Archive for the ‘Conservation’ Category

Doug Rose Fly Fishing Christmas Newsletter 2011, Volume III

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

 

THE ONLY THING

 

by Ramon Vanden Brulle

 

The place was bright and noisy, full to bursting. The waitresses, the only women in the room, wielded thick china and shrugged off the jokes, clumsy passes, and general air of flirtation, giving as good as they got. The tips were piling up, and they knew plenty of these guys, or at least the type: men in the company of men, on the verge of the outdoors, excited and nervous as boys. Harmless enough.

            Outside it was still too dark to see the low, thick sky. The pavement was dry, but the gravel and grass were damp, the potholes full of muddy water. The café was one of the few places with the lights on, and it shone like a small moon landed in the center of town. In the dim glow of the streetlamps, the small business strip gave the impression of never having projected enormous prosperity. This is a long way from anywhere, plagued with one of the dampest climates on earth, 200 inches of rain a year and a mean temperature around 50 degrees.

When Europeans first saw this place from the sea, they did not want to come ashore out of fear. Never mind the lack of moorage, dangerous reefs, and giant, bone splintering breakers. The Devil himself lived in places like this, beneath these dark wet thickets of towering trees. In fact, the first Europeans to set foot on this shore were set upon within moments of landing their small boat, killed, dismembered, and cooked before the eyes of their horrified shipmates anchored beyond the surf line. Explorers spread fantastic tales of savage, cannibalistic natives waiting in ambush for God’s children under the impenetrable green canopy.

Some of the natives actually were effective raiders and warriors. They thought they lived in the richest paradise on earth, and pretty much just wanted to be left alone. They had no idea how right their first instinct was. Europeans are nothing if not avid, especially once they’re squeezed through the American can-do filter, and Satan notwithstanding, those enormous trees were like money lying on the ground. Thus grows a resource outpost, the logging town, an operational testament to who the real cannibals are. (more…)

The Elwha Dams are Coming Down

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

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In a lot of ways, the events connected with the Elwha Dam Removal celebrations last week seemed like something of a reunion to me. Wherever I happened to be, at the science symposium or the ceremonies on the dam Saturday, I seldom went more than a half hour without running into someone I knew. And all of them have been involved with dam removal for a long time, some for decades.

One of the first people I saw at the Elwha River Science Symposium, the two day series of discussions and and presentations on dam removal science, was Tim McNulty.

Tim is the author of a number of fine books, both poetry collections and natural history and environmental writing. His Olympic National Park–A Natural History Guide won the Washington Governor’s Writers Award. I turned to Tim when I was working on my first book, Fly Fishing the Olympic Peninsula, and wanted the perspective of someone who was intimately acquainted with natural resource issues on the peninsula but who wasn’t part of the fly fishing community. We had our discussion during a a late fall hike on the Graywolf Trail, while the upriver pink salmon were spawning.

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The Campaign for a Wild Olympics

Monday, September 26th, 2011

In July of 1958, Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas led a group of 70 on an overnight hike along the Olympic coast from Cape Alava to Rialto Beach. They made the trek to demonstrate their support for the addition of the Olympic Peninsula’s coastal strip into Olympic National Park. At the time, the state of Washington, local governments, and anti-park residents wanted a highway built along the beach.  A group of road supporters, organized by the Port Angeles Chamber of Commerce, confronted the hikers at Rialto Beach. They waved signs that proclaimed: “Fifty Million U.S. Auto Owners and Their Families Like Scenery Too” and, more succinctly, “Bird Watchers Go Home.”

Today, more than half a century after Douglas led that first beach hike, a new effort is underway to secure increased protection for critical Olympic Peninsula fish, wildlife and recreational habitats. Not surprisingly, the philosophical descendents of the people who waved their signs at Douglas are opposed to the campaign.

And just like their predecessors, the groups allied against the proposals have made some signs.”Stop Wild Olympics $900 million Land Grab,” the bright red signs warn. They are scattered around yards in Grays Harbor and Forks, rural West End residences and a handful of businesses.

The “land grab” the signs refer to is the attempt by the Campaign for a Wild Olympics to: 1) secure National Reserve status for four areas adjacent to Olympic National Park; 2) designate additional areas within Olympic National Forest as wilderness; and 3) obtain Wild and Scenic River designations for the portions of the major Olympic rivers that flow through federal and state land.

(more…)

Tarboo Creek Salmon Threatened

Monday, September 26th, 2011

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“Will people be able to rescue an ecosystem teetering on the brink of destruction?”

Those words were the subtitle of a compilation of articles about the decline of Hood Canal salmon published in 1991 by the Bremerton Sun as the book, Hood Canal–Splendor at Risk.

Today, a partial answer to that question is being dramatically enacted on the waters of Dabob Bay in eastern Jefferson County.

(more…)

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