest in the U.S. state of Washington, including Puget Sound, the Puget Sound lowlands, and the surrounding region roughly west of the Cascade Range and east of the Olympic Mountains. It is characterized by a complex array of saltwater bays, islands, and peninsulas carved out by prehistoric glaciers.

Joseph Whidbey State Park Protected area

Joseph Whidbey State Park is a 112-acre (45 ha) Washington state park in Island County, Washington with 3,100 feet (940 m) of shoreline on the Strait of Juan de Fuca in north Puget Sound. Park activities include picnicking, ADA-accessible hiking, canoeing, crabbing, beachcombing, and birdwatching. A small section of the Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail crosses through the park.

Chehalis Gap Gap in the Coast Range, Washington

The Chehalis Gap is a gap in the Coast Range of Washington state between the southernmost foothills of the Olympic Mountains called the Satsop Hills, and the Willapa Hills.

Glacial erratic boulders of King County, Washington

Glacial erratic boulders of King County are large glacial erratic boulders of rock which were moved into King County, Washington by glacial action during previous ice ages.

Many glacial erratic boulders can be found in the Puget Sound region as far south as the Yelm area where the Puget Lobe of the glacier reached its maximum extent.

Glacial erratic boulders of Island County, Washington

Glacial erratic boulders in Island County are a remnant of the Pleistocene glaciation that created Puget Sound and transformed the surfaces of what are now Island County's main landmasses: Whidbey Island and Camano Island. South of Deception Pass, the two islands' surfaces and beaches are completely composed of glacial till. Abundant glacial erratic boulders lie on the islands, their beaches, and under the near-shore waters.

Vashon Glaciation

The Vashon Glaciation, Vashon Stadial or Vashon Stade is a local term for the most recent period of very cold climate in which during its peak, glaciers covered the entire Salish Sea as well as present day Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia and other surrounding areas in the western part of present-day Washington (state) of the United States of America. This occurred during a cold period around the world known as the last glacial period. This was the most recent cold period of the Quaternary glaciation, the time period in which the arctic ice sheets have existed. The Quaternary Glaciation is part of the Late Cenozoic Ice Age, which began 33.9 million years ago and is ongoing. It is the time period in which the Antarctic ice cap has existed.

South Puget Sound Region in Washington, United States

South Puget Sound is the southern reaches of Puget Sound in Southwest Washington, in the United States' Pacific Northwest. It is one of five major basins encompassing the entire Sound, and the shallowest basin, with a mean depth of 37 meters (121 ft). Exact definitions of the region vary: the state's Department of Fish and Wildlife counts all of Puget Sound south of the Tacoma Narrows for fishing regulatory purposes. The same agency counts Mason, Jefferson, Kitsap, Pierce and Thurston Counties for wildlife management. The state's Department of Ecology defines a similar area south of Colvos Passage.

Hills in the Puget Lowland, between the Cascades and the Olympic Mountains, including the entire Seattle metropolitan area, are generally between 350–450 feet (110–140 m) and rarely more than 500 feet (150 m) above sea level. Hills are often notable geologically and for social reasons, such as the seven hills of Seattle.

Glacial Lake Russell

During the Vashon Glaciation a series of lakes formed along the southern margin of the Cordilleran Ice Cap. In the Puget Sound depression, a series of lakes developed, of which Lake Russell was the largest and the longest lasting. Early Lake Russell’s surface was at 160 ft (49 m) above sea level, draining across the divide at Shelton, Washington into early Glacial Lake Russell. When the ice margin receded northward, the lake expanded. When it reached the Clifton channel outlet, the water levels dropped to 120 ft (37 m) above sea level. The new longer and lower level lake is referred to as Lake Hood. The glacier continued to retreat until the northern outlet of the Hood Canal was reached as the water level equalized with Glacial Lake Russell becoming part of that body of water.

Juan de Fuca Channel Submarine channel off the shore of Washington state

Juan de Fuca Channel is a submarine channel off the shore of Washington state, United States and the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

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Further reading