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