Washed-up dock near Sequim a mystery . . . for now
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Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Renee Emiko Brock-Richmond of Sequim points out portions of a piece of dock that washed ashore on Port Williams Beach north of Marlyn Nelson County Park.

By Joe Smillie
Peninsula Daily News

SEQUIM –– Officials with state and local officials are looking to see what — if anything — needs to be done about a barnacle-encrusted dock that was reported washed up on the beach near Port Williams Beach last weekend.

The wooden dock, which is about 10 feet wide and 20 feet long, was spotted by Jim Roberts of Sequim, who eyed the dock with his binoculars on a beach walk with his granddaughter Sunday.

“I looked down and saw something down there,” Roberts said.

So he looked through his binoculars and saw a weathered dock sitting several feet up the beach from the shoreline.

“I looked for some kind of writing on it, to see if it's anything like that Japanese tsunami stuff that washed up,” Roberts said, referring to debris that has drifted across the ocean to shores of Washington Oregon Alaska and other states since the March 2011 tsunami.

But he saw no writing, nothing to identify it except a couple of ruts in one end that look as though they might have been rubbed away by cables, Roberts said.

Other hikers who had been to the beach earlier in the week said it was not there, dating back to at least the prior Tuesday, April 9.

Joel Winborn, Clallam County's parks, fair and facilities manager, said a maintenance worker went out to look at the dock Tuesday afternoon.

He determined it was outside the park's boundaries.

“It's not ours,” Winborn said. “I don't know what you do with it now.”

Dennis Clark, assistant aquatics division manager for the state Department of Natural Resources in Sedro-Woolley, said his office regularly clears flotsam from coastal beaches, but not often inland.

“A lot of it's foreign, a lot of it's not. It could be from the Puget Sound,” Clark said.

Clark said DNR workers on the North Olympic Peninsula will check out the dock this week.

If it's large enough, they will likely clear it to prevent it from washing onto another beach.

The state's 2012 Jobs Now package provided funding for beach waste removal, he said.

Chief Criminal Deputy Ron Cameron of the Clallam County Sheriff's Office said nobody in his department had heard a report of the dock, either.

He said deputies may investigate soon.

Roberts helps canvass the beach for dead bird carcasses for the University of Washington's Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team.

He said he planned to poll members of the team to see if they had spotted the dock earlier than Sunday.

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Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Joe Smillie can be reached at 360-681-2390, ext. 5052, or at jsmillie@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: April 16. 2013 6:15PM
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