Low Tide Driving

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Low Tide Driving

2011-02-26T21:25:23+00:00February 26th, 2011|Ecology, Issues, Uncategorized|2 Comments

I was surprised to see this Mercedes SUV navigating over sensitive tidelands habitat in the Des Moines area of Washington. I looked it up and found that it is, in fact, legal for residents of this area.

As a transplanted Californian, I was told a few times to stay off the tidelands, low or high tide, didn’t matter. I was new to tidal law in Puget Sound, and I didn’t realize that property to the low tide line wasn’t public. In another area, not too far from where this particular photo was taken, I was told by a property owner that they limited beach access for the integrity of sea life in the low tide zone — which, by the way, I fully support and abide by.

I could be wrong, but it seems a Mercedes SUV crushes a few more mussels and crabs than my rubber-souled moccasins would. Your thoughts?

Driving on Des Moines Beach Low Tide

Low Tide in Des Moines, Washington – ©ingridtaylar


  1. Al Cambronne March 24, 2011 at 10:03 am - Reply

    I’ve just discovered your blog, and was horrified to see the photo and learn that this was totally legal.

    Here in northern Wisconsin, we’ve had this sort of thing happen every now and then during our recent drought years. And then we have lots of ATVers who take too literally the “All” in “All-Terrain Vehicle.” They can really tear up a wetland. It’s definitely not legal, though.

    In a wetland or muck bottom, that sort of bad behavior would do more lasting damage. But as you say, it’s got to be pretty rough on the mussels and crabs that happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. If it’s legal, and everyone in that area does it, there must be enough traffic to affect a pretty large band along the shoreline.

  2. ingrid March 24, 2011 at 1:05 pm - Reply

    Hi, Al. I’ve seen your name out and about and am glad to have you here. Thanks for stopping by. I can relate to the term “horrified.” That was my initial, visceral reaction when I saw this Mercedes tramping across the tidelands. Being an interloper in the Northwest (well, I was born here but have been away so long), I’ve tried to remain objective about the environmental standards that differ up here, even if I have made a few grumbles about privately held shoreline (wrote about that here: https://bit.ly/fXTNra). But this car-on-mussels challenged my understanding of legality. As you say, it’s a bit different than ATVs tearing up the wetlands. But still . . .

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