Where the Ocean Meets the Shore
By Gary Hayes
Published: 02/03/2012  Updated: 08/08/2019
The hearty Sitka Spruce weathers the coastal storms and ocean forces.
The hearty Sitka Spruce weathers the coastal storms and ocean forces.  Gary Hayes

Some of the worlds tallest trees grow right to the water's edge where they are shaped by punishing winds during the region's famous storms. The only trees that can survive being on the front lines of these oceanfront forces are the mighty Sitka Spruce.

There's no place more magical than where the ocean meets the shore and the Northwest coast is the perfect example. In this corner of the world, the landscape is dramatically sculpted by some of nature's most powerful forces. The constantly churning waters have carved ancient geologic formations into dramatic cliff-sides and created free-standing rock formations that punctuate the water's edge. These unique areas provide habitat for a mind-boggling array of marine creatures and birds that have adapted to these remarkable and often harsh ecosystems. Some of the worlds tallest trees grow right to the water's edge where they are shaped by punishing winds during the region's famous storms. The only trees that can survive being on the front lines of these oceanfront forces are the mighty Sitka Spruce whose roots cling to the edges of the shoreline and whose branches are as tough as nails. It's no wonder that spruce was the wood of choice for early aircraft structures. Those trees that are the first defense against the raging winds and driving rains often look like the inspiration for bonsai artisans. As you get further inland, spruce trees begin mixing with the other towering giants, Western Hemlock and Western Red Cedar, that dominate the upper canopy of the Northwest coast's rainforest. We invite you to enjoy the sheer beauty of this coastline, admire the inspiring views that seem to go on forever, observe the smallest creatures in the tidepools or walk among the mammoth trees of the rainforest.
Where the Ocean Meets the Shore