June 10, 2012

Manchester State Park

As folks who have stopped by this blog in the past may already know, one of the places I enjoy walking and making images is Manchester State Park on the Kitsap Peninsula in WA resting beside Rich Passage. The grounds cover 111 mostly forested acres and 3,400 feet of saltwater shoreline. And while we are talking numbers, 1.9 miles of walking trails as well. To clarify, for those who might make the trip to the park for a long flat stroll, it is steep in a few places.

The historical structures in the park can be compelling to shoot in changing light and seasons. If I remember correctly, the instillation (fort) was built by the US Coast Artillery for defense of Bremerton, WA at the turn of the century to protect the Bremerton Naval Ship Yard. It was then converted to a Navy fuel supply depot. As you can see by the photos at the bottom of the group, the ship yard still functions today. I think they now disassemble ships more often than building them. When I am taking pictures of the boats and marinas in Port Orchard, the ship yard is what sits directly across the bay. And beyond that, in the distance, the Olympic mountains. 

Back to the Fort; the building you see with the arched windows initially served as a torpedo warehouse in 1901. Since that time is has also been an officers club, barracks, mess hall, fire station and now, a quite place to sit. It wears it's history in interesting ways. Each visit I find something new. The layers and layers of peeling paint may take me decades to fully inspect. Through it's windows you can see the shore and off to the side another building is firmly anchored on a small hill. It isn't as welcoming, but interesting to photograph. It was built as a mining casement and later used for coal storage. There is also a gun battery on the grounds. Based on the Forts position, passing ships would have been sitting ducks.

It is a wonderful thing to have this land in State Park status and open to the public. With the funding reduction challenges we continue to face in WA, many of our State Parks have been cut from the rolls. I keep my fingers crossed for Manchester State Park. (And others.) It is worth giving Manchester a look if you are in the area. The flat portion of the walk will lead you to a great viewing spot for the Seattle/Bremerton ferries using the passage. And, from that spot you can see Seattle and Vashon Island. 

Be sure and click on the photos to see a larger versions.

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