A quick survey of my Facebook friends let me know that there are four Tacoma area bridges/overpasses that are being used as Bridge of Locks. On Sunday, which had glorious weather, I went to Bridge to the Beach that crosses the railroad tracks at Chambers Bay Regional Park in University Place. I hadn’t realized that I could drive down to the bottom of the park and I also didn’t know there was a bridge to the beach. What an amazing park it has turned into! There were families and couples with plenty of dogs. There were huge kites and picnics and music. Really it was splendid. I was there in August 2011 and it has significantly updated since then!
A short stroll took me to the modern bridge and at first I only saw a lock or two, but then there was a little cluster of them and at the end of the elevated pathway there were a number of them. Unlike many of the other Bridge of Locks, the arrangement of the Bridge to the Beach is such that each locks does not have its own little area, but instead can slide back and forth. This was a pretty exciting discovery for the four year old next to me!
Bridges of Locks are relatively new on a wide spread basis. The tradition is that those in love put their name on a lock then attach it to the bridge and throw the key away to symbolize their unfailing devotion. This is a worldwide phenomena, as can be seen here.
The Bridges of Locks have not all been well received, with the weight of all those locks pulling down and damaging several structures. In University Place, there are no plans to remove the locks. Pierce County spokesman Hunter George said “We’re not encouraging it or discouraging it (the hanging of the locks). But we do think there are better ways. If people really want to demonstrate their commitment to each other, we’d love to see them get married at Chambers Bay. We have great rates. Or get a tattoo. Or both.”
Oh, and there is a picture of an osprey, just because they are such cool birds! Their wing span can be almost 6′ across, though I don’t know about the one on the nest.