Point Roberts, Washington
official_name = Point Roberts
nickname = The Point, Point Bob, Roberts Point
map_caption = Red dot (above) indicates location of Point Roberts, west of contiguous Whatcom County and the rest of Washington State.
subdivision_type = Country
subdivision_type1 = State
subdivision_type2 = County
subdivision_name2 = Whatcom
established_title = Established
June 15 1846
area_total_km2 = 12.65
area_total_sq_mi = 4.884
population_as_of = 2000
population_footnotes = cite web
publisher=Point Roberts Chamber of Commerce
title=Point Roberts Demographic Information
population_total = 1,308
timezone = PST
utc_offset = -8
timezone_DST = PDT
utc_offset_DST = -7
postal_code_type = ZIP code
postal_code = 98281
area_code = 360
latd = 49 |latm = 0 |lats = 0 |latNS = N
longd = 123 |longm = 3 |longs = 53 |longEW = W
elevation_m = 0
elevation_ft = 0
website = [http://www.pointrobertschamber.com/ www.pointrobertschamber.com]
Point Roberts is a small
Census-designated placein Whatcom County, Washington, United States. A geopolitical oddity, it is a practical exclaveof the United States, located on the southernmost tip of the Tsawwassen Peninsula, south of Delta, British Columbia, Canada.
Point Roberts can be reached from the rest of the United States only by traveling through Canada or crossing
Boundary Bay. Other exclaves of this type include the U.S. state of Alaska; and parts of Minnesotasuch as the Northwest Angleand Elm Point, Minnesota.
Europeans to see Point Roberts were members of the 1791 expedition of Francisco de Eliza. The maps produced as a result of Eliza's explorations depicted Point Roberts as "Isla de Cepeda" or "Isla de Zepeda" [cite book |last= Hayes |first= Derek |title= Historical Atlas of the Pacific Northwest: Maps of exploration and Discovery |year= 1999 |publisher= Sasquatch Books |isbn= 1-57061-215-3 |pages= p. 72] [ [http://w3.gsa.gov/web/p/interaia_save.nsf/cf0d4c7c0de34938852563d3004975f3/8678dd54a2b40948852565d90053a19e?OpenDocument U.S. Port of Entry/Point Roberts Border Station] , Historic Federal Buildings] In 1792 the British expedition of George Vancouverand the Spanish expedition of Dionisio Alcalá Galianoencountered one another near Point Roberts. In the morning of June 13, 1792, the two ships under Galiano sailed into Boundary Bay and verified that Point Roberts was not an island, which was thus renamed "Punta Cepeda". They then sailed around Point Roberts and immediately encountered the "HMS Chatham", the second ship of Vancouver's expedition. The two parties made contact and soon agreed to share information and work together in mapping the Strait of Georgia. [cite book |last= Kendrick |first= John |title= The Voyage of "Sutil" and "Mexicana", 1792: The last Spanish exploration of the Northwest Coast of America |year= 1990 |publisher= The Arthur H. Clark Company |location= Spokane, Washington |isbn= 0-87062-203-X |pages= pp. 111-113] Point Roberts acquired its present name from George Vancouver, who named it after his friend Henry Roberts, who had originally been given command of the expedition. Point Roberts assumed its present political status in 1846, when the Oregon Treatyextended the 49th parallelas the boundary between American and British territory from the Rocky Mountainsto Georgia Strait.
Treaty history specific to Point Roberts
After years of joint occupation of the disputed area between the
Columbia Riverand Russian America known as the Oregon Countryto the Americans, and as the Columbia Districtto the British, American expansionists like U.S. Senator Edward Allen Hanneganof Indiana urged US President James K. Polkto annex the entire Oregon Country up to latitude 54°40'N, as the Democrats had been elected on the slogan " Fifty-Four Forty or Fight".
While his government asserted that the title of America to the entire territory was unquestionable, Polk and his secretary,
James Buchananmade an offer of a boundary at 49 degrees with the line straight across Vancouver Island, with no commercial privilege to be granted to the British south of the line, with the exception of free ports on Vancouver Island. This offer was rejected by the British and withdrawn by the US shortly thereafter.
