The View from a Drawbridge

The random musings of a bridgetender with entirely too much time on her hands.

You’ve most likely been haunted by a ghost forest without even realizing it. According to an article entitled, “More Ghost Forests Are Rising Up, and That’s Not Good News”, due to sea level rise, and in some cases, land sinking or erosion, ghost forests are on the increase. Thanks, climate change.

When healthy forests are flooded with saltwater, the trees no longer have access to the fresh water they need to survive. These trees often remain standing, in whole or in part, long after they’re dead. They can occur along any coastline, but they’re particularly multiplying along the American Atlantic coast. It’s almost like a slow moving zombie invasion.

There was an earthquake on the West coast in the year 1700 that was 9.0 on the Richter scale, and it dropped an Oregon spruce forest into the flood plain. The saltwater rushed in and destroyed this forest, which had trees 150-200 feet high. You can still see their stumps, many of which are 2000 years old, during low tide near the town of Neskowin. Can’t get there yourself? Check out this gorgeous, haunting video. That same earthquake dropped the land down 6 feet near the Copalis River in Washington, causing another ghost forest.

When I traveled through Alaska, I saw groves of ghost forests, especially along the Seward Highway. That ground sank as much as 9 feet, after an earthquake in 1965, and the sea rushed in. Dams can cause ghost forests, too. But mostly it’s rising sea levels and eroding coastline that’s causing this destruction. Check out the video of this ghost forest on Boneyard Beach, Bulls Island, South Carolina.

I’ve seen several ghost forests. They are eerie places. I always feel overwhelmed by the feeling of death. Once there were thriving forests, teeming with wildlife, and now, only bleached out, twisted trunks remain. It’s really sad. It brings you face to face with your own impermanence.

Boneyard Beach is the perfect name for this place.

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2 thoughts on “The Invasion of the Ghost Forests

  1. Angiportus Librarysaver says:

    I’ve seen a few of those, where a road turned a low-lying bit of forest into a shallow lake. Yes, kind of eerie. I thought of one in Renton as “the unexpected mirror”, and not far from it was The Black Swamp, which was unutterably cool, and I once saw a turtle there.

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