Fin whale carcass may block beach airport

King tides may jockey the carcass around, possibly blocking the field

The Washington State Department of Transportation issued a warning that a fin whale carcass that recently washed ashore may block the runway of the Copalis Beach Airport.

The department urged caution, as high tides may reposition the carcass, blocking runway area access.

“We’re asking pilots flying into the airport over the holidays to use extra caution as officials will be working to determine the cause of death of the whale, while other pedestrians and beach goers could be in the area,” said the department in a social media post.

Copalis Beach Airport is the only legal beach airfield in the state, according to the post.

“Sometimes during high tide the runway is underwater and things, such as a whale, can wash up on shore. Wildlife officials have opted in favor of letting the winter king tides and natural processes take care of the whale.”

Airport access may be restricted if the carcass blocks the landing area, according to the post.

Contact Senior Reporter Michael S. Lockett at 757-621-1197 or