April 18, 1846, notice was forwarded to Londonthat the US Congresshad adopted a joint resolution abrogating the Treaty of 1818which provided for joint occupancy.
The British emissary,
Richard Packenham, had previously been advised that the last concession which could be expected of America was in bending the boundary at the 49th parallelaround the lower end of Vancouver Island. Fort Victoriawas viewed as the future center for settlements on the island. It was deemed necessary around this point in time to give up territory on the Lower Mainlandto keep Vancouver Island part of British North America.
Lord Aberdeen, British
Foreign Secretary, proposed a treaty making the 49th parallel the boundary to the sea, giving Great Britainthe whole of Vancouver Island. The Treaty of Oregon was concluded on June 15, 1846.
The acceptance of the 49th parallel as the international boundary was concluded without precise knowledge of the effects it would have. Later, as the Boundary Commission was surveying the line, the British government realized that the peninsula of Point Roberts would be an isolated part of the United States. The British Foreign Office instructed Captain James Prevost, the British Boundary Commissioner, to inform his American counterpart of the situation and request that Point Roberts be left to Britain, because of the great inconvenience it would be to the United States. If the American Boundary Commission was reluctant, Prevost was instructed to offer "some equivalent compensation by a slight alteration of the Line of Boundary on the Mainland". It is not known how the American commissioner responded, but Point Roberts remained part of the United States. [cite book |last= Hayes |first= Derek |title= Historical Atlas of the Pacific Northwest: Maps of exploration and Discovery |year= 1999 |publisher= Sasquatch Books |isbn= 1-57061-215-3 |pages= p. 161]
Point Roberts is a U.S. quasi-exclave bordered by Canada and the waters of
Boundary Bay. It is convert|22|mi south of downtown Vancouver, British Columbia. Point Roberts is part of the U.S. because it lies south of the 49th parallel, the official latitude defining the Canada-US border in that area. (Because of inaccuracies in 19th-century surveying, the border actually lies some 200 metres north of the 49th parallel in this location.)
Point Roberts borders the municipality of Delta in
British Columbia. Boundary Baylies to the east of Point Roberts and the Strait of Georgiato the south and west. The peninsula is about convert|2|mi|0 from north to south and about convert|3|mi|0 from east to west. It has an area of convert|4.884|sqmi.
As of the US 2000 census, there were 1,308 people, 607 households, and 373 families residing in the CDP. There were 1,820 housing units. Only 34% of the housing units are occupied by residents of Point Roberts; in the summertime the majority of people staying in Point Roberts are Canadians who use it as a cottage or holiday spot.
The racial makeup of the CDP was 75.1% White, 12.3% African American, 0.9% Native American, 3.6% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 5.5% from other races, and 2.4% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 12.5% of the population.
In the CDP the population was spread out with 22.1% under the age of 19, 2.2% from 20 to 24, 29.0% from 25 to 44, 32.0% from 45 to 64, and 14.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43.2 years.
The median income for a household in the CDP was $36,146, and the median income for a family was $45,417.
zip codeis 98281.
Point Roberts Primary School, the only school on the Point, is for K–second-grade pupils; older public school students who are American must be taken by bus into British Columbia and back into the United States at the
Blaine, Washington, border crossing; it is a 40-minute drive.
September 11, 2001, attacks, school transportation became a question, with long delays at the border crossings, however, school buses were regularly given right of way and the issue was averted. Similar trips are often required for residents who wish to obtain goods not available in the exclave. Canadianstudents who live in Point Roberts are allowed to go to school in British Columbia.
The only authorized land access to Point Roberts is 56th Street, a major thoroughfare that runs through the community of
Tsawwassenon the Canadian side of the border; southward, the road turns into Tyee Drive. Point Roberts also has a small airport and a large marinafor air and water access.
Many of the area's businesses are geared toward recreational and weekend visitors from Greater Vancouver, especially those in search of cheap
gasoline. The handful of area bars and nightclubs are popular with visiting Canadians (despite a 21 drinking age in the US versus 19 in British Columbia), and were even more so in the days before Sunday drinking was legalized in British Columbia. The local post office rents hundreds of post office boxes to individuals and businesses from the Greater Vancouver area (including the US Consulate in Vancouver) which find it a convenient and fast way to receive mail and parcels from the United States without paying for cross-border shipping costs.
