The Black Point Kettles, a Sacred Site Worth Saving

The Goal:  To prevent the destruction of the two largest Black Point Kettles

  • because they are unique geological formations and

  • because they are culturally significant to the indigenous people of our area.

Black Point’s surface was shaped by the last continental glacier between 19,000 to 14,000 years ago.  The Puget Lobe glacial ice helped carve Hood Canal and left some unique kettles on Black Point.

Kettles form when large blocks of ice separate from an ice sheet and become buried in rocks, sand and gravel carried by glacial meltwater.  When these huge buried blocks of ice finally melt, the deep holes left behind are called glacial kettles. Lakes usually fill these holes, and they are seldom more than 60 feet deep.

topo black point map.jpg

Topographic map showing location of the largest kettles on Black Point, called Kettles B & C by the developer.

The big kettles on Black Point are unique natural sites, as they are the only kettles on the Olympic Peninsula, and they are dry except for shallow ponds in springtime.  Kettle B appears to be the deepest kettle in the state at 150 feet (15 stories) deep, making it an outstanding 12-acre mini canyon. It also contains a “kettle within a kettle,” another small circular depression high on the steep forested walls. These kettles are an important part of recharging the aquifer for Black Point.

These kettles are also very important to local indigenous people; Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe nominated them as a state cultural and historic site to qualify them for placement on the National Register of Historic Places.  

Jefferson County approved a massive development of almost 900 dwelling units, plus commercial/recreational facilities.  The development would destroy the kettles, turning Kettle B into a pond to store treated sewage water.

Below: a LiDAR Map of the Black Point Kettles especially illustrates Kettle B, the large depression in the middle of the image (and its higher and drier mini-kettle to the northwest. Kettle C is to the south and several other smaller surrounding kettles are of more typical size and shape. Contours are at 20-foot intervals.

lidar black point map.jpg