NewsIdaho Back Roads


The Boardwalk to Nowhere

Stanley Lake beach disappears under water
Posted at 5:24 PM, Jul 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-30 00:54:13-04

The people in this boat are fishing where beach anglers stood one year ago. But the beach that was a popular place for anglers, swimmers and sunbathers is gone. Liquified, in scientific terms.

And now, the boardwalk that led to a newly-built trail system literally leads to nowhwere.

"This has only been here about a year," said Mike Blair, who visits the Sawtooths often. "Because they didn't want people to submerge their cars going through the fjord. So they made a safe passage and it was only available for what, one season?"

Researchers believe this happened in March, when a six-point-five magnitude earthquake shook the region, it's epicenter just sixteen miles from this spot.

They say when the quake hit, the sand on the beach went through a process called liqufication. It basically behaved like a liquid, and did what liquid does, move down, in this case, under the surface of Stanley Lake.

Those same researchers are studying the Sawtooth Fault, named for the mountains through which it runs. It wasn't known to exist until about ten years ago, and now it is moving.

Since the March quake, there have been more than two hundred significant aftershocks. The recent activity has scientists busy, potentially revising their first estimates of the length of the Sawtooth Fault.

In the meantime visitors to Stanley Lake are amazed at the change in the landscape.

"You wouldn't recognize the area hardly whatsoever," said Blair. Because the sand used to extend out into the lake, a hundred feet or something like that. And this was all gorgeous beach through here."