As reported in "
National Geographic Magazine", residents enjoy a low crime rate at the cost of a high local security presence.
Because American health insurers will not pay for treatment given by Canadian providers, Point Roberts citizens usually seek medical care in Bellingham, Washington, even though Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada is closer. This includes even emergency patients.Fact|I find this hard to believe in the case of time-critical emergency patients| () 21:35, 4 September 2008 (UTC)|date=September 2008
Point Roberts lies within a depression created by
Vancouver Island, the north shore mountains surrounding Vancouver, and the North Cascades (including Mount Baker). This micro-climate provides some of the mildest weather in the Pacific Northwest. With an average annual rainfall of about 1000 mm (40 inches), Point Roberts enjoys more sunny days and a milder climate than its neighbors.
Beneath Point Roberts, the bedrock Chuckanut Formation was deposited as an alluvial plain containing layers of sediments consisting of silt, sand, sand and gravel, and peat. During the last 60 million years the sediments were compacted and folded by mountain building forces resulting from continental drift to form strata of siltstone, sandstone, conglomerate and coal. During recent geologic history, the Chuckanut formation was overridden by four or more glaciations. [cite journal
last = Armstrong | first = J.E | coauthors = D.R. Crandell, D.J. Easterbrook, J.B. Noble | title = Late Pleistocene Stratigraphy and Chronology in Southwestern British Columbia and Northwestern Washington | journal = Geological Society of America Bulletin | volume = 76 | pages = 321–330 | date = March 1965 | doi = 10.1130/0016-7606(1965)76 [321:LPSACI] 2.0.CO;2]
Point Roberts consists of a series of the resulting glacial sediments resting upon the Chuckanut Formation. The lowest glacial sediments (now near sea level) are from Salmon Springs or older glaciations. At the peak of the most recent glaciation, the main ice sheet was in excess of 7,000 feet thick as it moved southward between Vancouver Island and the Canadian Coast Range and down the Strait of Georgia. A smaller lobe of the continental glacier in excess of 5,000 feet traveled down the Fraser River flood plains merging with the main ice sheet over the greater Vancouver area and Whatcom and Skagit Counties. The coalesced continental ice sheet traveled south terminating in the vicinity of
Chehalis, Washington. Relatively impermeable Vashon glacial lodgment till (estimated to be as much as 40 feet thick at the uppermost layer) was plastered over the advance outwash as the weight of the 7,000 foot thick plus Strait of Georgia ice lobe moved southward over approximately 10,000 years. (Armstrong, et. all, 1965) Point Roberts, Tsawwassen, and part of British Columbia extending Past English Bluff actually comprised an island at the close of the Vashon glaciation, approximately 11,000 years ago.
As the ice sheets melted, the thinner Fraser Lobe began to float while the Strait of Georgia lobe acted as a dam forming a lake under the Fraser Lobe. Sediments settling from the melting, floating ice resulted in the accumulation of 300 feet or more of Glacial Marine Drift over much of western Whatcom County. (Easterbrook, 1976; Geologic Map of Western Whatcom County, Washington, USGS, Map I-854-B) This Glacial Marine Drift is generally soft and was not consolidated by the weight of the glacier. A discontinuous, thin mantle of this Glacial Marine Drift above the Glacial Lodgment Till has been identified sporadically across Point Roberts. The uppermost layer of glacial sediments consists of recessional sand, silt, and gravel deposited as the Strait of Georgia ice lobe receded. Since the recession of the glaciers, the Fraser River has deposited deltaic sediments on the north and easterly side of the Point Roberts-Tsawwassen Island connecting it to the Greater Vancouver mainland (approximately 2,500 years ago, Murray 2008). At some locations, these sediments have been eroded or removed exposing the lodgment till.
