Blue Water In The Morn
Photograph - Photograph
Hood Canal is long and narrow with an average width of 1.5 miles (2.4 km) and a mean depth of 53.8 metres (177 ft). It has 342.6 kilometres (212.9 mi) of shoreline and 42.4 square kilometres (16.4 sq mi) of tideland. Its surface area is 385.6 square kilometres (148.9 sq mi) and it contains a volume of water totaling 21 cubic kilometres (17,000,000 acre�ft). Hood Canal extends for about 50 miles (80 km) southwest from the entrance between Foulweather Bluff and Tala Point to Union, where it turns sharply to the northeast, a stretch called The Great Bend. It continues for about 15 miles (24 km) to Belfair, where it ends in a shallow tideland called Lynch Cove.
Along its entire length, Hood Canal separates the Kitsap Peninsula from the Olympic Peninsula of Washington. The U.S. Navy's Naval Base Kitsap, Bangor Annex, is located on the eastern shore of Hood Canal near the town of Bangor. Hood Canal has several internal bays, the largest of which is Dabob Bay. Most of Dabob Bay is a Naval Restricted Area, and is used by the submarines stationed at the Bangor Base. Quilcene Bay is an inlet extending northwest from Dabob Bay. Near the north end of Hood Canal is Port Gamble, a bay and a town of the same name.
Several rivers flow into Hood Canal, mostly from the Olympic Peninsula, including the Skokomish River, Hamma Hamma River, Duckabush River, Dosewallips River, and Big Quilcene River. Small rivers emptying into Hood Canal from the Kitsap Peninsula include the Union River, Tahuya River, and Dewatto River.
Hood Canal and the rest of Puget Sound were created about 13,000 years ago, during the Late Pleistocene, by the Puget Lobe of the Cordilleran Ice Sheet.
Hood Canal from Camp Parsons Boy Scout Camp
Hood Canal was named by the Royal Navy Captain George Vancouver on May 13, 1792, in honor of Admiral Lord Samuel Hood of that navy. Vancouver used the name "Hood's Channel" in his journal, but wrote "Hood's Canal" on his charts. The United States Board on Geographic Names decided on "Hood Canal" as its official name in 1932.
Roads and bridges
U.S. Route 101 runs along the west shore of Hood Canal, south of Quilcene.
Hood Canal is spanned by the Hood Canal Bridge, the third longest floating bridge in the world at 6,521 feet (1,988 m). According to the Washington State Department of transportation, the Hood Canal Bridge is the only floating bridge constructed on saltwater, although there are others, such as Nordhordland Bridge and Bergs�ysund Bridge. The Hood Canal Bridge accommodates sixteen and a half foot tides.
State parks on the shores of Hood Canal including Belfair, Twanoh, Potlatch, Triton Cove, Scenic Beach, Dosewallips, and Kitsap Memorial. Prominent shoreside activities include swimming, boating, fishing and shellfish gathering.
Theler Wetlands is located at the tip of the Canal in Belfair. It provides a few miles of trails and a protected environment for marsh and estuary birds and plants.
There are many small towns located along the length of the Hood Canal, mostly on the western shore. Information and maps on recreation along the great bend of the Hood Canal can be found in the picturesque town of Union, which was voted one of America's twenty prettiest small towns by Forbes Traveler.
Low oxygen levels
September 2006 marked the discovery of the largest dead zone in the history of Hood Canal. The dead zone may have been caused by low oxygen levels due to algal blooms. Algal blooms occur in part because of warm weather and the slow turnover of water in the southern end of the canal, causing the build-up of nutrients from fertilizers and leaky septic systems. Organic matter, brought in by ocean water and certain trees, could additionally be contributing to the high nitrogen levels in the basin. Excess nutrients and organic matter causes a body of water to gain weight, through a process called eutrophication. In Hood Canal, eutrophication has led to unwanted algae blooms. Nitrogen combined with sunlight triggers algal growth. A lack of sufficient consumers has resulted in a mass overgrowth of algae in the basin. When the algae die, bacteria feed and their populations explode, robbing the water of oxygen. A state of hypoxia is created.
July 5th, 2011
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