The Ghost Forest is on the Copalis River estuary about a 15-minute drive from Seabrook. This forest of old-growth cedar trees was hit by a massive tsunami on January 26, 1700. The same event was recorded thousands of miles away in Japan. The tsunami lowered the coastal forests by 6 feet killing thousands of cedar trees with saltwater and devastating local coastal villages. Today, many of those 300-feet tall trees stand dead – looking bare, broken, and ghostly even on the sunniest of days.
The Ghost Forest can be accessed via tour experiences with Buck’s NW (previously Buck's Bikes). It is a magical and memorable trip. Offered seasonally, these guided experiences are available for both stand-up paddle boards and kayaks. Stop by Buck’s NW for more information.
“Paddling to the Ghost Forest is very peaceful, with numerous encounters with wildlife.” “Nearly every trip, we see otters, bald eagles, herons feeding on banks, tons of shorebirds and even some fish.” – Buck Giles, owner/operator of Buck’s NW
N o t e that Seabrook’s elevation is safe from tsunamis. Once every month there is a tsunami test alert warning broadcasted over the town to assemble at the Town Hall, if ever necessary.
10 FACTS TO SHARE
- The Ghost Forest is less than a mile upriver from the bridge crossing the Copalis River on Highway 109.
- A 9.0 magnitude earthquake on the Cascadia Fault, located offshore and under the Pacific Ocean, caused the tsunami that not only devastated the local areas but killed over 15,000 people across the ocean in Japan.
- The Orphan Tsunami of 1700, a paper published by Brian Atwater revealed and proved the tsunami’s origins, making the Ghost Forest the epicenter of the event.
- Brian Atwater’s work showed that not only were 9.0 magnitude earthquakes possible, but that they also occur every 300 to 600 years.
- According to graysharbortalk.com, findings and general awareness of potential dangers to the region, Grays Harbor County received nearly one million dollars to set up tsunami alarms, create evacuation plans, and place signs to help direct traffic out of the impacted towns when a big earthquake should hit.
- As written on king5.com, scientists say the trees were killed when the land they were growing on suddenly dropped between 6 and 8 feet, turning the land into a salt marsh. Coniferous trees cannot live in salt water.
- The tours to the Ghost Forest are in a safe, low-risk environment and can be reached with minimal effort.
- The gentle river is removed from noise and urban environment, allowing you a chance to unplug and experience nature first-hand, without going too far off the beaten path.
- “The reason everyone should take this tour is that it is a perfect blend of ancient geological history and the more recent logging history of the region,” explains Buck Giles. “Paddling to the Ghost Forest lets you experience the past, where we recognize the importance of logging history, while also focusing on the future, where we celebrate outdoor recreation and encourage tourism to rekindle our economy.”
- The experience is about 3 to 3.5 hours.
Sources: Summaries of numerous corroborative websites.