Parks and features
Maple Beach, Washington(NE)
* Monument Park (NW)
* Lighthouse Marine Park (SW)
* Point Roberts Skate Park (Central - recreational open space)
* Lily Point Marine Reserve (SE)
* Cascadia Marine Trail (S and E)
Until 1988, Point Roberts telephone numbers were in
British Columbia's 604 area codeand served by BCTel, a Canadian telephone company. Today, Point Roberts phone numbers are in the 360 area code and the 945 exchange, and the local regular-service telecom provider is Whidbey Island Telephone Company. Point Roberts is served by DirectTVand Delta Cablevisionfor cable TV and broadband internet. Mobile telephone service is provided by a variety of companies, both American and Canadian.
Oregon boundary dispute
Elm Point, Minnesota
*Clark, Richard E. Point Roberts, USA: The History of a Canadian Enclave. Textype Publishing, 1980.
* [http://www.natureguidesbc.com Murray, Anne, A Nature Guide to Boundary Bay. Nature Guides B.C., Delta, 2006]
* [http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/DTTable?_bm=y&-context=dt&-ds_name=DEC_2000_SF1_U&-CONTEXT=dt&-mt_name=DEC_2000_SF1_U_P001&-tree_id=4001&-transpose=N&-redoLog=false&-all_geo_types=N&-geo_id=06000US5307392560&-search_results=01000US&-_showChild=Y&-format=&-_lang=en&-show_geoid=Y Point Roberts Census County Division, Whatcom County, Washington] United States Census Bureau
* [http://www.pointroberts.com/history.htm History of Point Roberts]
*Geologic Map from [http://www.dnr.wa.gov/geology/pdf/ofr03-17.pdf Washington State Department of Natural Resources]
*Zoning Map from [http://www.co.whatcom.wa.us/pds/pdf/planning/gis/t20zon1.pdf Whatcom County]
* [http://www.discovervancouver.com/GVB/point-roberts.asp Discover Vancouver article on Point Roberts]
* [http://en.epochtimes.com/news/8-7-2/72832.html Epoch Times article on Point Roberts]
* [http://magma.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0408/feature7/index.html National Geographic article on Point Roberts]
* [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/07/19/AR2006071901804.html Washington Post article on Point Roberts]
* [http://www.allpointbulletin.com All Point Bulletin community newspaper]
* [http://www.pointrobertschamber.com Point Roberts Chamber of Commerce]
* [http://www.prepgroup.org Point Roberts Emergency Preparedness Committee]
* [http://www.fire5.com Point Roberts Fire Department]
* [http://www.blaine.wednet.edu/pt.roberts/index.htm Point Roberts Primary School]
* [http://www.wcls.org/ Whatcom County Library System, serving Point Roberts and surrounding areas]
* [http://www.pointrobertstaxpayers.com Point Roberts Tax Payers Association]
* [http://www.pointrobertswater.com Point Roberts Water District #4]
* [http://www.pointrobertschurch.com Trinity Community Lutheran Church]
* [http://www.pointrobertsevents.com Point Roberts Community Events]
Point Roberts Airpark[http://www.prairpark.com] [http://fallingrain.com/faa/1RL.html]
* [http://www.pointrobertsgolfcourse.com Point Roberts Golf & Country Club]
* [http://www.pryc.net Point Roberts Yacht Club]
* [http://www.pointrobertsmarina.com Point Roberts Marina Resort]
* [http://timjblair.spaces.live.com/Blog/cns!B71A619F97F176BD!40759.entry Whale Watching Blog]
* [http://www.co.whatcom.wa.us/parks/lighthouse/lighthouse.jsp Lighthouse Marine Park]
* [http://www.jackex.com/lilypoint Lily Point Marine Reserve]
* [http://www.parks.wa.gov/trails.asp Cascadia Marine Trail]
* [http://www.crystalwaterbeach.com Crystal Waters]
Geographic Location (8-way)
Centre = Point Roberts
North = Delta
(British Columbia, Canada)
Northeast = "
East = "
Boundary Bay", Blaine
Southeast = "
South = "
Strait of Georgia"
Southwest = "
Strait of Georgia"
West = "
Strait of Georgia"
Northwest = "
Strait of Georgia"
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