#AtoZChallenge | J is for the Jetty at Camp Ellis and Winter Storms

When you step onto the jetty and look out, it’s impossible to tell how far it goes as the end blurs with the horizon. Growing up in Saco, I visited the jetty in Camp Ellis often and have scrambled along the rocks towards that end point but I’ve never walked the entire jetty.

I have what is probably a revisionist memory from my one of my early visits to the jetty as a child. My cousins and I were given permission from our parents to walk to the jetty on our own.  We had never gone alone so it was a big deal. It was a short walk up the beach and to the jetty.  Playing on the rocks could be dangerous but we promised to be careful.  My youngest cousin, who is five years younger, tagged along with us. When we were done exploring, she was not ready to leave, so we left her on the rocks. She made it home safely, but our parents were not happy with our decision to leave her behind. Our next solo visit was not until a few years later when we could be trusted to make better choices.

While fun to explore as a child, and a beautiful spot to visit as an adult, the jetty itself is problematic. It has caused significant beach erosion to the surrounding area impacting many of the local homes.

It was originally built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and intended to stabilize the entrance to the Saco river so that ships could navigate the river more easily. While the intentions were good, it has caused major issues and significant damage to the nearby beach areas.

“The jetty has altered the dynamics of wave action, currents and sand drift, subjecting Camp Ellis to punishing forces during storms and extremely high tides. The beach has eroded over time, and streets and houses have washed into the sea, causing millions of dollars in damage to public and private property.”1

My own family has a home close to Camp Ellis and we too have seen the impact to our beach over time.  Our brutal winter nor’easters can be especially hazardous to the area.

It’s an incredibly complex situation. The city of Saco and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have been discussing solutions for many years but so far none have been implemented and homes continue to be lost.

Do you have any jetty’s where you live? Have they impacted the surrounding area?

Jetty Camp Ellis (1)

Here are some pictures my sister-in-law took of the beach areas a few days after our last big winter storm.


1https://www.pressherald.com/2013/08/11/camp-ellis-fix-moving-forward-on-a-wave-of-uncertainty_2013-08-11/

I’m participating in a Blogging A-Z Challenge for April 2018. I will be posting new content every day this month except most Sundays. Each post is associated with a letter of the alphabet, starting with A and ending with Z. My theme for the challenge is Winters in Maine. To read more of my A to Z posts, click HERE.


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29 thoughts on “#AtoZChallenge | J is for the Jetty at Camp Ellis and Winter Storms

    • Weekends in Maine says:

      They are similar although I think breakwaters are designed to protect a harbor and jetties are usually by an inlet and designed to allow for navigation. They both have impacts on the shoreline though. I agree that most things have pros and cons which is why finding the right solution can be so challenging. Rockland is beautiful!

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  1. Diane says:

    I absolutely love Maine! Husby and I have visited a few wonderful times. I don’t think there is a season that isn’t beautiful there!
    We have a problem with erosion even here in old landlocked Northern Alberta. Several people built huge (ie. expensive) homes on the cliffs overlooking the river, even after being warned they weren’t stable. The view was just too spectacular, I guess. The bank eroded away from them and all the homes were lost. They tried to sue the city, but the records very clearly stated they were building in an ‘iffy’ area and the consequences were their own. I still felt sorry for them–losing everything like that. Until the city allowed one of them to put on umbilicals to try and retrieve some of their most precious belongings. The first thing they brought out was (Family memorabilia?) Nope. A huge, stuffed lion the owner had shot in Africa. Yeah. All my sympathy died with that lion.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Weekends in Maine says:

      I think I would have lost sympathy too! For many of the homes lost by us, they were built many years ago and were not considered especially risky at the time although building close to the ocean always carries some risk. Mother nature is powerful. Climate change is also likely having an impact and exacerbating the situation. It’s sad to see so many homes being lost and the shoreline so dramatically impacted. It’s a complicated situation.

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  2. Sarah Ferguson and Choppy says:

    We do have some jettys over on Lake Michigan (pretty much up and down the coast, probably for the same reasons – the rivers and shipping). I can’t remember ever walking out on any on the lake, though (and this even though in college I was only a few blocks from the lake).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. sizzlesue15 says:

    Nature can be wonderful and devastating at the sane time. We have cyclones in Australia each summer and I feel for those who lose everything. We do have a similar jetty near where I live but I hadn’t thought about the impact. It has been there for many, many years.
    Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond

    Liked by 1 person

  4. dyannedillon says:

    I used to visit some friends when they lived in Milwaukee when I was in junior high, and I loved walking out onto a jetty on Lake Michigan! We don’t have anything like that around here, although the Corps of Engineers allowed a shopping area to be built on the lake front where my dad’s lake house is and it changed the waterfront so much that now after heavy rains, our house risks getting flooded and actually did one time a couple of years ago. None of it ever happened before the shoreline got changed for the development.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Weekends in Maine says:

      It is amazing the impact development has on the shoreline. A lakefront shopping area does not sound like a good idea. Sorry it had negative consequences for your Dad’s place. That must be so frustrating.

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  5. Shalzmojo says:

    We have encroached on nature on our efforts to better our lives. Now we are all paying for it in some ways or other. Sad to know so many homes get affected every year by the storms. it must be terrifying to stay there in those days. How do people cope?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Weekends in Maine says:

      We often do more damage that good even when we’re trying to help. I think people adapt to their environment and learn to cope with whatever extreme weather conditions they get in their area. For us, with advance weather warnings, there is enough notice so they can evacuate before the storms hit. The town will even issue evacuation notices ahead of the storm if it’s going to be bad.

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