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So What’s With the Crazy Name?


So what’s with this name already?

When I decided I wanted to blog about the beach, I set about trying to find out something about the beach. Yes, I knew it had sand and salt water and frequently sun. But I needed some hard facts, like how much of it was there.

It seems that answer is a hard one to come by.

The U. S. government has studied the issue multiple times, and the answer that is accepted most widely today is contained in a 1975 pamphlet published by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) called—what else?—The Coastline of the United States.

It seems that for purposes of public policy, the government doesn’t count every single nook and cranny in the coastline. It measured in 1975, using precise instruments on a variety of nautical charts of the previous 150 years. It does take into account certain islands, inlets, coves, and bays. In 2006, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) adopted the 30-year-old figures as accurate, except the measurement for Connecticut. Its coastal measurement in 1975 was “–“; three decades later it was reprojected by a CRS staffer at 29 miles.

So it works out like this: Alaska has far and away the longest salt-water coastline (6,640 miles of a total national figure of 12,479 miles—more than 53 per cent!). However, it would be difficult in the scope of this blog for me to get there. Same for Hawaii, which has 750 miles of coast (about six per cent of the national total). So here’s how the math works:

12,479 (total U. S. coastline) – 6,640 (Alaska) – 750 (Hawaii) = 5,089 (total coast of the continental U. S.

You can track my progress by clicking on the Progress Map link in the navigation bar at the top of every page, or by clicking here. The posts labeled The Journey detail each leg of the journey (with the number indicating the legs in chronological order).

And don’t hesitate to let me know by Facebook, Twitter, the Comments section below, or email if there are places you think are must-sees. This initial phase of travel will extend from San Diego to Santa Barbara, with more ambitious outings in future phases.

Glad to have you with me for the journey! Don’t be shy about speaking up.

{ 1 comment… add one }
  • YMC July 29, 2011, 10:20 am

    Wish I was there! A break in the asction would be nice.

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