Hedley Spit, Bainbridge Island

Hedley Spit, Bainbridge Island

by | Dec 15, 2020

Hedley Spit is a sand bar with an elevation of about 3.5 feet (1 m), located on Bainbridge Island on Point Monroe north of Faye Bainbridge Park, about 11 miles (18 km) northwest of Seattle and 1 mile (1.6 km) northeast of Port Madison, Washington. Rising sea level affects residential properties developed along this spit and by the middle of this century, many of these waterfront residences may experience severe inundation.

For thousands of years, the Suquamish people and their ancestors lived on Bainbridge Island in nine permanent villages. In 1792, English explorer Captain George Vancouver spent several days with his ship HMS Discovery anchored off Restoration Point at the southern end of Bainbridge Island while boat parties surveyed other parts of Puget Sound. In 1841, U.S. Navy Lieutenant Charles Wilkes visited the island while surveying the Pacific Northwest. Wilkes named the island after Commodore William Bainbridge, who was the commander of the frigate USS Constitution in the War of 1812. In 1855, the Suquamish tribe relinquished their claim to Bainbridge Island by signing the Point Elliott Treaty. The Suquamish agreed to cede all of their territory including Bainbridge Island to the United States in exchange for a reservation at Port Madison and fishing rights to Puget Sound.

Bainbridge Island was known by the Squamish for huge and accessible cedar trees used for dugout canoes. Canoes were an integral part of Suquamish culture and a primary mode of transportation. The heavily forested land made foot travel difficult and the canoe was essential for harvesting subsistence foods such as salmon and other fish, berries, roots, wild potatoes, and seagrasses. These foods were seasonal and regional, and the Suquamish needed to be in particular places at specific times of the year in order to harvest them. The canoe allowed them to travel long distances in a relatively short time, assuring quantities of food, establishment and renewal of tribal alliances, and the preservation of social and ceremonial contacts, which in turn permitted the culture to flourish beyond mere survival. Read more here and here. Explore more of Hedley Spit here:

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This ‘warming stripe’ graphic is a visual representation of the change in global temperature from 1850 (top) to 2019 (bottom). Each stripe represents the average global temperature for one year. The average temperature from 1971-2000 is set as the boundary between blue and red. The colour scale goes from -0.7°C to +0.7°C. The data are from the UK Met Office HadCRUT4.6 dataset. 

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