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Point of the Arches and the adjacent Shi Shi Beach represent a unique section of shoreline located at the edge of the Olympic National Park in Washington State. This wilderness area is now managed by the National Park Service, and was purchased in the late 1970s by The Nature Conservancy with a donation from Marie Louise Feldenheimer.
Olympic National Park has three distinct ecosystems including subalpine forest and wildflower meadow, temperate forest, and the rugged Pacific coast. The coastal portion of the park is a rugged shoreline with a narrow strip of adjacent forest. The coastal strip is 60 miles (97 km) long but just a few miles wide and separated from the main park by private land and national forest. Shi Shi Beach and Point of the Arches are accessible from the north by a hiking trail that starts at the Makah Reservation, and from the south from a trailhead at Ozette Lake.
The sea arches and sea stacks at Point of the Arches are natural features shaped by wave erosion. Headlands cause waves to refract (bend), concentrating wave energy on both sides of the headland. The rocks forming the headland begin to erode at natural cracks or fractures forming sea caves that eventually collapse to form arches, and these in turn will collapse to form sea stacks. These features and processes can all be seen along the Olympic coast. Read more here and here. Download the latest version of the CoastView app and explore more of Point of the Arches here: