You are on page 1of 266


Splendor at Risk




Christopher Dunagan
and the Staff of The Sun

TheSunNewspaper, Bremerton, Washington

A John P. Scripps Newspaper
Division of Scripps Howard
Production: Merle Dowd & Associates
Design:VictoriaLoe,Washington SeaGrant Program
Cover photograph: SteveZugschwerdt
Graphics:John McCurdy and Theresa Aubin

Hood Canal: Splendor at Risk

Copyright © 1991 by The Sun Newspaper

All rights reserved. No part of this publication

may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval
system, or transmitted in any form or by any
means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying,
recording or otherwise, without prior permis
sion of the publisher.

The Sun Newspaper

PO Box 259
Bremerton, Washington 98310

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 91-66581

ISBN 0-9630365-0-5

Printed in the U.S.A. on recycled paper


Preface vi

Part I: Introduction 1

Chapter 1: A Place Too Wonderful to Spoil 3

Chapter 2: Taking a Look Around

Section 1: Give Yourself a Tour 8

Section 2: A Mysterious Waterway 12

Part II: The Ecosystem 15

Chapter 3: The Canal

Section 1: Fed By Glaciers 17

Section 2: Carved from the Rock 20

Chapter 4: Water Resources

Section 1: A Precious Commodity 23

Section 2:Jockeying for the Resource 29
Section 3: Protecting the Rivers 33
Section 4: Growth Makes New Demands 37
Section 5: Preserving Water Quality 41

Chapter 5: Wetlands
Section 1: Food Store for the Web of Life 44
Section 2: Nature's Purification System 49
Section 3: Trying to Save a Valuable Ecosystem 53

in •
Part III: Using the Resource 57

Chapter 6: Logging
Section 1: Rising from Toppled Trees 59
Section 2: A Log's Long Journey 64
Section 3: The Economics of a Clearcut 69
Section 4: Who Owns the Watershed? 74
Section 5: Logging and the Owl: Three Perspectives 78
Section 6: For Timber or for the Environment? 85
Section 7:Toward Keeping Timberlands Intact 89

Chapter 7: Fishing
Section 1: Ripples from Boldt 91
Section 2: Redaiming the Salmon Culture 94
Section3: Making a Living from the Water 98
Section 4: No Longer a Fishing Paradise 103
Section 5: Can the Wild Salmon Survive? 107
Section6: Preserving the Natural Salmon Runs 111

Chapter 8: Oysters
Section 1:To Protect the Canal... and Oysters 115
Section 2: Where Genetics and Technology Meet 120
Section 3: Tidelands Tug'o'war 122
Section 4: Toward Cleaner Beaches 126
Section 5: An Invisible Threat 129

Chapter 9: Bangor
Section 1: Hood Canal Becomes the Navy's Choice 131
Section 2: The Canal's Largest Community 134
Section 3:400 Feet Below the Canal 145
Section 4: Mission: Keep it Clean 150

Chapter 10: Recreation

Section 1: When Beaches Host Millions 155

Section 2: A Long History as a Recreation Spot 158
Section 3: Business Follows the Mercury 160
Section 4: How Recreation Threatens the Canal 165
Section 5: Innocent Visits to a Pristine Lake 169

•IV •
Part IV: The People of Hood Canal 173

Chapter 11: Development

Section 1:The Canal Pays for Our Lifestyles 175
Section 2: Choosing Prudent Development 179
Section 3: Losses Come So Easily 181
Section 4: Planning for Growth 187

Chapter 12: The Canal's First Citizens

Section 1: When Indians Plied its Waters 190

Section 2: Tribes Seek their Spirit Song 193
Section 3: He Weaves Past and Present Together 195
Section 4: Teaching the Tribes' Lost Art 197
Section 5: Using the Classroom to Rekindle Tradition 199

Chapter 13:Life on the Canal

Section 1:Growing Pains in Belfair 202
Section 2: New Homes Jam the Backwaters 206
Section3: Plush Properties 209
Section 4: Waterfront Land Rush 212
Section 5: More than the Sum of its Human Parts 216
Section 6: A Haven for Artists 221

Part V: Conclusion 227

Chapter 14: The Future of the Canal

Section 1: Memories of the Canal 229
Section2:Preservation Through Action 233
Section 3: An Uncertain Future 239
Section 4: A Vision for the Future 245

Chapter 15:What You Can Do 252

Appendix A: Suggested Readings 256

Appendix B:The Series 258

Index 259

• v •
CREDITS Theresa Aubin: pages 37,91,94,98,107,138,175,179,193,195,

Amy Deputy: pages 229,239

Ed Pieratt: pages 234,235,236

Larry Steagall: pages 64,69,79,83,85,89,126,131,134,140-41,


Steve Zugschwerdt: pages 6,8,12,17,20,23,29,41,44,49,52,


Pope & Talbot Archives: page 59

•vi •

H o o d Canal has changed me. But most of the wildlife has been killed
Even though I've worked for or driven away. Wetlands have been filled.
The Sun for 14 years, I am not Streams have been silted. The soft forest
the same writer I was a year ago. floor has been transformed into paved streets
Even though I've lived in the or grassy lawns in many places.
Northwest for 21 years, I am not It was not a mistake, at least not the
the same person. density part. The goal was to put as many
It isn't so much the beauty of Hood new homes as possible around Bremerton
Canal that has me enchanted. At some point, and Silverdale, protecting the more rural
it's best to get beyond the pure splendor of areas from growth pressures.
the place. But trees can be a facade, hiding the
Call it an appreciation that the wild- broken remnants of an ecosystem that no
ness of nature still exists, one small life longer exists, just as sparkling waters can
linked to another, all struggling to survive, hide chemicals and human waste that drain
humans included. down from the streams.
I shouldn't downplay the importance If we are to protect Hood Canal, we
of natural beauty. As a child, I lived in must begin with the upland areas — the
Wichita, Kansas. I recall the annual vacation watershed that drains down to the canal. We
trek across dry, flat prairies toward the must understand the plant and animal
wonderland of the snow-covered Rocky communities that dwell there and try to keep
Mountains in Colorado. them intact.
In our family, we all tried to be the first Streams and rivers are vital connec
to spot the mountains, which first appeared tions. They should get the highest level of
as a razor-thin line of dark blue at the protection by keeping logging and develop
horizon,barely discernable from the sky. ment far back from the water. Wetlands,
I learned to camp and fish in a pan which clean the surface waters and provide
orama of towering mountains and clear blue homes for an abundance of wildlife, are
lakes. To a boy who spent most of his time in worthy of protection.
flatland, it always seemed as if someone had I'm convinced we can find room for
hung a grand painting on the sky. human beings to live and work in the Hood
When I came to Kitsap County in 1977, Canal region,but I'm less eager to stake out
I was awestruck by the water, mountains my own chunk of Hood Canal as a homesite
and wide-open spaces. And I was pleased than I was a year ago.
the county commissioners were trying to I live in Bremerton, and I like what a
preserve the "rural character" of the county. city provides: fire, medical and police
Fourteen years later, much of the urban protection just minutes away. It's nice
area between Bremerton and Silverdale still having grocery stores and shopping malls
has enough trees along the roadsides that it's within easy reach.
easy to forget that it was designed for I also like boating and swimming and
humans. hiking and camping. I enjoy picking oysters

•vn •
and digging clams. These things I can do individual action to protect the smaller areas
now, though I encourage the government to people discover: wetlands, nesting areas,
provide more places to go. migration routes.
I'm beginning to develop a personal I have yet to see strong leadership
ethic about Hood Canal and other unspoiled emerge, but the regional Hood Canal
places: I like the idea of leaving them Coordinating Council provides the right
unspoiled even more than I like the idea of forum for discussion.
living there. I know people's hearts are in the right
Like the boy from Kansas who experi place, but individuals need to transform
enced wonder and fascination without living their desires into action. Get involved in
in the mountains, I have learned a great deal watershed planning or join one of the Water
about Hood Canal without building a Watchers classes.
driveway or cutting down a single tree. I may not choose to move into the
Those who live in the Hood Canal area Hood Canal watershed, but I intend to keep
may well take the lead in protecting natural an eye on its fragile ecosystem for the rest of
surroundings. my life. I hope that what we pass on to our
But the rest of us have a role, too, children and their children is something
because Hood Canal is a national treasure. more than just memories about the wildness
It will require a huge vision to save of nature.
Hood Canal as a whole, and it will require
Christopher Dunagan

When we started to research the series concerned than ever about the myriad of
of articles that became "Hood Canal: Splen seemingly conflicting interests that stand in
dor at Risk," we knew that people living on the way of reaching a community consensus
the canal would be interested. The challenge on how to save it.
was to show others how Hood Canal was It's not that the will isn't there —
important to them. nearly everyone who lives along the canal,
Hood Canal is not well known outside and in the watershed, would agree that the
the Puget Sound region. Ifs not the area the canal must be preserved. It's a question of
environmental groups write about saving finding a way that can unite rather than
when they mail out a flood of membership divide the canal's constituents.
solicitations. But it is a waterway of national Some of the most vocal defenders of
significance. canal waters are the property owners who
When an ecosystem is pristine, rela are first to bulkhead their shoreline. Some of
tively easy steps can be taken to preserve it. the most vocal critics of logging are among
When an ecosystemis destroyed, the task of those willing to clear a view lot in the
bringing it back is often too complexand too watershed to build a home.
costly to be attempted. Hood Canal is challenging us to rise
But the real challenge is to save an above our special interests and to act in the
ecosystemthat is teeteringon the brink — general interest of the watershed. It was, all
one that's still basicallysound but faces a along, our hope that in telling this story we'd
threat. help our community face this challenge.
Thafs when we learn about how to fit LikeAndy Rogers, who talks exten
our human lifestyles into a natural system. sively in the conclusion of this book about
What we learn is applicable not only in his memories of the canal, I wish I could see
Western Washington, but also for other what the canal will be like in 50 years. And I
threatened ecosystems across the country would hope to see something that indicates
and around the world. those of us who are the canal's neighbors
And learning that lesson is the chal rose to the challenge when the canal was
lenge of Hood Canal today. teetering on the brink, and helped pull it
After guiding this reporting project back into balance.
from initial planning to conclusion, a process
that took more than 15 months, I am both
better informed about Hood Canal and more August, 1991

• vm •


A Place Too
to SporL
By Christopher

A great blue heron, its broad what remains of this ancient swamp. Hood Canal
wings spread to the wind, dips Human visitors may find themselves
out of an overcast sky and refreshed by the wildness here, as in other
glides into the marsh. Extend natural environs. Some people describe a
ing its legs, the large bird lands warm feeling of enthrallment, a kind of mild
gracefully among tall hypnotic state.
reeds near the water. The tweet-tweet- It's as if the human heart yearns for a
tweetering of songbirds creates an agreeable more primitive experience, away from the
chorus, though each bird sings its own cluttered pattern of modern life,says Celia
distinct song. Parrot, caretaker of the property.
Untold numbers of wild birds share "The reason I go out two or three times
this place on Hood Canal, just outside of a day is not just to walk the dogs," she said.
Belfair on the North Shore. River otter slink "It's like a refueling. I go out to get another
along the shore at sunset. Mink, beaver and dose of that intimate feeling."
muskrat mind their own ways, thanks to This moist land has seen the coming of
•3 •
4 • Introduction

farmers, their cows raised on "sea oats" able the United States? Or will we somehow find
to tolerate the brackish water of the marsh. room for people without disrupting the
Now, the cattle are gone and native plants living forces that make Hood Canal a unique
slowly reclaim the land, under the protection place?
of the Hood Canal Land Trust.
The land trust, formed in 1986 by Celia Despite soaring real estate prices,
and her husband Gary Parrot, received the people are swarming to buy the last vacant
Hood Canal — land as a precious gift from Elizabeth lands along the 242 miles of Hood Canal
actually a Klingel,who wanted to see this place shoreline and to purchase upland view lots
protected.Theirs is just one effortto preserve nearby.
glacier-carved the natural values so obvious in the Hood A priceless recreation area, Hood
fjord— Canal region. Canal provides an outdoor showcase in
divides the Other organizations protect Hood which to enjoy the region's famous shrimp,
Kitsap Canal by measuring pollution absorbed in salmon and oysters.
Peninsula, the tissues of clams at Port Gamble or in Some 94 percent of the state's prized
oysters at Union, or by erecting fences to "spot prawn" — known locallyas "Hood
with its rolling keep cows from tainting the clear streams Canal shrimp" — are collected from the
hills and flowing into Quilcene Bay, or by teaching canal. Once abundant, the average size of
easyflowing boaters not to dump human waste over these giant prawns has declined, and the
streams, from board while cruising the open waters of the state has been forced to strictly regulate the
the more 61-mile-long canal. harvest.
The Legislature has recognized Hood Salmon are slowly returning to local
rugged Canal as a "shoreline of statewide signifi streams, but artificial growing efforts barely
Olympic cance." The list of preservation effortsis make up for the damage caused by new
Peninsula, nearly as long as a list of placesworthy of housing and commercial developments,
with its craggy protection. biologistssay. Sediments wash into streams,
Hood Canal — actually a glacier- smothering eggs and ruining nesting gravel
peaks and
carved fjord — divides the Kitsap Peninsula, used by the mystical fish.
rushing rivers. with its rolling hills and easy flowing Commercial, Indian and sport fisher
streams, from the more rugged Olympic men report declines in nearly all species,
Peninsula, with its craggy peaks and rushing while political and legal battles do nothing to
rivers. increase the stocks.
Hood Canal has been loved by settlers For recreationaloyster gatherers, Hood
and summer residents for more than 100 Canal is a godsend, offeringpracticallythe
years. It has been home to salmonbeyond only inland waterway in the state where
abundance, to multitudes of clams, oysters oysterscan be found on publicbeaches. In an
and shrimp, and to a myriad of wildlife, average year, about 56,000 pounds of oysters
from field mice to black bears. are hauled off state beaches, according to
As progresswould have it, many of estimates by the Department of Fisheries.
Hood Canal's natural areas have already Meanwhile, commercial oyster grow
been spoiled. Bulkheadshave replaced ers are especially proud of their sweet-
wetlands; homesteads have replaced forests; tasting oysters, grown in crystal clear waters.
and pollution has disrupted the web of life. "What makes Quilcene Bay famous is our
The canal has been exploitedfor its fish mild-tasting oyster," said Gordon Hayes,
and shellfish resources, used and abused by generalmanager of CoastOyster Co. of
homeowners and boaters, and imposed Quilcene.
upon by logging interests. Hayes credits the taste to the canal's
In a sense, people have loved the canal gravelly bottom (as opposed to mud), along
just a little too much. with a low concentration of algae, the main
Yet, compared to many placestouched staple in the oyster's diet. The food shortage
by man, Hood Canal stands nearly makes the oysters grow slower — and
unblemished, like a sparkling gemstone, its milder, said Hayes.
. destiny yet to be determined. What makes Hood Canal so clear —
Willtoday's press of human popula the lack of algae and other plankton —
tion destroy Hood Canal, the way advancing results from a slow exchange of water
growth has spoiled waterways throughout washing in from the ocean.For Hood Canal
A Piacf. Too Wonderful to Spoil • 5

as a whole, a year may pass before the body of water vast and beautiful, yet filled
waters are thoroughly "flushed." That's with toxic chemicals and other wastes of
about twice as long as for Puget Sound. human endeavors, said Peters, who teaches
The slow flushing action is the result of ecology part-time at Olympic College.
several underwater "sills" that block the "Where I grew up, we always had a
circulation of deep waters. For example, boat of some sort," he said. "We'd go fishing,
while much of the main channel is more than crabbing, you name it. You could catch your
500feet deep, the water is only 150feet deep limit quickly." "We have to
at one sill south of Hood But intervening years get to know
Canal Bridge. Hood Canal have brought housing
our forests and
A number of Hood developments, factories and
Canal bays flush themselves Land Trust pollution. Oysters became our marshes,
even slower than the main susceptible to a dangerous so we know
channel. High levels of virus. what we
human waste, primarily from "Pollution weakened cannot do to
septic tanks, have caused the oysters, and the virus
health officials to close pretty much decimated the
— Celia Parrot,
portions of Lynch Cove to population," said Peters.
Hood Canal
shellfish harvesting. Other "Acid rain and phosphate
Land Trust
closures include the tip of runoff from farms have
Quilcene Bay and areas near fertilized the bay to the point
Union, Hoodsport and you have areas on the bottom
Seabeck. that are basically anoxic
At Belfair State Park, (without oxygen)."
rangers once watched people Pockets of anoxic areas
gather their limits of succu grow and move, depending
lent oysters. Two years ago, Formed in 1986 by on tides and currents.
they were told to post signs, Celia and Gary "Fishermen pull up crab
warning people about the Parrot, it pots, and they're all dead," he
dangers of earing polluted represents one said.
shellfish. Peters recently pur
Likewise, Hayes said it effort to preserve chased five acres of view
is disturbing to see polluted thefragile wetlands property near Hood Canal.
oyster beds within two miles ofHood Canal. "The reason I'm here,"
of his company's operation in he said, "is that (Hood Canal)
Quilcene Bay. is one of the prettiest places I've seen, and I'd
"The oyster industry and the clam like to keep it that way."
industry are the first affected by pollution," He says he is pleasantly surprised
said Hayes. "We are the canary (in the coal about the local attitudes.
mine). We mustn't let what happened in "People seem to be concerned about the
Chesapeake Bay happen here. That would be environment, and with the advent of the '90s,
a travesty." I think that attitude will increase," he said.
Hood Canal is not just any body of
In the1950s, on thenorthsideof water, said Peters.The geology,the water
Baltimore, Md., a young David Peters used quality, the beauty make it a special place.
to walk through the woods. He hunted "Youhave something that is probably
salamanders and snakes that would hide unique in the world."
along the grassy banks of a stream.
"Today, that woods is gone," said bqueezed next tothe Naval Submarine
Peters, who at age 39 lives in Poulsbo. "Now Base at Bangor is a little waterfront commu
it's a housing development, and that stream nity known as Bangor. An elbow of land,
was channeled — filled with concrete — so it known as King's Spit, juts out into the water
would drain faster. Weed killers that people from the foot of the hill.
use on their lawns now flow through it." King's Spit, littered with oyster shells, is
The little stream — now a concrete the southernmost landmark of what once
culvert—stilldrains into Chesapeake Bay, a was called 'The Three Spits." The other two
6 • Introduction

spits were consumed by the massive bringing pollution from livestock waste,
naval base constructed during World according to Starcevich. He worries about
War II. weed killers sprayed along the Bangor fence.
"We're losing the point because "This bay used to have a whole sea of
people have put in bulkheads down the eel grass," he said, shuffling along the shore
line," says MaxStarcevich, who has lived at sunset and observing no signs of the
on Hood Canal for years. His wife's saltwater plant so important to sealife.
family resided there since 1907. As a sea breeze chilled him, Starcevich
An old wooden boat rots on the pulled his sweater tighter. He thought back
shore above the high tide mark, where it to days when fish,birds and wildlife were
washed up in a storm years ago. more abundant.
Streams meander down to the shore, "We saw migrations of brant and even

Max Starcevich, a leading supporter of environ tall fence that encloses the giant Navy submarine
mental protections for Hood Canal, died in base, which adopted the same name.
August 1990, just two months after he was A longtime member of the Hood Canal Environ
featured in the opening story of The Sun's series, mental Council, Starcevich was an early opponent of
"Hood Canal: Splendor at Risk." the Bangor base as well as numerous smaller projects
The following December, Max and his wife he felt would damage the Hood Canal ecosystem. He
Ester, were recognized for their longtime efforts by also was active in Kitsap Audubon.
the Hood Canal Coordinating Council. Max's wife Ester and son Al Starcevich con
"Max was often a public spokesman for tinue the family tradition of environmental activism,
environmental and water quality issues, while Ester remaining major players in groups such as Olympic
provided support and organization," said Lois View Environmental Review Council (OVER-C),
Sherwood as she announced the award for the which has assumed a citizen-based role in oversee
coordinating council. ing the cleanup of hazardous waste sites at the Navy
Hood Canal Coordinating Council is a coop base.
erative forum for managing policy issues related to Max Starcevich also won another posthumous
Hood Canal. Voting members are representatives honor in 1990. The former AU-American for the
from Kitsap, Mason and Jefferson counties plus the University of Washington's football team was
Skokomish and S'Klallam tribes. inducted into the National Football Foundation's
Starcevich and his wife lived at the old com College Hall of Fame.
munityof Bangor in Kitsap County, not far from the By Christopher Dunagmi
A Place Too Wonderful to Spoil • 7

geese," he said. "Now, I can't remember the new ballfields taking their place.
last time I saw any. The fishing was good But experts pointed out the importance
until they opened it up to commercial boats. of these fragile lands, and now the grassy
The purse seiners take everything, including swamp is the centerpiece of a future nature
lingcod." center, complete with carefully constructed
trails and boardwalks into the marsh.
While some areas of Hood Canal are Because so much of Hood Canal is
on a downward path, others rocky, especially in the main channel, In a sense,
mount a recovery. The future saltwater marshes are
is by no means certain. But
people have
precious islands of habitat
nearly everywhere there's a Bangor between long stretches of loved the canal
growing fear that this fragile pebbly shore. just a little too
body of water is paying a "Many people think much. Yet,
price as man taxes the that if you disturb these areas compared to
biological limits of the the wildlife will just go
many places
someplace else," said Linda
"We have to get to Kunze, a botanist with the touched by
know our forests and our state's Natural Heritage man, Hood
marshes, so we know what Program. "It's just not true. In Canal stands
we cannot do to them," says most cases, if something nearly
CeliaParrot, walking slowly happens, the wildlife just
through the moist grass at unblemished,
the Klingel wetlands. Kunze splits her time like a
A flock of ducks takes between the human world at sparkling
wing, soaring low over the her Olympia office, where gemstone, its
water, as if the birds were Nestled between the politics and economics rule, destiny yet to
tied together with string. A shores ofHood and the natural world in
be determined.
red-wing blackbird lands in Canal and the which she immerses herself
the twisted branches of an
aging snag. Parrot smiles,
boundary of the into her work.
"When I'm out in the
relishingits distinctivesong. Naval Submarine
field, I feel like a visitor," she
Bill Hunt, now serving Base, Bangor is a said. "I need to put my values
as president of the Hood small community of and understanding aside so I
Canal Land Trust, has lived older homes. can learn from the environ
in the area 30 years. ment. Being out in the field is
"That's a lovelything," Hunt says of a time of learning and a time of refreshment.
the bird's song. It helps me to realize that the human-
As he talks, a pair of mallard ducks centered world is not all there is."
waddle through the grass at shore's edge. "As we build more and more cities, we
Theproud, colorful malestands guard facing need to keep a natural connection, to see the
the human visitors,his body erect.The changingof the seasonsand weather pat
female scuttles over to a grassymound and terns," Celia Parrot said. "You can live in an
settles on her nest. apartment and no matter what happens
"He doesn't want us to get any closer," outside,you can be comfortable. That's why I
Hunt said. "He'll probably fuss at us if we see a danger as more and more of us live in
get any closer. We're not encouraging a lot of cities."
visiting here,such as building walking trails Placesthroughout the country —
and what have you." Chesapeake Bay,the Great Lakes, Hudson
Not far away liesanother marshy area, River, the Evergladesand even Puget Sound
managed under a different philosophy. — have suffered greatly before human
Under ownership of the Mary E.Theler caretakersdecided to change their ways.
Community Centerin Belfair, thesemarshy Hood Canal challenges us to find a better
lands were to be filled by a bulldozer with way while there's still time.
Chapter Taking a
2 Around Alderbrook Imi is the canal's most
developed resort.

Section 1 Steady there, big fella. Park your few commercial crossroads. There's even a
compass and Lewis-and-Clark winery equipped with a tasting room in
fantasy because we're not goingoff Hoodsport. So let's wing food and drink.
Give the map on our circle-tour of Hood The only good thing about this
Canal. We'll settle for the basic Silverdale traffic snarl is that you appreciate
Yourself the instant countryside on the west side. Are
West Puget Sound survival
a Tour package on thisone-day circuit: Parkand you ready foryour first scenic hitaround the
road maps so we don't get lost,sweaters in next bend of Anderson Hill Road? The world
ByDeborah case of cold, walking shoes for exploring doesn't often serve up a mountain-water
Woolston combo like this, the jagged Olympic Moun
beach and trail, and rain gear just in case.
Great picnic places probably outnum tains toweringabove the deep, shining canal.
ber the restaurants, which are confined to the This four-star scenery lasts until
Taking a Look Around • 9

Seabeck,which gives a good sneak preview ways everywhere, and a glassed-in heated
of territory we'll cover today. Timber used to pool. Those two yuppies wearing pressed
be the main game in this little waterfront blue jeans and sipping beer sure aren't
village now populated by tourists and a loggers.
growing number of permanent locals. This is the civilized side of canal life
First, a stop at Scenic Beach State Park, down to the espresso coffee,quiche, fancy
where we can stretch our legs along the candles sold at restaurant/gift shop next
beach and the wide-open lawns. This is a door. This commercial patch stretches for 10
prime spot for watching sunsets all year and The nine-mile
miles through Union, Hoodsport, and
rhododendrons in season. Potlatch, which are the canal's southern stretch from
From here we need a map to navigate supply stops. Here's where to pause for gas, Holly to
the road maze between Seabeck and Tahuya, beer, food, bait, souvenirs, and information. Dewatto is the
our next waterfront stop. At the bottom of A popular stop is Hunter Farm, which
Elfendahl Pass Road, we'll hit the canal has been on the delta of Skokomish River
again. since 1843. The merchandise mix — fresh
populated part
Bingo. Surprised at all wall-to-wall produce, hay, top soil, calf and pig feed, of the fjord.
houses along North Shore Road? They peter geranium flats, seeds, potpourri packets,
out to the west, but the road does too in a cards and cookbooks — give a good idea
northern jungle of massive trees carpeted who the customers are.
with moss and ferns. Ifs beautiful and "It's pretty desolate in the winter," said
privately owned. Steve Hunter, the fifth generation of Hood
So we'll turn east and drive along the Canal Hunters. But all summer and most fall
canal's most populated section — both sides and spring weekends, business is humming.
of the arm that juts into Mason County from And traffic will pick up just down the
Union to Belfair. The water sparkles behind road when we hook up with U.S. 101.It
the almost unbroken row of waterfront funnels the north-south 1-5 traffic and the
houses, but it's off-limits to the public except east-west U.S. 12 traffic into the skinny
for two popular state parks. Unlike most of corridor between the mountains and the
Washington's saltwater, this still, shallow water.
stretch is warm enough to swim without Hoodsport's short main street is almost
getting frostbite. the last chance to spend money for miles —
On summer weekends, Belfair State on ice cream, T-shirts, antiques, scuba
Park and Twanoh State Park on the north equipment, or Hoodsport Winery wines.
and south sides respectivelyare packed with From here the wilderness stretches
families. north and west for miles across forests and
"This is my favorite campground in the mountains.
whole wide world because you can do so But it's silly to plunge into the woods
much with the kids," explains Carol Ward without a good guide. The Hoodsport
about Twanoh. "And I've gotten to the stage Ranger Station is a supermarket of free
where I want a littleluxury with my camp information.
ing," confesses the Pierce County woman Joanne Conrad, crisp in her uniform, is
who likesthe campground showers as much fielding the questions from the steady stream
as the waterfront. of visitors. Whatabout wildlife? Bald eagles,
The park is so busy in the summer, kingfishers, and blue herons in the bird
says resident ranger Larry Otto, that the familyand deer, marmots, mountain goats,
campground fills up by Wednesday for the elk and backcountry black bear in the
weekend. Most campers are families,and mammal division.
they come from everywhere. Are you ready to tackle the wild side of
Maybe we should have packed lunch. the canal? The Lena Lake Trail up a paved
For all the people living and traveling down road north of Eldon off the Hamma Hamma
this busy stretch of Highway 106,there are Riversounds perfectfor a mini-hike— easy,
few feeding stations. But nobody could miss pretty, and accessible. As Conrad said, ifs no
Alderbrook Inn. a secret. There must be 20 cars parked at the
Hang on. We're in for culture shock at trailhead.
the resort. Big-screen TVbeside the big- "It was lovely but pouring down rain,"
window view in the lounge, covered walk says Muriel Bewickof Bainbridge Island as
10 • Introduction

Hood Canal: The great circle route

Quimper ;
t y

Olympic Highway 104

Hood Canal Bridge .
Most of Hood Canal is accessible
by paved highways. Highway 101
travels most of the western tlank
of the canal. Highways 106 and Quilcene a
300 follow the south and north
shores of the lower canal, respectively, (Gamble
and are commonly known by those names.
Part of the road between Tahuya
and DeVVatto is unpaved but passable.

m Base
Brinnon X

Hood Canal

/Seabeck Hitfnomf Nciobeny Hill Road
•fjm \ JSeabeck
/Seabeck-Holly Road I
Albert Pfundt Road

/ Brenierton


WybeWatto Highway 3
Wf North Shore Road
Belfair .-"-^
/ Highway 300
Highway 106, South Shore Road
f Tahuya


Taking a Look Around •!!

she unlaces her muddy boots. "By the time

we came back, the sun was coming out." Off the Beaten Path
Along the trail is a fragrant mix of fern
and cedar and rain. And all those shades of You don't need a boat to find the quiet parts of Hood
green — velvety chartreuse moss on the Canal, but it certainly helps. While most of the traffic
rocks, deep green cedar branches, and pale and most of the people can be found along the south
little maple leaves glowing in the gloom. and west shores of the canal, you'll find most of the solitude
Backon the road, running north along and least of the trafficalong the north and east shores.
the canal, the scenery is gorgeous. There's Boaterswill find beaches available only to them on these
another oyster farm — the baby oysters quiet shores.
attach themselves to those big bundles of If you've only got an auto, you still might find places to
shells hanging in the water. There's get away from most of the canal crowds.
Dosewallips State Park just in time for a pit Take a drive out to Holly, for example. Follow the
stop, and a stretch. If you look over the Seabeck Highway past Crosby to Hintzville,and follow the
marsh grass and tangle of wild roses, you'll Albert Pfundt Road to Holly.
see Seabeck and ScenicBeach,only five miles If s private property out here, where the Olympic
away as the crow flies. Mountains across the canal seem to lean out over the fjord to
Up ahead in Brinnon is the Whitney see their reflections. The people are friendly, to be sure,
Rhododendron Farms, which attracts mostlybecausethe visitorswho stop along the road respect
hundreds of visitorsduring the spring private property.
blooming season. Also Seal Rock, where There are state Department of Natural Resources
packs of harbor seals are supposed to hang public tidelands just north of Holly and south of Tekiu Point.
out, Mount Walker, a drive-up lookout with They are accessible only by boat, although both the Tekiu
a 360-degree view from Seattle to the Strait Roadand a road west from NellitaRoad drop all the way to
ofJuan de Fuca to the Olympic glaciers. the canal.

For more information on north end The Tekiu Road ends just north of Tekiu Point; the road
attractions, the Quilcene Ranger Station is west from NellitaRoad drops down to Frenchman's Cove.
the best bet. One of the most delightful drives on the canal is
Clearcutsare ugly, but they've opened following the DewattoBayRoad from AndersonCove,just
up a stupendous view on the Toandos north ofHolly, to Tahuya. Thisis the wildest, quietestpart of
Peninsula, which juts 15 miles south into the the canal.
canal.Down below are water-access-only In the summer, cars traverse the road on bluffs 200 feet
public areas for a completely different view abovethe fjord onceevery 15minutes or so during the day.
of the canal. In the winter, one car every hour is more likely.
Driving north to Highway 104,a right Stopon any one of the high bluffsoverlookingthe
turn leads to the Hood Canal Bridge— hope canalfromDewattosouth to Tahuya,and all you willbe able
a sub isn't going through on the way to or to hear are the waveslapping the shore,and the whisperof
from Naval Submarine Base Bangor. trafficon Highway 101 across the canal.
There's time to pop north to Port FromHollyto Dewatto,the road crosses the lonely
Gamble,the historiclumber villagemodeled country above the canal, cutting through private forest land
aftera Mainetown, where there's a popular where only a few gated logging roads lead west to the canal.
generalstore,seashell museum, and logging This nine-mile stretchis the leastpopulated part of the fjord.
museum. The few waterfront houses barged to this sectionof the
Now let's wrap up the exploration by canal are without electricity.
watching the sunset from Kitsap Memorial Dewatto Bayis a quiet estuary and wetland. Cabins
Park.The popular waterfront park has front huddle alongthe southern shore,along with commercial
row seats on the canal all year. oyster shacks.
And you can put the map down. We're There'sa publicbeachat the southerlyend of the drive
almost home. to Tahuya, justnorth of RendslandCreekat MusquetiPoint.
Here the visitor can look south across the water to the busy
side of the canal,or west, to the Olympics. For the remainder
of the quiet spots along the canal,try a boat.Thereare three
Department of Natural Resources beaches between Dewatto
and Chinom Point and — on the Toandos Peninsula — DNR
and state park beaches at Fisherman Harbor, Tabook Point
and Brown Point.

By Seabury Blair Jr.

12 • Introduction

Union Marina on theSouth Shore of Hood Canal.

A scuba diver visiting southern Barry Moore, a diving instructor at Washing

Section 2 Hood Canal in the fall may ton State University who uses lower Hood
enter the water only to find Canal for field trips.
that he can barely see his hand In addition to the layers of fresh and
A in front of his face. salt water, other layers may contain a
Mysterious The view can change rather mixture of each.
dramatically, however, as the diver goes "It's almost like an atmospheric
Waterway deeper. Suddenly, without warning, he finds weather system," he said, "and it's some
himself within a layer of crystal clear water. thing a lot of people don't expect, almost like
What had been 2 feet of visibility in one going through cloud layers."
Dunagan Layered waters.— accompanied by
moment can become, all at once, a sight
range of 50 feet. abrupt changes in temperature — are among
It can be heart-stopping, according to the odd and curious things about Hood
those who have experienced it. Canal, both above and below the surface.
The phenomenon is caused by a layer Other mysteries include missing
of silty water from the Skokomish River hordes of gold, long lost shipwrecks and
overlaying a layerof denser sea water,said even sea creatures worth searching for.
Taking a Look Around • 13

About 3 miles north of Hoodsport lie high-voltage power lines de-energized one
the famous "octopus holes," which are time, but the noise was still there.
located within an underwater cliff that drops John Curtis, spokesman for the Naval
into the depths of Hood Canal, according to Undersea Warfare Engineering Station at
Shirley Smith, who runs Mike's Dive Shop Keyport, said the noise hasn't been noticed
with her husband, Mike Smith. lately, and some Navy officialssuspect it
A portion of the vertical wall contains a may be associated with a breed of frogs.
ledge some 3-4 feet wide. In that area, one Anyway, it is so faint it causes no problem, About 3 miles
may find octopus, ranging from small ones he said. north of
you can hold in one hand to some that are On the opposite side of Hood Canal, Hoodsport lie
60-70pounds. Tentacles can stretch 6 feet or near Seabeck, lies the sunken wreck of the
more, said Mrs. Smith. Panama, a ship that had sailed around Cape
the famous
"Octopus are very shy, very intelli Horn, serving first in the passenger trade "octopus
gent," she said. "Divers have pretty well and later running cargo in the Puget Sound holes/' in an
protected them in that area. It is an unwrit area, according to local historian Fredi Perry. underwater
ten rule that you don't touch." The Panama was the sister ship to the cliff that drops
In that same rocky area, one may also Oregon, the first steamship to scurry from
come upon dangerous-looking wolf eels New York to the West Coast at the start of
into the depths
with nasty, sharp teeth. The eels may dart the California Gold Rush. of Hood
out of their holes if threatened, though they Anyway, the Panama had been Canal.
rarely bite, she said. purchased by owners of the Seabeck mill to
Hood Canal offers a variety of under carry finished lumber to California, but the
water experiences, but surface dwellers may ship collided with a German ship in the
be happy to settle for watching the playful Strait of Juan de Fuca. Its cargo was off
harbor seals that inhabit most of Hood loaded in Port Townsend, and the damaged
Canal. One can spot their gray or black ship was towed back to Seabeck, where it
heads bobbing on the water's surface just sank.
about anywhere in the canal. "At the turn of the century, the masts
If you're extremely lucky, you may could still be seen at low tide," said Mrs.
spot a pod of killer whales. The large black- Perry, who owns a copper nail from the
and-white mammals venture into Hood wreck. The nail was picked up by a diver
Canal on occasion, usually in the late fall, exploring the rotting remains, now sunken
according to local residents. into the mud.
One of the great Hood Canal mysteries Another Seabeck mystery also dates
is a low humming noise, so faint that only back to the time of the mill. The story is that
Navy officialsknow when it comes and goes. of Ah Fong, a Chinese cook who worked for
The Navy uses highly sophisticated the mill company. He must have saved up
listening equipment along the bottom of plenty of money, for if a ship didn't arrive
Dabob Bay to track torpedoes along its from San Francisco to pay the mill workers,
torpedo testing range. The acoustic equip Ah Fong was ready with a loan.
ment has picked up an intermittent droning Observers would see Ah Fong disap
noise, which was traced to Quilcene Boat pear into the woods and come back with the
Haven. needed number of $20 gold pieces. During
Marjorie Belt, whose husband is one of these trips, however, he failed to
harbormaster there, got to listen through a return.
set of headphones several years ago. Was he killed by a wild animal? Did he
"It sounded like a World War II movie fall into a hole? Or was he killed by someone
with a bunch of bombers going overhead," who wanted his money? Nobody knows, but
she noted. "I was told it would get louder at more than a few people have hiked the
night, then die out toward morning." woods around Seabeck searching for the
There has been much speculation treasure.
about the cause, and the Navy even had the



The Canal

Section 1

Fed By
By Seabury Blair Jr.

Visitors to Olympic
National Park find a
vantagepoint over the
cascading Dosewallips

M o u n t Anderson cups the Up here, you can walk on the surface

infant Hood Canal between of Hood Canal. Up here, the canal is not
her West and main peaks like deep green water, but the 100-foot-thick blue
a lumpy nursemaid, 7,300 ice of the Eel Glacier, fed by 140 inches of
feet above sea level. precipitation every year.
Up here, Olympic ravens Even in June, it is winter on the Eel
coast above ragged ridges of rock. The black Glacier.
bird-gods of the Indians wheel east and, The glacier crawls two miles north,
without a single wingbeat, glide 22 miles to where Silt Creek tumbles from it and rips a
the mother fjord. Rigged mile-long gash in the mountain.

18 • The Ecosystem

Then 6300-foot Olympic Mountain peaks summer, the absence of greenery is notice
turn the racing water to the northeast. able. It was not always so; this spot was once
Here are high mountain meadows a likely hunting ground for the Olympic
where Olympic marmots whistle and shriek, wolf and cougar, which held the elk popula
and cannot move across the snowfields tion in check.
without waving their tails like starting flags. But the watershed of the Hood Canal
These marmots are unique to the Olympics. has not heard the howl of a wild wolf since
Silt Creek rages through the springtime 1934.
meadows. It chatters down The Dose, as locals call
Dosewallips an untrailed canyon into the it, never slows. It races to the
River gouges virgin forest of Olympic Eel Glacier canal, plunging an average of
gorges sharp National Park, past trees 218 feet every one of its 26
and steep. It born before Columbus. It miles. That drop is enough
plows four miles and packs that water of the Dosewallips
slams the
the power of an express train. becomes a jackhammer that
round river Here the hiss and rush rips at the pillow lava of
rocks together of Silt Creek is shouted silent Mount Constance as it
so hard that at by the rumble and roar of the cascades towards the sunrise.
night, in your Dosewallips River. Now the Mountain goats play
milky glacial soup of Silk 4,000 feet above the river on
tent far above
Creek sullies the crystal the same lava, frozen by an
the river, you snowmelt of the Dosewallips ancient sea. They stray from
hear them at their junction, six miles the national park to the
clucking and 3,800 feet below the national forest, and the
together. glacier. migration may well save
Now away from the Glacial meltfrom them from park efforts to
awesome canyon, deep in the the eastflank of the control their population.
forest, you'll hear the single Olympics is the The Dosewallips — a
note of a thrush, as clear as
source of the Twana name for the legend
the dawn it greets. Columbia ary man who was trans
blacktail deer rustle through Dosewallips River, formed into Mount Ander
the salal of the dry east- 26 miles from Hood son — is not the wildest river
facing slopes above the river. Canal. to feed the canal. That record
They make a different belongs to the Hamma
sound than the occasional black bear that Hamma River, which drops an average of
wanders these woods. Bears slap salal with 339 feet in each of its 18 miles.
their forepaws as they walk. It sounds as if Unlike other rivers in the 550-square-
someone were shuffling cards. Deer daintily mile Hood Canal watershed, however, the
lift their feet and stamp a snare-drum Dosewallips carries fine glacial flour from
cadence. the Eel. It adds unique water to a unique
Now the Dosewallips gouges gorges to body of water.
the east, sharp and steep. It slams the round Other snowfields dump millions of
river rocks together so hard that at night, in gallons of water into the canal every day.
your tent far above the river, you hear them Massive permanent snowfields and dead
clucking together. glaciers feed the headwaters of the
They call the noise "river voices." Skokomish, Duckabush, Hamma Hamma
Here is a mineral spring, just above the and BigQuilcene Rivers. But the Dose is the
spot where the river crashes into the West only Hood Canal river born of a living,
Fork of the Dosewallips, where the smell of grinding glacier.
sulphur wrinkles your nose. Elk— More than 200 watercourses feed the
Roosevelt Elk so plentiful in these mountains canal. About 48 are named. They range from
they are more commonly referred to as the longest river — the Skokomish at about
"Olympic Elk" — come here to lick the rock. 34 miles — to the tiny, quarter-mile creeks of
Their trails scribe the forest floor like intri the Bolton Peninsula or the bluffs south of
cate scrollwork. Holly.
Olympic Elk and deer graze around The fresh water pours itself into a nine-
the mineral lick so heavily that, even in the foot-deep blanket over the fjord. Because
The Canal • 19

tidal mixing is slow in Hood Canal, this layer or mountain beaver. This nocturnal rodent,
remains relatively free of salt. as large as a house cat, can live for years in
It floats on a body of dense saltwater dens dug along road embankments or
like a giant foam hot tub cover, and it under tree roots without being seen.
accounts in part for the reason you and your One of the boldest of the watershed's
children can swim in the canal during the wildlife is the raccoon, which residents
summer. The layer of less salty water warms sometimes foolishly mistake as being
more quickly, so could be as warm as 69 domesticated. These wild animals raid The watershed
degrees Fahrenheit at garbage cans and chicken of Hood Canal
Twanoh State Park. jBVitlflOTt coops regularly. Besides has not heard
Two-hundred feet being nuisances, they pose
below, however, the dense real danger to pets and small the howl of a
salty water could be close to children. wild wolf since
freezing. Salt water of the 1934.
deeps can actually drop In its last eight miles,
below freezing temperature the Dosewallips slithers
without turning to ice, due to through country populated
salt content and pressure. — albeit sparsely — by man.
Since it rides on top of As they do along most of the
the saltier water, this blanket watercourses that drain into
flushes from the canal faster the canal, loggers clearcut
than the water underneath. hillsides above the rumbling
The layer could provide river. Cattle graze
critical clues into understand unchecked along the Dose's
ing the ecology of Hood By the time it banks.
Canal. As the river reaches
reaches Brinnon on sea level at Brinnon, it flows
1 he rivers and creeks Hood Canal, the deep and fast through
are lazier on the Kitsap side Dosewallips has summer home tracts, a state
of Hood Canal and along the slowed to a park and finally, into the
North and South shores. canal.
Even major tributaries such
meandering stream. Besides the glacier's
as the Union River, Twanoh Creek, Dewatto flour, the Dosewallips is filled with much
River, Mission Creek, Tahuya River and Big the same micro- and macroscopic flotsam
BeefCreek gurgle and coo. and jetsam all watercourses bring to the
They don't haul big loads of earth to canal.
dump into Hood Canal, like their tortured There is the silt scraped from the sides
brothers to the west. of mountains and washed into the river
Wildlife on this side is as quiet as the from clearcuts. There are phosphates,
waters. Wrens softly sing songs six times nutrients and bacteria from cattle and
their size as summer dawns near. Deer and fertilizer, organic matter and minerals
bear wander the woods, although they are ripped from the earth by the water's
not seen so often as their Olympic Peninsula passage.
counterparts. Yet standing on the bridge where
Smaller animals fill the woods on both Highway 101 crosses the Dosewallips at
sides of Hood Canal. Here you will find Brinnon, the visitor can look down to watch
spotted and striped skunk, coyote, fox, trout and sea-run cutthroat play during the
bobcat, beaver, muskrat. summer. They often comment upon how
One of the shyest creatures throughout clean the water looks.
the mother fjord's watershed is the sewellel,
20 • Ti ii: Ecosystem

The Great Bend of Hood Canal, seen from the

peak ofMount Ellinor in the Olympics.

T h e geologic forces that make series of volcanoes that created the Cascades.
Hood Canal what it is today — In between were the Puget Lowlands,
Section 2 one of only two fjordlike bodies and what would become Hood Canal, which
of water in the continental U.S., stretches 63 miles from its mouth to the tip of
its water flow limited by a Lynch Cove at Belfair.
Carved shallow sill near its mouth —are One might be mystified by the geologic
only partially understood. force that could turn a glacier more than 90
From the
Much of what we know is only theory, degrees, as at the elbow of the canal where
Rock and some of that theory is in dispute. But it the Skokomish River enters. In fact, there is
appears Hood Canal is the work of rivers no such force.
By Travis Baker Tom Walker, geology instructor at
and a series of glaciers that exploited a
weakness along the edge of the Olympic Olympic College, says what seems to be an
Mountains, a weakness probably created by abrupt turn in the canal was the result of
a geologic faultline. east-west stream erosion meeting the north-
For millions of years, the subterranean south scouring done by at least four vast
ocean plates have moved under North glaciers that entered the Puget Lowlands in
America in the never-ending reshaping of the most recent Ice Age.
the earth. Though the basic contour of the
Two or three yards at a time every lowlands was established by the growth of
1,000years or so, volcanic rock created on the Olympics to the west and the creation of
the Pacific ocean floor migrated to what has the Cascades to the east, the often mysterious
become the west coast of America. Some was interplay between glaciers, the immense
thrust upward, building the Olympics. But lakes that sometimes formed ahead of them
most moved under the continental plate and the rivers that drained those lakes
until it reach depths where temperatures account for much of the smaller-scale
melted it. topography in the region.
That molten rock sought escape in a Walker says the common conception of
The Canai. •ll

Hood Canal topography

Foulweather Bluff

• 0-165feet

• 166-330feet
Squamish Harbor >^ '
• 331-495feet
South Point ''
• 496-660feet
A \Toandos Peninsula _/
Bolton Peninsula /: /vinland
TJie lastglacial coverage
helpedform Hood Canal
15,000 yearsago
Dabob Bay\

Dosewallips River

Hood Canal

Duckabush River

Hamma Hamma River




Lillhvaup /ll>
"^ Belfair
M Formation ofHood Canal began3 million yearsago.
Today's shape was created by glaciers 15,000 years ago.
• The canal is 61 miles long, with 242 miles ofshoreline.
Tahuya Lynch Cove
Hoodsport • The average width is 1.5 miles. Itis less than 1/2 mile wideat
Sisters Point and about 4 miles between Seabeck and Brinnon.

• Depths exceed600feetinDabob Bay, and average 500feet

in the central channel between Seabeck and DeWatto.

• Tidelands and shallows between the Great Bend and Lynch

Cove fill the same lowland that contains Sinclair Inlet.
The two were connected before geologicuplifting separated them.

Skokomish River • Asill at theentrance ofthecanal slows flushing action anddeep

water circulation. Ittakes one year to thoroughly flush the canal.

tpariment of the Interior: Fish and Wildlife Service and "The Shape and Form ofPuget Sound" by Robert Burns
Source: U.S. De
22 • The Ecosystem

a frozen landscape as glaciers advanced into more, is among the unanswered questions.
this area is erroneous. But Hood Canal isn't a freak in that
For much of the advance, the ice sheet regard. Many fjords have a sill, said Carson,
was "melting furiously" but advancing who has studied the canal for years from a
nonetheless, propelled by the huge accumu summer residence between Holly and
lations of ice farther north. The melt water at Dewatto. Between glaciers, nature works to
one point created what's called, in retrospect, fill valleys.
Lake Russell, which filled the lowlands in The Skokomish River has made a good
At least four front of the glacier to a depth 120feet above start, depositing sediments at the bend.
times the ice today's Puget Sound, until the lake spilled Given another 10,000years with no interfer
out to the southwest along the course of ence from man, Carson said, the river would
sheet came and
today's Chehalis River. seal off the tip of the canal, which would
went from the At least four times the ice sheet came gradually be desalinated by fresh water
Puget and went from the Puget Lowlands. Boul runoff and rain.
Lowlands. ders trapped beneath its tremendous weight Green and Gold mountains in Kitsap
Boulders exploited weaknesses in the land surface to County are the only formations of upthrust
gouge out valleys. Many, including Hood bedrock between the Olympics and Cas
trapped Canal, filled with sea water when the ice cades. They were shaped but not eradicated
beneath its receded and sea level rose from the melt. by the ice mass that covered this area to a
tremendous Stands of trees fell before the advanc depth of more than 3,000 feet, almost twice
weight ing ice and can be found buried in the the height of the two promontories. The rest
exploited landscape to this day, said geologist Bob of Kitsap County was created by the leavings
Carson of Whitman College in Walla Walla. of the retreating glaciers.
weaknesses in
They usually don't have their bark, but There was animal life in the path of the
the land they're still wood. "You can put them in ice, though apparently not human life. Birds
surface to your fireplace," he said. and land animals, including mammoths and
gouge out mastodons, simply moved south, but
valleys. between glaciers, tens of thousands of saltwater fish, trapped in the desalinated and
years of stream erosion created other valleys, increasingly icy glacial lakes flooding their
one of which linked what is now the bottom homes, ceased to exist over the thousands of
arm of Hood Canal to Sinclair Inlet via the years.
approximate route of the railroad tracks
leading from Belfairto Bremerton. Ann Sleight, anthropology instructor
Why a portion of that channel is now at OC, said no one is sure whether the paleo-
Kitsap and Mason county uplands while Indians that populated the Hood Canal area
another part of it is now the floor of the canal came through the ice-free corridor or down
remains a geologic mystery. the coast, but it's generally agreed they
So are the sills left by the last glacier arrived via the "land bridge" that linked
that are now covered by the waters of Hood North America to Asia when ice sheets
Canal. consumed much of the earth's water and
The sill, at the opening of the canal, acts dropped the sea level.
almost like the lip of a sink, impeding the The first arrivals, 10,000 years ago,
natural flushing action of the canal and more or less, were hunters and gatherers
placing its water quality in a fragile balance. with no special affinity to Hood Canal, she
"We're lucky we don't have as much said. The marine Indian culture developed
industry along Hood Canal as along Puget along local shorelines between 5,000and
Sound," said Carson. "We hope for not too 3,000 years ago.
many fish pens, that the Navy will be a good It was their descendants noted by Capt.
neighbor and we get good sewage treatment George Vancouver and his crew when, in
from the towns." 1792,he explored Puget Sound on a mission
The sill is not bedrock, too hard to have to learn whether the Strait of Juan de Fuca
been wiped away by the most recent glacier. might reach all the way to Hudson Bay. He
Rather it's made of "unconsolidated sedi gave many of the features names by which
ments" that accumulated over the past few they are known today, including Puget
million years. Sound, named after one of his lieutenants,
Why those sediments collected just a Peter Puget, and Hood Canal, for the British
few miles northeast of Dabob Bay, where the Lord Hood.
Canal floor plunges to depths of 600feet or


Section 1

A Precious
By Christopher

Large pipes cany

rushing -water from the
impounded Skokomish
Riverto thepowerhouse
below Cushman Dam.

T h e North Fork of the Skokomish Cushman, the river rushes swiftly down a
River begins its journey from a hillside of boulders.
massive snowfield on the slopes In late May, the roaring waters are so
of Mount Skokomish in Olympic fresh and clear that it is difficult to perceive
National Park. As surrounding the swiftness of their flow. A ripple sparkles
forests surrender their store of in the noonday sun, but is quickly gone,
rain water — creek by creek, stream by rushing downstream in the blink of an eye,
stream — the North Fork becomes a surging following the water's course toward Hood
river, a force to be reckoned with. Canal.
At Staircase Rapids, reached by hikers Experts measuring the flow in the
along a picturesque trail above Lake North Fork say 7,000 gallons pass this point
24 • The Ecosystem

in a single second. That's enough water to this indisputable fact have already begun to
flush every toilet in Bremerton,then do so engage in a tug-of-war over its future use.
again and again every 30seconds. Downstream from Staircase Rapids, a
Water is so plentiful in this green land shaft of sunlight breaks through a heavy
surrounding Hood Canal that it seems growth of fir and cedars. The sunbeam
impossibleto ever run out. The wild and illuminates a deep pool of cold water, which
free-flowing rivers provide what seems like glows like a giant green emerald.
The roaring an endless bounty of water as they flow out Nearby, in the shallows, water glides
rivers are never of the snow-capped Olympic Mountains. smoothly over shaded gravel, an ideal
Duckabush, Hamma Hamma and nesting spot for salmon and trout.
heard in the
Skokomish. Their Indian names suggest an Somewhere in these waters, a unique
city, which ancient history of never-ending flows. population of juvenile salmon has begun an
makes it easy Dosewallipsand Quilcene, Dewattoand instinctive journey downstream. These
for people to Tahuya. young chinook salmon are the descendants
ignore subtle You might think there would be plenty of an ancient race of salmon that grew to
of water for all uses — for drinking and for ponderous size in the ocean.
ways that flushing toilets, for generating electricity and But these juvenile fish will never see
humans can for diluting industrial pollution. And there the ocean. They remain trapped forever, like
tilt the balance ought to be water left over for fish,birds and their parents, by Cushman Dam, a massive
of nature. all sorts of wildlife we treasure. concrete structure that has blocked the
But as Will Rogers might say of water, normal flow of the North Forth since 1926.
as he once said of land: 'They ain't makin' "I've always been intrigued by those
any more of it." fish," said Frank Haw, a former Department
In Bremerton and Port Townsend, of Fisheries expert and now a private
when somebody turns on a water faucet, he consultant.
expects to get clean drinking water. A Gig Haw first became aware of the land
Harbor resident expects that his lights will locked salmon more than a quarter-century
go on when he flips a switch. ago when he saw the silhouette of a big
These people who live miles from salmon painted on a board, which was
Hood Canal can be thankful for its mighty hanging in a bar near Cushman. Someone
rivers. told him the imprint was from a king salmon
Bremerton water customers can thank taken out of the lake.
the Union River. "In 1967,1 caught one, a 12-pounder,"
Port Townsend residents and employ said Haw. 'That was the first one I'd actually
ees at the town's paper mill can thank the seen in there."
Quilcene. Haw was fascinated by the realization
Gig Harbor residents can thank the that these salmon are being born in the
North Fork of the Skokomish (as well as a stream above Lake Cushman, but they live
power swap among electricutilities). most of their lives in the lake, never able to
The roaring rivers are never heard in get past the man-made structure.
the city, which makes it easy for people to Since then, fall chinook have been
ignore subtle ways that humans can tilt the planted in Roosevelt Lake behind Grand
balance of nature. Coulee Dam as well as in Lake Chelan, both
Even families on private wells cannot in Eastern Washington.
escape the water equation. They, too, are "But the interesting thing about
dependent on rainfallto replenish the Cushman," said Haw, "is that it appears to
groundwater supply. Hydrologists some have gotten going without anybody's help."
times worry that this hidden store of water is The numbers of Cushman chinook are
more vulnerable to depletion because people never very high, and these fish grow more
cannot observe it. slowly than they would in the ocean. Lakes
Water is the common denominator are not the most suitable habitat for salmon.
among all living things, but it is easilytaken But the mere survival of these fish, says
for granted — especially in the wetter years Haw, is a tribute to their adaptability.
when people jokeabout growing webbed While the unique land-locked chinook
feet. are at least a curiosity, another issue at
Despite heavy precipitation, despite Cushman is brewing into a multimillion-
ever-flowing streams, the amount of water is dollar controversy.
indeed limited. And people who understand The Cushman Project, built by the city
Water Resources • 25

of Tacoma,consists of two dams and power- officials agree to release,about 225gallons

generating facilities, producing a total of 124 per second. Original flows in that stretch of
megawatts of electricity,enough to power river ranged from 1,500 to 12,000 gallons per
20,000average homes. second.
The project, which is due for a new To compensate for lost fish habitat,
federal license, is being examined by Tacoma Tacoma built a fish hatchery on Purdy
officials, the Skokomish Tribe and various Creek, a tributary to the Skokomish River.
resource agencies for its continuing impacts The George Adams Hatchery, now run by 7,000 gallons
on the environment. the state, produces substan of water pass a
The dam not only tial numbers of coho and
blocked migration of salmon Lake Cushman chinook. But fishery experts
point on the
into the upper reaches of the say it has contributed to the North Forkof
North Fork, but it essentially depletion of wild salmon the Skokomish
dried up four miles of prime runs in the Skokomish River River every
fish habitat downstream system. second. That's
from the dam. The Skokomish Tribe,
Water from the North which traditionally depended
enough water
Fork flows into Lake on the Skokomish and its to flush every
Cushman, then through a tributaries, plans to seek toilet in
power plant before returning increased streamflows in the Bremerton,
to the stream channel. A mile North Fork as well as addi
then do so
downstream, the water tional compensation as
enters a second manmade Tacoma City Light seeks its
again and
lake, known as Lake Ko- new operating license. again every 30
kanee, a fraction of the size of A similar licensing seconds.
Lake Cushman. The 4,000-acre lake program on the Elwha River
Tacoma City Light feeds a Tacoma near Port Angeles has led to a
operates the two dams in City Light well-considered proposal to
concert to produce far more hydroelectric power remove a pair of dams and
power than a single dam attempt to restore one of the
could alone.
plant capable of most productive salmon runs
As it leaves Lake powering 20,000 in the history of the Olympic
Kokanee, the water takes a typical homes. Peninsula.
controversial left-hand turn. Nobody proposes
Instead of returning to the stream channel, tearing out the Cushman dams, but Tacoma
the flow is diverted through three 10-foot-tall City Light acknowledges its responsibility to
pipes, which slope down the side of a hill care for the environment if the city is to
overlooking Hood Canal. continue enjoying power from the North
From a technical viewpoint, the project Fork.
is marvelous. The falling water produces
maximum output from a second power
plant constructed at the bottom of the hill A new way ofthinking about water is
next to Highway 101. evident today, argues David Fluharty of the
The water gives up its energy to a Institute for Marine Studies at the University
whining turbine, which spins a generator, of Washington.
sending electric current down a high-voltage "Before,we thought only about how
power line toward Tacoma. Its hydro- water could be put to beneficial use," he
potential expended, the water is then said, "but now we realize that even in areas
dumped directly into Hood Canal. of abundance, water is already allocated to
Somehow forgotten in the design of something."
this power project was the original stream State law is based on the notion that
channel of the North Fork. Eight miles of the the first person to remove the water and
river suffered massive depletion of water; at "use" it has first rights to own it, said
least four of those miles became unsuitable Fluharty. But that way of thinking could
for spawning, a major blow to the salmon change.
resource. Under a pact signed at Lake Chelan in
Today, the only flow in the North Fork November 1990,every group interested in
below the two dams is that which Tacoma the future of water resources agreed to a
26 • The Ecosystem

step-by-step process that could alter state electricity.

water law in new and interesting ways. The big lake provides recreation for
The first-use rule may have worked in boaters and fishermen, a state park for
the Wild West, said Fluharty, but today camping, not to mention 23 miles of shore
people are asking whether it serves the best line property, now dotted with vacation
interest of society as a whole. A new propo homes.
sition is taking hold: That the ecosystem Nobody argues that fish and wildlife
The Cushman itself has water rights. habitat were destroyed when the dam was
Project, built Meanwhile, small and large hydro built, says Jackson, but the benefitsof the
projects have been proposed on all the major dam have stood the test of time. The project
by the city of rivers of Hood Canal. In addition, continues to produce clean, non-polluting
Tacoma, Bremerton, Port Townsend and the Kitsap power when the alternatives are coal or
consists of two County PublicUtilityDistricthave asked for nuclear generation.
dams and the right to remove drinking water from the "We are bringing a 1920s-vintage
power- Hamma Hamma, Dosewallips and project into the current world," he said. "The
Duckabush rivers. process for relicensing is recognizing what
generating If any of these projects are pushed our responsibilitieswill be for the next 30
facilities, forward, they are likely to face opposition years. We have significant proposals for fish,
producinga from people who believe the water is more wildlife habitat and wetlands."
total of'124 valuable left alone in the rivers. One of Tacoma's proposals is to
megawatts of Garth Jackson, a Tacoma official in purchase 3,000-4,000 acres to be protected as
charge of winning a new licensefor wildlife habitat, said Jackson. State agencies
electricity, Cushman, stood outside a concrete building have suggested that 15,000 acres would be
enough to and listened to a high-pitched whine coming more appropriate.
power 20,000 from within: the sound of spinning turbines The Federal Energy Regulatory
average homes. at Cushman's upper power plant. Commission is supposed to balance all the
The amount of power you get from a interests in considering the license applica
dam is governed by the volume of water as tion.
well as the "head," or vertical distance the Whatever costs are expended to
water drops through a pipe and into a mitigate damage from the dams will be
turbine, Jackson explained. passed along to power customers as a rate
"That dam generates more power," he increase, Jackson noted, as he stood outside
said, glancing in the direction of the lower the upper power plant and watched a series
dam. "This one gives more regulation." of small whirlpools created by the turbu
Lake Cushman covers 4,000 acres and lence of water rushing out of the turbines.
can hold 150billion gallons of water. The He pondered the future of Cushman and
dam controls flooding in the valley below, how much might be expected in the name of
and virtually all of the water can be sent the environment.
through both power plants to generate

Rivers of Hood Canal

The major rivers of Hood Canal still • Quilcene (KWIL-seen): From quil-
bear their Indian names: ceed-o-bish, meaning "salt water people."
• Dewatto (De-WAH-toh): From It was the name of a band of Twana
du-a-to, meaning "home of evil spirits Indians who lived around Dabob Bay.
who make men crazy." • Skokomish: From Skokomish
• Dosewallips (dohs-ee-WAH-lips): s'kaw, meaning "fresh water," and mish,
From Twana Dos-wailopsh, a legendary meaning "people."
man who was turned into a mountain, • Tahuya: From Twana ta and ho-i,
which is the river's source. meaning "that done" in referenceto some
•Hamma Hamma (HAM-uh HAM- notable occurrence long ago.
uh): A phonetic corruption of Hab'hab, — Source: fanes Phillips,
the name of a Twana villageat the mouth Washington State Place Names
of Hood Canal.
Water Resources • 27

Negotiating Water Rights

Tacoma's Cushman Project is about to more than the South Fork or the main
be thrust into a process that could stem," he said.
either settle a number of environ Furthermore, the 4,000 acres now
mental issues in southwest Hood Canal occupied by Lake Cushman contained
— or else lead to a major court battle. vast populations of elk that were hunted "Weknow by
By fall of 1991, Tacoma officialswill by the tribe. There were waterfalls with talking to the
sit down with lawyers for the Skokomish religious significance that now lie under tribes that a
Tribe to work out a mitigation plan for water.
relicensing the two Cushman dams. "It is just a vestige of what it once
lot was lost by
How much water should flow in the was," he said. them. We don't
North Fork of the Skokomish River? Non-Indians may not understand want to miss
Should a fish passage be built over the the cultural significance of hunting and something
dams? What lands will Tacoma purchase fishing sites, of particular types of salmon, because we
for wildlife? Will the North Fork be of special plants, of so many things, said
don't know
restored? What can be done about cultural Busch.
and archaeological values lost when the 'The European analysis has it all how to put it
dam was built 65 years ago? broken down into fish, wildlife, etc.," he in the right
Ultimately, the Federal Energy said. "But when you ask about it, you language for
Regulatory Commission (FERC) will issue realize it is just as complex as a city." some judge in
the license, but the tribe is an acknowl The difficult thing will be to articu
edged player in the decision. late the Indian values, Busch said.
Today, the city and tribe seem miles "We know by talking to the tribes Francisco."
apart on the issues — but thafs just the that a lot was lost by them," he said. "We —Russ Busch,
nature of negotiations, says Russ Busch, don't want to miss something because we chief negotiator
chief negotiator for the tribe. don't know how to put it in the right for the Skokomish
"People always look far apart at the language for some judge in San Fran tribe
beginning," said Busch, a lawyer with cisco."
Evergreen Legal Services in Seattle. According to Busch, the tribe is
"Sometimesthere is unrealistic thinking at seeking to increase production of salmon
that point, but eventually you have reality in what remains of the North Fork. That
checks and say, 'We can get this, but we means increasing flows from the dam and
can't get this.'" restoring some segments of stream
One of the major differences is what suitable for spawning.
is called the "baseline issue." The dam currently is releasing 30
"Our position," said Busch, "is that cubic feet (about 225gallons) per second.
Tacoma must provide mitigation and "They have agreed to up to 70," said
compensation as if it didn't have the dams Busch,though the tribe is asking for more.
there." Restoring the stream may mean
Under that theory, all the lost adding logs and other large woody debris
resources — fish, wildlife, etc. — would to catch gravel to provide spawning areas
be measured and replaced in areas away and to create habitat for insects, which are
from the dam site. eaten by the fish.
But even Buschacknowledges that The tribe also wants to explore
FERC has taken a dim view of that archaeological sites that may lie under
approach. The agency believes instead water, he said.
that relicensing provides an opportunity "We have filed a motion to draw the
to improve environmental conditions reservoir down and investigate what is
where appropriate. down there," he said. "The tribe isn't
What people don't realize, said willing to say, Thafs progress and we
Busch,is what the tribe gave up when the don't want to bother anybody.' "
dam was built. In the 1920s,land owned by indi
'The North Fork was the productive vidual Indians was condemned to build
portion of the Skokomish system, much portions of the dam project, which
28 • Tin: Ecosystem

reduced the size of tribal lands, according Skagit River resulted in a settlement
to Busch. announced just last week.
"From my point of view the tribe The agreement is expected to cost
has been subsidizing nice, inexpensive Seattle's utility $55 million-$60 million on
power for the city of Tacoma," he said. measures to protect the environment,
Garth Jackson, who is handling the including the purchase of 4,000acres of
"We recognize relicensing issue for Tacoma, says the land to protect wildlife. In addition, the
our current
tribe's perspective may be different from utility will forego $40 million-$45 million
that of other interests involved in the in lost power revenues to increase stream
obligations as relicensing issue, including state agencies. flows to benefit fish.
steivards of the Several projects, including a fish Recreation projects, an education
resource." hatchery, boat ramps and parks, have center, landscaping and cultural protec
— Garth Jackson, been constructed by Tacoma, he noted. tions are part of the settlement.
Tacoma City "We recognize our current obliga Cushman is a much smaller power
Light tions as stewards of the resource," he said. project, but officialssay key issues are
Similar negotiations between Seattle much the same.
City Light and resource groups on the
ByChristopher Dunagan

Water is Diverted from Skokomish River to Generate Electric Power

> Lake Cushman: About 4,000

acres of water is held back by
Upper Cushman Dam. Power
Plant 1 lies at the base of the dam.

> Lake Kokanee: About 150

acres of water held back by lower
Cushman Dam.

>* Diversion tunnel: Water from

Lake Kokanee is diverted 2 miles
to Cushman's lower power plant.

>~ Power plant 2: Located next to

Highway 101 near Hood Canal,
takes water from Lake Kokanee,
then dumps it directly into the
Lake canal.
South Fork '••' Kokanee
Skokomish River
5s- North Fork: Water flowing in
this stem of the Skokomish River
is just a fraction of historical levels
because of the diversion of water
Potlatch for power generation. As a con
sequence, fish habitat is greatly

Source: Tacoma City Light Highway 101

Water Resources • 29

Section 2

for the

By Christopher

A Quilcene National
Fish Hatchery worker
pushes young salmon
out of a rearing penand
into the Big Quilcene

A t the Quilcene National Fish "They look like fancy herring to bigger
Hatchery, Larry Telles opened fish," noted Telles, as the little fish disap
the gates of the fish raceway peared into the BigQuilcene River.
and said goodbye to 350,000 Success of the hatchery operation is
little coho salmon. largely dependent on the amount of water
The fingerlings, hatched here flowing in the Big Quilcene Riverand nearby
18months ago, splashed vigorously as they Penny Creek. In a dry year, for example,
were pushed unceremoniously toward the more fish at the hatchery will share the same
next stage of their lives, a dangerous journey water as it passes through the hatchery, said
to the wide open ocean. How many will Telles. The risk of disease becomes greater.
survive is anybody's guess. In a sense, these fish also share water
30 • The Ecosystem

with the residents of Port Townsend. The man s purposes.

city operates a dam on the BigQuilcene and Similar plans already had been
controls the amount of water that flows adopted for the Kitsap Peninsula, Lower
downstream to the hatchery. Hood Canal and several other areas through
Usually, there is plenty of water for out the state.
both hatchery fish and Port Townsend But in talking to state and tribal
residents. But habitat for Quilcene's wild fisheries experts, Simmons quickly learned
Despite heavy salmon has been reduced, both by blockage of serious concerns about the amount of

precipitation, of Penny Creek and by adjustments to the water being reserved for fish.
BigQuilcene flows. 'They did not feel the water levels
despite ever- would be sufficient to support fish habitat,"
In nature, all things are connected, and
flowing nothing connects everything more closely said Simmons.
streams, the than water. In fact, water is so vital to all Her questions continued. Environmen
amount of living creatures that controlling the flow of tal groups began raising objections to the
water is indeed water often means controlling life itself. plan. When it came time for a vote, members
of the Ecological Commission rejected it
limited. And
people who 1eople have been jockeying for a piece Meanwhile, behind the scenes, water
understand of the water resource since before the turn of utilities and other user groups were lobbying
this the century. (The Quilcene Hatchery was the new governor, Booth Gardner, and other
state officials about their concerns.
indisputable built in 1911.)
So far, only an abundance of water in As proposed, the plan would have
fact have prevented the largest rivers — Dosewallips,
Western Washington has prevented a
already begun politicalexplosion, the likes of which could Duckabush and Hamma Hamma — from
to engage in a make the spotted owl debate seem like a being used as a source of drinking water.
tug-of-war neighborhood squabble. Buta day of All the while, Bremerton, Port
over its future reckoning lies ahead. Townsend and Kitsap County had their eyes
In 1984, Washington residents were on those rivers for future water supplies.
given a hint of things to come when political "Water supply systems," said Ed Dee,
forces tore apart a plan for managing water a member of the legislative staff, "... felt the
flows in rivers and streams on the western level of protection advocated for fisheries
side of Hood Canal between the Skokomish resources was too great a price to pay."
and Dosewallips rivers. The Ecology plan suffered a quick
All at once, water took on a new death, but the dispute imprinted an image of
significance in Western Washington. The possible battles yet to come. If interest
Hood Canal issue revealed various political groups could not establish minimum flows
powers lining up to do battle, and it eventu while water supplies are abundant, what
ally forced them to negotiatea common path will happen when population growth
out of the political minefield. intensifies the demand for additional water?
At the time, Donna Simmons of Even today, the danger remains that
Hoodsport had just been appointed to the minimum flows will not be established for
WashingtonState Ecological Commission by those important Hood Canal rivers.
Gov.John Spellman. Simmons,a former "There were times when I despaired
president of Hood Canal Environmental over what I had done," said Simmons. "But
Council, began asking some uncomfortable we really needed to go back and look at the
questionsabout the water resource plan. whole water resource issue. I've always felt I
"Nobody was bringing up any prob did the right thing."
lems," she said, "but I was looking at it and
something wasn't quite right."
Simmons, a soft-spoken woman not Washington State has struggled with
used to making loud assertions, found complicated water laws since 1917. As with
herself reviewing a plan that would have most Western states, the concept of prior
established minimum flows for the most appropriation ("first in time, first in right")
pristine rivers in Hood Canal. It was all part has been the governing principal.
of the Department of Ecology'seffort to In 1967, the state entered the environ
establishlegal water rights for fishand mental era. Needs of fish and wildlife were
wildlife — before all the water was taken for recognized,and the Legislaturegranted the
Water Resources • 31

Department of Water Resources (now pilot projects, one in Eastern Washington

Department of Ecology) the authority to set and one in Western Washington. The
minimum stream flows. projects will bring various groups together to
But, if anything, the Legislature has plan the future of specific rivers.
added confusion to a difficult subject. In For a time, it looked as if the Hood
1971,lawmakers passed the Water Resources Canal rivers that had so troubled Simmons
Act, which offered two guiding principals: when she first joined the Ecological Commis
Water should be used to promote the state's sion were about to be selected for review "Before, we
economy, and water should be used to under the program. Planners would have thought only
preserve natural systems. faced controversial questions about future
about how
Steve Shupe, an expert in water law, water supplies for Kitsap and Jefferson
was hired in 1988by a legislative committee counties. water could be
to sort through Washington's various laws In the end, however, the focus came put to
and to outline major issues for new legisla back to the region containing the Big beneficialuse,
tion. Quilcene River, the Quilcene Fish Hatchery but now we
State laws clearly recognize a balance and Port Townsend's existing water supply
realize that
between water use and preservation, Shupe system.
concluded. "They apparently fail, however, Jefferson County Commissioner even in areas
to provide sufficient guidance for implemen Richard Wojt says he looks forward to the of abundance,
tation of this policy." pilot project. What is becoming the funda water is
Indian tribes have also become major mental question — whether water should be already
players in water issues. In 1982,Federal used by people or saved for fish — will
allocated to
District Judge William Orrick ruled that generate a good deal of discussion, he
treaties not only guaranteed tribes the right predicted. something."
to take fish but also to see that fish habitat is Port Townsend's complex water —David Huharty,
not continuously destroyed. supply system no doubt will be examined Institute for
"Were this (destructive) trend to over the next two years. Unlike Bremerton, Marine Studies at
continue, the right to take fish would which operates a single dam on the Union the University of
eventually be reduced to the right to dip River in Kitsap County, Port Townsend Washington
one's net into the water... and bring it out operates interconnected dams on both the
empty," Orrick said. Big Quilcene and Little Quilcene rivers. In
Faced with growing conflicts over who addition, a major portion of the water goes to
controls water resources, the Legislature last Port Townsend Paper Mill, which helps
year called for a cooperative planning operate the system.
process involving water users, local govern The city has a legal right to 215gallons
ments, tribes and interest groups. per second out of the BigQuilcene. But
In late 1990, more than 200 officials met during a period of drought, there is some
at Lake Chelan and agreed to a process question whether that much water would be
designed to settle differences over water uses available, said Bob Wheeler, director of
in Washington state. public works.
"It was a sight to behold," declared "Our water right is senior to any
Terry Williams, commissioner to the North streamflow rights," said Wheeler, "but if we
west Indian Fisheries Commission. "More had a drought, would it be realistic to take
than 200 people were there. Legislators, all the water?"
mayors, tribal chairmen, fishermen, The Quilcene Fish Hatchery has rights
recreationists, environmentalists, farmers, to nearly as much flow as Port Townsend,
ranchers and business executives... but the water is not always available. In fact,
"These were people who have vastly there are times when flows past the hatchery
different uses for water. But by coming drop below a critical level of 38 gallons per
together in forging the Chelan Agreement, second.
they have recognized that we must work When the rivers gets that dry, hatchery
together to protect our precious water officials ask the city to release water out of its
resource and all the living things that reservoir, Telles said.
depend on it." "We're real dependent on rain as to
what the river will do," he said.
A hatchery is considered a
The Chelan agreement calls for two "nonconsumptive" use because the water is
32 • The Ecosystem

put back in the river. Nevertheless, the distinct Hood Canal stocks.
river's flow is decreased for about a quarter Spring chinook from the Skokomish
mile as it goes past the hatchery. and Dosewallips rivers may already be
The Quilcene River is not known for its extinct, according to the report, and fall
natural salmon production because it falls so chinook from the Dosewallips and
steeply out of the mountains. But water Duckabush are at "high risk" of extinction.
withdrawals have only made the problem The report, based on available informa
"So far, what worse for migrating salmon, which require tion, does not mention Hood Canal coho,
we have been extra flows to bypass boulders and other mainly because so little information is
obstacles in the river. available on individual coho stocks, said
saying to Tradeoffs of one kind or another seem Lichatowich.
future to surround every water issue. Hood Canal salmon are managed as
generations is "What you see here is the classic one unit, which means coho from the
that we don't struggle in water use," said Telles. "One rushing rivers of the Olympic Peninsula are
value our answer would be to divert less water to Port lumped together with those from the
Townsend." meandering rivers of the Kitsap Peninsula,
even though the fish are adapted to different
stream environments.
enough to pass 1heBig Quilcene River and Penny A number of Hood Canal's wild
them on in any Creek might have produced giant-sized populations could be in danger without
condition that salmon before the hatchery was built, but anyone realizing it, said Lichatowich.
that was a long time ago, Tellessaid. Mike Reed, a biologist for the Port
we can be
"Hatcheries themselves are not evil Gamble S'Klallam Tribe, says wild stocks are
proud of." things," he said. "We raise probably what uniquely suited to swim up a specificstream
—Mike Reed, a the stream would raise in seven miles of while resisting diseases and eating insects of
biologist for the perfect spawning habitat — which never that particular stream. Alterations in the
Port Gamble existed here." water flow, temperatures and even insect
S'Klallam Tribe But biologists worry that hatchery production can affect the salmon run.
production, paired with an intense rate of People must be cautious about how
commercial and sport fishing, have depleted they affect the water flow, said Reed. That
natural runs of wild salmon. goes beyond the issue of dams to logging
Native coho from Hood Canal have and even to development.
declined to levels so low that biologists are "Hatcheries play a role, but they
worried that geneticallydistinct populations cannot replace the natural systems," said
(stocks) may not survive. Reed.
"Stocks are the basic building blocks," Reed says he can see powerful political
said Jim Lichatowich, a biologist with the forces at work, both at the state and local
Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe and a nationally levels. But whether streams and rivers
recognized expert on salmon populations. ultimately survive depends on whether
"Whether management of our salmon people care enough to speak out about
resource succeeds or fails depends on how resource planning.
well these building blocks are maintained." "So far," said Reed, "what we have
Lichatowich is a member of the been saying to future generations is that we
American Fishery Society's Endangered don't value our natural resources enough to
Species Committee. A recent report by the pass them on in any condition that we can be
committee raised alarms about several proud of."
Water Resources • 33

Section 3

the Rivers

P l a n s to generate electricalpower 1 and PUD 3. It was proposed in 1986after

from two Hood Canal rivers — the PUD 1 abandoned plans for a much larger
Dosewallips and the Hamma dam on the river.
Hamma — may have gained new The projects were both given a boost
life following completion in 1991 of by the final plan for Olympic National
a management plan for Olympic Forest, which suggests special protections for
National Forest. the Duckabush River under the Wild and
Both proposals are for "run-of-the- Scenic RiversAct.The Duckabush is the only
river" projects, built with an inflatable dam, Hood Canal river proposed for nomination
or weir, which diverts water through a under the act.
power plant only when the river is running Although many people argued that
high. During low flows, the weir is deflated both the Dosewallips and Hamma Hamma
and has much less impact on the river. would qualify for wild-and-scenic status,
The changing power supply situation both would remain available for water
in the Northwest is beginning to make small diversion and power production under the
hydro projects more attractive, said Kather- forest plan.
ine Leone of Tacoma City Light. For the Elkhorn project, said Charles
"Right now the region is in a load- Black, another Tacoma City Light employee,
resource balance," she said. "What we "the punch line is the ForestServiceplan
generate equates to just about what we use." would now designate the Dosewallipsas
Even though the need for more power being compatible with this type of power
may make the Dosewallips and Hamma project."
Hamma projects more feasible, environmen Studies to determine the environmen
talists promise that neither will be con tal consequencesof building the Dosewallips
structed without a fight. projectare to begin about the end of the year.
The Dosewallips project, known as Meanwhile, Mason County PUD 1 and
Elkhorn HydroelectricProject, was proposed PUD 3 are getting ready to decide whether to
in 1982 by Tacoma City Light and Jefferson move ahead with the Hamma Hamma
County Public Utility District 1. project, said Pat McGary of the PUD 3 staff.
The Hamma Hamma Hydroelectric "It all depends on some decisions to
Project is a jointeffortof MasonCounty PUD take place in the next month or two to
34 • The Ecosystem

determine how much we will spend (on the

Hydroelectric proposals project) next year," he said.
A steering committee will be set up to
discuss the alternatives before the issue
comes up in a public meeting, he added.
Both run-of-the-river projects would
work basically the same way. By using an
The Elkhorn inflatable weir, the dams can be operated
Hydroelectric during late winter and early spring when
river flows are high. During other parts of
Project and the the year, the weirs would be deflated,
Hamma allowing the natural movement of river
Hamma gravel downstream.
Rubber weir Fish ladder Diversion pipeline
Hydroelectric Proponents of run-of-the-river projects
Project were argue the environmental problems for fish
and wildlife are minimal because the dams
given a boost are small and used only at particular times of
by an Olympic the year.
National Construction would begin with a
Forest plan concrete foundation poured in the river bed,
from one side to the other. A rubber weir,
that seeks zvild
something like an inflatable sausage, is
and scenic Weir cross section
Rubber weir inflated attached tightly to the foundation.
protections When the weir is inflated, it impounds
only for the water behind the dam. At one end of the
Duckabush dam, an intake structure directs the im
pounded water through a "trash screen" and
into a diversion pipe.
The power plant is placed at the
opposite end of the pipe, as far downstream
Source: Jefferson Co.PUD., Tacoma CityLight as feasible. The greater the drop in elevation,
the greater the generating capacity.
Environmentalists generally concede
that run-of-the-river projects are much better
than traditional impoundment dams that
trap the entire flow of a river. But they can
still create problems, especially for fish.
"A hydropower facility — on any river
— should be constructed only if a real need
Dosewallips River for such power exists," said Carol Volkof
Olympic Rivers Council. "We are a spoiled,
consumptive society. We must first look to
methods that conserve the tremendous
Hamma power resources we already have."
Hamma Several state and federal agencies have
River already recommended against the
Dosewallips project, largely because it would
destroy fish habitat and increase sediment
problems, which can kill fish eggs in the
"The project would adversely impact
the existing steelhead trout stock and would
limit the potential for successful rebuilding
of the spring chinook salmon run," wrote
Einar Wold of the National Marine Fisheries
Service in a letter commenting on the plan.
But Tacoma City Light officials argue
Water Resources • 35

that they located the project above a series of in Poulsbo, is the only outfitter licensed to
waterfalls, which forms a natural barrier to run the Dosewallips River. While the
fish. In a fish population survey, only two proposed hydro project would not affect his
steelhead reached the site one year. river-rafting operation, which is downstream
In a separate letter regarding the from the proposed dam site, he says it would
Hamma Hamma project, Wold said the river be a crime to put any type of manmade
supports important runs of chinook, coho, structure on the Dosewallips.
pink and chum salmon, as well as summer The dam would be built in a deep "A hydro-
and winter steelhead and rainbow trout. canyon, one of the most remote and pristine power facility
He noted that two alternatives have spots along the beautiful river, he said.
been proposed for the Hamma Hamma. "I don't see the reasons they want to
— on any river
"However," he added, "we should put this structure up there and change the — should be
state at the outset that NMFS would not habitat and environment for the small constructed
support a license... under either configura amount of energy they will get," he said. only if a real
tion because of the project's potential "If we allow this dam to go in there, needfor such
adverse impacts to anadromous fish re there will be nothing to keep from putting
sources." one on the Hamma Hamma."
power exists.
John Kuntz, owner of Olympic Kayak Wemust first
look to
methods that
Wild and Scenic Designation conserve the
T o preserve a river forever, to keep it ScenicAct specifies, and those are all
flowing in its natural state for excellent candidates and truly deserving," power
generations to come, involves a he said. "From scenery to wildlife to resources we

momentous decision reserved for the U.S. geology to recreation, all those rivers are already have."
Congress or state Legislature. truly extraordinary." —Carol Volk,
In Hood Canal, the Forest Service Cantrell says his group is preparing Olympic Rivers
studied the Olympic Peninsula rivers for a petition for congressional consideration Council
inclusion in the National Wild and Scenic later this summer that would protect a
Rivers System. The agency declared that number of Olympic Rivers in their natural
four rivers — Dosewallips,Duckabush, state.
Hamma Hamma and South Fork of the Among Washington's delegation to
Skokomish — all have unique qualities Congress, Reps. John Miller, R-Seattle,
that would make them suitable for special and Jim McDermott, D-Seattle, seem
designation. particularly interested in pushing special
But,in the Forest Service view, only rivers legislation, according to Cantrell.
the Duckabush has enough "outstand "The imperiled status of many of the
ingly remarkable" values to be named a major fish runs has helped focus attention
wild and scenic river. on the need for river protections," he
The Dosewallipscame in nearly as added.
high in the Forest Serviceanalysis. And it For every river attaining Wild and
might have been nominated had the Scenicstatus, federal agencies must
agency chosen to name more than one develop a management plan outlining
Hood Canal river. what changes will be allowed and what
Shawn Cantrell of the Northwest will be precluded in and along the river.
RiversCouncil says all four rivers should Jean Phillips of the Wild Rivers
have been proposed to Congress, as well Conservancy, a group generally opposed
as the upper portion of the BigQuilcene to designating wild and scenic rivers, says
River. (The Forest Service found the Big she sees no need for special status since
Quilceneto have generally "average" two-thirds of most Olympic rivers pass
conditions not even suitable for consider through federal land. Congress should
ation.) not cut off its future options, she added.
The first four rivers should certainly "Personally, I think we're going to
be set aside for protection, said Cantrell. need electricity," she said. T am not in
"You look at what the Wild and favor of nuclear power, and coal produces
36 • The Ecosystem

dust and dirt in the air. The one thing the Vern and Ida Bailey have lived
Northwest has is plenty of water, espe along the Dosewallips River for 50 years.
cially in the winter." In 1941, at the age of 19, the Baileys
As she talked, Phillips led the way bought 80 acres of river bottomland for a
outside her house, which lies a quarter- mere $700, and later increased their
mile uphill from the Duckabush River. holdings to 250acres. Until a few years
Her colorful garden, which offersa high- ago, they raised 50 head of cattle.
level view of Hood Canal, Bailey,with his long
contains non-native
azaleas and rhododen
Dosewallips white sideburns and
black-framed glasses, talks
drons. softly and with an obvious
Phillips worries that knowledge of conserva
Wild and Scenic River tion techniques. Though
legislation would force her he appears to be a good
to grow only plants that caretaker of his waterfront
are native to the region. property, Baileyhas
Cantrell argues that serious concerns about
Phillips' fears, and those federal protection for the
of other private property Dosewallips.
owners, are groundless. "When we first
The legislation would heard it was being
affect private property considered," he said, "we
only if the federal govern were really thrilled
ment wishes to purchase a because we thought it
conservation easement
The Dosewallips would stop development.
from property owners, he River, which begins But when you get the law
said. high in the and read the fine print —
'They can continue Olympics and having worked for the
to use the land as it has
flows into Hood government, I know about
been used in the past," he fine print — they could
said, "and they can pass Canal, has been take a half mile on either
the property on to their declared suitable side and it would wipe us
children or sell it." for "wild and out."
Water Resources • 37

Even/ home built in the Hood Canal

-watershed places a new burden on
theregion's water supply.

1 4mm m mm e're in stuff now that's Robinson & Noble, stood nearby observing.
I ™ M #M I
M M A F silt-bound!" shouted
Joel Purdy over the
Numerous times over the past month of
drilling, Purdy had halted the operation and Section 4
• # ^kf deafening pulsation of gathered soil samples brought up out of the
Wt Wt metal slamming deepening hole. Now, at 370 feet, progress
W W against metal. was slow. Growth
Inch by inch, the 12-inchpipe slipped slowly This exploratory well was commis Makes New
into the ground under the rhythmic pound sioned by Kitsap County Public Utility
ing of the drilling rig. Just a week earlier, the District. The district has been searching for Demands
same well casing had slid down easily, like a new pocketsof groundwater in hopes of ByChristopher
hot knife through butter. easing the county's coining water shortage, Dunagan
"Clang...clang...clang..." The noise perhaps 30 years away.
echoed in the hills overlooking Hood Canal Over the past 40 years, surface water
near Seabeck as operator Todd Michelsen of diverted from the Hood Canal region has
Charon Drilling gripped the controls. supplied a major portion of Kitsap County's
Purdy, a hydrogeologist for the firm population. Even today, about a third of the
38 • The Ecosystem

residents get their water from Bremerton's Cities generally pipe their water. In its
Casad Dam on the Union River, which feeds early years, for example, Bremerton chose to
the southern tip of Hood Canal. transport water from Gorst, 3 miles away;
But the shift to groundwater supplies then later from Twin Lakes, 2.5 miles farther
has been rapid over the past decade or so as out; then later still from McKenna Falls and
rural Kitsap's growth has exploded. Now, Casad Dam, another 2 miles beyond.
experts hope to discover a vast, but still Port Townsend gets its water from the
Surface water uncertain, water source that may lie hidden Quilcene River, about 28 miles away.
diverted from underground along Hood Canal's shores. David Fluharty of the Institute for
"With what we've gone through so far, Marine Studies at the University of Washing
the Hood
it looks promising," said Purdy of the new ton says the old way may still be the best.
Canal region well, already deeper than a water-bearing "It makes sense from a growth-
has supplied a zone discovered 318 feet below ground. At management standpoint to keep people in a
major portion that point, driving the well casing became central area, where it is easier to provide
of Kitsap easy for 33 feet before it struck a more solid needed services, than to disperse the people
formation — a dense mixture of silt, sand and build multiple small water systems," he
County's and gravel. said.
population. Underground pockets of clean, loose Concentrating populations also
About a third gravel, unencumbered by clay or silt, may decreases the "footprint of development,"
of the residents not seem like much of anything. But to said Fluharty.
get their water Purdy and his boss Cliff Hanson, these Under state law, all three Hood Canal
gravel formations raise expectationsof counties are planning for future growth. But
from finding fresh, clear water. due to its large population, its rapid growth
Bremerton's "Sand and gravel are like a big as well as its limited surface supply, Kitsap
Casad Dam on sponge," said Purdy. "Precipitation is County may run dry before either Mason or
the Union soaked right up." Jefferson.
River, which Most of Kitsap County's soils were laid Before Kitsap as a whole suffers a
down by glaciers during Puget Sound's ice water shortage, regional shortages are likely
feeds the age more than 14,000 years ago. to develop, according to David Siburg,
southern tip of "You may think of glaciers as being manager of Kitsap County Public Utility
Hood Canal. pristine," said Hanson, "but actually they're District. Island Lake in Central Kitsap and
awfully dirty animals. They carry an abun parts of Bainbridge Island have been identi
dance of sand and all kinds of materials." fied already as potential problem areas.
As the glaciers melted into water, they Siburg speaks fluently the language of
dropped their loads of silt, sand and gravel growth management, but a number of water
onto the Kitsap Peninsula. Sometimes the issues seem to trouble him. Urban centers, as
mixed stuff was packed so tightly together defined by Kitsap County, may not have
— siltbound — that it could never absorb adequate water supplies for their projected
much water. Drill bits and well casings make populations, he said.
little progress through such material. "We have to make some tough choices
But in other places the melt water as a county," said Siburg. "Water may have
picked up speed and washed away the silt, to be captured from areas where it is avail
leaving a glacial deposit in which water can able and brought to areas of development."
flow easily through the spaces between sand This idea, certainly not new, might
and gravel particles. mean a massive public works project, such
After burial by successive glaciers, the as piping water from the Olympic Peninsula.
formation became an underground stream to As an alternative, it might mean developing
be tapped by advanced technology. a series of public wells in undeveloped forest
For well drillers today, finding a water lands, such as those near Hood Canal in the
bearing zone in all this mess is a big gamble, southwest part of Kitsap County.
said Hanson. "That's the joy and consterna Either alternative would not be
tion of working in glacial terrains." without its effects on the natural environ

A basic choice for the Hood Canal

region is whether to build new homes close Determining how much water is
to water supplies or to pipe water to popula actually out there in underground forma
tion centers, wherever they may be. tions is the reason Purdy and Michelsen
Water Resources • 39

Where the rains fall: How the canal fits in

90 Gfi Strait of Juan de Fuca

A basic choice
for the Hood
Canal region is
whether to
build new
homes close to
water supplies
or to pipe
water to
wherever they
may be.

Rainfall soaking into the ground in the Hood Canal watershed replenishes the underground rivers that feed area wells.
Source: National Weather Service

have been drilling near Seabeck. The newest The state Department of Ecology is
well is the second to be drilled in that area by beginning to pay attention to this complex
the PUD. issue, said Siburg. In fact, in Clark County,
A large well nearby, developed by the the department refused to approve a well
University of Washington for its Big Beef that might have reduced the flow of a nearby
Research Station, proved to be a big pro stream by just half of 1percent, he said.
ducer, said Purdy. That suggests a major As Kitsap, Mason and Jefferson
water-bearing formation underground. counties develop growth management
The water-bearing formation has been strategies, they will be required to identify
given the name "Big Beef Aquifer." It is just and protect important aquifer recharge
one of several possible sources of groundwa areas, to maintain adequate groundwater
ter in that region, said Siburg. supplies and to maintain a natural balance in
"Estimates are, on gross magnitude, the system.
there may be enough water in Kitsap County Development of roads and houses tilts
to support growth until the year 2020," he the water balance toward surface flow by
said. "The trick comes in being able to covering up bare land, which can recharge
capture that water — groundwater — the underground streams. Furthermore,
without affecting streams or other wells." hard surfaces — roofs and driveways —
Hydraulic continuity — the hottest speed up the surface water flow, pushing the
word in the parlance of water management water off the face of the land and into sea
— describes the much-misunderstood water.
relationship between surface water and In addition to growth management,
groundwater. Kitsap County has been studying groundwa
When surface water flows into the ter management for several years under the
ground, which it does continuously, it is direction of Siburg and the PUD.
known as aquifer recharge. When ground Conservation is one way of increasing
water escapes in a spring at the surface, it's water supplies, said Siburg, and it will no
discharge. The geology can be incredibly doubt become increasingly important in the
complex, but wells can and do affect streams, Hood Canal region.
and vice versa. If people can learn to be careful about
40 • The Ecosystem

watering their lawns and use low-flow One of his biggest fears is that the
fixtures, it can extend the life of water Hood Canal region in southwest Kitsap
systems for years. Water systems themselves County will be developed before anybody
can save water by repairing leaks in their knows the value of the groundwater re
transmission lines. source, he said.
But with so little agricultural irrigation "That may be a tremendous recharge
in the area, huge water savings may be out area," he said. "It would be nice to define the
of reach, said Siburg. resource before we make substantial changes
The Kitsap County Groundwater to that area. You don't want to close the barn
Management Plan, which will outline the door after the horses get out."
future options, should be completed in about Water is the lifeblood of the Hood
six months, he said. Canal region and Puget Sound as a whole.
"Some people would say 'stop every The management of this priceless resource
thing;closethe door until we understand all — both above ground and below — will
of this,' " said Siburg. "But we can't stand determine the survival of fish and wildlife,
still. We are charged by law with the respon as well as the quality of human lifestyles, for
sibility to get the water to the people." years to come.
Water Resources • 41

Section 5

By Christopher

Despite the seemingly

endless supply ofwater
in thePacific North-west,
population pressures
and pollutionare
causing newconcerns
about quality drinking

W h i l e most water systems in Port Townsend, for example, is

the Hood Canal region face considering the prospect of building a $10
questions about future million filtration plant to make sure its
water supplies, many also surface supply from the Big Quilcene and
are dealing with immediate LittleQuilcene rivers remains of high
concerns related to federal quality.
drinking water standards. To avoid filtration, surface waters must
42 • The Ecosystem

meet stringent federal standards, including turbidity to a minimum. Duffy plans to hire
extremely low levels of bacteria, turbidity special staff to keep their eyes on water
and chemicals, as measured by a host of quality issues.
expensive tests. Casad Dam supplies more than half of
"Frankly, in Port Townsend's case, we the 8 million-10 million gallons a day used
have some real concerns about whether we by the city and outlying areas. Of that
can meet all the criteria," said Public Works amount, about a third goes to Navy opera
"So far, what Director Bob Wheeler. tions at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard.
we're saying to Rivers flowing out of Just 20 years ago, Casad
the Olympic Mountains are Quilcene Dam — along with an older
among the purest in the state, facility in Gorst — was able
generations is but logging in the upper
River to supply virtually all of the
that we don't reaches and development in city's water. The dam can
value our the lower areas may suspend hold 1.35billion gallons.
natural dirt particles in a stream. The Gorst facility was
Most of the Quilcene taken off-line due to water
watershed is on undeveloped quality problems. But Duffy
enough to pass land managed by the U.S. said the facility may be
them on in any Forest Service, which has activated again, possibly for
condition that been attempting to maintain irrigating Bremerton's Gold
we can be the lowest impact to water Mountain Golf Course,
quality, officialssay. But the which uses 50 million gallons
proud of." federal standards are tough. of water a year. Eventually, a
— Mike Reed, small filtration plant at Gorst
It might be best to
Port Gamble would bring 3 million gallons
move ahead with the expen
S'Klallam tribe
sive filtration plant instead of Waters of the a day back into the city's
gambling that the water water system.
supply won't be shut down
Quilcene River "We feel pretty com
on short notice, said Wheeler. system have been fortable that over the next 10
Of the 15 million dammed to provide years we will be OK in terms
gallons of water coming out water supplyfor of water supply," said Duffy.
of Port Townsend's reser "It's a resource we took for
voirs, 80-90 percent goes to
the City of Port granted in the last decade,
the Port Townsend Paper Townsend, 28 and it will be a much bigger
Mill, which doesn't need miles to the north. issue in the next decade."
filtered water for its indus The city intends to hire
trial operations. a consultant to update its comprehensive
The city's options include building a water plan over the next six months under a
new water main from the Quilcene water $160,000 contract.
shed or else locating the filtration plant Bigsystems have their unique prob
closer to town to get by with a shorter lems, but federal requirements are costing
pipeline. small water systems more and more money,
Bremerton also faces the prospect of too, said Jerry Deeter, water quality specialist
filtration, but has the advantage of owning with the Bremerton-Kitsap County Health
almost all the Union River watershed above Department.
McKenna Falls. City officials intend to buy Some of the smaller systems, operated
the remaining 160acres to keep the entire by part-time managers, are having trouble
area natural and free from human activities. with maintenance and operations, which
(The watershed contains an elaborate alarm sometimes leads to health concerns, he said.
system to help keep out trespassers.) Some managers fail to do all the testing
BillDuffy, director of Bremerton required by the new regulations.
utilities, hopes that these actions, plus a "As more and more testing comes on,
continuing battery of water tests, will cost for the testing is going to get really
prevent the cityfrom being forced to build a high," said Deeter. "Systemswith more than
$10-$15 million filtration plant. 15 customers have to do monthly bacterio
The city has altered its managementof logical testing."
Casad Dam on the Union River to keep A wide spectrum of chemical tests is
Water Resources • 43

also required, depending on the size of the developers have chosen to create two or
system. more small systems,as opposed to putting in
The county is attempting to coordinate a larger system, said Deeter.
small water systems by requiring uniform "SinceApril 4 of last year, we've done
design standards for expansions.Systems approximately 91 new public supplies," he
may be eventually tied together to help said. "Normally in a full year we do an
transport water from areas of plentiful average of about 50."
supply to areas of short supply. In 1991, nearly 1,000 water systems
It would be beneficialto expand now exist in Kitsap County, compared to 450
medium and large systems,as opposed to in 1978.
increasing the number of small systems, said The number of small, individual
Deeter. But the opposite may be happening. systems may set up a competition for
Large- and medium-sized systems existing water and create problems in who
must obtain water rights in advance, a owns the rights to the water.
process that now takes up to three years, he "I think groundwater is going to
noted. The Department of Ecology, which become a real important issue," said Deeter.
processes the applications,simply can't keep "More people are concerned about it than
up with the growth. ever before because of the growth we are
"We haven't seen a lot of the larger experiencing."
systems going in," said Deeter. One challenge will be to coordinate all
On the other hand, small systems with the big and little systems as groundwater in
sixor fewercustomerscan avoid the delay the county grows scarce.
through assumed water rights. Some


Section 1

Food Store
for the

Web of Life Protecting the Theler -wetlands,

bequeathed to thecommunity of Belfair,
ByChristopher is oneof themost significant wetlands
projects in thestaleof Washington.

A t the edge of the Theler Wet Within these shallows — somewhere

lands, a grove of skinny alder between the skinny alders and Lynch Cove
trees stood dripping in the cold — lies the innermost point of Hood Canal,
January rain. The soft sounds some 63 miles from the entrance.
of a million raindrops muffled Hundreds of species, from ants to
other noises, such as the slosh otters, from wild rose to willows, make
of footsteps through an inch of standing their home in and around this place where
water. freshwater flows into saltwater, forming the
In the distance, out beyond acres of most productive type of ecosystem known to
brown, dormant marsh grass, stood Hood the planet.
Canal, shrouded in the misty rain. Its stony "When I first came down here, all I saw
gray color matched the monochrome sky, was brown grass," said Jerry Walker,
making it impossible to distinguish one sloshing quickly away from the alder grove.
from the other. "It didn't mean a thing to me."

Wetlands • 45

Walker, a volunteer for Theler Com marsh. One day, a professor and a graduate
munity Center, wanted to find some use for student gave him a tip on bird watching.
the apparent wasteland. He sought the help "I had seen maybe three birds," said
of biologists and wetlands experts. Walker, "and I asked them how many they
"As I saw it through the eyes of other had seen. One had seen 19 and the other 17.1
people," said Walker, "I gained further said, 'How do you do that?' and they said
insight. It wasn't long before I realized we you have to stand still and let the birds come
had a real treasure." to you." Experts say a
Like other wetlands in Naturalists coming to salt marsh can
Hood Canal, Belfair's Lynch Cove have listed
wetlands might have been
Theler nearly 100species of birds in
produce more
filled and used for other Wetlands and around the marsh. biomass (plant
purposes. Not far from town, Walker's own time has material) per
waterfront housing develop focused on attracting atten acre than a
ments displaced saltwater tion to this place, a place that tropical rain
marshes adjacent to Big goes unnoticed by hundreds
Mission Creek and Little of people driving through
forest, twice as
Mission Creek, says local Belfairevery day. The few much as an
historian Irene Davis. Even irregular trails are too fragile upland forest.
Belfair State Park was built for unlimited visitors, but
largely on fill,she said. Walker intends to change
Elsewhere in Puget that. Under his leadership,
Sound and throughout the the community has received
nation, wetlands have been a series of state grants that
filled, drained and polluted may establish the commu
as long as man has been on nity-owned site as one of the
the scene, said Brian Lynn of The North Mason Northwest's premier wetland
the state Department of School District has nature centers.
Ecology. People simply Plans call for combin
believed they had no value in made ing the community's 72 acres
their natural state. environmental of wetlands with 63 acres of
A century ago, the study in the Theler state land along the Union
director of the American Wetlands, deeded River. Together, the nature
Health Association proposed preserve will represent three
eliminating all wetlands
to the Belfair of the five major wetland
everywhere. He claimed they community in types. It's as if Nisqually
were a source of disease. thel960s by Delta and Padilla Bay, two of
Until the 1970s, federal Samuel Theler, an Washington's best known
policy encouraged filling integral part of its nature preserves, were
wetlands for farming and concentrated in one small
other economic develop curriculum. spot, says Walker.
ment. In terms of wetland values, Hood
It's no wonder that more than half the Canal is no longer pristine, but it has fared
nation's wetlands and more than a third of better than many places. Wetlands at the
the state's wetlands no longer exist, accord mouth of Seattle's Duwamish River and
ing to estimates by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife along Tacoma's Puyallup River are close to
Service. 100percent destroyed, mainly due to
Hood Canal may have fared somewhat industrial development.
better, experts say, though nobody has Early settlers often diked and drained
estimated the exact loss. estuaries to provide flat, fertile ground for
From his vantage point in the marsh, farming. The Nisqually River near Olympia
Walker pointed toward the sky. lost about 28 percent of its function that way.
"Those are brant geese flying there," he In Hood Canal, about 33 percent of the
said. 'They are making their home in the Skokomish River wetlands were converted
little slough (on the property)." for farming.
Walker learned to observe wildlife Major deltas on the western shore of
from individuals he has brought to the Hood Canal — the Dosewallips, Quilcene
46 • The Ecosystem

and Duckabush rivers, for example — were region and he's not particularly eager to see
diked and drained to varying degrees. the existing dikes removed.
The Lynch Cove estuary also was An operating farm next door to the
diked about 1890, but the longest dike was community's wetlands makes a pretty good
not maintained, and saltwater has returned neighbor, said Walker. Some birds, such as
to much of the original estuarine wetland. Canada geese, even prefer the open fields to
According to Walker, ongoing farms the more natural wetlands.
Estuarine provide clues to the colorful history of the For visitors, "the farm gives a contrast
wetlands are
the most often
impacted by Lynch Cove Wetlands to be Preserved
T^ elfair's soggy back yard, once six years to design and test its new
but the least W^ considered aworthless piece of real approach to education, but nearly every
often replaced. mJ estate, ishelping the community student already has visited the wetlands
— Michael Rylko, forge a new identity around an environ at least once, said Pickel.
EPA mental ethic. Gary Seelig,a third-grade teacher at
"This has become the key wetlands BelfairElementary, says his students
project for the state," says Jerry Walker, focus on the subject of salmon, among
with no hint of overstatement. "Virtually other things. Sciencewill teach them
all the natural resource agencies have about the biologyand ecologyof fish, he
gotten involved." said. "But we're also writing about them
Walker is director of the Hood in English and learning about them in
Canal Wetlands Project,an environmental social studies."
education program that promises to turn This integration of a topic through
the Lynch Cove wetlands into a new all the subjects taught is a key concept in
nature center, complete with a trail North Mason's new curriculum.
system and classroom complex. BelfairElementary is privileged to
But the wetlands have taken on an have a stream running through its
even greater meaning as they become a schoolyard, a stream that eventually spills
symbol for environmental awareness in out into the wetlands. Seelig hopes one of
the community, said Marie Pickel, his future classes can restore a salmon run
superintendent of the North Mason in the stream.
School District. Meanwhile, North Mason's Sand
In 1990, the district was invited to Hill Elementary School already is raising
become part of an exclusive project chum salmon and was to begin releases
known as Schools for the 21st Century. A into the Union River in 1991.
state grant of $600,000 will help the little At North Mason High School,
district design a new curriculum that will students are advanced enough to do basic
prepare students to live in the next research on plant and animal life in the
century. wetlands, said biology teacher Karen
When North Mason first applied for Lippy.
thegrantin i988, proposing some innova In addition to producing an inven
tive ideas for incorporation into the tory of the plants and animals in the
district curriculum, application was marsh — an important contribution to the
denied. The second time around, the future nature center — some students are
wetlands were brought into the picture. doing "four-season" studies of small areas
The district proposed incorporating the they picked out themselves, areas that
wetlands into studies at every grade level. may change dramatically when spring
"The environmental issue was the arrives, said Lippy.
trigger that has gotten us going," said Thanks to a grant from the Puget
Pickel. "The other things we already Sound Water Quality Authority, the high
knew and were incorporating them bit by school students have been working in the
bit." marsh alongside students from The
The $600,000 grant gives the district EvergreenState College, who are con-
Wetlands • 47

to show that's the way we used to do it," he breeding habitat.

noted. Waterfowlare dependent on wetlands
Ecologists say wetlands are a critical for nesting, food and cover. Many species of
link in the food chain for many fish and fish spawn in freshwater wetlands. Juvenile
wildlife. State officials list more than 175 marine fish avoid predators by hiding in
important wildlife species that use wetlands shallow saltwater marshes.
for primary feeding habitat and more than Experts say a salt marsh can produce
140species that use wetlands for primary more biomass (plant material) per acre than

ducting formal inventories. they realize their wetlands are not

"It is really unusual that a school wastelands at all, but rather wonderlands
district can own a piece of property so of nature.
valuable and so close," said Lippy. "There's a feeling of satisfaction, as
North Mason School District has well as surprise," said Walker, "that so
agreed to share the use of its wetlands much attention has been drawn to this."
with school districts in Kitsap and
ByChristopher Dunagan
Jefferson counties. About 52,000 students
are within a 40-minute bus ride of the
Walker, who moved to Hood Canal
in his retirement, got involved in the Theler Wetland Master Plan
wetlands project in 1988 when an opening
1 he Theler Wetlands Master
was announced for the board of directors
Plan would give the public
at Theler Community Center, which extensive access to the mouth
Boardwalk/wood chip trail
oversees the wetlands. He soon found of the Union River where it
empties into Hood Canal. The
himself involved in discussions about plan features nature trails,
what to do about the property deeded to interpretive displays and
the community by Samuel Theler some 20 viewing platforms for the study supported
of estuarine life. trail
years before.
In the late 1970s, the board had
proposed filling the wetlands to create
ballfields, but state and federal officials
were beginning to restrict wetland fill. But
Walker had a grander vision for what
could be done, based on nature centers
such as the Nisqually Delta near Olympia.
Since1988, he has worked steadily and
without pay to develop that vision into
reality. The success that Walker and his
fellow volunteers have experienced is
nothing short of amazing.
The group commissioned develop
ment of a master plan with a grant from
the Department of Ecology. The plan calls
for a series of trails throughout the
wetlands. In more fragile areas, board
walks and bridges will be used to avoid
impacts to the fragile wetland. An
education center with exhibit areas,
classrooms and offices is also proposed.
The sudden recognition by numer
ous state officials has Walker, school 3
personnel and many North Mason
residents riding a wave of enthusiasm as
48 • The Ecosystem

a tropical rain forest, twice as much as an beaches with concrete or wooden bulkheads
upland forest. tend to transfer this violent energy to
More than 150kinds of plants have neighboring properties.
been identified at the Theler wetlands next to 'The bottom line in ecosystems is that
Belfair. Dozens of insect species feed on the nothing is isolated," says Linda Kunze, a
plants and each other. The insects, in turn, wetlands specialist with the state Depart
become food for larger creatures. ment of Natural Resources. "We human
"Some people say the plants in a salt beings tend to think of ourselves as separate
marsh are far more valuable after they are from the ecosystem. But what we do affects
dead," said Lynn of Ecology. the entire ecosystem — including ourselves.
Bacteria and fungi go to work on the "It seems to me," she added, "that the
dead plants, turning them into material that people who live around Hood Canal are
is consumed by worms, which are eaten by starting to think that way, and I'm very
birds and fish, for example. Decaying plants encouraged and excited by that."
also provide nutrients for plankton, which Some wetlands around Hood Canal
are consumed by fish, shrimp and oysters. remain largely untouched. An estuary at
"If you dig into the mud, you will find Foulweather Bluff near Hansville has been
worms, shrimp, crabs...,"said Lynn. 'The protected by the Nature Conservancy as well
value of a salt marsh is buried in the stinky as private property owners. Some areas have
mud flats, and that is one reason nobody ever simply escaped development until recent
thought much of them." years when government began to play a
In addition to wildlife values, wetlands stronger role in protecting wetlands.
maintain water quality by trapping sedi On the North Shore of Hood Canal, not
ments and filtering out pollutants. Wide river far from Belfair, the Hood Canal Land Trust
deltas that have not been channeled for is protecting other valuable wetlands under
agriculture, as wellas many upland marshes, a philosophy of preservation, as opposed to
can hold an incredible amount of stormwater, the goal of encouraging visitors.
thus reducing the level of flooding. Walker's footsteps squished over damp
Wetlands can reduce erosion from leaves as he entered a flat, grassy meadow.
waves, wind and river currents. Studies have "Some people tell us there was once a
shown that coastal wetlands, such as those farm here," he said. No remnants of any
around Hood Canal, absorb the energy of buildings remain, but the site has been
storms and protect upland areas. Property proposed for a future interpretive center,
owners who insist on replacing their wetland including officesand classrooms.
Wetiands • 49

Section 2


Freslrwater wetlands,
likethis beaver pond
near Lilliwaup, perform
important water
purification, stream flow
regulation and wildlife
sanctuary roles.

piky, wooden poles poke up but of another creature known for its
through the shiny ice at Lilliwaup engineering ability. A huge mound of sticks
wetlands as if planted by some nearby marked the home of Castor canadensis,
crazed power company employee in the beaver.
the middle of a pond in the middle On this frosty morning in January, no
of a marsh, miles from civilization. beavers were in sight. But Jerry Gorsline, a
This is not the work of a person at all, biologist with Washington Environmental
50 • The Ecosystem

Council, stood upon their stout dam and Before the arrival of civilization, an
explained how beavers, like man, alter their unlimited mosaic of wetlands was spread
habitat to suit their own needs. throughout the Hood Canal watershed.
Gorsline'swords were accented by a Where the topography and soils wereright,
"hack,hack,hack..." sound comingout of fresh waterformed ponds naturally. In other
the woods. A downy woodpecker's ham places beaver dams helped slow the move
mering echoed in the hills as the bird ment of freshwater back to the ocean.
Beaver dams searched for bugs in a dead tree. But that was another time, almost
are one of Time and evolution have made the forgotten now.
beaver an integral part of the wetland To early trappers, beaver pelts were
nature's ways ecosystem, creating habitat not only for itself more valuable than beavers. To early
of creatinga but for birds, fish and other wildlife, said loggers,free-flowing streams were more
wetland. It is Gorsline. valuablethan beaver dams. To early farmers,
illegal to The beaver had dammed this tiny dry land was more valuable than wildlife
destroy a stream, a tributary to Lilliwaup Creek on the habitat.
eastern side of Hood Canal. Water behind What remains of the wetland mosaic
beaver dam
the mud-packed beaver pond had drowned today can be found in undeveloped regions,
without a the roots of the alders, but now some birds such as the Tahuya-Dewatto river drainages
permit from and animals were finding the trees more in Southwest Kitsap County. But the land is
the state valuable dead than alive. fragmented by multipleownerships, and
Department of "People say that's terrible, beavers each owner has plans for his own particular
killing trees," said Gorsline. "Beavers have piece of land. Freshwater wetlands still exist
traditionally been regarded as enemies, but throughout the Hood Canal area, but it's as if
that attitude is turning around." piecesof the puzzle are missing.
Beaverponds provide wintering areas Thafs why it is so important to
for salmon and trout. In fact, more than half preserve the largest areas still remaining,
of all fishsold commercially in the Puget such as the proposed Lilliwaup Wetland/
Sound region rely on wetlands for some Wildlife Area, argue Gorsline and Bernthal.
portion of their life cycle. Arden Olson, division manager for
The frozen beaver pond is one of DNR's Land and Water Conservation
several such ponds around Saddle Moun Division, said his agency is considering the
tain, north of Lake Cushman. But it's not just Washington Environmental Council's
the beavers that make this place valuable. nomination, submitted by the two biologists.
Gorsline and his associate, Carol Some or all of the area could be taken
Bernthal, have documented dozens of out of timber status and listed as a "natural
unique plant and animal communities resource conservation area," he said. Since
spread out over 6,000 acres around Saddle the land belongs to the state's school trust
Mountain. They are doing their best to fund, the schoolswould have to be compen
convince the state to protect the area as a sated with other land or money, he said.
natural preserve. Somefunding sources exist,but they are
The area is home to migratory and very limited.
resident elk herds, numerous waterfowl and "We have a real interest in not impact
several sensitive plant and animal species, ing the wetlands in that area," said Olson.
they say. But how much of the area might be pre
"If you wander off," said Gorsline, served has not yet been determined.
"you will find yourself in a vast mosaic of In addition to unusual swamps, bogs
wetlands and forests, thousands of acres." and near-pristine lakes, the Lilliwaup area
Gorsline and Bernthal have petitioned contains a few scientific oddities.
the Department of Natural Resources, which "This area," said Gorsline, standing
manages the land, to avoid harvesting next to a frozen, shallow pond, "is incredibly
timber in the wetlands and connecting dry throughout most of the year."
forests and to limit logging activities in other In fact, he added, the area is so dry that
parts of the 6,000-acrearea. few plants will grow, except Columbia
'This type of wetland ecosystem is sedge, a prairie-type plant rarely seen on the
really, really rare," said Bernthal. 'There is west side of the Cascade Mountains.
not much left like this in the Puget Sound At the water's edge, long strings of
lowlands." lichen hang from a tree like green spider
Wetlands • 51

webs mussed by the wind. Mounds of crusty to Western Washington as well as some that
earth push up through the ice, probably as have been imported from other continents.
they did a million years ago. To form this Even an untrained eye notices that native
wetland/prairie requires just the right soil plants seem to speak in softer, milder tones,
and groundwater conditions, according to as if an artist had painted the landscape with
Gorsline. no dominant elements.
"A forester who doesn't relate to visual If people are careful — if they wash the
clues such as this would take one look at this bottom of their boats and keep their cars In addition to
place and say it isn't a back from the water's edge unusual
wetland at all because it is so Lilliwaup — this area may avoid an
swamps, bogs
dry throughout much of the invasion of loud, harsh,
year," he said. Wetlands obtrusive plants such as and near-
Clarence Martin of Port scotchbroom, which can out- pristine lakes,
Orchard, a member of Kitsap compete the natives for the Lilliwaup
Audubon, spent much of last space, said Gorsline. area contains a
summer in the Lilliwaup "We should think
wetland area. He and his about directing recreational
few scientific
wife, Dorothy, recorded uses so as not to introduce oddities. One
hundreds of species to assist exotic plants," he said. is an area so
with the nomination. A dozen years ago, dry that few
"She (Dorothy) re when the Lilliwaup property plants will
corded everything, plants, was owned by Simpson
grow, except
insects, animals, birds," said Timber Co., several dilapi
Martin. "We lived in the back dated cabins were still Columbia
of a truck and moved around standing near Price Lake. But sedge, a
a lot. A neighbor loaned us a those cabins were removed prairie-type
The extensive after the state traded forest
brand new canoe and we
freshwater plant rarely
explored all over. It's a lands for the property, said
seen on the
beautiful area." wetlands that Bernthal.
Price Lake, five acres in remain in the Still, lots of people west side of
size, is the largest lake in the come to the area to camp in the Cascade
6,000-acres of state land.
Lilliwaup River the summer. In the winter Mountains.
Ducks fly into the lake all basin contain months, the gates are locked
winter. unusual bogs and to protect elk herds that must
At Melbourne Lake, pristine lakes, and conserve their energy to
several golden eyes — is homefor animals survive the colder weather.
saltwater ducks — were Non-migrating elk are
swimming in an unfrozen
rangingfrom dependent on the area both
part of the lake. wintering ducks to winter and summer. Migra
'They will breed and the endangered tory elk move to the higher
nest here," explained fisher. alpine areas in the summer.
Gorsline. "Forage and cover are
At Osborne Lake, something triggered the primary factors that limit deer and elk
Gorsline's enthusiasm. He pointed first to populations, and the health of the herd is
one plant, a dryland species called dependent on the availability and quality of
kinnikinnick, and then to a sedge at the both," said Bernthal.
lake's edge. Other animals known to use the
"This is the only place I can think of Lilliwaup area are bear, cougar, bobcat and
where you have such a range of plant numerous small mammals as well as
diversity in a 10-foot distance," he said. amphibians and reptiles — the same animals
Nelsa Buckingham, a leading expert on that occupy other unpopulated regions of
Olympic Peninsula plantlife, says the Hood Canal.
Lilliwaup area includes an array of "unusual Red legged frogs, beavers and musk-
habitats," including some rare plants, but it rats are dependent on wetlands during all
is typical of wetlands before the arrival of phases of their life cycle. Rough skinned
white man. newt and many aquatic birds spend most of
The area contains many plants native their lives in lakes or ponds but nest in the
52 • The Ecosystem

cavities of trees, such as those created by driven by the need to produce income for the
woodpeckers. trust," said Gorsline. "It's just outrageous the
Lilliwaup is the last known location on lack of protection these wetland areas have."
the Olympic Peninsula for the endangered It appears unlikely that DNR will allow
fisher, a little weasel-like creature now logging to the edge of a lake or wetland, "but
believed to be extinct throughout much of its if that's all you have, you are leaving out
original territory. According to Martin, major components of the ecosystem," said
wildlife experts have talked about reintro Bernthal.
ducing the fisher to the area by taking She would prefer protecting the entire
animals from British Columbia, where they area from one ridgetop to the next, but she
are more common. realizes that isn't realistic. Her proposal to
The greatest concern Gorsline and preserve 6,000 acres would permit carefully
Bernthal have is that the area will be logged planned logging uphill from the low-lying
off to bring income to the state. The trees are wetlands.
now 60-70years old, the ideal time for But without state money to offset the
harvest. DNR has invested money in fertiliz loss of timber potential, Olson said, the
ing and thinning the trees, said Gorsline. future of the property remains unclear.
'They (DNR officials) are pretty much
Wetiands • 53

Section 3

Trying to
Save a
Celia Parrot keeps -watch over a -wetland
area owned by the Hood Canal Land Ecosystem
Trust near Lynch Cove.
By Christopher

T h e turnaround in governmental "Two years ago," said Wiltermood,

attitude toward wetlands is truly "we were slamming the county for what was
amazing, says Bob Wiltermood, a happening to the wetlands in Silverdale.
private wetlands consultant and Now, I think the county is doing a damn
conservation chairman for Kitsap good job — and without even a wetlands
Audubon. ordinance."
Folks like Wiltermood have always Wiltermood offered his opinion during
understood the importance of wetlands, but an unofficial visit to one of Kitsap County's
it has only been recently that government — most prized wetlands, the Foulweather Bluff
federal, state and local — has begun to insist Wildlife Preserve near Hansville. He was
that property owners preserve the wet joined at the saltwater estuary by Ron Fox, a
portions of their land. habitat biologist for the state Department of
Today, sensitive developers hire Wildlife.
Wiltermood and other biologists to prevent "This is a fantastic place," said
destruction of fragile wetlands. At the same Wiltermood, looking through his binoculars
time, state and local officials are growing at a widgeon, one of many types of ducks
ever more vigilant in their role of protecting found at the wetland.
natural resources. The estuary has been preserved, thanks
54 • The Ecosystem

to effortsof the Nature Conservancy and actively entered the struggle to manage
private property owners in the area. growth, especially in the North Mason area
Fox explained that hundreds of small where homes are rapidly going up near
wetlands have been destroyed because Hood Canal.
landowners were able to convince govern Mason County, which had practically
ment officials that their little wetland was no controls on development in 1989, has
unimportant in the overallschemeof things. implemented a grading ordinance, strength
In terms of " 'Small, isolated wetlands.' You hear ened shorelineregulationsand tackledlong-
wetland that term over and over," said Fox. "Well, range planning, said Erik Fairchild, the
they may be small and isolated, but that county's planning coordinator.
values, Hood
creates diversity of habitat. In ecology, 'The North Mason Water Quality
Canal is no everything is connected." ProtectionPlan has been adopted as part of
longerpristine, "You can even ask," injected the comprehensive plan," he noted, adding
but it has fared Wiltermood,"whether there is such a thing that wetlands still don't have the protection
better than as an isolated wetland." they deserve. But the county is attempting to
Wetlands once were strung likepearls deal with the problem through the new
many places.
through the creeks, streams and rivers of growth management effort.
About 33 Hood Canal. Now, the strings are broken None of the three Hood Canal counties
percent of the and fragmented by development.Butthey had a wetlands ordinance in 1991, such as
Skokomish remain important islands of habitat — food one proposed by the state Department of
River wetlands and shelter for a large number of species, Ecology.The model ordinance defines
said Wiltermood. categories of wetlands and establishes non-
were converted
The losses make the remaining wet development buffer zones, depending on
for farming. lands even more valuable because the local conditions. When impacts to wetlands
houses, roads and shopping centers being cannot be avoided, the ordinance provides
developed cause more and faster runoff,says for mitigation, such as creatingor enhancing
Joy Michaud in her book "At Home with an area larger than the wetlands being
Wetlands." damaged. All three counties have received
With development, she said, "we not state funding to develop their own wetlands
only create the need for more of the environ ordinance along similar lines.
mental functions of wetlands, we also "The problem we have," said Craig
destroy or damage the resources that Ward, wetlands specialist for Jefferson
provide those functions." County, "is that we have no way of defining
In addition to wildlife habitat, wet whether something is a wetland. We have no
lands offer water filtration and purification, consistent procedure for dealing with them."
flood protection, shoreline stabilization and Jefferson officials review maps devel
groundwater recharge. oped by the Fish and Wildlife Service from
But state wetlands specialist Brian aerial photos, said Ward. They try to identify
Lynn warns that "not all wetlands perform and protect wetlands on a case-by-casebasis,
all those functions equally well. Some may but the maps are not always accurate. "We
be great for flood storage without providing acknowledge that what we have is inad
a lot of habitat. It's important to look at each equate," he said, adding that the county
one individually." should have a stronger program ready
Just 20 years ago, the Department of before long.
Agriculture encouraged farmers to fill their Kitsap County follows a similar
wetlands and grow crops to feed the world. process, but may have more staff to examine
Today, as a result of the state's new Growth proposed development sites.
Management Act, many of Washington's "I think Kitsap County has been real
counties are rapidly coming to grips with aggressive on wetlands over the last couple
their role in protecting natural resources. of years," said Larry Ward, a Poulsbo
Washington's fastest growing counties homebuilder who works on growth issues
are now required to identify their resources for the Building Industry Association of
and approve protection standards, including Washington. "I think they have been fairly
protections for wetlands. effective.They have thwarted a number of
Of the three Hood Canal counties — developments that would have degraded
Kitsap, Mason and Jefferson — Mason wetlands."
County could have opted out of the state's Developers want predictable regula
program. But the county commissioners tions but also must face the fact that every
Wetlands • 55

new rule puts the price of a new home out of laws not specifically designed to protect the
reach for a few more people, said Ward, who function of wetlands.
is not related to Craig Ward. The federal Clean Water Act and state
"Wetlands are absolutely vital to Hood Shorelines Management Act, for example,
Canal," he said. "I want to keep it as pristine have numerous exemptions for small, inland
as it was when I got here, and I will stand wetlands. Only about 10 percent of the 2,000
with everyone else when the canal is threat acres of wetlands lost every year in Wash
ened." ington state are subject to federal regulations,
A few developers intentionally destroy according to Michael Rylko of the Environ
wetlands to avoid tangling with the regula mental Protection Agency.
tions, he acknowledged, "and I think that And state shoreline rules don't apply
government can and should come down to most smaller streams. Clear Creek, which
hard against them." is associated with wetlands in Silverdale's
But that's easier said than done. urban area, is too small to fall under shore
It's up to counties to enforce Gov. lines jurisdiction, said Renee Beam, Kitsap
Booth Gardner's policy calling for "no net County's shorelines manager. A shorelines
loss of wetlands," but there are only general permit is required for developments within

Wetlands of Hood Canal

Unspoiled Wetlands Are A Key Component In The Survival Of Hood Canal
Lower Hood Canal Watershed 1990

Squamish Harbor
Key LakeLeland//* Tarboo Bay
Clu Thorndrt
Selected Bay
Hood Canal

Hamma Hamma


JLj ach
wetland has its
own plant and
V animal community
Skokomish River Delta
uniquely suited to local
conditions. Saltwater marshes are
Source: formed at the mouths of most rivers and
PugetSoundCooperative streams. Fresh water marshes result from
River Basi/i Team particular soil and drainage patterns.
56 • The Ecosystem

250 feet of Hood Canal's major rivers, but The situation should become more
not generally the creeks and streams, she predictable when the counties classify their
said. most important wetlands and adopt new
State fisheries and wildlife experts can protection rules, said Larry Ward.
help the counties identify wetlands that The state also recognizes the impor
weren't noticed before, but their role is tance of purchasing wetlands. Money has
strictly to protect fish. been approved for purchasing and preserv
"We don't really stop anything," said ing valuable wetlands, and various tax
Fox, who is in charge of the permits for the incentives are available for individuals
Wildlife Department. "We just try to miti willing to protect privately owned wetlands.
gate damage and prevent loss of fish habi "One of the worst things we face," said
tat." Fox, "is when you're called out to a site and
So it falls to the counties to impose the place is stripped bare. Then someone
restrictions on specific developments, says, 'Oh, we have a wetlands?' That is most
something not always easy to do, despite the depressing."
no-net-loss mandate.

Using the

Hugelogs from theshores of blood Canal
oncekept -workers scrambling at thePope
& Talbot sawmill at Port Gamble.

M a j e s t i c evergreens, towering capped peaks and approached the long, Section 1

250 feet into the sky, must narrow channel he named Hood's Canal.
have provided an awe- The English explorer had been sent
inspiring greeting to early here to solidify his country's claim on the Rising from
explorers who entered Hood lonely wilderness, known to contain vast Toppled
Canal in their sailing ships. riches in furs, timber and marine life.
Some men dared to dream of houses and Spanish explorers had sailed inland, but not Trees
villages, but years would pass before the this far. Only a very young nation — the
hand of civilization would disfigure the United States — maintained a defendable
By Christopher
natural wonderland. Something captured claim to the region. Dunagan
Capt. George Vancouver's imagination in After sailing for more than a year —
May of 1792 as he sailed past rugged, snow with stops in Tahiti and Hawaii —
60 • Using the Resource

Vancouver was not disappointed with the ofKitsap County. 'The timber was so close to
sights and sounds of this untamed land. Yet the water's edge that nearly anyone with a
on the morning of May 12,1792,the world team of oxen could get out a boom of logs in
seemed to hold its breath as Vancouver's a short time."
ship followed the western shore of Hood Skippers would pay 8 cents a lineal
Canal. foot for the huge logs, delivered alongside
"Animated nature," Vancouver wrote, their vessels. They would sell them to mills
"seemed nearly exhausted, and her awful in San Francisco for $1 a foot, said Mrs.
"The timber
silence was only now and then interrupted Buchanan.
was so close to by the croaking of a raven, the breathing of a It didn't take long for wealthy lumber
the water's seal or the scream of an eagle." men to realize the potential of sawmills
edge that Vancouver sailed southward into closerto the woods. Andrew JacksonPope
nearly anyone Hood Canal and met with a friendly band of and Frederic Talbot were sons of timber and
Indians near the Skokomish River, which he shipbuilding families. Together with Capt.
with a team of described as "the finest stream of fresh water J.P. Keller and shipbuilder Charles Foster,
oxen couldget we had yet seen." they started Puget Mill Company at Port
out a boom of "Early on Sunday morning, May 13, Gamble on Hood Canal, the heart of Indian
logs in a short 1792,we again embarked," Vancouver country.
wrote, "directing our route down the inlet, In September 1853,the Port Gamble
which, after the Right Honorable Lord Hood, mill — the first steam-powered mill in
—Eva Luella
I called Hood's Channel." Washington territory — came on line.
There is some confusion about the Three years later, Marshall Blinn and
Economic History
name, variously Hood's "channel" and William J. Adams financed a new mill at
ofKitsap County.
"canal." As Edmond S. Meany explains in Seabeck, a picturesque town on Hood Canal
his book Vancouver's Discovery ofPuget that outgrew Seattle for a time.
Sound, "It is a curious fact that Vancouver By 1857,the Port Gamble mill was the
named many places 'channels' in his journal, greatest lumber manufacturing plant on
but wrote them down as 'canal' on his Puget Sound, and two or three schooners
excellent charts. This was the case with xmight be seen in port at one time, their
Hood's Canal." lumber bound for San Francisco and the
The name, formalized by the U.S. Orient.
government, will forever remain linked to That same year, when Kitsap first
one Samuel Hood, an admiral in the British became a county, four major sawmills were
Navy who became famous for his victories operating in the area. Settlements were
against the United States during the Revolu springing up, and Kitsap County had the
tionary War. highest assessed valuation of any county in
Fifty years after Vancouver named the territory.
Hood Canal, the United States had strength In addition to mills at Port Gamble and
ened its claim to the area. Still,only a Seabeck, there were two on Bainbridge
handful of white settlers could be counted. Island. The world seemed hungry for timber,
Trappers and traders in sparse numbers may and the industry found new and faster ways
have visited the shores of the canal, yet it of cutting trees and making lumber.
remained largely the domain of Indians. A new "circular mill," installed at Port
To encourage settlement, the United Gamble in 1858,was the biggest in the West.
States in 1844began offering homesteads of It could handle logs 9 feet thick and turn out
up to 640acres. Homesteading had barely planks up to 60 feet long.
begun by 1848,when gold was discovered in Big axes, used by early loggers, gave
California. way to felling saws, first used in the red
Gold mines would need heavy timbers, wood forests of California. Oxen gave way to
and homes would need lumber. Ships would steam donkeys and railroads.
be needed to maintain the flow of commerce. There seemed to be no end to the
Gold dust would power the Northwest demand for lumber. Dozens of logging
economy for years. camps in the Hood Canal area sprang up to
Some folks came to Hood Canal supply the big mills, which grew and added
country just for the timber, homesteading shipbuilding operations. Small, independent
long enough to claim the giant trees, noted mill owners also carved out a niche among
Eva Luella Buchanan in her Economic History the trees.
Logging • 61

Timber was king, and every commu towns along the western shore of Hood
nity had ties to the forests, while agriculture Canal. The folks of Union City quickly
and fishing helped feed the hungry loggers dropped the "City."
and maintain the local economy. Down toward the very tip of Hood
Seabeck and Port Gamble grew into Canal, the town of Clifton was growing. One
bustling mill towns. In 1876, Seabeck, of the early roads in Kitsap County linked
population 400,had a store, two hotels and Seabeck to the head of Hood Canal along
four saloons. One newspaper Lynch Cove.
Seabeck and
account called it the "liveli Later, Clifton would
est" place of its size on Puget become a crossroads when a Port Gamble
Seabeck new road to Sidney (now grew into
Mill towns were the Port Orchard) was built. The bustling mill
most obvious stops for early route is still referred to as the
towns. In 1867,
steamships carrying passen Old Clifton Road. In 1925, the
gers, supplies and mail. With name "Clifton" was changed Seabeck,
few roads, the growing to "Belfair." Belfair has had population
"mosquito fleet" of boats but moderate growth over 400, had a
became the principal link the years, but today it stands store, two
between the communities of as one of the fastest growing hotels and four
Port Gamble, Bangor, communities around Hood
saloons. One
Seabeck, Brinnon, Quilcene, Canal.
Duckabush, Nellita, Holly, Demand for Northwest newspaper
Dewatto, Hoodsport, lumber continued to increase account called
Potlatch and Union City. as the 20th century drew to a it the
"Union City," wrote close, and Washington's "liveliesf'
Murray Morgan in The Last There1s not much mills were expanding. The
Wilderness, was the "Venice left today, beyond a billion board feet of produc place of its size
of the Pacific, on the narrow plaque, to indicate tion in 1888 had doubled to 2 on Puget
stretch of land connecting the that the tiny billion by 1895and tripled to Sound.
Olympic and Kitsap peninsu 3 billion by 1902. By 1905,
community of with 3.5 billion board feet a
The town, which began Seabeck once was year coming from its mills,
as a trading post on the south home to a bustling Washington produced more
shore of Hood Canal in 1857, lumber mill, one of lumber than any other state
was platted in 1890amid a in the nation.
flourish of land sales.
thefirst in the Unlike many sawmill
Rumors were wild that the
Puget Sound companies, however, the
town would become a region. owners of the Port Gamble
crossroads of several rail mill bought their own land
roads. For a time, land and saved it for the future.
speculators were paying the whopping price While others exhausted their timber sup
of $1,000for a single building lot. plies, the Puget Mill bought raw logs from
Meanwhile, Quilcene, a single home other people's land. Eventually, the dwin
stead in 1860, was even more blessed. Port dling supply forced Pope and Talbot to cut
Townsend was booming with international its own magnificent trees around Hood
trade, and local entrepreneurs were con Canal.
vinced that the world would beat a path to Today, Pope Resources,a spinoff of the
their door if only they could obtain a rail company, remains the largest private
connection to Portland, Ore. timberland owner in Kitsap County and has
With a local donation of $100,000, the found success in developing lands for
Oregon Improvement Company (a subsid housing.
iary of Union Pacific)agreed to begin the Conservationists had been arguing
long track. Some 1,500 workers laid the rails about protecting a portion of the ancient
from Port Townsend to Quilcene, but that's Olympic Peninsula forests ever since
as far as they got. naturalist John Muir first visited the area in
The country's economic panic of 1893 1889.
dashed the hopes of Quilcene and other President Grover Cleveland, as one of
62 • Using the Resource

his last official acts, created the 2.2-million-

acre Olympic Forest Reserve in 1897.But that A Company Town Grows
only intensified the debate. U.S. presidents
Around a Sawmill
would push and pull public acreage in and
out of protected status throughout this entire More than a century ago, when
century. The question is always the same: the S'Klallams plied the waters
how much acreage should be saved for of Hood Canal in canoes and
Unlike many "natural values" and how much acreage dense forests hugged its shores, great
sawmill should be used for "human values." lumbermen staked their claim at a spot
On June 29,1938, President Franklin called Teekalet.Mills sprouted along
companies at Roosevelt signed a bill setting aside Olympic the canal like mushrooms but none
the turn of the National Park for future generations. quite so fine as the Puget Mill Com
century,Pope Today, as a century ago, Hood Canal pany, founded in the mid-1800s by
& Talbot receives much of its water from high in the Andrew Pope and Frederic Talbot in
bought their Olympic Mountains, now protected for the deep-water port later known as
eternity. Streams flow through wilderness Port Gamble.
own land and
areas, logged-off lands and even places Over the years hundreds of
saved it for the where timber refuses to grow. They flow workers flocked to the fledgling
future. Today, through National Forest lands that timber community, challenged by Douglas firs
Pope companies have come to depend on for raw so mighty they dwarfed husky lumber
Resources, a materials. But those forest lands are now jacks eager to earn a living.
being set aside to protect the northern Among them was the father of
spinoff of the spotted owl, a species that depends on Ida Faler and Chuck Hirschi of
company, healthy old-growth ecosystems for its Poulsbo, who came from Canada
remains the survival. searchingfor work to feed his family.
largestprivate And the tug of war between use of the He tried Skid Road in Seattle, but
timberland resource and preservation continues; the was told his best bet was the mill at
clash of values, whether trees are worth Port Gamble.
owner in
more standing or cut, remains unresolved. "He didn't know where Port
Kitsap County. "As long as the great trees remain in Gamble was," Hirschi said, "but he
the park," proclaims Murray Morgan, "there boarded a little boat and went there.
will be men willing to cut them down, saw While he was gone, our house burned
them up and ship them away to all parts of and we lost everything. He had to
the country. And there will be others — I work awhile before he had enough
suspect a majority — who would rather money to send for us/'
come to see them than have them sent." It was 1917 when Ida, 7, and
*Chuck, 9, stepped off the boat in Port
Gamble with their mother, four
siblings and all their worldly posses
sions. Little did they realize this tiny
community would provide the frame
work for their adult lives.
Pope & Talbot, perhaps a bit
homesick for their native East Machias,
Maine, built a mill town that reflected
New England tastes and rented the
homes to workers and their families.
"We paid $15 a month for the
house in those days, including the
electricity for lights," Hirschi said.
"We loved it," Faler said. "My
mother thought it was wonderful. It
wasn't too modern, but it was more
modern than what we had before."
The family settled in a house
Logging • 63

behind the community's steepled church. Poulsbo, which was the nearest thing to a
They lived 42 years in the same house, big city,was too far if you didn't have a
which still stands today. car.

Photos of the town's early years Hirschi, now 83, worked for the mill
show muddy streets, wooden sidewalks 50 years before retiring in 1973, the only
and bleak, severe houses. There were Pope &Talbot employee to work 50 years
vegetablegardens in abundance as thrifty in the same location. Brother Fred also In 1857 the
housewives raised produce for their spent 50years with the company, al Port Gamble
tables, augmenting the groceries pur though he relocated to the Oak Ridge,
mill was the
chased at the company store. Ore., plant.
But there wasn't much time for Faler retired in 1971 after 42 years. greatest
flower gardens or fancy landscaping, a "It was a wonderful place to work," she lumber
hallmark of the carefully restored town recalled. "I have never regretted it." manufacturing
today. The pigs running loose in the Many of the homes now are gone. plant on Puget
community probably would have rooted The once-proud Puget Hotel fell victim to
Sound, and
in the flowerbeds. the Columbus Day storm of 1962,and the
"Well, it was tough at first, not old schoolhouse was demolished after two or three
speaking English, you know," Hirschi David Wolfle School was built. The schooners
said, "but we got along and made friends. hospital,where generations of Port might be seen
It became our home." Their first language Gamble babies were born, also is a in port at one
had been Swiss. memory.
time, their
There were probably 600people But Port Gamble remains a com
living in the town during those years, pany town. The 137-year-old sawmill, the lumber bound
Hirschi said, all of them working for the oldest continuously operating one in for San
mill. Workers poured into the logging North America, has undergone many Francisco and
camps, and there were times when the renovations. It continues to operate, but ports in the
whiskey got the better of them. But,for has been buffeted by national recession
the most part, Port Gamble was a family and the uncertainties caused by the
town. spotted owl.
"I went to work at the mill when I The once-bleak buildings have been
was 16because we needed money," lovingly restored by the descendants of
Hirschi said. "Two years later my father the originalfounders, and when the 4
died of cancer and I helped support the o'clock whistle blows, many workers are
family. I worked for 35 cents an hour, 10- just a few steps away from home. The
hour days, sometimes even longer. company store (next to the office) recently
Sometimes those days stretched to 12 has been updated, but folks still stop by
hours. But I was glad to have the work. I for bread and milk between trips to
started by tying lumber bundles then kept Poulsbo, now just minutes away by car.
changing jobs.Most of my life I graded Down the road a piece, near the
lumber." picturesque church, sits the Thompson
The social life was simple, but busy. house, the oldest continuously occupied
"The Thompsons ran the little home in the state of Washington. James
theater there, and there were matinees for Thompson came to Port Gamble on the
those who worked the night shift," Faler schooner Towana and his descendants
said. "There were dances and an outdoor lived in the house more than 99 years.
pavilion outside the post office. At And on the hill, carefully tended and
Christmas there was a big party and every enclosed with a fence, is the quiet grave
child in town received a present from the yard where generations of families are
mill owners." buried.
"People knew everyone in town, These were the men and women
and there was a lot of visiting," Hirschi who toiled in the mills and helped build a
said. lumber empire that left an indelible mark
In those days travel was difficult. on Hood Canal.
Seattle was some distance by boat, and
ByJoAnne Marez
64 • Using the Resource

Section 2

A Log's
By Christopher

Logger Chuck Stewart

fells a 75-year-old tree
that wasto become part

S e p t . 24,1990: Deep in the woods Douglas firs on this 45-acre tract of state
near the tip of the Toandos timberland. Observing more limbs on one
Peninsula, a logging crew has been side of the trunk, Stewart quickly calculates
felling timber since daybreak. the face cut he'll need to make the tree fall
Damp winds have erased the cleanly to the ground.
warm days of summer in forested He revs up his chain saw, a 36-inch
lands east of Dabob Bay. Although clouds Husqvarna, and guides it carefully toward
threaten to turn the dry soil to mud, only a the tree. The surging teeth slash through
few drops have fallen so far this day. bark and into the sapwood of this 75-year-
10:11 a.m.: Chuck Stewart Jr., a skilled old tree.
timber cutter, sizes up one of the larger Stewart, who lives near Hadlock, and
Logging • 65

hundreds of others who work the woods railroads. When possible, rivers were used to
around Hood Canal are members of an move logs to open water.
ancient and proud profession. It was their It didn't much matter whether streams
predecessors who opened Hood Canal to were filled with dirt, smothering salmon
civilization even before the first mill was spawning areas, or if baby birds were left to
built at Port Gamble in 1853. die on the bare ground.
Today's powerful saws complete the Personal accounts of those days are
work faster and with fewer workers than filled with the romantic side of logging life With modern
ever before. As they did 100years ago, — and death. Discussions about "the
technology, it
logging tools help transform trees into environment" were left for future years.
takes a little
houses, bridges, ships, docks — even the Today, more care is required to protect
book you're reading. the natural elements, even on private land. A less than five
Despite improvements in safety, growing awareness of natural systems has minutes to fell
logging remains the most dangerous job in brought changes in logging practices and a 75-year-old
the state, according to the Department of land management — and the change is far Douglas fir
Labor and Industries. More than a few from over.
with a trunk 40
loggers have been surprised by snapping 11:20 a.m.: Gary Hintz, 31, the owner of
tree trunks, falling limbs and whipping this logging company, pushes and pulls at inches across.
saplings. Next to a towering fir tree, a human controls that maneuver the powerful loader
being looks fragile. under him. The machine picks up logs
The danger, says Stewart, is part of the brought to the landing by skidders, then
excitement: "You have to stay on your toes." spins around, loading the trimmed trees
10:12 a.m.: Stewart completes the first onto logging trucks.
of two cuts that will form a notch. The notch Individual logs sometimes sit at the
is critical in aiming the tree. A miscalculation landing for hours or even days, but today the
could leave the tree hung up in others or automatic de-limber, a relatively new
broken, with little value. machine that strips the limbs from smaller
The logger begins his second cut below logs, is out of service. The log that Stewart
the first, angling the blade upwards. After cut and bucked earlier is picked up right
the notch falls out, Stewart visualizes how away.
the tree will fall, then uses his saw to slice a Hintz, a Seabeck resident, learned the
little more wood from one edge of the notch. logging business from his father, Carl.
The saw still roaring, Stewart begins Starting at age 15,Gary worked every job in
his "back cut." Sawdust flies, and seconds the woods before taking over the company
later the wood begins to crackle loudly. The seven years ago.
massive tree leans, as if on a hinge. It falls, His son Brandon, 7, sometimes sits at
faster and faster. Then, with a thundering the controls, moving the heavy machine as
crunch, the tree crushes limbs and under Hintz watches closely. Brandon wants to be
brush as it strikes the ground, dead on a logger, too, said Hintz.
target. "I tell him 'no, no — think banker,
Stewart quickly shears the limbs from football player, anything...' But moments
the tree. Knowing the requirements of Pope later, while talking about this piece of state
& Talbot, he uses a steel tape measure to land and how it will be replanted with
mark the fallen tree and bucks it into logs. seedlings, Hintz comments, "By the time
One 36-footlog is 40 inches across at one end Brandon grows up, he will thin this."
— the largest diameter that can go through 11:29 a.m.: Truck driver BifCorey of
the mill. Poulsbo keeps his eye on the truck's weight
11:03 a.m.: Erick "Pete" Peterson steers scale(justinside the driver's door) as the logs
his John Deere skidder toward the hefty log are loaded. When the digital numbers tick
cut by Stewart. The machine grabs the log off 80,100pounds, he calls for Hintz to stop
and hoists one end off the ground. With a loading.
loud roar, the skidder rushes off,dragging The load is 26 3A tons of raw timber.
the log uphill and leaving a cloud of dust. Corey grabs a hammer and climbs within
In days gone by, the primary concern reach of the logs. He strikes the butt end of
was to cut the logs and get them out of the each one, leaving the brand "CU-25." Now,
woods as cheaply as possible. Teams of anyone can figure out where these logs came
horses were used. Then came logging from.
66 • Using the Resource

Corey throws one end of a steel cable The housing market in Southern
(a "wrapper") over the pile of logs and California — where most of Pope & Talbot's
brings it up tight. For a load this size, state "green" (not kiln-dried) lumber is sold —
law requires three wrappers. won't support the mill's output of 13 million
11:32a.m.: Corey shifts his truck into board feet of lumber each month.
gear and pulls out of the landing area. He Forty-eight employees will remain in
heads downhill toward Port Ludlow, 15 various positions at the mill, while 125
It takes one miles away. workers will have to do without a paycheck
100-foot-tall 12:14p.m.: The truck for at least a month. Saw
pulls up next to a long motors are switched off, one
tree to provide wooden dock at the scaling
the wood and
Toandos by one.
station in Port Ludlow. Scaler Oct 10,2 p.m.: No logs
paper products Tom Kegley, 58, of Poulsbo Peninsula have moved from Port
used annually measures the width of each Ludlow. The mill at Port

by the average log and figures the length Gamble stands quiet except
from marks on the dock. He for a low hum coming from a
keeps track of the volume of sawdust blower at the
timber with a handheld planing building. There, 15
computer. Then he marks the members of the planing crew
bundle with a yellow tag are still on the job, smoothing
bearing the number 9395. the rough boards produced
12:23 p.m.: The truck before the mill closed down.
arrives at Pope & Talbot's log Usually 25 people work in
dump at Port Ludlow, where that building.
the load will become part of a Plant manager Brad
log raft destined for Port Fountain stands near the
Gamble. Mel Morgenson, 39, "head rig," looking out upon
and Don Tuson, 62, are in With national the water. In normal times,
charge here. The two replace forest land being he would see workers push
the cable wrappers with steel restricted to floating logs toward the
"bands," designed to hold logging more and sawmill. And, normally, his
the logs together throughout voice couldn't be heard
their voyage. Five minutes more, timber above the noise of that first
later, a huge "log stacker" — cutters are being big saw.
larger than the logging truck forced to depend on "Ifs an eerie silence,
itself—grabs the entire second growth trees almost a silence of suffering,"
bundle of logs off the truck says Fountain. "This is one of
and heads toward the water.
on state and private the finest mills on the West
At the controls is Morgenson, lands in the Hood Coast and to see it sitting idle
who has worked for Pope & Canal watershed. is pretty devastating."
Talbot 15 years. The lumber industry is
This is a heavy load, familiar with economic cycles
weighing 40 percent more than most. At tied to housing construction, interest rates
water's edge, Morgenson drops the bundle and the national economy. This mill was last
into the water. Unexpectedly, the bands shut down during the recession of 1982.But
snap, probably due to the weight and angle there's a different feeling this time. People
of fall. These logs will have to float free in the are thinking about issues such as the north
log raft, formed by 60 truckloads of timber ern spotted owl, which has been declared
transported out of the woods. threatened under the Endangered Species
Act. A shortage of timber on federal lands,
Uct 4, about 3p.m.: The log Stewart competition from overseas markets and
cut in the woods more than a week earlier is increasing environmental regulations could
still waiting to be towed to the Pope & Talbot put a severe squeeze on mills like Pope &
sawmill. Resident manager Jerry Clark Talbot.
stands before his mill crew in Port Gamble. "We can't expect to have the kind of
He has some particularly bad news. The mill industry we've had for the past decade,"
will shut down for 30 days. says Fountain.
Logging • 67

Oct. 25,2:45 p.m.: Bruce Bell, a39- keep going," he explained.

year-old saw filer, removes a load of clothes Congress recently approved, and the
from the washing machine at his home in president signed, a bill that would limit
Port Gamble. Bell has been out of work since exports of raw logs from state lands. The
the mill shut down three weeks ago. action was designed to preserve Northwest
Normally, he'd be at the mill, operating sawmill jobs as the timber supply grows
equipment that sharpens the huge band tighter.
saws, which now lie quietly on the wooden Competition may drive mills out of The average
floor of the filing room. business, but Clark hopes the waterfront new single-
Since he has been out of work, Bell has location of the Pope & Talbot mill will
repaired his pickup truck and looked for provide a competitive edge in transportation
family home
other jobs. He doesn't see much future in his costs.
uses about
career. 13,000 board
"I enjoy it, but I don't see how it will Oct 29,7:03 a.m.: David Olson reaches feet of
Pope Resources a Major Canal Player lumber and
9,500 square
The largest owner of private timber- And the company is trying to satisfy state
land around Hood Canal didn't and county requirements to convert 185 feet of wood
exist five years ago. acres near Seabeck (a relatively small panels.
Pope Resources in Poulsbo was parcel by Pope Resources standards) to
created in December of 1985 to own and housing.
manage the extensive land holdings of In 1985, the board of directors of
Pope & Talbot in western Puget Sound. It Pope & Talbot was nervous about corpo
bought the 80,000-plusacres under Pope rate raiders. So the company reorganized,
& Talbofs control, most of it in the Hood creating a limited partnership it called
Canal watershed. Pope Resources. In addition to making a
Management of the 65,000 acres of hostile takeover more difficult, said
timberland hasn't much changed from Folquet, it enabled the company to claim
when Pope & Talbot owned them, says full value of its land holdings. And it
George Folquet, Pope Resources presi avoided the double taxationthat corpora
dent. Pope Resources has stepped up the tions and their stockholders then faced —
pace of development of properties close once when the corporation makes the
enough to major population areas to profit, and again when it distributes
become housing. dividends.
It has sold all but one small portion Pope Resources has become a
of the BucklinHill ridgetop overlooking profitable operation, but the realignment
Silverdale. Ifs winning awards for its had its costs, said Folquet. Because Pope
New Port Ludlow development in Resources bought the land from Pope &
Jefferson County, and hoping to create a Talbot, it paid a substantial real estate
major housing development around a transactions tax.
new golf course it plans to build near "It was always presumed that a mill
Kingston. needed its own land and timber base,"
The logging of acreage near Gig Folquet said. "But I think ifs quite the
Harbor is being done selectively, leaving contrary, the mill (at Port Gamble) has
those trees that will add value to the land operated very satisfactorily."
as housing. And a land trade with Sawmill manger Jerry Clark said of
Bremerton may enable Pope Resources to the reorganization, "We had to become a
create the largest housing development in lot smarter about how we purchased logs
the city's history in the Sinclair Heights on the open market. From that standpoint,
area. it has been a difficult transition, but I
But little of the development has think we have the people here who are
been in the Hood Canal basin. Pope capable of doing the job."
Resources acreage along Paradise Bay
Road from the Hood Canal Floating ByTravis Baker
Bridge north has been sold in large lots.
68 • Using the Resource

over the stern of tugboat P&TPioneer and Here it will stay until the saws are spinning
shackles the boat to 11.2 million pounds of again.
floating cellulose — an estimated 8,400
individual Douglas fir logs. JN ov. 1:Just three weeks before
Among these logs is broken bundle Thanksgiving, mill manager Jerry Clark has
9395, which contains the tree cut by Stewart good news and bad news for his crews. The
more than a month earlier. mill will reopen Nov. 12, but with one shift
At the wheel of the 60-foot Pioneer instead of two. Sixty-eight hourly employees
stands Doug Vondersmith, 57, an employee will not come back. In addition, 15 supervi
of Pope & Talbot for 22 years. The boat edges sors will be removed from the payroll.
forward, playing out 1,000 feet of tow cable. "I thought I had the toughest job of my
That's enough distance to reduce drag from life when I faced those guys a month ago,"
the wash of the tug's propeller. said Clark. "Now I have to do it over again,
The boat emits a low, grumbling noise. and there's some permanency this time."
The cable grows taut. The giant wooden A feeling of uncertainty has seeped
rectangle begins to move. into the souls of the men and women who
Today's tow is four complete log rafts, depend on trees for a living.
840feet long and 140feet wide. That's nearly Times are changing. Nobody wants the
the length of three football fields, though not Hood Canal region to stop growing trees,
quite the width of one. but the issue is complicated. The region is no
11:55 a.m.: The log tow passes the main longer dominated by a single-minded
dock at the Port Gamble mill and proceeds industry. In Hood Canal, the days of endless
toward the storage area beyond the mill. timber are coming to an end.
Logging • 69

Steepgrades in the 'watershed make

clearcutting the most economical method for
commercial timber harvesting.

M i k e Handly nudges the off to find the driver and his keys.
control knob gently with his "This is the way logging is," he yells Section
right hand and 500 board feet over his shoulder. "It's a full-bore-type
of prime Douglas fir nestles occupation!" 3
into place on the back of the The break in routine is rare for Handly
logging truck below him. and his crew. They get no breaks. No lunch The
Suddenly the big dieselengine powering his break, no potty break, no coffee break. From
loader begins to chortle and cough, then dawn to dusk, they don't stop unless Economics
chugs to a halt. something forces them. of a
Cussing a blue streak, Handly swings Handly has been a logger all of his life.
out of the big loader. So has his dad, Pat Handly, who also lives in Clear Cut
"Ran out of (expletive deleted) fuel," Quilcene. Byjack Swanson
he yells to the truck driver, asking him to "I've been doing this since I was big
pull his rig forward. Then Handly sprints up enough to go out and set chokers," he laughs
the road to a battered pickup carrying a tank in a deep whiskey baritone. He was 12 at the
of diesel fuel. Another vehicle is blocking the time. At age 25, he got together enough
road. Handly swears some more and sprints equipment and a crew to go into business for
70 • Using the Resource

himself. That was in 1983. repair the roads and culverts behind him
Handly is a barrel-chested 6-footer and move on to the next job — if there is one.
with a grizzled beard. Two centuries ago, he Handly has no job to move on to. The
would have been a pirate. A century ago, a bottom has dropped out of the lumber
trapper, miner — or logger,probably right market because of the nationwide slowdown
here on the frontier. He is single. Logging in home construction. Mills are closing.
doesn't leave a lot of time for long-term Hundreds of independent loggers like
Handly and relationships, he says. Handly are out of work, and the used
his crew don't Handly and his men are just finishing a equipment market is flooded with loaders,
90-acreclearcut high above Hood Canal. The tractors and other rigs.
have time to
land is steep hillside overlooking the It's not the spotted owl that's causing
stop and Dosewallips River about 2,000 feet above sea problems for Handly. It's not the debate over
debate the level. cutting old-growth forests. Ifs the economy.
wisdom of Because the land is so steep, People aren't buying houses anymore.
clearcuts or clearcutting is the only practical way to log. During a brief break, Handly chats
That was decided by the property owner, not with two young hikers who ask how to get
spotted owl Handly. If the land had been more level, it to a hiking trail above where his crew is
habitat. That's could have been logged selectively, using a working. He explains they can't get past his
something the tractor or other equipment to skid the logs rig on the road right now and that he
land owner out to where they could be loaded onto informed the Forest Service he would be

has to worry trucks. working in the area.

But in this case, Handly has to use a The hikers aren't very nice about it,
device called a "yarder," a tall pole attached and one of them makes a snide remark about
to a truck bed, fastened to the ground with how many spotted owls Mike and his crew
heavy cables.Atop the pole is a 2,000-foot- killed that day. Handly scowls but keeps his
long loop of steel cable that stretches down cool, remarking that this isn't a very good
the hill and is attached to a pulley hooked to spot to pick a fight with a bunch of loggers.
a tree. He asks them what they do for a living
One of Handly's crewmen operates the and they say they work at Puget Sound
yarder from a cab at the base of the pole. Naval Shipyard on nuclear weapon systems.
Four 20-foot-longcables called "chokers" After the hikers drive off in search of another
dangle from the middle of the long wire. trail, he makes it clear how he feels about
Half a mile down the hillside where freshly people who work on nuclear weapons then
cut logs lie like matchsticks,three chokermen climbs back into his rig.
wait for the dangling cables. Any visitor to the area Handly is
Tim Love, Handly's rigging slinger, clearcutting would be struck by the beauty
presses a button on a radio-control device of it. The hills, covered by the patchwork of
attached to his belt, which sets off a series of other clearcuts, drop down to Hood Canal in
blasts on an air horn atop the yarder. That's the distance, and on a clear day you can see
the signal for the cableoperator to send the Seattle's skyscrapers. The air is clean and
chokers downhill to the men. They grab the carries the pungent aroma of diesel exhaust
chokers and wrap them round the butt end and crushed fir needles.
of the logs, then Lovesignalsagain and the The visitor has time to take in the
yarder engineer winches them up the hill, scenery. Handly's crew seems oblivious to it
depositing them in a pile beside Handly's all. They're too busy keeping alive.
loader. Handly and his crew are typical. They
Another chokerman working next to don't have time to stop and debate the
the loader releases the cables, then dances wisdom of clearcuts or spotted owl habitat.
nimbly along the logs, cutting them to That's something the land owner has to
proper length with a chainsaw. worry about.
Handly has other things he has to
Handly and his crew of seven have worry about: keeping his equipment run
spent the last four months logging this piece ning, moving out 15 to 20 loads of logs a day,
of land. They have a couple more weeks to seeing that none of his men gets hurt and
finish pulling the logs out and getting the making sure everybody gets paid.
land ready for replanting. When Handly is finished, the 90 acres
Then he will move his equipment out, of 90-year-old trees will have provided 13
Logging • 71

people with jobs for between two and four to Pope & Talbot (P&Tand Pope used to be
months, depending on the work they were one company) and decided to keep the
doing. That crew consisted of two sawyers, hemlock taken from the property. ITT sold
four chokermen, a yarder engineer, five the pulpwood to a Port Angeles firm.
truck drivers and Handly, who operates the Handly was hired by ITT to do the logging.
log loader. When the trucks leave the mountain,
Only five of the men actually work Handly never sees the logs again. They are
directly for Handly on the site. The sawyers measured at a scaling yard, where a com Handly has to
are independent contractors whose work is puter estimates the board feet contained in worry about
done when the last tree hits the dirt. The each log. It spits out a ticket that shows the
truck drivers work for the truck owners, who credits that are added to ITT's account. The
keeping his
rent their rigs out to Handly by the load or trucker takes the logs to Pope & Talbot's equipment
by the day. holding pond near Port Ludlow, where they running,
Each working day Handly and his men are dumped into the water and stored for moving out 15
fill those five trucks three or four times with later processing. to 20 loads of
between 50,000 and 75,000 pounds of wood Handly gets roughly one-third of the
— 20 to 25 logs containing about 5,000board proceeds from each load. Figure a truck
logs a day,
feet of raw lumber. holds 5,000 board feet at $450per thousand, seeing that
In all, Handly expects the 90 acres to that's $2,250 per load. He has five trucks and none of his
yield up about 3.7 million board feet of each makes three trips a day, so that's mengets hurt
timber. At a market price of between $450 $33,750 and his one-third comes to $11,250 and making
and $500 a thousand board feet, that timber per day.
is probably worth in the neighborhood of But he has to pay the truck owner $130
sure everybody
$1.5 million. Handly ends up only with a per load in rent and each of his men around gets paid.
small percentage of the total. $120per day plus benefits. And his fuel bill
comes to around $3,500per day.
Ihe world oflogging economics is "I figure I've gotta have at least $2,300
pretty complex. According to John Walter, a day after expenses to pay for all of the men
timber lands vice president of Pope Re and the state industrial insurance," Handly
sources, Pope bought the property several said. "And diesel fuel just went up another
years ago as part of a 1,200-acrepurchase. It 30 cents a gallon. So that doesn't leave
had previously been Crown Zellerbach land. much."
The parcel had been logged around the Out of what's left over, Handly has to
turn of the century but was not replanted. pay for the equipment, repairs and mainte
The natural regrowth was extremely dense nance. He figures he has more than $100,000
and full of debris that needed to be cleaned invested in equipment. Add everything up
out, Walter said. About two years ago, Pope and Handly figures his company will show a
sold the "stumpage" or the right to cut the gross income of more than $100,000 this
trees, to ITT-Rayonier. year, but he personally will end up with
Under the contract, Pope continued to about the same amount his men make.
own the logs until they were cut. After "It all depends on how good a logger
cutting ITT had to pay Pope a certain fixed you are," he says. "It's a matter of produc
price for the timber. If the market price is tion. You gotta get the wood out."
higher now than the price Pope sold it for, There's one big difference, however,
ITTmakes money. If it's lower than the fixed between Mike and his men. When they get
price, Pope makes more than it would have laid off, they can apply for unemployment
if it had harvested the trees itself. compensation. If Handly can't come up with
'That's why, at times, timber sales like another logging contract, he will have to go
these can be a very advantageous tool," to work for somebody else — if he can find
Walter said. "If the market is low, people are someone who is hiring. If he couldn't log,
willing to speculate that the market will go what would he do?
up later on. On the other hand, the market "What I really want to do is all I've
can work against you." ever done," he said. "I wish we could keep
The contract specifies that the trees had logging. If I can't do that, I guess I'd want to
to be cut by March 1991 or ownership would work with equipment of some kind. But I
return to Pope. ITTsold the Douglas fir logs just don't know what else I would do."
72 • Using the Resource

Each working
day Handly Timber related jobs
and his men in Hood Canal counties
fill five trucks Mason
three orfour County Major firms Product Jobs
times with 20
to 25 logs Simpson Timber Timber 915
containing Hiawatha Inc. Wholesale evergreen 225
Manke Lumber Logging and hauling 120
about 5,000
Skookum Lumber Lumber, siding 120
boardfeet of Population 36,800 ITT Rayonier Wood research 80
raw lumber. Total employment 12,130 Olympia Wood Products Lumber 55
Timber-related 14.6% Other sawmills Lumber (seasoned) 250

Jefferson County
Port Townsend Paper Paper, pulp 397
Allen Log Lumber, chips, logs 100
Population 18,600 Gary Phillips Logging Contract logging 54
Total employment 7,600 Halco Fence Lumber 16
Timber-related 7.5 %

4 "" 177,300
Total employment 71,500
Pope and Talbot Forest products 275

Source: Washington Department of

Timber-related 0.4% Trade and Economic Development,
Logging • 73

Logging Is Region's Bread and Butter

A s a region, the area west of Hood jobs.Nearly 15 percent of those who hold
Canal produces more timber than jobs in Mason County work for timber-
any other similar-sized area in the related firms.
state except for Lewis and Cowlitz In Jefferson County, nearly 8 percent
counties to the south. of the work force is employed in timber "It all depends
Mason and Jefferson counties rank production or processing. on how good a
sixthand eighth, respectively, among the No one tracks timber and jobs just logger you are.
19 counties west of the Cascades in for the Hood Canal watershed, but It's a matter of
amount of timber harvested in 1989. officials say they believethe dependence production.
JeffersonCounty produced more timber on timber-relatedjobsis somewhat higher
fromstate-owned land last year than any in the small towns that ring the canal than You gotta get
other county in the state. overall county figures suggest. the wood out"
Kitsap County, which forms the Towns like Hoodsport and Quilcene —Mike Handly,
canal's eastern border, is at the bottom of have dozens — perhaps even hundreds Quilcene
the list in timber production, however. It — of small,independent "gypo" loggers.
ranks 17thand produced less than 1 Many familiessubsist on the income of a
percent of Western Washington's 1989 single logging truck or bulldozer. Count
harvest less others work sporadically as choker
Nevertheless, it is home to one of setters and sawyers for independent
Hood Canal's oldest and most productive loggers.
mills,Pope & Talbot in Port Gamble at the As a result, officials say the number
head of the canal. of persons around Hood Canal who
Pope Resources, a timber and land depend on the timber industry for jobs
development company with headquarters could be as high as 50 percent
in Poulsbo, is one of the major land For the Olympic Peninsula as a
owners on the canal. whole, more than 11,000 persons received
Looking at the three-county area as more than $305 million in direct wages
a whole, officials say one of every four from the timber industry and more than
persons owes his livelihood to the timber 46,000 persons benefitted indirectly. Total
industry. Dependence on timber is direct and indirect benefits to the region's
heaviest in Mason County where timber- economy amounted to more than $1.3
related firms are seven of the top 10 billion,accordingto a recent study
employers and provide more than 1,700 conducted by industry and state agencies.
ByJack Swanson
74 • Using the Resource

Section 4

Who Owns
the Canal

By Travis Baker

T i m b e r is a game played with Jefferson County has seen the most

thousand-acre chips, and in the active trading in timberland.
Hood Canal basin, Pope Re Pope is the big player there, but others
sources is the private operator include a real estate arm of Traveler's
with the biggest stack. Insurance, with 4,600 acres in the watershed,
Its stack still is smaller than and about 12,000 total in eastern Jefferson;
that held by the federal government. But PacificFunding Corp. of Lynnwood with
among private owners, no one rivals Pope's about 3,000acres; and ANE Forests of Puget
approximately 60,000 acres in the watershed. Sound, owned by a Dane, Sorn Nymark, and
That private ownership has been in flux holder of 4,600 canal acres. Manke & Sons of
in Jefferson and Kitsap County, but relatively Tacoma has only 660acres in Jefferson, but
stable in Mason, where Simpson Timber Co. more in Kitsap and Mason, and Trillium
is king. While only 8,000 of Simpson's 170,000 Corp. of Bellingham has recently acquired
acres in Mason County are on the slopes 630 acres of canal timberland.
draining into the canal,Simpson is still the Pope Resources, Pacific Funding and
second largest private timberland owner in Trillium are the three who have ties to
the watershed. development. Pope has thousands of acres
Current Hood Canal timberland converted to housing or about to be, but
ownership includes three companies with almost none of it is in the canal watershed.
experience in residential and commercial PacificFunding is owned by some of the
development, plus a major insurance com same people who own First Western Devel
pany. But there appear to be no activeplans opment, which builds and owns shopping
to convert any substantial amount of canal centers. Mile Hill Plaza, Target Plaza and
forestland to any other use. Winslow Village in Kitsap County are First
Only one company, Christmas tree Western projects. Trillium is part owner of
grower G.R. Kirk in Mason County, sees a the Semiahmoo Resort in Whatcom County,
short-range likelihoodof conversion from and Belles Faire Mall in Bellingham is on
timberland. land it put together.
Logging • 75


PopeResources m
Simpson Timber
Publicly heldlands
Otherprivate lands


Trillium Corp. (tc)

Pacific Funding
Travelers Ins. (m)
ANE Forests @)
G.R. Kirk
Overton Family C5)
Manke & Sons (m)
/. Hofert Co. (IT)

The timber lands

surrounding Hood
Canal are controlled
bya diverse set of
stewards. Large
timber companies like
Simpson and Pope and
Talbot rub elbows
with smaller timber
companies. They all
rub elbows with the
state andfederally
controlled timber
76 • Using the Resource

The corporate raid of Crown land, their policies have the most to say
Zellerbachby BritisherSirJamesGoldsmith about the future of the canal.
led to liquidation by his company, Bothlog annually, aiming for what is
Cavenham, of its Jefferson County timber essentially an industry standard of harvest
land, which has been bought by various new ing 1 V2 - 2 percent of their lands each year.
owners. That allows a 50-to-60-yearcycle in which
John Calhoun, the Olympic Region part of their timberis reaching maturity all
No private managerfor the state Department of Natural the time. But both emphasize that market
landowner Resources, called the buy-log-and-sell fluctuations increase and decrease any year's
practices of Cavenham"despicable forestry." harvest as they try to get the best price for
rivals Pope's But DNR was unable to require any more of the timber.
approximately Cavenham than that it replant the logged Both Pope and Simpson are trying to
60,000 acres in acreageas demanded by state law.Though it "block up" their holdings, consolidating
the Hood took longer than DNR would have liked, ifs them in a few areas through trades with
Canal now all replanted, said Calhoun. other owners so they can avoid trying to
Travelers, ANE and Pope Resources manage widely spread parcels. Pope surren
are among those who own someof the land dered 6,000 acres south of Hood Canal in
now. Mason County in a three-way trade under
Pacific Funding traded some of its land which it acquired timber on state land,
with Pope Resources and acquiredmost of Simpson blocked up its Mason County
the rest from a Taiwanese owner called holdings and the state got some Simpson
Golden Springs.LikeCavenham,Golden land.
Springswas slow to replant afterlogging Aside from that trade, said George
and paid littleattention to the long-term Folquet,president of Pope Resources, his
welfare of the land, said Calhoun. company is seeking to increaseits land base.
John Walter, vice president for timber- All timberland owners who log use
lands at Pope Resources, says up to 45 clearcuttingin mature stands. Nearly all also
percent of the young trees on a parcel it do commercial thinning, in which selected
acquired from GoldenSpringswillhave to trees are taken. That makes room for the
be replaced.The replanting was done too remaining trees to grow while generating
long after logging,he said. revenue from sale of the trees taken.
Trillium picked up its Jefferson County Some are logging very little. Buyers of
land from Georgia Pacific. Cavenham and Golden Springs land weren't
In Mason County, the major canal left much to log. ANE Forests, for example,
owners other than Simpson are Los Angeles- logged three of its JeffersonCounty acres in
based J. Hofert Co. and G.R. Kirk Co. of 1990, PacificFunding an estimated 50 acres,
Tacoma. Both are Christmas tree growers Trillium none and Travelers almost none. All
who have been in the county for decades. have larger holdings in other parts of the
Scott Scott, a Hofert vice president, estimates state or nation they will log while waiting for
it has 2,000 acres in the canal watershed. Rick their Jefferson trees to grow, they say.
Kirk of the Tacoma firm said 3,500 acres on Only Kirkforesees subdivision of its
the Tahuya Peninsula are the bulk of its productive land in the near future. President
holdings. Rick Kirk said the trend in Christmas trees is
Pope far exceedsany other owner in toward sheared trees grown on fertile land
timberland in KitsapCounty. Thereare few such as the company owns in Thurston
other largeblocks of ownershipin the canal County. That is making its 3,500acres in
watershed. Manke & Sons of Tacoma Mason County more and more marginal. Its
appears to be the only one with more than a rural location, however, would dictate
thousand acres. The Overton family of subdivision into only large lots if that is what
Olympiaowns a lot of land westof the company decides to do with it in the
Bremerton National Airport, but only a few future.
hundred acres drain toward Hood Canal, As poor as it is, the Tahuya Peninsula
said Peter Overton. land produced 120,000 cut trees last Christ
Policies on management of the land mas, about 10 percent of Kirk's production,
and its harvesting vary among the compa he said.
nies.SincePope and Simpsonhave the most
Logging • 77

Tax Structure Seeks Commitment to the Land

Taxation of timberland in Washing Kitsap and Jefferson countiesis in a

ton state has followed a basic medium categoryvalued by the state at
premisefor nearly two decades. between $70 and $100 per acre.
The premise is that the owner, In return for the niinimal valuations,
governmentand publicbenefitwhen the state collectsa 5 percent excise tax on Both Pope and
timber is taxed at cutting rather than the timber when ifs cut. Simpson log
annually as it grows. And, if the owner removes land annually,
Prior to 1971, timberland was taxed from the forestryclassification, the state havesting
as any other real property — each year, charges a rollback tax that is greater than
based on the countyassessor'sestimateof the owner would have paid over 10years
its value with the timber included, said had the land not been designated for percent of their
BillDerkland, forest property tax pro forestry. lands each
gram managerfor the state Departmentof Four-fifths of the 5 percent tax from year. That
Revenue. logging on privateland goesto the allows a 50-
Annual taxation created an incen counties. All 5 percent from logging on
tive to cut the timber, elirninatingforest- governmentland goesto the state.
land, said Derkland. By harvesting, the The payments are made to the state growth cycle.
land owner reduced his property taxes quarterly. Much like federal income tax,
and took the revenue represented by the payments are on the honor system, with
trees. penaltiesof up to 50 percent,plus interest,
In 1971,the Legislature moved to for inaccurate reporting, when it is
reduce that incentive. The biggest tax bite, caught.
it decided, should come when the trees A 10-year rollback of taxeson land
are cut. beingwithdrawn fromtimberclassifica
Annual property taxes were greatly tion can be a windfall for counties and
reduced. The state Department of Rev other localgovernmentsif the land is in
enue establisheda 29-category ranking of an area with escalatingproperty values,
timber land, based on its productivity and said Derkland.
the ease of logging it When land is withdrawn from
Each year since, the state has forestry taxation, the county assessor
establisheda value per acre for each of the calculates its current value, subtracts its
29 categories. forest land value, and the county then
Those values are much lower than appliesthe current tax rate to that value.
under the "highest and best use" standard Tne result is multiplied times 10,and the
that county assessors apply to other land. land owner must pay that amount.
Kitsap County Assessor Carol Belas If land values in that area have, say,
estimates them to be only 3 percent of doubled in those 10years, the rollback
normal value, on average. On an 885-acre amount paid for each of the 10years
parcelon BainbridgeIsland, it was closer could be as much as double what the
to 1 percent company actually would have paid had
And no annual tax is paid on the the land not been taxed as timberland.
timber on the land. There have been no recent conver
Statewide,the designated values of sions of timberland in Kitsap's portion of
timberland range from $1 to $135per acre the Hood Canal basin, Belas said.
this year. Most timberland in Mason,
ByTravis Baker
78 • Using the Resource

Section 5


Cut Out of the Future?

Quilcene logger DickPederson has his Logging is what he knows, what he

share of bumps, bruises, cuts, and feels comfortable with. He can't picture
stitches to show for a steady 21 years himself in an officejob. But he sees that
of work in the woods. there'slittle future in logging and he hopes
"I cut it right down to the bone; the he'll be able to stick with it for another five
only thing that stopped the bladewas my years, long enough to pay for his new truck.
knuckle," Pedersonsays,pointingto a scar "If there is a normal job that someone
on his hand. "And the time I had 37 stitches would train me for,... I'll take it," he says.
in my neck when I fell down and the sharp After his current job,a clearcut on
teeth of the saw ripped into me." ForestServiceland in the Dungeness
Pederson's experiences would not watershed, there isn't another one in the
dispute Department of Labor and Industries foreseeable future. The jobis supposed to
statistics that say logging is the mostdanger keep him busy for eight months, but there
ous occupation in the state. A total of 163 are no more timber sales pending. And there
loggers lost their lives in the woods between is always the threat that the Forest Service
1980 and 1990. might revoke the cutting permit if spotted
It is a measure of the people who do owls are located in the area.
the work that they continue despite these "I won't take my kids out in the
statistics, and despite an increasingcrunch woods," Pederson says as he sights the lean
on the number of logging jobsavailablein of a second-growth Douglas fir he prepares
Washington generally, and in the Hood to fellnear SlabCamp south of Sequim.He
Canal watershed in particular. doesn't want them to get hooked on it like he
It's not that there aren't rewards. did as a kid. "There's not much of a future
Pederson earns between $150 and $200 leftin this business," he sighs.
a day cutting trees, and wonders where else The stocky Pederson is a proud man
a 42-year-old with no high school diploma who moved to Quilcene when he was 3. He
can get a job with that kind of pay. began working in the woods as a teenager,
Logging • 79

joining with his father, Harold, who had

been logging for 37 years.
Pederson began first by running the
heavy equipment cat, then moved up to the
skidders, and on to cutting standing timber.
While he takes pride in his work, his
wife Celine hesitates to mention in public
what her husband does for a living. Some
people have confronted them and called him
a tree killer, Pederson says.
His typical day begins at 5 a.m. He
dresses in a worn plaid shirt and ankle-
length logging jeans that are held up by
typical red suspenders. After grabbing a
quick breakfast, he carpools with two fellow
loggers to the logging site.
"It's dark when I leave in the morning
and dark when I get home," he says.
Twelve-hour days are not unusual for a
As a light rain falls at the logging site,
the three men part to go to their respective
jobs. Pederson heads to the woods, while
Ken Akerman from Quilcene jumps into the
skidder, and Bud Smith of Brinnon starts
bucking fallen timber.
Pederson moves from tree to tree.
In each case, he first decides which
way he wants it to fall. He then yanks the
starter pull on his chainsaw and begins to
fashion the notch that directs the tree's
With the wood from the notch re
moved, Pederson cuts from the opposite side
of the tree along the plane set by the top cut
of the notch. Using a bright orange axe, he
hammers in a plastic wedge that keeps the
weight of the tree from binding the saw bar.
Before the backcut reaches the notch, town. She knows her husband will be Dick Pederson

the tree begins to creak. The fall begins hungry when he walks in the back door.
slowly as the wood fibers that still hold the About 5 p.m., Akerman drops
trunk upright begin to crack, but then Pederson at the house. Dick ambushes
accelerates quickly as the weight of the tree Celine with a kiss, then goes straight to the
pulls it off the stump. shower to wash off the accumulation of dirt,
The cut continues as the tree begins its grease, sawdust, and sweat.
descent, one last opportunity to alter the Cleaned, and in fresh clothes, he comes
direction of the fall. to the dinner table with Celine, son Justin, 12,
As soon as it's down, Pederson jumps and a friend of Justin's.
up on the tree in his cork boots, measures After dinner Pederson has but a short
and marks the tree for log lengths. time to play with his son before it's bed time.
The process is repeated 39 times in The two go out into the living room to shoot
Pederson's typical day in the woods. ducks on the Nintendo game.
Celine Pederson tries not to think too
much about the possibility that Dick will lose
L-eline, Dick's wife ofoneyear, isbusy his job. An estimated 28,000 timber industry
in the kitchen of their home on the bend of jobs in Washington, Oregon and northern
the Little Quilcene River just outside of California are expected to disappear in the
80 • Using the Resource

next decade because of the proposals to set them on private or state land.
old stands of timber aside for owl habitat But in Washington, the state Depart
But many more jobs have been lost in ment of Natural Resourceshas set up
recent years as the industry has automated. guidelines to protect the owls by prohibiting
These days, only seven loggers are employed cutting trees on state and private land within
in a crew that clearcuts 90 acres. as little as two miles and as much as four
Celine instantly fell in love with miles from where an owl is seen or known to
"Ifthere is a Quilcene when she moved from Tenino in be nesting.
normal job 1988. Where else can you leave your doors There was never a suggestion that owls
unlocked, plus hunt, fish, collectoysters, or might live on Goodpaster's land. It was
that someone
go crabbing right outside your door? second-growth forest, after all, and it is well
would train me The Pedersons wish they could live known that spotted owls live in old-growth
for,... I'll take there forever. or virgin timber where decayed trees
it. I won't take But in a small timber town, there aren't provide lots of homesites for the owl's
my kids out in many other kinds of jobs available and favorite food — flying squirrels.
growth is slow. They admit they may have But when Jim Goodpaster Jr. went to
the woods.
to leave, but Pederson says he would go the DNR to obtain a cutting permit for his
There's not crazy in a big town. father's land, he was told he couldn't get one
much of a until someone from the state Department of
ByLarry Steagall
future left in Wildlife did an owl survey. The DNR told
this business." him a spotted owl had been seen on national
Nest Egg Soured by an Owl forest land within 2 l/z miles of the
— Dick Pederson
Goodpaster property.
About 50 years ago, Jim Goodpaster Sr. DNR officialsare quick to point out
had a good idea. He was helping to that it was the timing more than anything
log a nice stand of timber above Lake else that caused the delays on Goodpaster's
Cushman when it occurred to him that the application.
land might be worth something someday. "Our agency was scrambling to figure
It certainly wasn't then. After the out how to administer the new federal
logging was done, the land was practically regulations," said Ben Cleveland, regional
worthless. It would take another 50 to 90 resource protection specialist in DNR's
years for a new crop to grow. Enumclaw office, which oversees the
Goodpaster bought the 80acresfor Hoodsport area. "There was confusion over
$240 — $30 an acre. Oh, well. It was, he implementation of the new regulations and
decided, a good investment for his old age. the effect on our regulations."
He was wrong. Jim Jr. was furious. "Here we have
In July of 1990, Goodpaster, 84 and private land that has been logged before and
dying, needed the return on that investment. we can't get permits to log our own land.
Unable to care for himself, he was bed Thafs not right," he said. "Our security was
ridden in a Shelton nursing home that was that land."
costing his family $75 a day. The timber on Jim Jr. is a huge, friendly bear of a man
that 80 acres up near Lake Cushman was who operates heavy equipment for a living
now worth nearly half a million dollars. and lives in Hoodsport. He is one of three
The only thing standing in the way children in the Goodpaster family. His
was a spotted owl two milesaway on federal mother also resides in Hoodsport.
land. He readily agreed to give us a tour of
The Goodpaster family's predicament the property, talking a mile a minute and
provides a prime example of the legal driving two. When Goodpaster drives a
tangles private timber owners can find logging road, you don't take notes. You
themselves in as a result of efforts to save the brace your feet, grit your teeth and hang on.
threatened spotted owl. Not only was the family having a
Nationally, the controversy over the problem with Goodpaster Sr.'s medical bills,
owl has revolved around setting aside old- he explained, time was against them for
growth timber stands in national forestsin getting the land logged at all this year.
Washington, Oregon and California.Those Because the land is part of the Lake
regulations say nothing about protecting Cushman drainage, logging would be
Logging • 81

impossible after the fall rains began.

Goodpaster Jr. would have to wait until next
spring — "and who knows what regulations
will be in effect then?" he said.
Another major concern was what the
timber market might do in the next several
months. The housing market already was
cooling off nationally and prices were getting
soft.Jim Jr. figured the property has about
1.6 million board feet of timber on it that
would have sold in June 1990 for between
$400,000 and $500,000.
"That's gross," he growled, shoving
harder on the gas pedal of his four-wheel-
drive pickup, sending dust flying on the
narrow road. "By the time we pay 30 percent
logging cost, a 5 percent timber tax, 1.3
percent real estate tax, B&O tax, corporation
tax and personal income tax, there's not
going to be a lot left. We'll be damned lucky
if we end up with a few thousand. Mean
while, the property has been raped and then
we're looking at another 50 years before it
can be logged again."

It isn't just the 80-acre piece the family

worries about. Goodpaster Sr., who spent 28
years as a Mason County school superinten
dent, collected about 650 acres of land in
small parcels around the county. Several
years ago, he underwent surgery to remove
a brain tumor, and afterward his health
began to decline.The family set up a trust to
pay Jim Sr.'s medical expenses, and the
money from the timber sale was supposed to
go into that.
His son worries about whether the Jim Goodpaster Jr.
family will have the same problems logging wasn't considered suitable owl habitat. The
the other parcels as they have with the 80- first week of October, Jim Jr. got the cutting
acre piece near Lake Cushman. permit.
August went by, then September. On Oct. 8,1990, Jim Sr. died.
Goodpaster Sr.'s condition grew worse. Jim
Jr. finally was able to get someone to come in buddenly, the whole equation
and look for owls. He smirks at the scientific changed.
methodology used for the survey. "Dad's death has eased things," Jim
"You call this owl lady," he said. "She Goodpaster Jr. said in November 1990.
comes and looks at the land. If she sees an "Logging is no longer a necessity. It's now a
owl, she is supposed to give it a dead mouse. matter of if we get the opportunity, should
If the owl jumps up into a tree and eats the we? Because if we don't do it now, we may
mouse, it's just a transient owl that lives not get another one."
someplace else. The rainy season has begun. The
"But if it flies off with the mouse to a bottom has dropped out of the timber
nest nearby, you're in trouble." market. Although the price for Douglas fir
In September, the DNR told the remains fairly high, the price of alder and
Goodpasters their land was clear of owls and other timber on the property has declined at
82 • Using the Resource

least by half. like a sharp bark than a hoot. "Oooh! Oooh!

If the Goodpastersgo ahead and cut OoooHhh!"
this fall, they probably willend up with half The final note is louder and trails off
what they would have gotten last summer. moreslowly. Shewaits a minute and repeats
What is the post-election climate goingto be the series. Thenshe moveson through the
like? What kind of regulations will be in forest anotherquarter of a mileand begins
effect nextyear?Will pricesgo up or down? callingagain.
"Here we Goodpasterbringsthe pickupto a Finally, in the distance, her call is
have bouncinghalt on the edge of his property answered. After a week of nights like this,
and climbsheavilyout of the cab.He points the callerhas found what she was looking
out the tracks of dirt bikers who have for: a spotted owl. During the next few
land that trespassed on the land, chewing up the minutes, if all goeswell,the owl lady will
has been muddy trail. coaxthe owl from his tree to a spot where
logged "Simpson has quit buying altogether she can slip the nylon loop at the end of her
before and and is talkingabout shutting down. Pope& fishingpole around its neck and place a
Talbotshut down," he said. "Everything is plastic band around its leg. Feathers and
we can't
up in the air right now. A lot of owners are dignityslightly mussed,the owl willget a
get converting their property to 5-acretracts for nicefat mouse for its troubleand willfly
permits to recreational homesites." away, hopefully to a nest nearby.
log. That's ButGoodpaster's property is land And for her trouble, the owl lady will
not right. locked with no access to the Forest Service get to draw a circleon a map marking the
road a couple of miles away. He leans an home of another spotted owl. At the end of
elbow on the lip of the pickup bed and scans the month, she will get a check for $9.68 for
security the forestaround him."Eventually, we'll be eachhour she spent out in the forest hooting
was that likeEurope,"he said. "We'llbe picking up in the dark.
land." sticksin the forest and the government will
— Jim be telling everybody what they can and can't
Goodpaster cut." Ivy Otto, 31, grew up in Newark, N.J.
Jr. ByJack Swanson
Sheis compact, sturdy and can walk the legs
off just about anybody. She wears red and
gray tennis shoes, well worn, baggy black
In Search of an Elusive Owl
Levis, a formless black sweatshirt with
brown logging shirt underneath and a blue
The air is chilly and the Seven Sisters are
nylon vest. Lots of layers for warmth.
so bright in the sky overhead they
She has been an owl lady since 1987.
almost hurt your eyes. The small
"It goes back a long ways," she says,
pickup with government licenseplates pulls
explaining how she took up her unusual
to the side of the narrow dirt road and stops.
profession. "My interest in biology goes back
When the door opens, the dome light
to when I was a kid. I started working for the
silhouettes the face of a young, pretty, dark-
Forest Service on the Hood Canal Ranger
haired woman.
District,worked in fire suppression, fire
It is 4 a.m., and she is 20 miles from the
guard, ended up going on a lot of forest fires
nearest civilization. Alone.
for two summer seasons. In 1987, they
She doesn't waste time thinkingabout
merged the ranger districts and started
the surroundings. After locking the door, she
surveying for spotted owls."
opens the rear canopy door and dons heavy
She got the job and later transferred to
hiking boots. She stuffs a plastic box full of
the Forest Service's research laboratory in
mice and a walkie-talkie into the back of a
combination rucksack-vest. Flashlight in one
'The lab is trying to find out exactly
hand and surfing rod in the other, she
how many owls there are in the forest and
trudges into the thick forest, picking her way
trying to learn more about the mortality,
carefully through boulders and rotting logs.
population changes and fluctuations. It's
There is no trail.
research-oriented, where the district is
Deep inside the forest, she pauses,
management-oriented. The districfs task is
listens. Minutes go by.
to look at the effects of their management on
"Oooh!" she cups her hands around
her mouth and the sound comes out more
But with recent new federal regulations
Logging • 83

designed to protect the spotted owl as an

endangered species, Otto's job has taken on
new significance. The research she and
dozens of others like her do not only will
help determine whether spotted owls
survive but how the entire forest industry
conducts its business.
Thousands of jobs are at stake, not just
among loggers who have depended on
federal timber land for work.
Next March when the state Depart
ment of Natural Resources places its new
regulations into effect, the existence of one
pair of nesting spotted owls near state or
private land can prevent harvest of timber
within a 4-mile circle of their nest.
Because the stakes are so high, it is easy
to understand why the government has
hired people like Otto. They search the
forests alone, counting and banding the
owls, checking what they eat, measuring the
size of the territory they claim for them
In all of the Olympic Peninsula, there
are only six owl counters like Otto. As of
1990, they have found 23 adult owls and 10
In the forests surrounding Hood Canal,
surveyors have found nine pairs of owls.
Their presence will have a major impact on
the amount of logging that will be done
around the canal. There will be less logging
in the area than probably any time since
logging began more than a century ago.

Una recent fall morning, Ottoleft her

Olympia home at 2 a.m. and drove to Hood Ivy Otto
Canal to talk about her work and try to woo brightly colored leg bands on either or both
a spotted owl close enough for a photogra legs so trackers can tell them apart.
pher to take its picture. "When you go back to the site the next
Hormones and the time of the year year, you don't have to catch the bird and
doomed the venture to failure, however. A read the band again," Otto said. "You can
morning of hooting brought Otto only a sore just look at the color of the bands. You can
throat and the faint, distant bleats of a usually get close enough or sometimes they
pygmy owl in response. Spotted owls will come down to you or will preen them
generally only answer intruders in their selves and lift their leg up. And if you don't
territory during spring mating season, she see it you keep going back until you do, until
explained. you're sure they're either banded or they're
Do they actually expect to find every not. And if they're not, then you band
owl on the Olympic Peninsula? them."
"Our goal is to find them all," she said. The job looks a lot easier on the printed
"It's my understanding there's an intensive page than in practice. What it means in
study area on the peninsula. They think reality is that Otto sometimes has to spend
they're pretty close to having almost all the night after cold, lonely night out in trackless
pair sites down." wilderness. Owls, after all, are nocturnal.
When they are found, the owls get They hunt and feed at night.
84 • Using the Resource

Does she ever worry about getting lost? "To me, the owl is valuable aestheti
Shethinksabout it a minute. Nope. Breaking cally," she said. "It's beautiful. Ifs an animal
a leg?Getting hurt? Sometimes. That's why that is interesting. Ifs neat to learn some
she always carries water, food and her two- thing about their behavior and I think that's
way radio. every reason in the world to protect it"
She doesn't even mind working in a Ask her opinion about the ruckus the
"temporary" position without benefits. spotted owl has created among lumbermen
"I'm not "I really enjoy my job," she said. "It's a and she is careful to say that her opinions are
against lot of fun and I would probablykeep doing hers and in no way that of the U.S. Forest
this for a long time, but just recentlymy Service.
logging. My husband started graduate school in molecu "I think we have to decide as a society
personal lar biology at the University of Wisconsin in what we value. I don't think it's necessarily
feeling is that Madison and it makes it difficultto be apart. an owls vs. jobsissue. My personal opinion
the old-growth I'll probably do this for at least one more is that if jobs were the issue there would be
forest is a breeding season but I'm going to try to get more effort by industry to retrain the
into graduate school myself." loggers. All of the money that's put into
resource to our
Otto earned an undergraduate degree maintaining logging roads and building
society and our from The EvergreenStateCollege, studying logging roads and replanting harvested units
country in natural history, ornithology, agriculture and and setting up units, which is paid for by the
other ways ecology. federal government when their land is
than just for With that kind of background, Otto logged by private industry, should be
said it was only natural for her to become channeled into helping these folks adjust to
interested in more than just counting owls. some changes that are inevitable down the
products. Lately, she has been collectingand analyzing road, even if there were no spotted owls and
We're losing it the lump of debris owls cough up after it weren't an issue.
beforewe feeding. It usually contains the skulls and 'To industry I think that's just a tool to
know anything other bones of the animals they eat. stir people's emotions. They have a lot to
Spotted owls are so important because lose. A lot of money."
about it in
they are what scientists call an "indicator The biologist is gone. In her place
detail" species," a group of animals that shows the stands a natural philosopher in the mould of
— Ivy Otto overall health of an ecosystem's inhabitants. Henry Thoreau or Edward Abbey.
Compared to most birds and other "I'm not against logging. My personal
animals, spotted owls are relatively delicate. feeling is that the old-growth forest is a
They generally have only one or two babies resource to our society and our country in
each season, and the babies often do not other ways than just for wood products," she
survive. said. "I think that it's diminishing rapidly. If
Spotted owls thrive only in old-growth we look at the time scale since people first
forests where there are lots of dead or settled in this area, we're losing it before we
decayed trees that provide secure nesting know anything about it in detail.
places for themselves and their main food "For example, people are looking at the
source — flying squirrels. Young trees don't yew tree as a possible cure for cancer. In the
have decay pockets. Young forests don't past, we cut them all down and didn't think
have thick shade canopies that keep animals twice about it There's all kinds of plants out
cool on hot summer days. Flying squirrels there that grow in the forest that we don't
like to eat the fungi that grows on rotting know anything about. Most of our medicines
logs. That doesn't grow in clearcuts or new come from these plants. There are so many
second-growth stands either. No food, no things to learn, and it would be a real
owl. tragedy if the forest was cut down and gone
forever and we couldn't learn anything from
Dut for Otto, the spotted owl is more
ByJack Swanson
than just an indicator species.
Logging • 85

Section 6

For Timber
o r for the

By Christopher

F r o m an airplane, the forests of forests, no two people see the value of trees
Hood Canal seem to clothe the in quite the same way.
bare earth with quilted fabric. To Gary Phillips, a logger from
Green patches vary in texture, Quilcene, a tree represents a way of life
revealing different ages of trees. passed down from his father and grandfa
Brown patches demarcate recent ther. Cutting a tree means feeding his family
clearcuts. and providing raw material for someone's
Toward the west, jagged mountain house.
peaks thrust upward to the sky. Below, a To Aargon Steel, Adopt-A-Forest
swath of blue water shines in the sunlight. coordinator for Washington Audubon, the
This is the Hood Canal watershed, a trees offer food and shelter for animals
fragile and interconnected ecosystem. ranging from cougars to elk, from eagles to
How people feel about this region — salmon, not to mention the tiniest organisms
and the decisions they make — will deter at the beginning of nature's food chain.
mine what natural features remain for future Still others see trees as part of the
generations. In the intense debate over landscape, an important element in the
86 • Using the Resource

beautythat defines HoodCanal today. massive petition, asking that a host of other
Both Phillips and Steel havestrong forest species be considered for the endan
feelings abouttrees and wildlife, but they gered list.
realize the issuesare far toocomplex to "Whatwe reallyneed," says Bob
resort to convenient slogans, such as "Save a Crowley of Olympic Environmental Council,
tree; eat an owl." "is an endangered ecosystem act"
Donna Simmonsof Hoodsport,a
"The most member of the state Ecological Commission,
economically has worked intensivelyon timber issues. Uld-growth" is one type of forest
Needed more than anything, she says, are ecosystem targeted for protection as a result
bridges of understanding. of spotted owl studies. Protection measures
counties in the "The reason the timber industry is in a may wellsave other species in the process.
Northwest are crisis today is not justbecause of crazy ButCrowleyworriesthat the spotted
those that environmentalists trying to lockup every owl issue has failed to force federal officials
depend on stick of timber," she says. "There are issues to consider the biological limits of human
loggingfor of export,automation—we can log10times activities. The issue has simply shifted
fasterwith 10timesfewerpeople—as well attention to trees that can be marketed
their as the over-harvesting of the past." without affecting the spotted owl itself.
livelihood. The It is wellunderstood that manyspecies "They are under a lot of pressureto get
most of wildlifewould disappear without trees. the (timber)volume out again, but with a
prosperous are But if uncontrolled logging threatens the much-reducedland base," said Crowley.
natural system, total preservation threatens But some gains have been made.
those that
the human system. Crowley, a Port Townsend resident, is
participating in a unique Forest Service
unchained experiment in the Mount Walker area near
themselves Already, the impacts are being felt in Quilcene. The concept is to evaluate the
from their the timber market as the federal government area's resources — timber, wildlife, plants,
protectstimberfor wildlife habitat, saidJerry dead material, etc. —and decide how many
Clark, resident manager of the Pope & trees can be harvested (and by what method)
— Tim Egan, Talbot sawmill at Port Gamble. without destroying the ecological health of
The Good Rain "We're going to price a lot of people the area. No targets for timber were identi
out of the housing market," said Clark. "We, fied in advance, as would normallybe the
as the public, have to make some tough case.

decisionsabout how we want to approach "We give up some of our advocacy role
our lifestyle." in going into this kind of process," said
Despite their successes, environmental Crowley. "We have to recognizethere are
ists are not celebrating.Logging has been valid concernson the part of industry and
halted in many critical areas of Olympic that some level of harvest is acceptable."
National Forest,but the northern spotted If successful, the program may encour
owl alone seems to be taking the heat. age other efforts of its kind.
Protecting the owl under the Endan Related issues are boiling up on state
gered SpeciesAct has disrupted old-growth and private lands. A criticalwinter range for
logging, mobilized special owl biologists and Roosevelt elk along the Dosewallips River is
forced officials to look for other places to cut on land owned by Pope Resources. The
timber. company had proposed logging about 2,000
But while everyone has his eye on the acres needed by the elk.
spotted owl, it has been too easy to forget That logging could have destroyed the
other animals also struggling to survive. last of the Dosewallips herd, according to
These include the marbled murrelet, a Greg Schirato, regional biologist for the state
seabird that nests in very old trees; the fisher Department of Wildlife.
and pine marten, weasel-like animals that Elk are an important part of the Hood
live in hollow logs; and the Roosevelt elk, a Canal ecosystem, said Schirato. They spend
majestic beast whose numbers have declined their summers in Olympic National Park,
drastically in some areas around Hood then wander down though the national
Canal. forest and onto private lands as snows chase
Some environmentalists talk about them out of the high country.
hitting the federal government with a The national park was first formed in
Logging • 87

1909 as Mount Olympus National Monu

ment,primarilyto protectthe elk herds that 1989 Timber Harvest
had been decimated by settlers. Today, elk in in Western Washington
the Hood Canal area may again be in
Schiratoguesses the combined
Dosewallips and Duckabush herds may be
Jr Rank %of "Forestry
down to 80 animals from a 1984 estimate of
127. 2uS» 1 Grays Harbor 14.4 needs to
Elkpopulations have been squeezed by +w+ 2 Lewis 13.8 expand its
declininghabitat as well as increased tJB* 3 Cowltiz 9.5
hunting,said Schirato. Elkneed a combina "2L 4 Clallam 7.6 focus beyond
tion of open range for grazing and protective £uCc 5 Pacific 6.8 wood
SkL i 6 Mason 6.3
trees for hiding and shelter. Clearcuts production to
alreadyin the Dosewallips area have limited Sbu
7 KinR
1 8 Jefferson
5.2 the
forest habitat. ^^b ^"^ 9 Skamania 5.0
And, last year, 37animals were killed, Western ^ ^^f^»jL 10 Snohomish 4.9

mostly by members of area Indian tribes. Red ^y^&£*^ 11 Skagit 4.8 of diverse
Cedar^^u •CSfiOWf 12 Peirce
(Tribes establish their own hunting seasons
|Hp* 13 Thurston 3.5
in "usual and accustomed" areas.) GSMf 14 Whatcom 2.5 ecosystems."
'That herd," said Schirato, "couldn't KJ»|\ 15 Clark 2.2 — Jerry Franklin
sustain another four or five years of that kind M^P|P 16 Wahkiakum 2.0

of harvest." ^3"V» ^ Kitsap 0.8

Hunting by both state residents and

tribal members has been limited to three- 1 5,434,879
point bulls or larger this year to help the boardfeet
herd recover, he said. harvested

Pope Resources has been required to

develop a long-range strategy for protecting
Source: Dept. of Natural Resources
the elk before the state will allow any
loggingon its private lands. How the issue
will be resolved is uncertain, said John companiesfrom holding onto their land.
Walter,vice president for timberland 'Then," he said, "you will have a lot of
management. short-term investors buying the land who
"We are in this business as timberland don't have much concern about steward
owners to operate on a profit level," said ship."
Walter. "We're going to have to find a Schirato says he recognizes Pope's
balance:what management is required for financial commitment, and he's trying to
timber, and what management is required work out a plan that would allow some
for wildlife?" logging over time.
Some private landowners don't
acknowledge their responsibility to wildlife
or to the public. Landowners do have rights, Uut in the woods, itisnot always easy
but some hold to a frontier ethic that says to see the impacts of logging. But a growing
they should be able to use their land as they cadre of foresters, biologists and hydrolo-
wish. gists are studying old logging methods and
Walter doesn't go that far. His com coming up with new approaches.
pany — the largest private timber owner in One afternoon in 1990, Robin Sanders,
the Hood Canal region — was among the a technician with Olympic National Forest,
first to buy timberland with the idea of slipped on a pair of hip boots and stepped
keeping it forever. But Walter does worry into the BigQuilcene River. Loose rocks
that the public expects too much. littered the bottom of the swift stream. She
'There seems to be a tendency to want made her way quickly, but carefully, from
to make the timber companies pay the one side to the other, stopping several times
price," he said. "My fear, as a professional in to take water samples.
this business, is that regulations are going to Erosion from logging activities can be
get so strict that it will discourage timber measured in the stream by testing the water
• Using the Resource

for suspended sediment. Some sediment the food chain,encouraging birds and larger
occursnaturally, but history has proven that animals to move back over time.
logging can unleash huge quantities of silt — Whenpossible, standing snags or
enough to destroy salmon runs. dyingtrees are leftas homes forwoodpeck
Sanders, who works out of the ers and other critters that live within hol-
Quilcene Ranger District, hasbeensearching lowed-outareas of the decaying wood, said
for sources of erosion all summer and fall. Ricketts.
"It took more Today, the water remains clean,but pres
than 3,000 sures to preserve older forests may increase Every snowflake is different, theysay,
logging in this area. because of the many ways icecrystals can
years to make
Kathy Snow, district ranger at form.The same might be said of forests.
some of the Quilcene, says erosionin new areas being A 300-year-old tree growing in good
trees in the logged is not the problem it was even 10 soil near Hood Canal would stand taller than
western years ago, though past problemsstillplague the sametreegrown in poor soils in the high
woods. God the Hood Canal watershed. wilderness country. One ancient forest is not
Roads cause the greatest problem
has caredfor because they concentrate and accelerate
the same as the next.
It's no wonder that there's confusion
these trees, water movement. Years ago, road banks over what forests are needed to protect the
saved them were routinely "cut and filled" as they spotted owl or that differentgroups have
from drought, snaked along the edge of a mountain. Often their own definition of "old growth."
disease, material cut from the cliff was used to fill Just as important, nobody is keeping
valleys crossed by the road. In time, water trackof the overallHood Canal ecosystem.
falling on the road would wash into the Private lands blend into state lands, which
and a valleyswith enough energy to erode the blend into federal lands.
thousand filled material. "The problem I have seen is that there
straining, New roads must avoid fillaltogether if is not a lot of cooperativelong-range plan
leveling there is a high danger of erosion. ning," said Simmonsof the Ecological
Still,large portions of the Quilcene and Commission. "I don't think anyone knows
tempests and Hood Canal ranger districts look like a how much of the whole Hood Canal drain
floods; but he tangle of rope when viewed on a map. age can be harvested and converted to other
cannot save Closingsome roads — and possiblyrestor uses. If we continue to chop it up into little
them from ing the ground — have become major issues. pieces and convert it to roads and houses, it
fools." The Forest Servicealso is experiment is gone."
—JohnMuir ing with new techniques of logging, includ 'The reason we have to protect so
ing combining traditional clearcutting with heavily on federal lands," added Snow, "is
thinning. because the private lands were cut over so
Under a national program called "New many years ago. Most forest lands have been
Perspectives in Forestry," timber sale lost to urbanization."
managers are attempting to preserve fish Vitallinks among plant and animal
and wildlifehabitat as well as scenicquali speciesare beginning to unravel in the Hood
ties, while reducing water and air pollution. Canal area. Ifs up to humans to decide — in
Every timber sale gets attention. their cumbersome political way — how far
Along Townsend Creek (a tributary to the damage will go.
the BigQuilcene), loggers were directed to "Ifs like we've been on a feeding
leave woody debris on the ground and not to frenzy and now the bill comes due," said
disturb the forest floor,according to Steve Steel of Washington Audubon. "I don't think
Ricketts, a forester in the Quilcene District. In we have to throw everybody out of the
years past, the entire area might have been woods... but we have to wake up and realize
burned down to bare soil. it's not morning in America anymore. Ifs
Rotting debris becomes the first habitat late afternoon."
in the next forest. Bacteria and insects initiate
Logging •

Critics question whether clearcutting

whole hillsides can be considered
environmentally sound.

I f the natural wonders of Hood Canal whole process of resource protection," said
are to survive, logging activities in Mike Reed, who reviews proposals for the Section 7
privately owned forests may be even S'Klallam Tribe. "What we are seeing is not a
more important than on state and pretty picture."
federal lands, observers say. The Department of Natural Resources, Toward
Some of the most important fish and which has the final say on logging applica
tions, does not always follow the recommen Keeping
wildlife habitat can be found among the trees
on private land, according to Marcy Golde of dations. And biologists for every agency are TlMBERLANDS
the Washington Environmental Council. overburdened by the sheer number of Intact
"It's important that we start to look at applications.
things as one forest," she said. "I think "We're in decline for a large number of By Christopher
there's a growing understanding that you wildlife populations," said Reed. "Our Dunagan
protect wildlife by protecting the habitat." policies ... are not meeting the true functional
The state's Timber, Fish and Wildlife needs for fish and wildlife populations. We
(TFW) agreement, which has been in effect must allow the landscape to be left in an
three years, allowed scientists for the first unmanaged state or walk lightly across it
time to scrutinize logging proposals on without disrupting the movements of
private land. wildlife species."
Biologists for the state Department of In many places around Puget Sound, it
Fisheries and Department of Wildlife, as well is too late to preserve intact ecosystems, but
as for the Washington Environmental there may be hope for Hood Canal.
Council and Indian tribes, are routinely Kitsap, Mason and Jefferson county
making recommendations to protect natural governments must take an active role to
systems. protect forest lands from urban sprawl,
"TFW has put a microscope on the according to Reed. Once a forested area is
90 • Using the Resource

developed with houses, it is lost as wildlife Other thresholds would be established

habitat. for different types of wildlife.
On the other hand, logging activities Another new concept is that of "perim
need not destroy fish and wildlifehabitat if eter." The idea is to retain good-sized trees
done carefully, with an eye to resource around any new clearcuts. Logging would
protection, he added. not be allowed unless 90 percent of the
How to balance resource protection perimeter (surrounding forests) contained
"The problem with the financial interests of timber owners trees at least five years old, or 60 percent
is that there is was the goal of the Sustainable Forestry were at least 15 years old, or 30 percent were
Roundtable, which brought together land at least 30 years old.
not a lot of owners, state agencies, counties, environ Furthermore, a team of scientists
cooperatiave mental groups and Indian tribes. would review the impacts, and possibly
long-range Roundtable discussions continued for a prevent logging, when a landowner pro
planning. I year before a settlement was proposed in poses to harvest 500 acres or 4 percent of his
don't think 1990. It would have, among other things, holdings (whichever is larger) in a watershed
limited timber harvesting in a watershed and in one year.
anyone knows required major landowners to retain 10 Altogether, the proposal provided a
how much of percent of their holdings as "late succes- framework for long-term timber manage
the whole sional" (eventual old-growth) habitat. ment while protecting habitat, said
Hood Canal "For the first time," said Golde, in Gustavson.

drainage can talking about the proposal, "we have a "You don't just paint the landscape to
portion of private land devoted to the look different overnight," he said. "When
be harvested
protection of wildlife." you fly in an airplane, the pattern you see is
and converted For timberland owners, the 10-year what was happening 10,20,30,40,50 years
to other uses." agreement offeredstabilityas the winds of ago.
— Donna change continue to blow, said Bob But the Sustainable Forestry
Simmons, state Gustavson, negotiator for the Washington Roundtable agreement broke down in 1991
Ecological Forest Practices Association. when environmental groups refused to
Commission "SFR (Sustainable Forestry endorse the proposal their representatives
Roundtable) is part of a continuing reflection helped negotiate. The groups complained
of both knowledge of the resources we're that too many concessions had been made to
dealing with and the changing values of win agreement from the timber owners.
society," he noted. They were particularly concerned about the
The proposal introduced concepts that 10-yearterm of the agreement, worried that
biologistshave long desired. One is "thresh much could be lost in 10 years if the agree
olds," which trigger more and more scrutiny ment contained unforeseen loopholes.
as the environment becomes more severely State lands commissioner Brian Boyle
damaged. tried to take the proposal to the state Legisla
For example, one threshold focuses on ture anyway, submitting it without the
streams. Proposed logging in an area would endorsement of the environmental groups.
be subjectto restrictions if silt levelsin a The proposal died for lack of support from
nearby stream exceed 10 percent of the both the environmental lobby and the timber
bottom gravel (as measured by established growers. Boyleintends to try again to win
methods.) A 25 percent silt-to-gravel ratio approval of the landmark proposal.
would trigger even stronger measures,such But the Sustainable Forestry
as halting all logging in the watershed. Roundtable experience offers graphic
A few streams in the Hood Canal area evidence of just how difficult it is to forge an
already exceed 10 percent, said Reed, who agreement that bridges the differing views of
sees the threshold provisions as a major a resource such as timber. Is it more valuable
concession by landowners. as lumber or as a forest?

Bernard Tom patrols the waters of
Hood Canal as an enforcement Fishing
officer for theS'Klallam Tribe.

Section 1

Ripples from

rm iltered sunlight painted the water a Fifteen years ago, his job didn't exist.
• deep, dark green as Bernard Tom The state Department of Fisheries wrote the
I guided his patrol craft between the mles and carried out the enforcement.
concrete piers of Hood Canal Fifteen years have brought dramatic
Bridge. changes to Hood Canal and, in fact, all of
A cool breeze kicked up a slight chop Puget Sound. Today, the local Indian tribes
on the surface, producing what sounded like — Skokomish and S'Klallams — play an
a drumbeat as the hull contacted each equal role in managing the complex fishery.
approaching wave. Scientists have learned much about
It was the last Wednesday in August, salmon in the past 15 years. They have a
and the earliest tinges of autumn were in the better understanding of their migration,
air. feeding patterns and habitat needs.
Tom gazed out upon the water, Harvest managers balance issues of
searching for fishermen with nets in the wild salmon versus hatchery stocks, of one
water or any boater signaling for help. Hood salmon species versus another, and of sport
Canal looked especially empty this day and fishing versus commercial fishing.
not much in need of a fishery patrol officer. Habitat managers face the potential
Northern Hood Canal would remain quiet extinction of wild salmon runs due to
until the arrival of the coho and chum later logging practicesand commercial develop
in the year. ment — activities never given much consid
Tom, who grew up on the Little Boston eration in the past.
Reservation at Port Gamble, wore the Managing the resource means using
uniform identifying him as an enforcement computers to keep track of five species of
officer for the S'Klallam Tribe, a job he has migratory salmon traveling in mysterious
held for 13 vears. pathways through state, national and

92 • Using the Resource

international waters. ment" — the number of fish necessary to

In the mid-'70s, everyone seemed to be sustain the natural runs. Then they divide
talking about salmon. Commercial fishermen what is left.
had been catching the powerful fish from the "We set up a fishing schedule to deal
Pacific Ocean to the inland waters, while with our share of the fish," said Dennis
Indian fishermen waited at the end of the Austin of the Department of Fisheries. 'The
line for a declining number. Their catch:just tribes do the same, but they have to deal
5-10percent of the Puget Sound total. with each other."
"The right of The prized salmon, revered by the At first, Boldf s decision triggered
taking fish, at ancient Indians, were pushed and pulled disagreements between the tribes and state.
all the usual through court battles and legislative scuffles. Parties relied on the courts to settle disputes
Even on quiet Hood Canal, gunshots could over the allocation of specific runs.
be heard in the turmoil that followed a "We don't seek third-party resolution
accustomed federal court ruling by an audacious judge as often as we used to," said Austin. "We
grounds and named George Boldt. realize we can cut the baby in half as well as
stations, is Boldt The name still stirs strong Solomon if thafs what it comes down to."
furthersecured feelings among fishermen. His controversial Nick Lampsakis, senior biologist for
decision, later upheld by the U.S. Supreme the Point No Point Treaty Area, worked in
to said Indians
Court, assured Indians an equal role — no fisheries research at the University of
in common Washington and with the National Marine
more, no less than the white man's — in
with the determining the future of the salmon Fisheries Service before coming to Hood
citizens of the resource. Canal.
territory." Even more controversial at the time "A lot of professionals were hoping
—Point No Point was Boldfs division of the resource. With the things would end up as they have," he said.
Treaty judiciousnessof KingSolomon, Boldtruled 'The acrimony and the fighting have ended
that century-old treaties ensured tribal and the professionalism has increased."
fishermen an equal share of the allowable Prior to Boldt, the Department of
salmon harvest. Fisheries had been a "closed book," said
Overnight, non-Indian fishermen were Lampsakis. Now, estimates of salmon runs
faced with a 40 percent reduction in their — as well as the computer calculations on
supply of salmon. which they're based — are all subject to
The transition that followed Boldfs negotiation.
dramatic decision has been less than smooth. "A feeling of goodwill kind of just
In the emotionallycharged atmosphere of came along," said Lampsakis, "because
the time, both Indian and non-Indian people on both sides realized that they could
fishermen complained that the other side sue each other forever or sit down and work
had fired shots at them. things out."
In one incident, a non-Indian gillnetter The two sides don't always agree with
was critically wounded by a Fisheries officer each other's numbers, officials say, but
patroling at the entrance to Hood Canal.The everything is open to discussion.
officer claimed his boat was about to be Boldfs ruling overturned the state law
rammed, though no charges were issued. that kept commercial fishermen out of
Facinga $4 millionlawsuit, the state agreed southern Puget Sound and eUminated what
to pay the paralyzed fisherman $250,000 in had been known as a "salmon preserve" on
damages. Hood Canal. Boldfs reasoning was that
Many fishermen still can't swallow allocationsamong tribes should be based on
Boldf s ruling, but after years of negotiations, traditional fishing areas, so managers must
state and Indian authorities have reached a deal with the returns to streams and rivers
working accommodation. Joint management where salmon originate. That couldn't be
of the resource and coordinated enforcement done if the fish were caught before reaching
of the fishing industry are evident on Hood Hood Canal.
Canal. Nevertheless, the Hood Canal Salmon
State and Indian fisheries experts use a Management Plan (a negotiated agreement
complex system of calculating returning approved by the courts) discusses the canal
salmon. They account for the Pacific Ocean as a single management area.
catch as well as fish taken from the Strait of Some folks, like state Sen. Brad Owen,
Juan de Fuca. They provide for "escape D-Shelton, would like to reserve the non-
Fishing • 93

Indianshareof Hood Canalsalmonprima noticed a severe decline in their catch.

rilyforsport fishermen. He has pushed that State officials blame the problem on the
proposal in the Legislature since 1988. type of fish being reared in the hatcheries,
The Boldtruling was like a declaration among other things, and they've negotiated
of independence for Hood Canal tribes. It a partial solution.
not only boosted the struggling economiesof Hatchery production has been shifted
the reservations, it also united tribal mem to increase the catch of coho and chinook
bers behind a single issue. salmon by non-Indian sport fishermen
"People used to leave the reservation," without reducing the tribal harvest; the
said Lampsakis. "I have been around a salmon were then held in net pens on the
number of years and have seen families canal over the winter to encourage them to
moving back." stay in the canal. The first releases of the
The tribalharvest isn't makingany salmon came in the spring of 1991. So far, the
body rich,he said, "but it gives people results of the effort are inconclusive.
something to call their own." In the meantime, Bernard Tom, other
Today, more than 300 fishermen are Indian enforcement officers and their
registered with the Skokomish and Port counterparts in the state department con
Gamble S'Klallam tribes alone. At the time of tinue to patrol the canal, and work with
the Boldt decision, the numbers of Indian increasing harmony.
fishermen could be counted on one hand. "Our working relationship seems to be
Fishingmeant money to buy equip getting better all the time," said Tom. "If
ment as well, and today about 40 Indian state officers see tribal members who are
gillnet boats operate in the Hood Canal violating (fishing regulations),they can turn
region. (Local tribes do not allow purse seine them over to us. We do the same for them.
operations.) We weren't always confident with that type
Hood Canal fish hatcheries — operated of relationship.
separately by federal, state and tribal "When I first came on, I noticed a lot of
governments — have greatly expanded the poaching activities, but it mellowed out," he
commercial salmon harvest in the canal since said. "I'm not saying it stopped ..."
the mid-70s, yet sport fishermen have
94 • Using the Resource

The controversial Boldt decision allowed

Skokomish tribal member Bill Smith to
make Hood Canal waters his office.

ill Smith makes his first set of the and named for his alma mater.
Section 2 night off Dewatto, eyes the seal Between the July 8 opening and this
waiting to bite the belly out of his mid-August evening in 1990, the 200 tribal
livelihood and jokes about the members who fish the canal or the river
Reclaiming money he's losing. running through the reservation for which
the Salmon "He's saying, 'Here's Bill, it must their tribe is named have caught 400 of the
be dinner time'," cracks the 45-year-old ex- year's 10,000 king (chinook) allocation. The
Culture college quarterback. Smith also is an ex- tribe's actual king catch was 2,000 fish in
By Julie college administrator, the former chairman 1990.

of the Skokomish Tribe, founder and first Smith fears the Skokomish may not
director of the Northwest Indian Fisheries even have reason to bother going out for the
Commission and sometime househusband next run of 1990, the silvers (coho) are that
— in the off-season — with a 17-month-old scarce. He blames it mostly on ocean factory
baby girl. draggers. Their 30-mile-long death nets snag
It costs $25 to fuel the twin 350s that everything from sea birds to dolphins along
power Smith's 32-footgillnetter between its with many of the millions of salmon heading
moorage at Union and the open fishing area back to spawning grounds in North
of the canal. America.
He is still making payments on the The real living from fishing in the canal
sleek, $60,000Cougar, trimmed in the gray- depends on chum, a late salmon that sports
and-maroon of Washington State University men cannot attract in the saltwater canal.
Fishing • 95

The tribal half of the 1990 late fall run was their river — now known as a "termination
about 200,000. point" — and operated traps and weirs.
"If you can't get 200 a day, you're just Many still do, including younger brother
not trying," Smith says. He "picks" the Jake Smith, who's operating nets exactly
second water haul of the night for his 1,800- where his grandfather's were.
foot net. Slippery, orange jellyfish "marma Unlike many other coast tribes, whose
lade" collects instep-deep on the Cougar's "usual and accustomed" fishing grounds
pointy deck, and Smith sloshes around extended into the sound or the straits, where
carefully in high rubber boots. the Fraser River sockeye run at the same "The best thing
Ifs dark now and all hope for a catch at time as king, Skokomish tribal members are that ever
the light change is gone. BillSmith radios his restricted to their river and Hood Canal.
happened to
brother Dave, whose smaller gillnetter lies BillSmith was moving up the adminis
off a point just south of Cougar. Light trative career ladder as financial aid director
changes and point locations seem to promise for The Evergreen State College in 1974.He fisheries was
more fish — sometimes. also was tribal chairman and sitting in on the Boldt."
Dave has caught two 10-pound kings, fishing rights trial. —Bill Smith
and Billdecides to take up residence off When Judge Boldt surprised most of
another point across the canal. He cranks the the state, including the tribes, by granting
net out at an angle. Phosphorous lights it like them half the salmon and steelhead catch,
a star chart in the dark water. Smith quit his job, started the Northwest
"The best thing that ever happened to Indian Fisheries Commission and plunked
Northwest fisheries was Boldt," he says of down his first payment on a $30,000 boat.
the 1974court decision that put his people in "Everybody was so afraid the red
the fishing business beyond subsistence for horde was going to take all the fish," he
the first time in 150 years. recalls.
Early whites noted the rotund figures Instead, the Point No Point Treaty
common among West Coast tribes. Salmon, Council spends about $200,000 in federal
their main food source, was so abundant that money annually on salmon enhancement for
they turned to farming only when the white the canal.
man's government forced it upon them. Smith considers his decision to buy a
Their hunting and gathering culture boat "one of the pivotal points" in his life.
was unique in its sophistication — rich in art, The way he tells it, he believed in the
religion and organization. Their potlatches decision, believed in the tribal right, and was
particularly galled whites, who were re a workaholic for Indians at the time. Some
pulsed by and soon outlawed the achieve one needed to get the ball rolling, take the
ment of social status through dispersal of financial risk and learn how to fish commer
wealth, rather than the hoarding of it. cially.
Boldt was good because the resource "It was just by guess and by golly. See,
was declining and there were too many we didn't have any experience, we fished in
licenses, Smith says of the pre-Boldt period. the river."
Fish greed drove the badly regulated, non- Smith organized the Skokomish, the
Indian commercial fleet to double between Port Gamble S'Klallams, and the Lower
1965 and 1974. Elwha and Jamestown Klallams into a new
Pre-Boldt, the Skokomish had no version of the old 1855Point No Point Treaty
gillnetters. They still have no purse seiners, a Council. The Chimacums had died off long
decision most tribes have made to spread the ago, of smallpox, historians say.
resource more evenly among tribal mem His attempts to reestablish the regional
bers, Smith says. A giant seiner or two could councils that had bargained in 1855 and 1856
take the entire Skokomish allocation in a with Washington Territorial Governor Isaac
season. Stevens failed beyond his own area.
Smith believes all tribes should do Indian tribes differ as much between
what the Skokomish have done from the themselves as nations do, he said, but to
beginning — spread their allocation equally white society "an Indian is an Indian is an
among tribal members, not allow those who Indian."
are economically better off to take the lion's BillSmith's fishing earns about $20,000
share of the catch. a year to support himself, his youngest
Tribal members once set nets across daughter and wife, who recently left her
96 • Using the Resource

school administrator's job to stay home with

their child. The couple decided to stick with The Boldt Decision
it as long as they can, despite the fact they
could probably increase their income by More than 100years of history
returning to the rat race. weighed upon Judge George Boldt
"I'm not an idiot, I've been blessed," as he sat down to write the federal
Smith says. "Most of the people I know fish court order that changed salmon manage
not for the money but for the lifestyle... A ment throughout Puget Sound.
school teacher or a nurse makes more than I "This should have been brought 50
do. But how can you measure that where I years ago," the judge said in court, as an
work, people spend thousands of dollars to assistant attorney general took down his
come and vacation — right outside my office words in longhand. 'There has been
window." much damage, both physically and
spiritually, for want of adjudication in a
court of law.
"Hopefully," said the judge, "we
have reached a turning point, and this
decision will improve the situation
between Indians and non-Indians, who
should be acting like brothers."
Boldt was in his final years as he
made his historical decision, not only
dividing up the salmon resource in a
numerical way but helping the Indians
continue their culture.
Some say it cost him physically and
emotionally. How did he feel about the
angry fishermen who defied his order or
the bumper stickers that said, "Save Our
Salmon — Can Judge Boldf?
While non-Indian fishermen were
immediate losers in his decision, many
biologists argue that Boldfs interference
helped prevent the further demise of the

But it was history, not protecting the

salmon, that shaped his opinion.
When white men first arrived in
Hood Canal, salmon were abundant.
Hundreds of miles of streams on the
Kitsap and Olympic peninsulas provided
spawning habitat for chinook, chum, coho
and pink salmon, as well as steelhead.
To the Indians, salmon were more
than just food. They embodied spiritual
connections. Since return of the mystical
fish must be voluntarily, Indians ap
proached the relationship with care, even
honoring the first salmon to be caught
each year.
In the 1850s, it must have seemed
impossible to deplete the salmon runs. In
a peaceful acquisition of millions of acres
of land, Isaac Stevens, the first governor of
Fishing • 97

WashingtonTerritory,assured Puget Indians and non-Indians. But Indians,

Soundtribesthey would have the right to who traditionally fished at the entrance to
fish forever. streams, found the runs depleted by the
During the signing of the Point No time the salmon reached them. Some
Point Treaty,which governs the Hood began to fishin defiance of state regula "Most of the
Canalarea,Stevens said, "Thispaper tions. people I know
secures your fish." After a violent confrontation in 1970
The treaty includedthis language: fish not for the
betweenIndiansfishing on the Puyallup
"The right of taking fish,at all usual and Riverand state game wardens, U.S. money but for
accustomed grounds and stations, is Attorney Stan Pitkin challenged the state's the lifestyle....
further secured to said Indians in com authority on behalf of seven tribes. Other People spend
mon with the citizensof the territory..." tribes later joined the suit thousands of
Thistroublesome language,at the Judge Boldt decided the harvestable dollars to
very core of the Boldt decision, was salmon should be split 50-50 between
maintained as federal law—but without Indian and non-Indian fishermen.
come and
legal interpretation—for more than 100 It wasn't an arbitrary division. As vacation —
years. early as 1899, the U.S. Supreme Court right outside
Meanwhile,white settlers pro ruled that a treaty should be construed my office
ceeded to burn the candle at both ends. "not according to the technical meaning of window."
Whiledisrupting salmon runs and its words to learned lawyers, but in the
—Bill Smith
destroying streamhabitat with logging sense in which they would naturally be
operations, non-Indians also caught understood by the Indians."
increasing numbers of salmon on their Boldt studied the language in which
way to remaining spawning areas. the treaties were presented to the tribes in
'Traditionally,the Indians stopped the 1850s. He faced the factthat nobody
fishing and removed their gear from the had anticipated the future of the salmon
streams when they had caught their resource. And he decided that Indians
winter's supply," said Anthony Netboy in and non-Indians, as two distinct groups,
his book Salmon: the World's Most Harassed should be "sharingequallythe opportu
Fish. "In contrast, the white men... fished nity to take fish."
as long as the runs continued unless Steelhead, whichare strictlya game
restrained by law (which they often fish in Washingtonstate, were not
defied)." considered any different from salmon at
In 1921, the Department of Fisheries the timeofthe treaties, so Boldt ruled they
was created to halt the uncontrolled also should be split 50-50.
exploitation. In 1934, the state passed Boldt determined that tribes should
Initiative 77, whichbanned fixed fishing be allowed to regulate their own fisher
gear. It also moved net fishermen out of men, in keeping with the desires of
Hood Canaland southern Puget Sound. Congressto increasetribal self-govern
But the number of fishermen continued to ment But first,he said, they must estab
increase, and fishing effortsmoved farther lishwell-organized governments, setup
and farther away from salmon streams. enforcement units, maintain accurate
It became a matter of too many membership rolls and be able to collect
fishermen chasing toofew fish, according information about salmon harvest.
to economistsstudying the Puget Sound Boldtretained jurisdictionin the
fishing industry.As the fishdisappeared, case, and the federal court was soon called
they were chasedever more vigorously upon to approve a number of early
by modern equipment. management plans. Issues still before the
Tothe state,the treatylanguage court include whether tribes can insist
"taking fish... in common with" meant that salmon be protected from man-
that allregulations applied equally to caused damage to habitat in the streams.
By Christopher Dunagan
• Using the Resource

Nickjerkovich wonders whether

another generation of hisfamilycan
make a livingcatching fish.

Section 3

Making a
the Water

N i c k Jerkovich of Gig Harbor is mistic than Jerkovich.

the third generation in his "It goes against common sense and
family to make his living good management for there not to be a
hauling fish from the sea, but he commercial fishery," said Charrier, who
may be the last. Not yet 40, resists the suggestion that politics will dictate
Jerkovich believes he will see in a closure. "I don't want to give people the
his lifetime a ban on commercial fishing in excuse to just phase out the commercial
Washington waters. fishery. There's no reason it can't be a viable
The Gig Harbor native is a successful industry in Hood Canal and Puget Sound."
purse seine fisherman. He takes his58-foot Jerkovich opened his boat last fall to
boat yearly to the herring fishery offSan observers from sport fishing groups inter
Francisco and to Alaska for salmon, before ested in closing Hood Canal to commercial
returning in the fall to fish for salmon in fishing. He had what he considered a typical
Puget Sound. day on the canal,catchingabout 800 chum
Like most purse seiners with license to salmon.
fish in Puget Sound,Jerkovich spends a few The observers saw none of the viola
days each year fishing in Hood Canal. tions that sport fishermen suspect of the
He sees the political battle between commercials. Jerkovich thought they gained
sport and commercial fishermen in Hood an understanding that the commercial effort
Canal specifically, and Washington state doesn't interfere with sport fishing opportu
more generally, as one that commercials nities, but was disappointed to hear later that
eventually will lose. some of the people he had hosted were still
"I can sympathize with the loggers on speakingout strongly to keep commercials
the Olympic Peninsula," he said. "I know out of the fishery.
how they feel. I don't think the fishery can "I have a hard time fathoming why
support the number of fishermen who are people would be againstcommercial seiners
out there." in Hood Canal," Jerkovich said.
LarryCharrier,a commercial fisher The vast majority of the commercial
man for 20 years, chooses to be more opti catch is chum salmon, not generally consid-
Fishing • 99

ered a sport fish because chum resist taking Purse seiners take about 80 percent of
bait. Chinook and coho, which are targets of the commercial salmon catch on Hood
sport fishermen, are caught by commercial Canal. Gillnetters like Charrier are more
fishermen in the canal, but not in great numerous —1,110 licenses and about 600
numbers. active boats but take only about 20 percent of
And Jerkovich is willing to let the the Hood Canal catch.
sportsmen have the coho. Purse seiners, larger boats with much
"The silvers (coho) are so small, we more expensive gear, catch fish in a net that Hood Canal is
don't need to be there. It's not worth the closes at the bottom. Fish swim into the holes
the third best
kind of hard feelings that are generated just in a gillnefs mesh and can't back out to
so we can go after 4,000 fish," he said. escape. Fish so caught are subject to preda
Charrier believes there is more opposi tors, and Charrier says seals in Hood Canal salmon fishery
tion from waterfront and view property "patrol" his net and often get to his catch in Puget
owners than from sport fishermen. before he does. Sound, trailing
"A lot of pressure is coming from Most of the Hood Canal catch is chum.
the Fraser
property owners along the canal," he said. The value of the non-Indian Hood Canal
"They resent commercial fishermen on the commercial chum fishery has ranged in the
River sockeye
water. They have the perception that what last decade from a low of about $483,000 in run in the San
we're doing is something that should be 1983to a high of almost $5 million in 1987. Juans and the
done where they can't see it." In comparison, the canal has a very coho and chum
When Jerkovich started fishing Hood small commercial fishery for bottom fish. runs in the
Canal more than 10 years ago, fewer than Only $4,900worth of bottom fish were taken
100purse seiners would participate in the in 1988, according to state Department of
southern part
fall Hood Canal chum run. The run was Fisheries records. The Legislature banned the of the sound.
smaller, and there were better fishing use of bottom trawling rigs on the canal in
opportunities elsewhere. 1989 because of the damage caused by the
But now, due to pressures in other drag nets.
fisheries and more limited U.S. access to the As a result, dogfish, a type of shark, is
Fraser Riversockeyesalmon run through the the only bottom fish now being taken
Strait of Juan de Fuca, commercials are commercially from the canal in any num
"forced to fish all over," Jerkovich said. bers, according to Greg Bargmann of the
"I wouldn't be surprised if there are Department of Fisheries.
200seiners out on the canal on peak fishing "It's insignificant as a commercial
days," he said. fishery from a bottom fish perspective,"
In the same 10 years, enhancement Bargmann said of the canal.
efforts have boosted the number of chum in There is a small commercial fishery for
the canal considerably. surf perch in the late winter and early spring,
Robert Zuanich, executive director of and a more significant fishery for herring,
the Purse Seine Vessel Owners Association, mostly north of the Hood Canal Bridge, in
says there are about 350state purse seine the summer.
licenses to fish the Puget Sound region, Commercial fishing boomed in Puget
which includes Hood Canal. About 230 of Sound in the early decades of the 20th
those licenses are active,he said, and nearly Century, and the resource started to decline.
every active Puget Sound license holder will Despite increasing attempts to regulate the
fish in Hood Canal during at least part of the catch,commercial fishing continued to grow
chum run. and salmon stocks continued to decline.
A purse seiner after chum salmon In the wake of the Boldt decision in
needs to catch between 2,500 and 3,000 fish 1974, which guaranteed tribes the right to
in the six days it is likely to be on Hood half the salmon in Washington waters, the
Canal to make the effort worthwhile. That state and the tribes began salmon enhance
catch, worth about $30,000 at market, is ment efforts designed to offset the increased
about a quarter of what the boat will earn catch of the tribal fishermen.
fishingall Washington waters. Fish hatcheries in the canal watershed
Most purse seiners also fish in Alaska boosted production, especially of chum.
and off Oregon, and the canal hosts fisher "Boldt caused a lot of money to be
men from Alaska and Oregon on the dozen- devoted to enhancement," said Zuanich,
or-so days ifs open, Zuanich said. "and a lot of money went into hatchery
200 • Using the Resource

Hood Canal commercial fish catch

accused the
Indians of
taking more
than their
catch. Nozv Non-Indian commercial salmon catch, in pounds
sports 76 78 '80 '82 '84 '86 '88
fishermen Coho
accuse us of Chum 188,366 2,161,068 130,174 789,500 1,618,295 1,990,961 2,188,439
the same. value $108,151 $2,687,063 $582,100 $615,996 $1,339,485 $1,206,802 $781,024
Overall, I
think the Indian salmon catch, in pounds
system is Chinook 269,105 141,772 71,227 76,311 97,854 172,288 193,282
pretty clean." Coho 465,042 264,127 774,384 352,493 126,688 237,108 34,488
Chum 136,206 2,222,671 753,347 1,041,899 1,679,443 1,816,456 1,946,614
Zuanich, value $768,292 $2,327,975 $1,398,977 $880,756 $1,068,443 $932,111 $1,904,725
purse seiner

Commercial bottomfish catches, by pounds

76 78 '82 '84

•3; Flatfish 51,969 67,305 33,874 43,889 4,170 33,182 607


Dogfish 2,149,963 425,078 571,284 75,305123,072 11,47615,666

Rockfish 6,943 11,910 4,213 1,860 0 977 11


Pacific 75,075 64,301 19,796 279 5,443 9,167 24


pounds 2,414,347 604,909 648,103 145,287143,893 58,78020,326

Source: Washington Department ofFisheries

Fishing •101

The Economics of Fishing

Can a person make a living fishing in be $35,000-$40,000 for the boat and
Puget Sound and Hood Canal? skipper, from which must come that
Not if you owe money on your boat, $15,000 needed to start the next season.
say those familiar with the commercial With a $150,000 investment in boat
fishery. And even if you're free and clear, and gear, most purse seiners are forced to Four years ago,
ifs still a marginal proposition. seek additional earnings from fisheries the non-Indian
A typical purse seiner has about 25 outside Puget Sound.
days to fish Puget Sound waters, which Even for gillnetters, with a much
include Hood Canal and the water smaller investment, the economics are not season for
around the San Juans, according to Robert favorable. Fraser River
Zuanich of the Purse Seine Vessel Owners Larry Charrier fishes exclusivelyin sockeye was
Association. the Puget Sound region and says he earns 117 hours; this
"It takes about $15,000 for insurance a "modest" living.But he said he could
year the season
and maintenance to start the season if the not pay for his boat and gear on his
boat is paid for," Zuanich said. "The earnings. was 28 hours.
typical boat might earn $65,000 from the Gillnetters tend to do better in other That puts more
Fraser River sockeye run, about $30,000 parts of the sound than in Hood Canal, presure on the
from the Hood Canal chum run, and where the terminal type of fishery seems Hood Canal
between $15,000 and $20,000 in the south to favor the purse seine method. In
sound fishing coho and chum. Out of that, addition, Charrier said, the canal's large
you have to pay for your crew of three or seal population can raid fish from a gill
four.', net much easier than from a purse seine.
Whafs left, in a typical year, would

production in Hood Canal. The chum run between the white and the tribal fishermen
was enhanced significantly." under the terms of the Boldt decision.
State statistics show a general improve Jerkovich questions the basic finding of
ment in the non-Indian commercial catch on the Boldt decision and believes original
Hood Canal since the Boldt decision. The treaty language should be interpreted to give
average annual Hood Canal non-Indian the tribes equal opportunity to catch, not a
commercial catch in the first four years after guarantee of 50 percent of the fish.
Boldt was 876,750 pounds; the average But the Boldt decision is history now,
annual catch was 2.5 million pounds from and the real question is about the future. The
1986-1989. economic problems of commercial fishing in
Despite that, Zuanich said, "I don't Puget Sound existed before the decision, and
think you'd find any commercial fisherman still exist today.
who would say that the fishery is better "I think Hood Canal is probably one of
because of Boldt." the best places for enhancement," Jerkovich
There are more fishermen going after said. "I would say there are more fish now in
those salmon, and there are fewer fish the canal than before. We're barely fishing
available elsewhere in Washington waters. now and we're making money; we used to
State licensed commercial fishermen fish for days and get less. But the fishery
once had a right to half the 12 million-15 doesn't have stability. Enhancement should
million Fraser River sockeye that run be the No. 1 priority. We can raise enough
through the Strait of Juan de Fuca every fish for sportsmen and Indians and the
year. But the most recent U.S.-Canada commercials," Jerkovich said.
agreement limited U.S. fishermen to 7 "I would like to see it where every
million sockeye from that run during 1989- sportsman could go out and catch a fish or
1992. two every week, and I see no reason why
American fishermen were allocated that can't happen, and still have a commer
only 2.2 million of the record 21 million run cial fishery."
of sockeye this year, and that was split 50-50 Boosting hatchery production can't
102 • Using the Resource

solve all the problems, however. now lives near Port Townsend. "I under
Charrier sees sportsmen fail to land stand why the sportsmen are concerned.
hatchery raised chinook even when they are Sports fishing has really declined in the
present in the canal. canal. But, in general, it is difficult to under
"Hatchery fish don't feed when they stand why there's so much conflict between
get down toward the rivers. Kings (chinook) sports and commercial fishermen. We have
from the natural runs do," he said. Commer the same enhancement goals. I still think that
"They could cials may catch them in nets, but fish that sport and commercial fishermen have more
split the aren't feeding won't take a sports in common than they have at odds. It is
fisherman's bait or lure. important that we work together on en
money they "I fished in the canal when I was 8," hancement."
spend on said Charrier, who was born in Shelton and
Department of
among the Bait Business a Family Affair
commercial I f you've eaten salmon caught in Puget of his time between April and October on
fishermen and Sound by a sport fisherman, quite the family's herring boat. His wife, Marie,
we'd earn as likely you've got Bert Nelson and his supervises crews at the bait packing table.
much without family to thank for helping bring the meal Orrin, 35, manages the whole operation
to your table. which also includes the 26-slip Kitsap
going out in
The Nelsons catch and package the Marina and a boat and equipment sales
the boat." herring many local salmon fishermen use operation. His wife, Kristine, handles the
—Nick Jerkovich, for bait. They've owned and operated firm's books.
Gig Harbor seiner Kitsap Bait Sales for more than 25 years. About half of Nelson's bait fish are
Nelson, 68, a Bremerton native and "toughened up" in net pens at Squamish
1940graduate of Bremerton High School, Harbor, across Hood Canal from Lofall.
has been fishing in Puget Sound since Summer herring caught by Nelson's son
1936. He switched from salmon to herring Marvin with the family boat in Skunk Bay
in the late 1950s, when "politics squeezed on the north end of the Kitsap Peninsula
the little guy out — that was me." or Mutiny Bay on the west side of
Nelson's bait business began in the Whidbey Island tend to be fat and "soft."
early 1960s after cutting a deal with his But after spending a few weeks in the
daughter, Janet, who was in high school, holding pens losing their fat, the hening
and sons Malcom, Marvin and Orrin, in are more suitable for salmon bait.
junior high. Nelson said fishing is good in Hood
"I told them that if they wanted to Canal, if you're looking for perch or
pack our own herring, I'd pay them a squid, "but there's no demand, no price,
dollar an hour. But,I said I'd give them no money in those kinds of fish."
only 10 cents, that I'd keep the other 90 He feels the biggest threat to Hood
cents to save for their schooling.They Canal is not overfishing: 'Ifs pollution.
agreed, we tried it and it worked." I'm in favor of getting rid of all those
The herring packing operation that (Department of) Fisheries biologists and
began as a family business still involves hiring more (enforcement)patrol officers.
most of the family. Janet liveswith her We don't need to study it more. They
husband and still works sorting and need to patrol it more."
packing herring. Marvin, 40,spends most
By Gene Yoachum
Fishing • 203

Sports fishermen angle for chinook in

the -waters of the Skokomish River.

Section 4

No Longer
a Fishing

Byjack Swanson

T h e salmon runs in Hood Canal falling on hard times in the late 1970s, when
are the skiff of legend. An old sport catches dropped offdramatically."
S'Klallam woman recalls the days The decline has been attributed to a
in the 1920s when the fish were variety of factors, from an exploding popula
so thick "you could walk from tion of fish-eating marine mammals, to the
shore to shore on their backs destruction of stream habitat, to driftnet
without getting your feet wet." fishing on the high seas and increased
Families caught so many they got sick competition from Indian and non-Indian
of smoking them. commercial fishermen in Washington
But man's intrusion on nature has waters.

taken its toll. The salmon fishing isn't what it Local fishermen don't think the reasons
used to be. Some blame the commercial are all that complex. Leroy Trammell of
fishermen. Others blame nature. Others Belfairfished in Hood Canal for 45 years
blame man. until he gave it up in disappointment and
"There was a time when this was a frustration a couple of years ago.
paradise for salmon anglers, too," says Bob "When they brought the commercial
Mottram, a Tacoma newspaper columnist fishermen in, within two years, you couldn't
and author of one of the Northwest's most buy a bite out there," he says gruffly. "In the
popular fishing guidebooks, "Saltwater '50s, '60s and early '70s, I could go out any
Salmon Angling." "But the canal started day of the week before the kids went to
104 • Using the Resource

school and be back by breakfast with a limit seem to have a poorer survival rate at sea. In
of three steelhead. contrast, hatchery-raised chum salmon,
"The fisheries people want to talk whichdon't takebait, seem to survive very
about the Boldt decision, but the Boldt well.
decision didn't come in until after the fish Trammeland others say the hatchery
were gone." fish have supplanted the natural salmon
The Boldt decision, named after the runs. And they say hatchery fish don't go
"Few places on judge who rendered it, guarantees Indian after fishermen's lures the way the natural
earth are as fishermen half the salmon stock does.

lovely as Hood and steelhead in Northwest Fish biologists tend to

ern waters. Skokomish pooh-pooh such theories and
Canal on a soft Trammell blames the claim that Hood Canal is one
summer day." River
administration of former of the best all-aroundfishing
—Bob Mottram, Gov. Dan Evans in the early spots in the Northwest. It is
Saltwater Salmon 1970s for allowing commer one of the few areas where
Angling cial fishing to start up again. fishermen can catch some
Commercial fishing had been thing nearly any time of the
banned in the canal since the year. And fishermen can use
passage of Initiative 77 by the just about any method there
voters in 1934. is, from wading in the river
But here is where the to trolling from a boat to
complexities that Mottram spin-casting from shore.
talks about come into play. But Jim Talbot, who
The number of fish in the runs the Seabeck Marina
canal has actually increased when owner Dennis
during the last few years, McBreen is out campaigning
according to Fisheries Intensive for improving the sport
Department figures. The fish catch, said 1990fishing in the
are there; people just aren't harvesting offish canal was "way off."
catching them. coming back to the 'There's just no harvest
More salmon are in George Adams out there," Talbot said. "The
Hood Canal than at any time Hatchery at Purdy problem is the purse seiners
since the 1970s, asserts a come in here and there's
report released last January
Creek has depleted nothing left for the sports
by the Washington Depart natural salmon men."
ment of Fisheries. runs on the Why not ban commer
"Unfortunately, Skokomish. cial fishing altogether? State
recreational catches have Sen. Brad Owen, D-Shelton,
been declining despite increasing runs of whose big orange and black campaign sign
chinook and coho," admit the authors of adorns the side of a building on McBreen's
"Hood Canal Salmon — A Contemporary dock, has been unable to win passage of a
Management Issue in Puget Sound." bill that would do just that.
"Fishery managers at the (department) The fisheries department has an
sought an explanation for this paradox of ambitious plan to improve sport fishing in
increasing run sizes and declining sport the canal,but results won't begin showing
harvests," the report says. "For chinook up for several years.
salmon, the case seems to involve discon A progress report issued in 1990
tinuance of the spring chinook program at showed that several key parts of the plan
Hoodsport Hatchery in the 1980sand low had been delayed for at least a year. The
survival of chinook released from Hood report says the department has made
Canal hatcheries." "significant progress," however, in changing
Local fishermen have another theory. the production schedule for hatchery raised
After commercial fishing began depleting chinook salmon that could increase fish
natural stocks in 1970s, Indian tribes and the catches in 1991.
state began dumping millions of hatchery- The department has opposed an
raised fish into the canal. outright ban on commercial fishing in the
Hatchery chinook and coho compete canal.
with the natural fish for food in the canal but Fisheries officialssay they can't
Fishing • 205

Hooking Big Chinook on Light Tackle

The crystal waters of the Skokomish Earlier that morning on our way to
River swirl around Cleo Grigsby's this fishingspot from Hoodsport, we
hips as he flicks a big No. 1 hook and passed an Indian fisherman on the
a ball of orange fluffacross 40 feet of open highway, his pickup loaded with freshly
water. caught king salmon. A fish broker had "I've been
With pinpoint accuracy, the hook just bought the lot for $2a pound. fishing the
plops just at the edge of a deep pool and a "Tne Indians have to take the nets Hood Canal
sinker pulls it out of sight into the depths down this evening.This weekend, probably45
where king salmon like to rest on their fishermen will be out here shoulder-to-
way upstream. shoulder," one of Grigsby's friends years. When
Grigsby lets the hook ride down the observes. they brought
current then gives it a yank, swearing The men who fish the Skokomish back the
under his breath. Snag. He wraps the 15- wear ancient coveralls with tatters and commercial
pound-test line around his fist, turns his patchesbut their fishinggear is spotless
back and walks away until the line snaps. and expensive. Grigsby, a retired military
He ties another hook and ball of colored man, says he paid $125 for the slender within two
fuzz to his line and goes back to casting. carbon fiber pole and another $75 for the years, you
It is noon on a warm, late-summer new reel that adorns it. The other men couldn'tbuy a
day. Grigsby and half a dozen other have similar rigs. bite out there."
fishermen have contributed a dozen Pat Kellyhas come all the way from —Leroy
hooks to the unseen hazards of the deep Aberdeen to fish in the Skokomish this
hole across the river during the past two day, passing up other good salmon
hours. And not a fish among them to streams closer to home because he heard
show for it. the kings are running on the canal.
"Been fishing this hole for 20 years," In 1989, Kellysaid, he hooked and
grouses one of Grigsby's companions, captured a 42-pounder using the same
sitting on a rusted old lawn chair. "Never light fishinggear as the others. He hasn't
been this bad. Ifs those damn nets." caught another fish since, but the memory
He points downriver where just of that epic battle keeps him coming back
around the bend is a row of white foam every weekend he can get away.
balls supporting an Indian gillnet.
ByJack Swanson

prevent Indians from fishing commercially effect on wild salmon in the stream.
anyway. And because the salmon popula "Our response was, 'What wild
tion is so large, sports fishermen couldn't salmon?'"
possibly catch all of the fish that would Like many old-timers, Linkmeyer said
otherwise spawn and die if they weren't he has given up fishing in Hood Canal.
caught. "It's a waste of time and money," he
The department has set up meetings said. "I'm not going to go out there and
with sports fishing groups to try to get their chase my shadow."
cooperation and involvement in fish man He, too, blames the commercial
agement programs, but the fishermen fishermen for the drop in salmon available to
remain skeptical. sport fishermen.
"Frankly, I think they're just going "You turn loose 400 gillnetters and 260
around in circles," said Duane Linkmeyer, purse seiners for two weeks and everything
president of the Kitsap Poggie Club. "For is gone. Everything. The rockfish, baitfish.
months one group from the department has They tear up the kelp beds and the eel grass.
been going around to groups showing off a Even the shellfish are affected. Also, the seal
new device that is supposed to help increase population has grown. Andy Rogers, an old-
the salmon hatch in local streams. Now timer around here, thinks the seals do more
another part of the department is telling us damage than the commercial fishermen."
they don't want us to fool around with the Linkmeyer and Trammell say they feel
streams because it might have an adverse the Fisheries Department favors the interests
106 • Using the Resource

of commercial fishermen over sport fisher deny any bias against sportsmen and say
men. recent changes in fish hatchery releases will
"They can say what they want, but enhance sport fishing in Hood Canal.
they're 100 percent commercial," Trammell Eventually, the state says its enhancement
says angrily. "They're not doing a damn program will double the number of angler
thing for the sportsmen." trips to the canal each year to 40,000, and
Criticism of fisheries isn't limited to double the angler success to nearly one-half
"It has been those who fish in Hood Canal. fish per trip.
established Sport fishermen throughout the state Linkmeyer and others snicker at such
claim the state earns far more from them predictions because they've heard them
than it does from commercial fishermen. before. And they are tired of going to
commercial Anglers pay more than $30 million annually meetings where they hear the same old
overfishing is in taxes, licenses and boat fees, while thing.
the primary commercial fishermen only pay the state "I told them the first meeting we had:
cause of around $5 million, asserts the Pacific Salmon we're not going to be able to do anything
Sport Fishing Council. about improving fishing in the canal until we
declining sport The council also claims taxpayers pay do something about commercialfishing,"
fisheries in this as much as $15 to produce a 7-pound coho Linkmeyer said. "And we won't be able to
country." salmon that a gillnetter sells for $1.50 per do anything about that until the commercial
—Keith Herrell, pound. fishermen and the Indians are sitting here
president, Pacific Fisheries department officials heatedly with us."
Finding Tranquility with Rod and Reel
k s he does just about every night evening ballet several days a week for two
f\ after work, Al Bower squints years now. The point is one of my favorite
JLJL against the setting sun and cata writing spots. I have never seen him get a
pults the long silver spinner out into the bite. Other fishermen come and go. They
water just north of the Hood Canal seldom speak.
Bridge. "Ever caught one?" I ventured one
He pops the bale of the spinning reel night as he moved past my makeshift
back into place and reels line in rapidly, table.
tugging occasionally to give the spinner "Yup. Right... here."
more action in the water. The silver spoon flumps dutifully
Three casts. Four casts. into the waves about 30 yards from shore.
He picks his way carefullyamong Pull, reel. Pull, reel.
the boulders near the boat ramp at Hicks "A 35-pounder. Felt like a whale.
County Park, finds solid footingand Took me an hour to bring him in."
addresses the swift-running currents of Does the lack of fish bother him?
the full tide once again. He chews on the question a minute,
Half a dozen casts and he is moving, working the line by long habit.
working the length of the shoreline.I have "No. I do it mainly for the exercise."
been watching Bowerperform his
ByJack Swanson
Fishing •107

Wildlife biologist Ron Egan ofthe state

Department of Fisheries is counting
fewer and fewer wild salmon in the
streams thatempty into HoodCanal.

on Hirschi, a local biologist and — introduced to help fishermen increase

author of delightful children's their catch — only compound the problems Section 5
books, likes to visit local schools. facing the wild salmon.
He looks into the smiling faces of Hirschi's assessment is echoed by other
R young people and informs them biologists, but his voice is filled with emotion Can the
that they are the hope of the as he goes beyond the cold calculations of his Wild Salmon
future, that their generation is called upon to fellow scientists.
save the environment. Consider Laudine DeCoteau Creek, a Survive?
Privately, Hirschi tells adults that the small stream that flows into Port Gamble.
natural wonders of Hood Canal — particu "When I was a kid, I went there," said Dunagan
larly the magnificent wild salmon — might Hirschi. "It was the first stream I saw fish
not survive that long. spawning in."
Hirschi grew up around Hood Canal, To get to the stream, he would walk
fishing many of the streams in his youth. He through tall, aging stands of douglas fir and
watched careless loggers and ruthless cedar. Gravelly stream beds were darkened
developers destroy natural runs of salmon from the sun as vine maples and heavy logs
and trout. cast their shadows upon the cool water.
"I wish I could be more positive," he Hirschi observed sea-run cutthroat
said, "but the rules aren't strong enough; trout making their way up and down the
they aren't enforced; and people are basically stream — that is until logging changed
uncaring, I guess." everything five years ago.
Fishermen are taking too many "Clearcutting totally altered the
salmon, from the ocean to the inland water character of that stream," said Hirschi. "Then
ways, says Hirschi. Hatchery-produced fish 2,4-D (herbicide) was sprayed on the maples
108 • Using the Resource

adjacent to the creek. In the wetlands that but it is not easy.

form the headwaters, wood waste and The same story repeats itself through
sludge from septic systems was dumped." out Europe, Asia and the United States —
Dirt, eroding out of the clearcut area, everywhere man has disturbed the fragile
covered spawning gravel with a layer of silt. stream habitat so vital to the roving salmon.
Watercress plants took root in the muddy "Isn't it funny that you don't get any
bottom, forming dense vegetation that made action until the habitat is so degraded that
"The Pacific passage of salmon and trout more difficult. people finally say something has to be
Northwest is "The end result," said Hirschi, "was done," said Mike Reed, Hirschi's successor
that we couldn't find any more cutthroat for the S'Klallam Tribe.
simply this: trout. It will take a long time for that stream When the insult to a stream is tempo
wherever the to recover." rary and the salmon are not killed or their
salmon can get Similar assaults on wild salmon have passage blocked, the natural runs tend to
to. Rivers been under way for years throughout Hood restore themselves. But man is often in a
without Canal, said Hirschi, who left a job as a hurry, and there's a tendency to depend on
habitat biologist for the S'Klallam Tribe in man-made hatcheries that pump out thou
salmon have
1990to work fulltime writing children's sands of fish, all fed by hand.
lost the life books. It is a doubtful expenditure of funds in
source of the To be sure, Hood Canal remains in the long run, claims Jim Lichatowich, habitat
area." much better shape than most areas of Puget biologist for the Jamestown Klallams and
—Tim Egan, Sound — not to mention Southern California former assistant fisheries director for the
The Good Rain or the East Coast. Many Hood Canal streams state of Oregon.
still contain considerable spawning grounds, "With all the money we're putting into
but they are disappearing. hatcheries," he said, "we are just keeping up
As people become increasingly con with the wild populations disappearing
cerned about the environment, state and because of the habitat we are losing."
local regulations call for safer practices, said
Hirschi. But, more often than not, the end nirschi pulled on his wading boots
result is still less than adequate. and led the way down into the dry stream
bed of Seabeck Creek. In winter, water flows
In the early 1800s, the state ofMaine over the wide expanse of gravel, but in
contained nearly 31,000 square miles of August the stream's dirt is dry.
majestic pine forests. Atlantic salmon were Walking toward Hood Canal, but still a
plentiful in bubbling streams known by mile or so away, Hirschi suddenly stopped.
French and Indian names. Last year at this time, he said, water was
Laws, some adopted as early as 1741, flowing at this point in the stream bed.
presumed to protect the mighty salmon. "People can't get used to the fact that
Between 1820 and 1880,400 additional they really need to look at the same stream
fishery laws were passed. But enforcement again and again to understand it," he said.
was uneven. Though dry at the surface, water may
In California, commercial fishing for be moving underground here, since up
wild chinook, coho and steelhead began stream portions of the 3 '/2-mile stream
with the gold rush of 1849and peaked with a remain flowing year-round. The creek is still
catch of 12 million pounds of fish in 1882. a fair producer of chum and coho salmon.
Logging, mining, road construction, gravel A little farther downstream, Hirschi
extraction, grazing practices,pollution and stopped in front of a tiny pool, the first sign
dams destroyed spawning areas. Of the of water. Using a machine to shock organ
original 6,000miles of spawning grounds in isms in the water, Hirschi spotted a baby
the mighty Sacramento-San Joaquin water coho, which he examined and then let go.
shed, only 510 miles remained in 1929. "This stream," he said, "is right on the
Between 1926 and 1943, the commer edge of destruction. It could go either way."
cial catch in California never reached 7 He points toward a nearby hillside. See
million pounds. that scar. Imagine this area filled with old-
Recently,and at great expense, Califor growth timber. Now, take everything off it.
nia residents have launched programs to There goes the sediment."
bring back the salmon. Effortsinclude The young forest today doesn't have
artificially replacing lost spawning gravel, the water-holding abilities it had before
Fishing •109


raised chum
are very
But hatchery
coho and
chinook have
high mortality


'80 '82 '84 '86 '88 '90*

Salmon Chinook 8,800 11,300 17,200 22,900 29,600 25,600
run Coho 243,700 144,300 124,600 180,900 34,600 118,500
totals Chum 259,900 295,000 453,500 547,500 602,300 483,000

Commercial Chinook 882 1,146 1,700 2,700 1,400 1,600

catch Coho 3,755 21,235 23,000 47,200 1,600 4,300
(non-Indian) Chum 76,596 81,524 160,700 213,800 237,200 150,000

Indian Chinook 6,992 5,931 9,019 11,932 14,067

catch Coho 109,068 48,180 24,323 39,696 6,182
Chum 79,865 107,574 169,681 198,899 212,734

Sport Chinook 8,073 4,410 3,802 2,015 1,464

catch Coho 4,357 4,208 1,176 1,254 632
Chum 334 54 1,087 191 324

Source: Washington Department of Fisheries "1990 numbers are estimates

logging, so winter rains drain quickly off the remains a good salmon producer compared
land. The stream goes dry in the summer. to many streams. Clear Creek, for example,
An old railroad grade, once used to is clogged with silt as it flows through the
haul big timber down to Hood Canal, was expanding urban area of Silverdale.
constructed through the middle of the creek The Seabeck area is not yet severely affected
in places. A big earthen berm today, it by housing or commercial development,
provides an ongoing supply of deadly though that may be its greatest threat today.
sediment to the stream. As a tribal biologist, Hirschi has dealt
Sediment fills the spaces between with landowners who have lied to his face,
spawning gravel, making it impossible for he said. One developer listened as Hirschi
salmon to dig a nest in the stream bed. It also explained about the value of trees along a
destroys the microscopic habitat for stream.
stoneflies, mayflies and caddisflies — all The developer seemed to understand
important food for growing salmon and and promised to preserve a wide greenbelt,
trout. said Hirschi, but a short time later the man
Despite these problems, Seabeck Creek stood and watched his loggers cut to the
110 • Using the Resource

edge of the stream. "In most situations, the natural runs

"Landowners are saying, 'It's not our are better off now than they were 15 years
responsibility to pay for the mistakes of the ago," said Nick Lampsakis, senior biologist
past,'" said Hirschi. for the Point No Point Treaty area. "But one
He says individuals should visit has to be cognizant of all the pressures that
streams, observe them closely and teach their exist."
children to protect them. Managers must take a balanced
Every stream "I think," he added, "that everyone approach to the resource, he said.
in Hood Canal should take a kid to see a stream at least once "The extreme harvest perspective says,
a year." 'Let's forget about these wild stocks. People
is unique. are going to be building houses and putting
Some are swift llabitat biologists — those who wade up roads anyway,' " he explained. "The
with great around in streams and complain about extreme environmentalist will say, 'Don't
waterfalls. logging and development — are a different touch any of those fish.' The best answer is
Some are slow. breed from harvest managers — who count somewhere in between."
fish, divide them up between various Hirschi argues that one problem for
But for every fishermen and hope enough adult fish make Hood Canal is that the harvest managers
stream in it home to spawn. rarely, if ever, see the streams. Salmon, to
Hood Canal, One problem for Hood Canal is that them, are simply numbers on a computer
there exists — productive streams are so numerous that screen, he says.
or once existed managers find it virtually impossible to keep "Harvest managers believe in their
track of all the wild runs that come back at system," he said. "It gives them good
— a unique various times of the year. statistics that they believe tells them where
race of salmon Consequently, Hood Canal runs are each of the stocks are coming from. Obvi
adapted to managed on a regional or "aggregate" basis. ously, it is not working or there would be
that stream. Commercial fishing seasons are designed to more fish coming back..."
protect wild runs, while assuring fishermen If salmon were caught closer to their
the greatest amount of fish from year to year, streams of origin, he said, managers could be
said Dennis Austin, assistant director for certain sufficient fish could get through. But
salmon with the state Department of Fisher as long as there is stiff competition in the
ies. ocean, the Strait of Juan de Fuca and north
But in net fishing, wild fish are caught ern Hood Canal, it just won't happen.
along with hatchery fish — whether they're "In ancient times, the natural produc
in the ocean or the entrance to Hood Canal. tion was 100percent of the total production,"
Whether enough wild salmon are said Hirschi. "If you can believe just one of
getting through to their home streams is a those old pictures that showed the salmon
subject of considerable debate, but there's that were here, you would know we are
little doubt that miscalculations can impact living in an area that could truly be the
wild salmon populations, especially if a run salmon capitol of the world."
is barely surviving.
Fishing •!!!

Section 6

the Natural
E v e r y stream in Hood Canal is managed today than ever before. But there's
unique. Some are swift with great still a lot nobody understands about the ByChristopher
waterfalls. Some are slow, with no interaction of hatchery fish with natural Dunagan
noticeable flow in summer months. salmon, about their competition in the wild,
Some streams contain beaver dams. and about the ultimate effects of in-breeding.
Some are inhabited by unusual "In the plant community, the United
strains of bacteria. States is spending a lot of money protecting
But for every stream in Hood Canal, wild and domestic varieties of seeds," said
there exists — or once existed — a unique Lichatowich.
race of salmon adapted to that stream. Horticultural scientists know that if
From a genetic standpoint, the "wild" they rely on only a few varieties of corn,
salmon of Hood Canal have the ability to beans or potatoes, that unknown diseases
overcome just about any obstacle put forth could impact the world's food supply.
by nature. Protecting that "genetic diversity" With salmon, he said, "you can't put
is a great challenge for fisheries biologists; the stuff in an envelope, store it in the
for state, local and tribal governments; and laboratory and grow it out every few years.
for society as a whole. Wild fish are important."
"The genetic material contains all the Beyond the scientificarguments on
information needed to solve the problems of behalf of wild salmon are those that appeal
that particular population," said Jim to a deeper sense of understanding man's
Lichatowich, habitat biologist for the place in the environment — what
Jamestown Klallam Tribe and a leading Lichatowich calls "esthetics."
expert on wild salmon. "Man, in this area, has had a relation
As humans produce changes in the ship with salmon for 9,000years," he said.
natural world, survival of the species may "The last 150 years has seen a shift from a
well depend on having the right combina natural economy to an industrial economy."
tion of genes, he said. If Hood Canal's wild salmon become
"You can't hire an engineer to design a extinct, it doesn't say much for our sense of
new fish able to cope with the greenhouse values, he said.
effect or acid rain," said Lichatowich. Concerned about declining runs of
While it would be theoretically possible wild coho salmon in Hood Canal, the
to eliminate the natural runs and grow all of Skokomish Indian Tribe in 1991 filed
Hood Canal's fish in hatcheries,biologists documents in federal court protesting
agree it would be a stupid mistake. "unilateral" action by Washington state
Wild fish are not only free in an officials in setting fishing seasons that would
economic sense, said Lichatowich, they not allow the minimum number of natural
provide the only gene bank available for coho to return to spawning streams in the
hatchery fish. In-breeding in hatcheries tends canal watershed. Under the Boldt decision,
to reduce diversity and increase the salmon's the tribes and state had agreed to a manage
susceptibility to disease, he said. ment plan that calls for a return of 19,100
Scientists have learned a lot about coho salmon each year to Hood Canal. Both
hatchery operations, and they're better the state and tribes conceded that the goal
112 • Using the Resource

Hood Canal spawninggrounds

KEY QuilceneRiver.In the BigQuilcene, coho andchinook runs

aredominated byhalcliery releases. Chum spawn downstream.
Both the BigandLittle Quiclene salmon production liave been
P=Pink damaged bylogging, road construction and agricultural practices.
K = Qunook
C = Chum
S =Coho
T=Stedhcad and sea-run cutthroat
Little Quilcene River

Big Quilcene River Gamble Creek

Doseivallivs River. Despitesteepness, Gamble Creek:
chinook, colw and pinks manage to Vie largest producer
spawn 12 miles upstream. Chum of coho in the Nortii
spawnin thelower 4.5 miles. Kitsaparea.

CAT Big Beef Creek: Vie 10-milestream

Dosewallips River isthe largest drainingfrom the
Central Kitsaparea. Still an
P,K,C,S,T excellent salmon producer, though
development is beginning to
deeraae the stream. Vie construction
ofLake Symington destroyed coho
rearing habitat, and die
Duckabush River lake's elevated temperatures reduce
P,K,CS,T the capacity for downstream coho
Little Anderson Creek
Duckabush River: Despite much CAT
pristine habitat, the potential of
Little Anderson Creek:
this river is handicapped bypast Excellentcohostreamfor one
logging practices. only twomiles long. Produces
chum and steelhead. Impacts
arefrom residential development.
Hamma Hamma River QS,T
Stavis Creek: Watershed is largely
undeveloped, goodliabitatfor coho
and chum. In 1989pinkswere found
in thesystem.

Hamma Hamma River.

DeWatto River. This 30-mile
A series offalls 1T . _. river is oneof the most pristine
Union River salmm habiint /e^ ,-„ tfw stakr
restricts salmon migration
on the main slem, but the K,S/T Plannersfree amajor challenge
first two miles, plus here as Central Kitsap becomes
tioomilesof John Creek developed.
support chum andpinks.
TahuyaRiver: Tiie largest river draining die
Great Peninsula, it hasbeen affected by tlie incursion
CAT of residential development. It remains afine salmon
stream; tike the DeWatto, it produces a triple-run

Union River: Cohomigration to tlte upperareas

b prevented by Bremerton's Casad Dam andMcKenna Falls.
Habitat has been degraded by logging, residential
development andfarming.

SkokomishRiver.Vie North andSouthforks andmajor tributaries comprise

200 miles of riverl>ed. Much of the South Fork hasbeen heavily logged, causing
problems inrougliout the system. Intensive harvesting of salmon runs has depleted
Skokomish River natural stock. The North Fork contains twodamsandLake Cusliman, all of
P,K,C,S,T which damage the salmon habitat.

Source: U.S. Department of the Interior: Fish and Wildlife Service

Fishing *113

could not reasonably be reached in 1991, but returning to spawn has generally declined
the parties could not settle on an interim for the past several years. In 1989and 1990,
goal. when the tribes and state managed for the
State officials went ahead and set full escapement of 19,100 wild coho, just
fishing seasons expected to allow 16,000 15,300and 6,800 wild coho, respectively,
coho to return. The Skokomish sought a returned.
return of 17,000. But to get that extra 1,000 Scott Brewer, fisheries manager for the
coho into Hood Canal would have required Skokomish Tribe, said the tribe is committed Hood Canal
reducing the number of fish caught off the to rebuilding the wild coho runs. remains in
Washington coast by 120,000 — something "Despite claims by the state to the
much better
state officialsfound unacceptable. contrary," he said, "we anticipate the
Randy Harder, executive director of situation we are witnessing this year will shape than
the Point No Point Treaty Council said the continue or be more severe over the next most areas of
court filing called attention to the state's several years. How will the state respond in Puget Sound.
action, which Northwest tribes maintain will 1992,1993and especially in 1994when the Many Hood
result in overfishing the coho stock, but did offspring of this year's spawning fish return?
Canal streams
not attempt to overturn the established "They have demonstrated their
fishing season. He said the state's decision to willingness to gratify the immediate needs of still contain
ignore earlier agreements appears to be their fishing constituents," he continued. "It considerable
based solely on economic considerations at remains to be seen whether they have an spawning
the expense of the fragile resource. equal concern for the long-term needs of the grounds, but
'This court action serves as a warning resource."
of the tribes' resolve to rebuild the Hood Salmon are much more than an
they are
Canal's wild coho salmon and to insure that economic commodity, argues Tom Jay of the disappearing.
the state will honor the spirit of co-manage group Wild Olympic Salmon. "In a way,
ment in the future," said Harder. "It is clear salmon are the crown jewels of the ecosys
that the state has acted without regard for tem. They are a very important symbol
the law or needs of the resource this year." about what this place is all about."
Joseph Pavel, president of the In ancient times, salmon survived in
Skokomish Tribe's General Council and sufficient quantities to feed the human
chairman of the Point No Point Treaty population, plus a multitude of animals from
Council, said tribal fishermen have been eagles to bears. As an essential link in the
willing to make sacrifices to allow more nutrient cycle, salmon also carried trace
salmon to survive. The tribes canceled their minerals from the sea into the highest
directed commercial coho fisheries in Hood elevations of the forest, replacing micronutri-
Canal, Admiralty Inlet, the Strait of Juan de ents leached out of the soil by Northwest
Fuca and the San Juan Islands. rains.
The state, on the other hand, adopted "A curious thing," said Jay, "is that
plans that reserve for itself more than twice East Coast salmon don't die (after they
the number of wild fish than what the tribes spawn). It may be a little romantic to think
will harvest, said Pavel. The state's regula so, but maybe salmon here die because the
tions will lead to a sport fishery catch in the forest needs them to."
Strait of Juan de Fuca and Admiralty Inlet of To restore natural salmon runs to a
more than 150,000 coho salmon and 336,000 semblance of what they once were would be
to be caught in the ocean north of Cape the greatest contribution humans could
Falcon, Ore. make to Hood Canal, said Jay. The health of
"No group of fishermen will take the the salmon runs are a measure of the health
brunt of conserving the depleted wild coho of the watershed.
salmon stock more severely than the Hood Fish hatcheries, on the other hand, are
Canal tribal fishers who rely on these fish for a measure of man's desperation in the
their livelihoods," Pavel said. "But tribal complex issue of fishery management, he
fishers do not want to be a co-conspirator in said.
perpetuating the problem of devastated coho "In the '30s and '40s, economic inter
returns. That is why the tribe cannot accept ests had trashed so much habitat that the
the state package, which will result in less state stepped in and said, 'We have to do
fish than the established escapement goal." something.' But when you look at the
The number of wild Hood Canal coho investment, dollars spent on habitat protec-
114 • Using the Resource

tion and restoration would go a lot further The gravel in those streams is probably
than dollars spent on hatcheries," said Jay. worth more than all the lumber and all the
"There are millions of dollars on the development you could possibly get from
table here, and people aren't necessarily (the area). When you're talking about true
going to tell the truth. They're going to fight community resources, the gravel in those
for their own interests," he continued. streams is probably worth its weight in
"But think about the long-term values. gold."
"In the
Northwest, a A Sport Fishing Preserve
river without
Washington state Sen. Brad Owen, elsefor their day of fishing.
salmon is a D-Shelton, is convinced that Hood "We're not affecting the Indians
body without a Canal would become the sport (with the proposed legislation). We're just
soul. From the fishing capital of the nation if the water trying to get a fair share of the non-Indian
Sacramento to way were to be turned into a fishing allocation," said Owen, speaking for sport
preserve. fishermen. "And I want to emphasize this
the Yukon,
Owen, who continues to push the isn't an issue of commercials versus
every idea in the Legislature, says the proposal recreationists either. The objective is to
waterway would not affect Indian fishermen, but it restore the levels of the (salmon) runs to
pulled by would phase out non-Indian commercial what they used to be."
gravity has, at fishing south of the Hood Canal Bridge. Dennis Austin of the Department of
Recreational fishing groups have Fisheries calls Owen's plan "overkill and
one time, been
eagerly endorsed Owen's proposal, which unnecessary," though he admits Hood
full of the they say would expand the number of fish Canal is in trouble.
silver flash of to be caught with rod and reel as well as "The state needs to look at our
life." restoring natural runs of wild salmon. fisheries," he said. "This one area has
—Tim Egan, But the state Department of Fisher collapsed. Ifs stinko. There's no question
The Good Rain ies opposes the plan, saying Owen's fish about that."
preserve idea isn't necessary to improve But a simpler answer, he said, is to
sport fishing in Hood Canal. Furthermore, increase the number of "resident"
tribal officialsfear it will disrupt the chinookand coho in Hood Canal, to give
carefullybalanced management regime sportsmen more fish to catch. Thafs
they have worked out with the state. exactly what the state is doing with its
On a sunny day in 1990, Owen delayed release program, which it hopes
invited Jerry Pavletich, West Coast will show results in 1991.
representative for Trout Unlimited, to join Nick Lampsakis of the Point No
him on his boat to catch coho salmon in Point Treaty Council calls Owen's bill "a
Hood Canal. Shortly after noon, Owen giant step backward."
threaded a piece of herring on his hook Commercial fishing is carefully
and cast his line over the side. managed to protect the long-term viabil
"Hood Canal," he said, "is a very ity of the runs, he argued. Seasons are
defined body of water. It is easy to get to opened and closed as the runs demand.
and so easy to 'fish ouf with nets." 'There is no way to close a recre
Rays of light-glistenedon the water. ational fishery the way you can open and
The sun was hot, but the fishing was poor. close a commercial fishery at a moment's
In fact,signs of salmon —such as birds notice," he said.
flocking over the water or schools of Owen's Hood Canal preserve
herring — were practically nonexistent. proposal won Senate approval in 1990
"No birds, no herring balls," and 1991, but never made it out of a
lamented Pavletich. "They've finally House committee that listens more closely
raped and plundered Hood Canal until to commercial interests and the wishes of
there's nothing left but dogfish." the Department of Fisheries.
Like many rod-and-reel fishermen But he plans to keep up the effort.
testing their luck on Hood Canal these 'It took me three years to get drag fishing
days, Owen and Pavletich pulled in half a (bottom trolling) out of Hood Canal," he
dozen little dogfish sharks, but not much noted.

ByChristopher Dunagan


Section 1

To Protect

By Christopher

A Flood Canal oyster


L o u i s Martin's left hand gripped the explained. "I would go crazy doing noth
oyster firmly, holding it against the ing."
stainless steel table. His right hand Oysters make for a crazy business.
quickly slipped the razor-sharp Age-old techniques of knife-in-hand shuck
knife between the two shells. ing form a partnership with ultra-modern
"You have to be careful you procedures, such as genetic engineering.
don't cut the oyster," said Martin, 70, of Statewide, it's a $25-million-a-year
Brinnon, "and you have to make sure you business, but oyster growers ally themselves
don't cut your hands to pieces." not with industry, not with timber compa
Martin quickly sliced the oyster nies and certainly not with real estate firms.
muscles close to the shell, first one side, then If anything, they're anti-growth.
the other. He plopped the naked oyster into Oyster farmers, in fact, have been
a bucket. called Washington's first environmentalists,
Martin has worked for a lot of people. advocating clean-water laws since the turn of
He's been an elementary school teacher, a the century.
logger, an equipment manufacturer. In 1980, Outside the building where Martin and
at the age of 60, he took a job with Hood two other shuckers were opening their
Canal Seafood, joining the ranks of more oysters, cold November rains ceased for the
than 2,000 people employed in Washington's time being. Martin's boss, Kirk Lakeness,
shellfish trade. prepared to transport a load of oysters to a
"I needed something to do," Martin restaurant in Port Townsend.

• 115 •
116 • Using the Resource

"We sell to San Francisco — all over," In 1988,Pacific Oyster Growers

said Lakeness, whose father started Hood Association hired a contract lobbyist — a
Canal Seafood on the shores of Dabob Bayin "hired gun" in the slang of political power
1958. brokers. Tim Smith had worked for insur
By most standards, the company is a ance companies, local governments and real
small operation. Three shuckers together estate brokers.
open an average of 20 gallons of oysters each "I didn't know the (oyster) industry at
More than day. all when I came down from Alaska two
2,000 people At that rate, noted Lakeness, it would years ago," said Smith. "I thought my job
take his company 15 years to equal a single would be in marketing. I took a month and
are employed month's production by Coast Oyster Com studied the industry. It became pretty
in pany, which manages oyster beds in Hood evident to me right away that the problem
Washington's Canal, Puget Sound and Willapa Bayon the was not in sellingoysters.We can't supply
shellfish trade. Pacific Coast. everyone as it is. The challenges are in
It's a $25- In terms of nationwide oyster produc keeping the growing areas open."
tion, Washington state recently moved up to By 1984,when pollution struck Hood
million-a-year second place behind Louisiana, due mainly Canal for the first time, a dozen important
business. to declines on the East Coast, principally shellfishgrowing areas had already been
Chesapeake Bay, and the Gulf Coast. In both restricted in other parts of Puget Sound due
cases, the biggest problems are pollution. to extreme levels of bacteria. Then came the
In the best years, Hood Canal contrib 1984 closure of a portion of Quilcene Bay,
utes little more than 10 percent of the followed three years later by closures in
statewide production of oysters, but it is Lynch Cove near Belfairand Dosewallips
famous for its sweet-tastingQuilcenevariety. State Park. In 1988, tidelands near the
Even more important are the micro Duckabush River also were closed.
scopic baby oysters produced naturally in Statewide, the Department of Ecology
Quilcene Bayand shipped to oyster growers estimates dollar losses in excess of $3 million
throughout the United States. In addition to a year due to the closures.
natural production, the bay is home to the Smith had never before worked for a
world's largest oyster hatchery. seafood business or an environmental
An estimated 75 certified oyster organization. Now, he says, he heads a
farmers are located throughout Hood Canal group that is both.
if you include all the small growers. Many 'Thafs the main issue, protecting
are centered on the natural spawning water quality."
grounds of Quilcene and Dabob bays.

Oyster Harvests An ancient pile ofshells found buried

for Washington State at Seal Rock Campground north of Brinnon
and Hood Canal offers testimony that Native Americans
In pounds gathered oysters from Hood Canal beaches
%of before white people arrived.
Year State Canal harvest
1979 6.1 million 309,000 5.1
Early settlers to the Puget Sound region
1980 5.5 million 163,000 3.0 found an abundance of Washington's native
1981 5.6 million 186,000 3.3
oyster, the Olympia. It wasn't long before a
1982 6.0 million 305,000 5.1
1983 6.1 million 419,000 6.9 commercial trade developed, starting with
1984 7.1 million 758,000 10.7 the California gold rush in 1849.
1985 5.9 million 770,000 13.1
1986 8.7 million 360,000 4.1
When the burgeoning trade depleted
1987 9.4 million 448,000 4.8 the natural stocks, a few pioneers began
1989 8.8 million 267,000 3.0
culturing Olympia oysters in Southern Puget
1990 7.8 million 402,000 5.2
Sound, using a system of dikes. The dikes
Although Hood Canal harvest rarely kept the sensitive oysters submerged and at
exceeds 10 percent of the state total,
the canal does produce half the a more constant temperature during freezing
commercial oyster seedfor the entire winters and hot summers. But expansion of
nation. Hood Canal seed also is used
extensively in Puget Sound and the industry was stymied because oyster
Willapa Bay, the state's major oyster growers didn't own the land, and they
growing regions. couldn't be assured of control over their
"^msm^s^smsiiB^^^mmmm^t^wmsimm expensive dikes.
Oysters »n7

In 1890, one of the first acts of the In Quilcene and Dabob bays, this "set"
Washington Legislature altered the future of is successful about seven out of 10 years,
the state's shorelines. Those first legislators compared to just less than once in 20 years
agreed to sell state-owned tidelands to oyster for many areas of Puget Sound, said Al
growers as long as they would continue Scholz,a biologist with the Point Whitney
cultivation. Shellfish Laboratory on the canal at Brinnon.
Thus the state lost ownership of many An oyster set is considered successful
valuable shorelines, but it also created a when at least 10 baby oysters attach to an Washington
powerful advocate for clean water, said average shell placed in the water. Not all State ranks
Smith. The complexion of the industry survive, however. The summer of 1990
second in the
changed immediately and became different proved to be one of the most successful years
from that of many East Coast states, where in history on the canal, with more than 1,000 nation in
oyster harvesters continue to compete with oysters per shell. Warm, stable temperatures oyster
one another for the same shellfish. along with clean, calm waters are important production,
"In the wild harvest fishery, when factors, said Scholz. behind
pollution has degraded the water quality in The only other natural spawning areas
an area, the fishermen all pack up, and it's a on the West Coast are Pendrell Sound in
race to the next fishing area," he said. "You British Columbia and Willapa Bay on Pollution in
lose that built-in environmental protection — Washington's coast. Chesapeake
that of the grower out defending his liveli Natural production from Quilcene Bay Bay has closed
hood." began to spread Pacificoysters throughout many oyster
Despite those early efforts, the native Hood Canal beginning in 1935. And when
Olympia oyster has all but disappeared World War II broke out and Japanese
today. The little oyster with excellent flavor imports were cut off, local production
turned out to be sensitive to environmental became crucial.
changes and too small to compete on the In the 1950s, PacificCoast Oyster
market with larger oyster species. Growers Association became a major force in
Beginning in 1905,Japanese oysters reducing the poisons pouring out of pulp
were shipped across the ocean as small mills around Puget Sound. Beginning in
adults. They could be fattened for market in 1954, the organization orchestrated a state
Puget Sound, but natural reproduction was wide educational campaign involving sports
not very successful. and fishing groups, local granges, resort
In 1919, a curious thing happened that owners and parent-teacher associations.
altered the course of oyster production. A Groups such as Citizens for Clean
shipment of adult oysters died, yet the baby Water allied themselves with the oyster
oysters attached to their shells were able to growers, while the paper industry fought
survive. back with its own public relations effort. But
In time, shipping cases of shells with by 1960, when the state's Pollution Commis
these pinhead-sized "seed" oysters attached sion had begun tightening controls on
became the standard method of transport. By industrial effluent, it was already too late for
1935, annual shipments from Japan to the many areas.
West Coast exceeded 71,000 two-bushel Sources of pollution today are becom
cases of shells. The oyster was named the ing more difficult to identify, let alone
Pacific oyster. eliminate. In Hood Canal, pollution seems to
About that time, growers discovered come from all directions — houses, farms,
that consistent natural reproduction could be timberlands, even pleasure boats — thus the
expected in Quilcene and Dabob bays, name "non-point pollution."
though the oysters grew more slowly there. "A lot of us have moved into what
Normally, an adult female releases up were vacation homes and summer homes
to 10 million eggs a year into the water. A and fishing homes," said Teresa Barron,
male can release 1,000 times that many water quality planner for Jefferson County.
sperm. When fertilized, the eggs becomes "Our grandads built these homes, and septic
free-swimming larvae, moving with the standards weren't what they are today."
currents. Geological conditions only make the
After several weeks, the oyster larvae problem worse, since people built their
will attach to rocks, shells and other solid homes and farms in valleys, where the
objects. ground is flat and close to Hood Canal.
118 • Using the Resource

In Quilcene Bay, studies have shown What kind of industry comes to the
that septic pollution and poor animal- region will determine whether Hood Canal's
keeping practices are major contributors to clean water can survive, she added.
bacterial pollution. "Aquaculture is a clean industry, and
Allowing cattle and horses to drink you'd think it would be welcomed with
directly from streams makes it possible for open arms."
their waste to get into the water and create While there isn't much controversy
Hood Canal pollution problems miles away, she said. about oysters growing scattered on a beach,
contributes Another serious problem is sediment waterfront property owners have begun to
unleashed during logging activities. High raise protests against more intensive shellfish
little more
levels of sediment can smother baby oysters, culture, such as stringing shells on lines
than 10 percent a problem sometimes noted in Quilcene Bay. suspended from floats.
of the At Dosewallips, bacterial pollution In August 1990,the Kitsap County
statewide seems to come from another source alto commissioners turned down a mussel-
production of gether. Near the Dosewallips Delta, where farming proposal off Misery Point near
human activities are minimal, seals seem to Seabeck. Neighbors said their main objection
oysters. But be leaving a trail of waste that has contami was that the operation would spoil their
Quilcene Bay nated the oysters and clams. view of the Olympic Mountains.
is home to the Nobody knows if waste from seals can The commissioners also imposed a
world's largest actually make humans sick, as is the case moratorium on all aquaculture, pending
oyster with human and livestock waste, said approval of the county's updated shorelines
Gretchen Steiger, a biologist with Cascadia management plan.
hatchery. Research Cooperative. But the state's If waterfront property owners worry
certification procedure demands closure about the impacts of shellfish growers,
anytime fecalbacteria counts are high. shellfish growers are even more concerned
Oyster growers are increasingly about the arrival of more property owners.
worried about the effect of seals on their "One of the factors that degrades the
Hood Canal beaches, since seal populations water quality is shoreline development,"
may be growing quickly, according to said Smith. "Also, as more people move in,
research by Cascadia Research. we're going to hear more about aesthetics.
As commercial fishing and timber Those issues are going to impact the
industries go into a decline in Hood Canal, industry's future."
the shellfish industry seems to be coming Gordon Hayes of Coast Oyster Com
alive. pany says new housing developments
Shellfish production ranks high in around Hood Canal should attempt to avoid
employment in both Mason and Jefferson pollution, and old developments must begin
counties. The demand for clams and oysters to clean up problems.
— especially from restaurants — is growing, "All of us in the industry see what
and the future seems limited only by clean happens with population expansion," said
water. Hayes. "Our industry is the canary in the
"Here on the Olympic Peninsula, we coal mine, but we're not just a prophet. We
have so few industries to sustain our actually make our living from this resource.
economy," said Barron, the water quality "If we were not here," he added, "the
planner. "As we use up our natural re water would become more polluted before
sources, people tend to look around to an alarm is sounded."
expand their economic base."
Oysters • 229

Homely Bivalve Becomes a Restaurant Favorite

Head thrown back, mouth open, a solid, healthy oyster with a strong oyster
diner at Ray's Boathouse on Seattle's flavor."
Shilshole Bay slurps a raw oyster Hood Canal oysters come back from
directly from its shell. the summer off-season earlier than the
To an oyster lover, there's nothing other types, he adds. The demand
quite like the fresh taste of the bivalve in Although he'll pan fry oysters and for clams and
the raw. Ifs as if you're ingesting a bit of make the occasional oyster stew,
oysters —
life's primal matter, tasting the ocean Ludvigsen says he's a real proponent of
itself. eating them raw. "We're purists," he says. especially from
Wayne Ludvigsen, executivechefat Tim Smith, executive director of the restaurants —
Ray's, says raw oysters have grown in PacificCoast Oyster Growers Association, is growing, and
popularity over the past five years. He says half-shell consumption is on the the future
now sells 200-250 dozen oysters each increase across the country.
seems limited
week. Fanciers gladly pay $5.95 or more "Oyster bars are popping up
for a plate of six of these briny gems. everywhere," he says. "We've seen a only by clean
Ray's serves the tiny, distinctive dramatic decrease in liquor consumption water.
Olympia oysters as well as Pacifies from over the past few years, and my own
three different parts of the state — theory is that bars and restaurants are out
Hamma Hamma on Hood Canal, looking for a high-margin item to com
Shoalwater Bay on the Southwest Coast pensate for lost liquor revenues."
and Race Lagoon off Whidbey Island. Kim Baxter,manager of the Hamma
Like wine grapes, oysters take on Hamma Oyster Co., says he can't keep up
the qualitiesof their growing conditions, with the demand for oysters. He supplies
as Fred Brack and Tina Bellpoint out in several posh Seattlerestaurants in addi
their book, "The Tastes of Washington." tion to Ray's — Fullers in the Sheraton
Selecting them, particularly for eating Hotel, Le Tastevin and Anthony's
raw, is as much an individual preference Homeports.
as choosing a wine. "Our oysters are prized for their
The Hood Canal bivalves are "your clean, crisp flavor," he says. 'They're
classicoyster," says Ludvigsen. "They're slow-growingin clear water, so they
not necessarilyvery sweet, and they don't never have a muddy taste."
have a beautiful shell. But they're a good,
ByAnn Strosnider
120 • Using the Resource

Coast Oyster Co. has madea scienceof

raising youngoysters. They feed on algae
grown in these jars.

R o w upon row of gleaming white hatchery on the shores of Quilcene Bay, leads
Section 2 tanks, each containing 5,000 the world in the production of oyster seed.
gallons of greenish algae, might The company ships 20 billion baby oysters to
make one wonder what this growers throughout the nation in the form of
Where strange laboratory near Quilcene free-swimming larvae.
has to do with raising oysters. "In fact," says president Gordon
Genetics After all, tough-skinned oyster farmers Hayes, "the second biggest hatchery is in
and Luck have been putting shells out on their beaches Oregon, and it produces just 10-20 percent of
Meet for centuries. Nobody's ever needed halogen ours."
lights or giant flasks of strange-looking The key to the operation is the carefully
By Christopher liquid with air bubbling through them. guarded brood stock, which produce the
Dimngaii But times have changed, and this is sperm and eggs for the big Pacific oysters,
where the modern world of genetics blends the tasty Kumomoto variety and the succu
with the old-fashioned, keep-your-fingers- lent Belon or European flat oyster.
crossed world of oyster growing. The oysters eat an incredible amount of
Coast Oyster Co., which owns this algae, which is grown under bright lights in
Oysters *121

tanks, some of which are 10 feet tall. Kenneth Chew, a shellfish biologist at
Temperatures in tanks containing the the University of Washington, says the
brood stock are maintained to simulate ideal triploid oyster has found a specific market
spawning conditions. When the time is right, niche,but the growing demand for oysters
free-swimmingoyster larvae are filtered out, on both East and West coasts creates an even
packed and quickly shipped out, or else bigger challenge for the industry.
they're allowed to set on oyster shells. "We have to look at new and innova
The oyster seed can be grown on just tive methods of growing them," he says. "Here on the
about any beach where the According to Chew, at Olympic
tides won't carry the shells Quilcene Bay least 90 percent of the oysters
Peninsula, we
away. today are grown right on the
Maintaining excellent beach, as they have been for have so few
brood stock is one thing, but the past 100years. But industries to
a true scientificbreakthrough oysters also can be grown on sustain our
came five years ago when stakes or on racks when
Coast Oyster, in conjunction wave action or a muddy
with University of Washing bottom would threaten the
Aquaculture is
ton scientists, developed a oysters' survival. a clean
sexless oyster — the seedless A more intensive industry, and
grape of the oyster world. method is to grow oysters on you'd think it
Unlike most oysters, strings hanging from racks or would be
which become puny and rafts.
welcomed with
watery as they use their These are not actually
energy to create sperm and new methods, noted Chew, open arms."
eggs, the trademark "Four- Although closed because they have been used — Teresa Barron
Season Oyster" skips the because of bacterial in Japan for decades, but
spawning season altogether. researchers are attempting to
Forget the old saying pollution at the develop even more advanced
about not eating oysters north end, techniques to grow more
during months that lack an Quilcene Bay is the oysters with limited space.
"R" in their name. These center ofHood As more areas are closed
oysters are firm at all times of because of pollution, oyster
the year, which gives the
Canal's oyster growers are likely to invest
company a foot up on the industry, including more and more money in
summer market, previously Coast Oyster these alternative methods.
dominated by frozen oysters. Company's oyster Meanwhile, researchers
The idea for a neutered
hatchery. are attempting to grow
oyster came from Hayes' strains of oysters that are
father, the late Vern Hayes, who got the idea resistant to temperature changes, that grow
from a magazine article about a neutered fasterand are more uniformly shaped and
salmon that grows faster but never returns that have good color,flavor and appearance.
home to spawn. Hybrid oysters, which combine the charac
Hayes was a dominant force in the teristics of two or more varieties, also are on
oyster industry beginning in 1947when he the drawing boards.
started Coast Oyster. In 1974, he built a Since hatchery success depends so
hatchery at Willapa Bay, then moved the much on what oysters are fed in the tanks,
operation to Quilcene in 1978. researchers are studying oyster nutrition and
To get a neutered oyster, the egg is developing new strains of algae as well.
"shocked" with a special chemical.Shocking And growers seem willing to meet the
prevents the egg from dividing just before challenge of a growing market. Despite tried-
the genetic material from the sperm com and-true methods of oyster farming, a 1984
bineswith the genetic materialfrom the egg. survey of the state's oyster growers revealed
As a result, two sets of chromosomes from that 40 percent would try new techniques
the female and one from the male result in a such as as artificialsetting tanks, more
sterile "triploid" oyster, normal in all other intensive rearing methods and use of hybrid
ways. strains.
122 • Using the Resource

George Llsnick, who lives on Misery Point

nearSeabeck, is a strong spokesman for the
rights ofprivate waterfront owners.

harlie Trevathan stands over his men in the S'Klallam Tribe of Little Boston
set net just off the sandy beach and Port Gamble Bay,shellfishing is a family
Section 3
north of Boston Spit and tradition.
hunches his shoulders against "My mom used to dig a lot," said
TlDELANDS the wind blowing off Port Trevathan. "I always knew it was one of
Gamble Bay. those resources where a guy could go out
Tug'o'War It's a cold wind, signaling the ap and make money. I remember digging from
By Jim Rothgeb proaching winter and the end of another when I was a kid, and when I came back
fishing season. On this day he hopes his nets here about eight years ago, I started doing it
will snag coho and chum but he knows the again."
fish he catches now are mostly scraggly. The He's lived in Tennessee and California,
salmon harvest is nearly done. but Trevathan's roots are with the
It's time to think about securing his S'Klallams. He and his wife, Mary, both
boat and gathering his nets to prepare harvest shellfish, selling them to wholesale
himself for the traditional shellfish season. buyers, to help provide for care of the nine
Winter tides on Hood Canal are more suited people living in their home.
for shellfish digging, and for most young "I think it's fun," said Trevathan. "You
Oysters •12Z

can go out and spend three to four hours blue water with a backdrop of Pleasant
digging and be tired the next day. But you Harbor State Park and the Olympic Moun
can make enough for grocery money and tains.
you eat well." "There is no place like this I've ever
On Hood Canal, two tribes do the seen in my whole life," said Usnick, who
majority of shellfish harvesting. The traveled the world as part of his job with the
Skokomish mostly harvest oysters in the Continental Oil Company. 'That's why I like
southern extremes of the canal while the it here so much." Tribal
S'Klallams gather clams on the north end. His property includes about 200 feet of shellfishing
Much of the time, they work in the beachfront, and he and Delores often take
has become
pitch black of nighttime low tides, some leisurely walks along the sand.
times to the backdrop of car headlights left Like flowers from a garden, occasion easier because
shining across the sand. They dress in ally the Usnicks will pick oysters from their state-owned
waders and carry buckets, shell sacks, and beach. Usnick says he's always been a lover tidelands have
digging forks. It's no wonder their backs of shellfish, and his wife has developed a been opened to
often ache after days of digging. taste for them since they moved to Misery
"That's the hardest part," said Mary Point.
Indians, but
Trevathan. "You bend over at all hours of the Several hundred feet south of the the access is
day and you've got to pack what you dig. Usnicks' property is a public boat launch, nothing
Our longest pack is probably a half-mile, and which attracts mostly pleasure boaters and compared to
we pack anywhere from 80- to 100-pound recreational fishers. Until a few years ago, opportunities
packs. It's a lot easier if you've got a boat, but when waterfront neighbors got together and
on a lot of beaches we can't get a boat." posted "No Shellfishing" signs, Usnick says
The Trevathans both say that trespassing was a big problem along the Washington
shellfishing has become easier in the '90s point. Indians had
because state-owned tidelands have been "When we first came here, there were a more than 100
opened to the tribes. But their access obvi lot of people who decided to come up and years ago.
ously is nothing compared to what Western pick oysters," said Usnick. "I kept arguing
Washington Indians had on tidelands more with the state that they had to do something,
than 100years ago. put a sign up to stop them. We did that and
now I'd say 99 percent of the problem has
gone away."
While the Trevathans scratch the sands Like many private landowners on
for harvestable shellfish, the fate of their Hood Canal, Usnick prefers to keep his
tribal tradition and a source of livelihood beach closed — to anyone. He has genuine
may soon be affected at a negotiating table, concerns about garbage spilling onto the
or in a federal courtroom — far from the surf shore and firmly believes in his constitu
that laps against the sandy beaches of Hood tional right to privacy.
Canal. "People walk on the beach, but I would
On a map of Hood Canal, the land rather they don't," Usnick said. 'That really
forming Misery Point juts into the water like doesn't bother me. It's just when they come
the head of an eagle. with five-gallon buckets and they're only
Located between Seabeck and Scenic supposed to take 18 oysters. That's what
Beach State Park, this lush, tree-covered really gets me upset.
point is far from a source of misery for "They'll get five gallons of shucked
George Usnick, a retired engineer who oysters. Or they'll fill five-gallon buckets and
moved here from Pittsburgh, Pa., in 1985. A throw them in their truck. They break the
friend back East jokes that it's more like laws left and right. But all that's simmered
Happiness Point. down now (with the placement of the
From his home, Usnick sees a breath signs)."
taking panorama, bounded by The Brothers Because he's so fiercely protective of
to the south and the Toandos Peninsula to his property, Usnickfeels threatened by a
the north. lawsuit filed by 16 Western Washington
His beachfront home is perched on a Indian tribes in May of 1989. To his knowl
wooded cliffoverlooking the canal. From his edge, he's never seen Native Americans
patio, he can see fishing boats dotting the collecting oysters on his beach. But if the
124* Using the Resource

courts rule in the Indians' favor, or if nego development of shellfish that was provided
tiations give the tribes certain entitlements to for in the treaty."
private beaches, that will all change. From 1859 to 1970, the Indians claim
that 80 percent of all Western Washington
tideland was sold to private landowners
1he twomen,Charlie Trevathan and who were not told of the Indian shellfishing
George Usnick, have never met. But because rights. Thus, there currently is a standoff.
Many private of a two-paragraph article scribbled on a Landowners say they are protected by
landowners on piece of parchment 135 years ago, they've their fundamental right to privacy and plan
become unknowing opponents. to argue over the legal definitions of culti
Hood Canal
In 1855, Isaac Stevens was the territo vated tidelands.
preferto keep rial governor of Washington, and in negoti In a letter to the Justice Department last
their beaches ating with the Indians over land rights and February, Washington Attorney General Ken
closed — to settlement of reservations, he granted the Eikenberry wrote: 'The shellfish claim is
anyone. Indians permission to specific customs. The therefore a much greater direct challenge to
1855Point No Point treaty with the Western the traditional ownership prerogatives of
Washington tribes states the following: thousands of individuals than was the earlier
'The right of taking fish at usual and Phase I (original Boldt decision) allocation of
accustomed grounds and stations is further the free swimming fish in public waters."
secured to said Indians, in common with all For Mary Trevathan, legal squabbling
citizens of the United States;and of erecting over shellfish rights seems pretty far re
temporary houses for the purpose of curing; moved from her day-to-day world. But she is
together with the privilege of hunting and aware that animosity exists between tribal
gathering roots and berries on open and and non-tribal interests. She also knows of a
unclaimed lands. Provided, however, that group, the United Property Owners of
they shall not take shell-fishfrom any beds Washington,thafs consolidating the efforts
staked or cultivated by citizens." of the landowners.
The Boldt decision in 1974recognized "They don't really know what's going
the Point No Point Treaty as the final law in on," said Mary Trevathan. 'They think that
matters regarding the territorial rights of we're out there to just dig every clam we can
Native Americans, but U.S.DistrictJudge get. They're scared of what they call 'raping
George Boldt didn't carry the lawsuit the beaches.'
beyond salmon and steelhead harvests and "But we're taking just the harvestable
rule on the taking of shellfish. clams, which have to be 1 'A inches or
A lawsuit filed by the tribes in 1989 bigger. We can't take the smaller ones. We're
pursues a continuation of the entitlement taking the bigger ones but leaving the little
issue. And unless it's negotiated outside the ones to grow. They don't realize that. They
courtroom, this one could be quite a fight, just think we're taking everything."
possibly more costly,drawn out and emo Certain federal and state politicians
tionally charged than the fight over the would prefer that this case never goes to
salmon. court. They're pushing for a cooperative
The federal government represents the settlement and the Indians say they want to
Indians while the state currently represents comply.
the rights of private landowners and com But the tribes also argue they are not
mercial interests who own tideland property. getting the necessarycooperation from
The Indians contend that under the landowners to reach that settlement. United
provisions of the treaty, all beaches,either Property Owners of Washington officials say
public or private, should be open for publicly that they would rather litigate the
shellfishing. They add that private access to issue than possibly give away their rights in
those beaches should be open to all tribal a negotiated deal.
harvesters. They are spurred by thoughts from
'The treaty language is real clear," said people like George Usnick, who says a
Tony Foreman,fisheries directorfor the settlement is not acceptable.
Suquamish Tribe. "When the treaties were "I'm protective of my beach," said
made, there was no State of Washington and Usnick. "Number one, because ifs mine. I
there was no conceptof private ownership of paid for it and I pay property taxes here. I
tidelands, except for some commercial just don't want people on my property.
Oysters • 125

Would you walk up on somebody's yard? Of "I think it's obvious that we are all
course not." rapidly running out of beaches to harvest
Meanwhile, the environmental clock is shellfish," said Carson Boysen,spokesman
ticking.The state has apportioned certain for the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commis
lands — state parks and property controlled sion.
by the Department of Natural Resources — The tribes say that through enhance
to be open to all shellfish harvesters. Of the ment, they want to expand the shellfish
approximate 2,000 miles of beach in Western population. But far more cleaner beaches are
Washington, roughly 21 miles are open to needed to do it.
tribal and non-tribal harvesters. Private landowners say they, too, are
Recent studies show that up to 40 environmentally conscious.
percent of those public beaches are too But before both sides can make a
polluted to collectshellfish.Many Hood concerted effort to protect the shellfish, there
Canal tidelands fall into that category. is a huge legal hurdle to cross.
126 • Using the Resource

Section 4

By Christopher

Waterfront ownerscan
have thiskind of bounty
because of Hood Canal's
excellent oystergrowing

I f every waterfront property owner nagging at the back of my mind," he said, "is
would grow his own oysters, the rate whether I'll be recertified. You hear of hot
at which beaches are being ruined by spots where coliforms (bacteria) are increas
pollution would decline, according to ing, such as the area near Seabeck Store and
Jon and Loanna Day, who moved to where Big Beefenters (Hood Canal)."
Misery Point near Seabeck to take If everybody would grow oysters, Day
advantage of the fine oyster-growing says, maybe the word would spread about
conditions there. the importance of caring for septic systems,
"When I'm down on the beach and reducing lawn pesticides and cleaning up
tending my oysters, I feel like I have it all," after pets and livestock.
said Day, a marine biology teacher at Growing your own oysters is not
Olympic High School. particularly difficult, he maintains.
Day sells a few oysters on the side, so Added Mrs. Day, "You hear people
the state Department of Health keeps a say, 'We used to have oysters here.' To me,
regular watch on the bacterial levels at his that's like saying, 'Gosh, we used to have
beachfront property. carrots in our garden.' "
"One of the nightmares always Many of Hood Canal's beaches are
Oysters •127

For the shellfishlover, public access to Hood Canal is limited.State parks,

Department of Natural Resources beachesand county and municipal
•k State Park Beaches
parkscomprisethoseaccesses. Somestateparkssudi as Dosewallips have
a DNR Beaches beencloseddue to pollution. Withfewexceptions, DNRbeadies are
# Countyand other beaches accessible by wateronly.Mostoftherestoftheshoreline is privately If everybody
~\ Commercial areas owned. Do not trespass on privatepropertyinsearchofshellfish. At state would grow
| Approved areas parkbeaches, check posted shellfish regulations before attempting to
harvest shellfish.
oysters, Jon
| Prohibited areas
Day says,
l.Wolfle Property
2 NE ofShine maybe the
3. W. R Hicks Co. Park, Shine
word ivould
5. KitsapMemorialState Park spread about
6. Bolton Peninsula
7. Brown Point Quilcene the importance
9. Fisherman Harbor
of caringfor
10.Whitney Point and NW septic systems,
11.Jackson Cove
12 Dosewallips reducing lawn
13. Pleasant Harbor
pesticides and
15. North of Fulton Creek
/Watershed cleaning up
16. N. of Anderson Cove
17.EagleCreek Rec.Tidelands j boundary after pets and
18.Lilliwaup Rec. Tidelands
19. West of DeWatto Poulsbo livestock.
20. South of Miller Creek
21.WDFFishHatchery Brinnon
23.Potlatch 13 Hood Canal
24. Rendsland Creek Rec. Area
25. Twanoh
26. Port ofAllyn
27. Belfair Seabeck

Hood Point ..♦'*


Olympic Holly

Port Orchard
• Watershed
A \ boundary
<£ Belfair

71 Hoodsport
Zt 24
•.23*Potiatdi- '25

Source: Kitsap, Jefferson, Mason counties and Sun staff research

128 • Using the Resource

seeded naturally, thanks in large part to the Oysters grown in Dyes and Sinclair
tremendous amount of oyster larvae pro inlets cannot be certified for sale due to
duced in Quilcene and Dabob bays. Larvae pollution problems,but Day intends to have
that survive drift for two or three weeks his high school class plant some oyster seed
before setting on rocks or old oyster shell. there anyway.
One can enhance the amount of oyster "We can see how fast the oysters grow,
"set" by moving shell from the upper beach and it may be a good way of monitoring
"You hear to the lower beach. Do not, however, move pollution levels," he said.
people say, uncertified shell from just anyone's beach, Day says he is disappointed that some
warns Day. It is illegal,and uncertifiedshell waterfront property owners object to any
'We used to
carries the threat of spreading a dangerous kind of commercial oyster or mussel farming
have oysters parasite, the Japanese oyster drill, a snail near their homes. More than anything, he
here.' To me, which was introduced with early shipments argues, such operations prove that the
that's like of oyster seed. waters are still clean.

saying, 'Gosh, One can also lay bags or strings of shell "You will never see a mussel farm in
out on the beach to catch swimming larvae. Commencement Bay," he added.
we used to
The shell can be purchased from certified Day worries about the upcoming
have carrots in oyster growers, and the state Department of decision over whether tribes have a right to
our garden.'" Fisheries keeps track of water conditions and take shellfish from private beaches. But his
— Loanna Day announces the best time to put them out. concern doesn't slow him down.
Where oysters don't set naturally, one 'This entire shoreline is a very rich
can buy bags of oyster seed, or spat, which resource," he noted. "I hope that people are
are tiny oysters that have already been not so afraid that they stop cultivating
captured and grown for several months on seafood or stop trying to protect the water
shell. quality."
Oysters • 129

Increasing levels of nutrients in Hood Canal from

human waste andfertilizer runoff mayhelpfeed
plankton blooms that causered tide.

I n June 1991, the first major red tide sor and longtime shellfish biologist. "Before
outbreak in the history of Hood Canal 1978,1 used to say that if you eat shellfish Section 5
alarmed Puget Sound researchers, who south of a line drawn even with Port
were the first to admit they don't know Townsend, you never have to worry."
exactly why it happened. Since then, he noted, red tide blooms An Invisible
But one researcher, Jack Rensel of the have moved south into lower Puget Sound
University of Washington Fisheries Depart and now are threatening Hood Canal.
ment, says further plankton blooms in The cause is unknown, said Chew, but By Christopher
central Hood Canal could doom the south he personally believes that plankton may be Dunagan
ern part of the waterway, where conditions following the growth of human population.
appear to be more favorable to the one-celled "The more people living in these areas,
organisms. we see an increase in phosphates and
The closure came after state health nitrates," said Chew. "That's what the
officials noted that high levelsof paralytic organism desires.
shellfish poison had been found in mussels "We are holding our breath on this,"
from SeabeckBay. The resulting closure he said. "A massive outbreak in 1978spared
affected all of Hood Canal from Seabeck Hood Canal, but I've always been wonder
north to Hood Canal Bridge,on both Kitsap ing when it might poke through there."
and Jefferson county sides. Rensel, a graduate student who is
"Things are happening in that area," doing extensive studies on plankton, has
said Kenneth Chew, a UW Fisheriesprofes proposed a theory about why Hood Canal
130 • Using the Resource

has avoided red tides so far. plankton and conditions affecting it.
Every spring, Hood Canal undergoes The amount of toxin that led to the
blooms involving one-celled plankton called closure was 226 micrograms of toxin per 100
diatoms, he says. Stable weather, sunlight grams of shellfish tissue. The level for closing
and high water temperatures are all factors. the beaches is 80.
After the spring bloom, central Hood Normally, plankton blooms "take two
Canal, which is fed by the clear waters or three weeks to develop, then can disap
Since 1978, flowing out of the Olympics, becomes pear almost overnight," said Louisa
University of depleted of inorganic Nishitani, who studied red
nitrogen, said Rensel. tide for 20 years until her
Washington Dinoflagellates, free- Red tide retirement as a University of
shellfish swimming plankton, are closing Washington researcher in
biologist unable to move past the clear 1985.
Kenneth Chew layers of water in central The plankton weren't
has seen red Hood Canal and die, accord known in large numbers in
ing to Rensel's theory. southern Puget Sound until
tide blooms
Gonyaulax catanella, the red 1978,when a major bloom
move south tide organism, is one of the occurred up north. After that,
into lower dinoflagellates. the organism has been
Puget Sound, So far, the clear waters gradually moving into
of central Hood Canal have southern waters.
to the point
saved lower Hood Canal "We knew it was in the
that they now from serious red tide prob main basin of Puget Sound
threaten Hood lems, he said. But conditions for years before 1978," she
Canal. in lower Hood Canal may be said, "but the conditions
more favorable to the red weren't right for it to bloom
tide organism due to the high before that — or it could
Hood Canal
level of nutrients that have have bloomed in isolated
been measured there.
suffered its spots but just wasn't picked
During winter months, first-ever closure to up."
most plankton drift to the red tide in 1991. The same could be said
bottom as cysts and lie Now that the of Hood Canal today, she
dormant. said.
"Once you get the cysts
plankton is present Hood Canal beaches in
in the sediment," said Rensel, in the canal, the affected area were
"there is the possibility that it shellfish growers reopened two weeks after
may be there from now on. are concerned the closure. During that period,
The only thing keeping it out Jon Day of Seabeck was the
blooms could
of South Hood Canal may be only grower waiting to
that it hasn't been there in
become more harvest oysters from his
such numbers before." frequent and beach.
Don Miles of the widespread. But the threat of red
Bremerton-Kitsap County tide extends to oyster
Health Department said he has heard growers throughout central and southern
unconfirmed reports of a major red tide Hood Canal, especially when one realizes
bloom during the 1940s, but he is not sure of that cysts of the organism can remain
conditions present at that time. Old-timers dormant, waiting like tiny time bombs for
recall a reddish bloom of plankton, but the the right conditions to return.
color may be due to another speciesof Increased population in the Hood
plankton unrelated to the red tide organism. Canal watershed may heighten the risk of
Rensel has proposed a study of Hood poisonous plankton blooms and add to the
Canal that would measure the dangerous threat already posed by growing pollution.

Base, Bangor

USS Florida returns from a shakedown cruise

in thedepths of Dabob Bay on Hood Canal.

A b o u t midway along the shoreline is one of the most extraordinary Section 1

meandering eastern flank of military installations in America — the
Hood Canal, the rocky beach Naval Submarine Base at Bangor.
is blocked by a fence that It houses a support complex for a Hood Canal
extends from the wooded weapon system so incredibly powerful that
Becomes the
bank all the way down into the it could, in the space of less than an hour,
waters of the tidal zone. turn the sprawling mass of the Soviet Union Navy's
On the fence is a prominently dis into a cratered, smoldering hulk. Choice
played sign. "Warning. Restricted area. Keep It has never been used for this purpose.
Out. Authorized Personnel Only." And it won't be as long as the Soviet Union ByLloyd Pritchett
This is where wild and natural Hood doesn't attack America first, say those who
Canal meets the orderly structure of the run the program. Its purpose is to deter
Navy. warfare, not cause it, they say.
What lies beyond the fence on the The base does this by keeping the eight

•131 •
132 • Using the Resource

nuclear missile submarines based there the submarine Navy.

ready and rotating constantly out to sea. Said Wright: "If you have to make a
But the 7,100-acre installation on Hood choice between, say, Elliott Bay or a remote
Canal is more than just the physicalbase for area — especially one that you already own
a weapons program. It is part nature pre — then you pick the less populated area."
serve, small city, industrial facilityand Navy Not only does that increase the margin
home port — all contained within a setting of safety, but it means less marine vessel
Almost as of breathtaking grandeur. traffic to interfere with and observe subma
rine movements.
soon as they
There are the characteristics of Hood
leave Hood
Where is the ideal home for a fleetof Canal itself.
Canal, Trident eight Trident nuclear missile-firingsubma One of the deepest inlets in Western
submarines rines? Washington, Dabob Bay,is 35 minutes from
based at Backin the early '70s, when the Trident the Trident base as the submarine goes —
Bangor can system was ready to move from the drawing offering a perfect test site for the giant subs
boards to reality, the Navy asked itselfthat before they leave on an operational patrol.
reach most of question. "Having Dabob Bay so near is great,"
their Soviet The answer it came up with then, after said Cmdr. Keith Arterburn, the base's
targets with much searching, was a site along a vast, public affairs officer. "We can come back to
their nuclear- natural fjord sandwiched between the snow- the pier and fix any problems that are
tipped laced Olympic Mountains and the undulat discovered."
ing evergreen hills of Kitsap Peninsula in "It (the bay) serves the Navy a great
Western Washington. purpose," added Cmdr. Henry Gonzales,
We, of course, know the waterway as executive officer aboard one of the Trident
Hood Canal. subs. "It saves us a lot of hours. In a little less
Now, 20 years later, there is wide than an hour (from home base), we can
consensus among the submarine community dive."
at Bangor that the choice not only was Then there are the less tangible, but no
correct but also a stroke of genius. less important factors.
But how can that be? How could a Hood Canal country is a scenic,
remote waterway surrounded by vast friendly place to live for the submariners and
brooding forests, far from any industrial their families.
support facilities, be considered an ideal "Look at how many people stay here.
place for a strategic submarine missile base (Navy) people do all they can not to leave
and the 10,000 sailors and workers who run here," said Wright. "Why is that? Ifs the
it? quality of life.The people are friendly. The
The reasons may be unclear to a crime rate is low. This is America at its best."
landlubber, but to most submariners they are The Navy's top submariner, ViceAdm.
obvious. Roger F. Bacon,and his wife Joan may live in
"It's a deep body of water without a lot Washington, D.C., but they own property on
of navigational hazards," said Capt. Hood Canal.
Malcolm Wright, commodore of the Trident They're not the only ones.
fleet, which first became operational in 1982. "I asked specifically to come to Bangor,
That means the giant subs based on and I got what I wanted," said Lt. Cmdr. Jay
Hood Canal can submerge almost as soon as Perkins, training officer for Trident Subma
they pull away from their pier. It also means rine Group 9. "I plan to die here."
that very little dredging was required to Chris Mygatt, wife of a Trident sailor
build the base's waterfront facilities. aboard USS Florida, added: "People here are
Another plus — the 7,100-acre site very warm and welcoming. I've never lived
chosen for the Trident support base already in a community that had so much support
was owned by the Navy. for the Navy."
Bangor had been a sleepy ammunition Despite all that, Hood Canal does have
depot established in the final years of World its drawbacks.
War II and named after a nearby tiny For one, ifs a long way —155 miles —
community on the shore of Hood Canal. from the Bangor base to the open ocean.
The area's relative remoteness from Submarines on patrol spend most of their
urbanized industrial areas is a plus, too — to first and last days traversing that distance on
Naval Submarine Base, Bangor • 133

the surface at slow speeds. the curvature of the sub's hull all the way
Another disadvantage is that the Hood down as far as it went," he said.
Canal area's distance from urban areas can In no other port in the world had he
be trying for young single sailors stationed ever seen what the sub looked like below the
there. water's murky surface.
But these are minor problems when Then, looking up, he took in the vast
compared with the tremendous advantages, forests and mountains surrounding Hood
including what may be the ultimate advan Canal and he knew he had entered a special "Our interest
tage. That is, Hood Canal's place. today is to
strategic geographic location Dabob Bay It is a feeling shared by
preserve our
within the Trident missiles' many of the sailors and
4,500-mile striking range of officers stationed at the way of life
the Soviet Union. sprawling base, the only without being
Said Capt. Wright: "I industrial facility anywhere unduly
think the real reason (the on the canal's 242-mile
Hood Canal area) was picked shoreline. It catches by — Capt. Malcolm
— and this is just Malcolm surprise many of those who Wright,
Wright talking — is its are stationed there for the
geographical location. If you first time. It is like no other
Squadron 17
wanted to hold at risk all the military compound in the
targets in the Soviet Union, world.
(they are) very close to being Envious sailors based at
in range as soon as you get other local facilities refer to
out of the Strait of Juan de the Bangor Navy base as
Fuca." The deep waters of "that national park."
"I think one reason for Dabob Bay offer a "You can go right
having the base here is its down to the Service Pier on
proximity to the most
convenient place to base and go crabbing or
dangerous scene of a con "shakedown" a clamming," says sailor
flict." Trident sub after Shawn Steele of USS Ala
He said it may not be refit at the Bangor bama.
possible to hit all potential base across the The park-like beauty of
targets in the Soviet Union the area has led Navy
from just off the Washington canal. officials to exercise more than
state coast — "but your steaming time is usual care in protecting the environment at
much shorter (to reaching those targets)" — Bangor.
especially if missiles are fired over the polar The base's huge Delta Pier was spe
region. cially constructed away from the shoreline to
"It complicates (the Soviets') efforts to keep from disrupting salmon runs. The
locate us in the ocean (and gives us) more pilings supporting it are wrapped in a
pre-launch survivability," said Wright. protective, nonpolluting plastic.
And, he added: "Yes, we could hit A number of systems also are in place
some targets from right inside Hood Canal." to prevent oil, hazardous waste or radioac
tive material from spilling into the water
way. Spills of hazardous materials still occur
1etty officer Mike Schriver remembers sometimes, but are quickly cleaned up.
well the first time he rode a submarine, USS So far, though, the Navy's painstaking
Barb, into the crystalline waters of Hood and thorough precautions have prevented a
Canal. devastating accident from destroying the
As the nuclear-powered sub docked at canal and its ecosystem.
its berth in the Naval Submarine Base at The sailors and civilians stationed at
Bangor, Schriver looked down and was Bangor love Hood Canal as much as,
astonished to see the submarine's black perhaps more than, the rest of us. Their
shape under the water, in detail, as if he activities pollute the fjord and its watershed
were peering at it through glass. less than many of Hood Canal's less impos
"The water was so clear, you could see ing neighbors.
134 • Using the Resource

Section 2

The Canal's
ByLloyd Pritchett

Camie Carlson, director

of Bangor's Child
Development Center, is
just oneof thepeople
who make the nuclear
submarine base a true

W h e n a wicked wind and ice piled with snow, her car would not start, she
storm came screaming out was low on groceries, her two preschoolers
of the night, shutting down were hungry.
civilization in Western And her husband was hundreds of
Washington for days in miles out to sea, aboard a Trident submarine,
December, 1990,everything somewhere in the North Pacific. He would
fell apart for the young Navy wife living in not be returning for weeks.
rural western Kitsap County. Fortunately, her phone still worked. So
Her power went out, her driveway she made a call.
Naval Submarine Base, Bangor • 135

"Hello," said a familiar voice on the She said her role is to "help sailors
other end of the line. keeptheirmindson theirmission when they
"I need some help," said the Navy are at sea for 75days and make them
wife. confident there's somebody back home to
Within a short time, another wife take care of their families."
whose husband was aboard the same Everycrew of every Trident submarine
submarine drove up in a four-wheel-drive at Bangorhas an ombudsman like Mygatt
vehicle with three bags of groceries. who serves as a link to the families of The base is a
The second wife helped out until the crewmen. community of
first could get reorganized and backon her Mygatt saysshe understands what the 10,000people,
feet. families go throughbecause her husband,
This is the kind of drama that Chris Cliff, has been in the Navy for 13years and the largest on
Mygatt — the familiar voice on the end of aboard the Rorida for two years. They have the canal. It
the line — is trained to deal with. gone through 10patrols aboard different has its own
She is the "ombudsman" for the Blue subs.Theyhavea daughter,Heather, 6 x/z, housing,
Crew of the Trident submarine USS Florida, who she says is "very proud of her father." supermarket,
based on Hood Canal at the Naval Subma
rine Base at Bangor.
One of her jobsduring the sub's patrols Ihebase isthe equivalent ofa small store, child
is to find USSFlorida wives who can help city. It has itsown housing,supermarket, care center,
out others in need. department store, child care center, restau restaurants,
For wives and family members of rants, clubs,library, movie theater, recycling
clubs, library,
Rorida crewmen, many of them new to the center,swimming pool, bowling alley,gym,
archery range, sports center, fishing lakes... movie theater,
area, she is the one person they can count on
24hours a day when the crew is at sea for The list is endless. recycling
2 l/z months at a stretch. It is a community of 10,000 people, the center,
She knows all 114 wives with a hus largest on the canal. swimming
band on the Blue Crew (which alternates Mygatt and the other submarine
pool... the list
patrols with the sub's Gold Crew). ombudsmenare just part of a network of
people in place at Bangor to support the is endless.
"Ifs like a big family," she said. "I feel
like I have 114 sisters." families and crewmen who maintain their
Although extreme winter storms don't constantvigilout in the lonelydepths of the
comealong every day, other types of ocean. Navy people,and the self-contained
problems crop up constantly while the community at Bangor, call the concept
Florida is out at sea. "taking care of our own."
Mygattis there when there's an illness "The submarine force does it better
in a USS Floridafamily, she's there when than anybody else in the Navy," said base
someone has a question, she's there when spokesman Cmdr. Keith Arterburn.
someone needs a sympathetic shoulder to New Navy families arriving at Bangor
cry on. first make contact with the extensive support
She knows about every pregnancy that system through the base's FamilyService
is likely to terminate while the crew is away. Center, which offers a packet of information
And she makes sure a plan is worked out in about the area — and that's just for starters.
advance — with volunteers ready to escort The center, headed by Cmdr. Marie
the mothers-to-be to the hospital and take McEUigott, alsooffers financial and personal
care of their homes during the husbands' counseling, hosts 100workshops and classes
absence. in everything from first aid to stress manage
She's also there to help in more serious ment and serves as a link between the Navy
cases — when a wife is assaulted or when community and local school systems.
there is a death in a family. It helps Bangor families when they
"I'm the captain's representative to the arrive and when they have to leave, and the
families," said Mygatt. "Last patrol I took entire time between.
over 700phone calls from family members. Here, too, is where the subs' ombuds
I'm on call 24 hours a day for the entire men get their training.
deployment." And the center recently put together a
She is the only civilian adviser on the new program called "junior ambassadors"
captain's small personal staff. — in which youngsters who live at the base
236 • Using the Resource

volunteer to befriend new Navy kids But there is no cure for some of the
arriving in the area and show them the feelings that plague wives and familieswhen
ropes. a submarine is on patrol.
The center offerssuch an array of 'There's a point with every wife,
servicesthat "there's reallynothing likeit in there's always that inkling of fear in the back
the civilian world," said Arterburn. of your mind (that the sub might not re
Besides the Family ServiceCenter, the turn)," said Mygatt. "You have to remember
"You can go Tridentbaseoffers a childcarecenter(open that the men... are highly trained, experts
right down to Monday through Saturday),housingreferral in what they do.... They can do their jobsin
offices, Navy Relief Society and chapel. their sleep."
the Service Pier
Altogether, these support servicesare "All these men are professionals, from
on base and go given high marks by sailors when they are the seamen recruits to the captain," she
crabbingor surveyed to find out why they decideto stay added.
clamming." in the Navy. Withso much of their time taken up
— Shawn Steele, The support activities not only help the with meeting the demands of the submarine
USS Alabama families, but they help each submariner at service, the wonder is that the Trident
sea keep his mind on his job,secure in the community at Bangor also has the time to
knowledge that there is a network of people extend a helping hand to the civilian com
there to help his own familywhile he's gone munity.
on patrol. But it does.
Nevertheless, despite the extensive Trident sailors volunteer at local
support services, there come those times schools through the Personal Excellence
when each submariner, his spouse and through Cooperative Education (PECE)
family must learn to rely on themselves. program.
"You have to be tough-skinned and The Trident Training Facility operates a
independent (to be a submariner's wife)," community action program, called "Helping
said McElligott. "You have to have confi Hands," that helps out civilianorganizations
dence in yourself." and individualswith projects on Saturday
While the husband is away on patrol, mornings.
the wife plays the role of mother and father. And the base recently "adopted" a
The kids, meanwhile, learn to get by with the two-milestretch of State Highway 3 near
attention of one parent. Bangor, which it keeps clean through regular
Loneliness can be a big factorduring a litter-gathering patrols.
patrol, too, McElligottsaid. "If you're a wife, If all this creates the image that the base
you see your children doing new things and is a good citizenmade up of regular Ameri
he (the husband) is not there to watch." cans,well— it's no image,but the truth, say
To help bridge the communication gap the officialswho run the place.
between familiesand seafaring submariners, 'These are everyday American citizens
the Navy allows each wife to send eight aboard these ships," said Capt. Malcolm
short upbeat messages called "family- Wright, commodore of the Trident squadron
grams" to her husband during each Trident on Hood Canal.

A Canal Portfolio

Botanist Jerry Gorsline

inspects a tiny sundew plant,
which catches insects with
sticky secretions. Gorsline
has studied much of the
Hood Canal watershed in
detail, and he's found afew
areas, like Devil's Lake, that
have withstood the
encroachment offoreign
plant species. Gorsline has
calledfor state protection of
such ecosystems.

John and Iriss Blaine

(right) escaped a hectic
urban setting to pursue
their art on the shores of
Hood Canal. Brad
Kauzlaric (below), a
Seabeck artist, worked
for months on a
painting that
represented his
perception of the
• 139

Elders, like Joseph Andrews Sr. of the

Skokomish (top), still remember when the
bounty of the canal was the source of their
sustenance. The culture of the Northwest
Coastal Salish people, who originally
inhabited the Hood Canal watershed, was
systematically attacked by the whites who
settled there. Only recently has there been
an attempt to revive the old ways. Port
Gamble S'Klallam Jake Jones (left) learns to
make a bentwood box in the way of his
The canal's beauty is appreciated by many people in many different ways. But the canal may be
loved too much. People flock to the waterway, its beaches, and to developments nearby, placing
demands on the canal that its natural systems cannot meet. Only careful use ofthis marvelous
resource can preserve itforfuture generations.
142 •

The rich and the poor stake claim

to the Hood Canal watershed.
Chuck and JoAnne Haselwood
(facing page) play on the golf
course they built on the grounds
oftheir home near Olympic View,
farmer John Davis (below) found
it increasingly difficult to scratch
outa livingfrom the soil around
Belfair, so he moved hisfamily to
Wisconsin in 1991. Alvin
Ackerman (left) moved to
Quilcenefrom Montana as a
teenager in the late 1930s and
found that the canal provided a
"quiet life"for his wife andfour
144 •

The waters ofHood Canal

still offer a bounty, but the
waterway's ability to
provide is being
challenged bypollution
and sedimentation from
human development,
logging and agricultural
uses. Harvesting oysters
(right) is possible only
because most of the canal's
waters remain clear. Tribal
fishermen on the
Skokomish River (below)
seefewer and fewer
returning salmon, a result
of overfishing on the
oceans and the destruction
of spawning habitat
upstream by dams and
Naval Submarine Base, Bangor • 245

Petty Officer 2ndClass John Mosley

at thehelm of USS Florida beneath
the surface ofHood Canal.

I n the control room of the Trident control room below via intercom.
submarine USS Florida, Petty Officer Also atop the sail is the Florida's Section 3
2nd Class John Mosley munches commanding officer, Capt. Paul Sullivan. He
rhythmically on a tasteless scrap of watches wordlessly and stoically over the
gum and nudges the small oval OOD's shoulder. 400 Feet
steering wheel before him to the right. Today the crew is taking the billion-
"Right 15 degrees rudder, steady Below the
dollar strategic sub from its berth at the
course two-seven-eight," he says in a calm Bangor naval base to 600-foot-deep Dabob Canal
voice from the swivel chair where he sits. Bay in Jefferson County for a test spin. It's a
Mosley, considered the best helmsman short 35-minute cruise across Hood Canal.
By Lloyd Pritchett
with the Florida's blue crew, can't see where The idea is to put the submarine
he is going. through its paces one last time before it
Instead, he eyeballs a panel clustered heads out on another 75-day patrol under
with gauges and instruments and responds the unforgiving ocean after nearly a month
to course headings ordered by the ship's in port.
officer of the deck. "If the ship gets out (on a patrol) and
For the moment, the 18,700-ton sub is something doesn't work ... it can create a real
cruising along the surface of Hood Canal. domino effect," said Cmdr. Henry Gonzales,
The officer of the deck, known as the the Florida's executive officer. "One reason
"OOD," is perched at the top of the that doesn't happen much is because we
submarine's towering black sail, out in a have Dabob Bay here to use for testing."
brisk spring wind. He communicates to the The crew also needs to know if all
146 • Using the Resource

systems are working noiselessly, since a sub "All vents open!" answers the chief of
that makes noise is a sub that gets found. the watch, as he throws open switches.
And Trident subs aren't in the business of Thousands of gallons of Hood Canal water
being found. begin pouring noiselessly through valves
Any noises detected by sensitive sound into the sub's ballast tanks.
detectors planted on Dabob Bay's bottom A rush of cool air passes through the
must be tracked down and silenced by repair control room.
"The average crews before the sub can head out to sea. Immediately, the red digits on the
age of the crew As the sub enters the bay, it begins a sub's keel depth gauge begin increasing as
long, looping racetrack circuit. It is nearly the sub starts on its way below Hood Canal's
is only 21 time to dive. gray waves. The planesman calls out the
years old. A lot The personnel on the sail — the OOD, increasing depths.
of times a new the junior OOD, the captain and two look "Three-eight feet," he says. "Four-six.
crew member outs — clamber down a long metal ladder ... Four-eight.... Five-zero feet.... Five-two."
senses the through two hatches into the control room "Deck's awash," calls out the officer of
below. The last one down closes and seals the deck, signalling that the waves are now
weight of the the hatches. combing over the sub's outer deck.
whole world is Now the officerof the deck will guide When the keel depth reaches sixty-
on his the ship by periscope. eight feet, the huge submarine is completely
shoulders. But A command passes over the ship's submerged.
I remind him speaker system: "Watchstanders, man your Once it passes below 84 feet, it will be
phones in preparation for submerging the too deep to use the periscope.
that it's really ship." "Order depth one-nine-one," intones
a teameffort... At the helm, Mosley chews his gum the OOD.
I call it 'Team faster as the moment for diving approaches. Shortly after, he lowers the periscope.
Florida'." His right leg moves up and down rapidly in The helmsman seems to relax. His leg
— Capt. Paul a nervous rhythm. stops moving up and down. But he still gives
Sullivan, USS Also at the ready is the ship's his gum a workout.
Rorida planesman, to Mosley's left, who controls the
sub's angle of descent, and the chief of the
watch, who mans a panel showing which JNow isthe time when the ship's sonar
valves, hatches and openings on the ship's room takes over.
hull have been closed. "We're the eyes and ears of the boat
Beforethe sub can submerge, every when we're not at periscope depth," ex
opening must be shut. plains Sonar Technician 1st Class Michael
"We don't want water getting into Guinn.
what we call the people locker," explains the What the sonar crew does is listen to
submarine group's training officer,Lt. Cmdr. sounds in the water — very carefully —
Jay Perkins. using a multimillion-dollar hightech elec
The OOD orders more course changes tronic system called the AN/BQQ6 that
and the helmsman answers. analyzes sounds on a screen.
"Right full rudder, aye," says the The system is so sophisticated that,
helmsman, just the slightest bit of tension with a crackerjack operator, it can put
entering his voice. "All ahead one-third, aye. together a three-dimensional acoustic
... Passing course one-eight-zero to the right, "picture" of all sounds surrounding the ship,
sir.... Continue course two-zero-zero, helm identify where they are coming from and
aye. Officer of the deck, steady on course what is causing them.
two-zero-zero, sir." It can tell whether a nearby sound is
"Very well, helm," answers the OOD. caused by a whale, a supertanker, an ocean
Then the planesman receives his tug — or a Victor class Soviet submarine —
orders: "Submerge the ship, make depth and then allow the sub to avoid it.
seven-eight feet." "Just by listening, we can tell how
And just as it has been portrayed in a many screws (propellers) a contact has, and
thousand Hollywood movies, a voice how many blades are on each screw," said
crackles over the ship's speaker system: Guinn.
"Dive! Dive!" A horn alarm sounds Today, in Dabob Bay, the sonar system
twice, and then the order is repeated: "Dive! picks up the tiny sounds of hundreds of
Dive!" snapping shrimp. The sound of a passing
Naval Submarine Base, Bangor • 147

patrol boat also leaves a thick acoustic wake nated by the certainty that it will be followed
down the sonar system's screen. by about 75 days at sea.
But out in front of the sub, all is clear. It takes most of a day for a sub to get
Down below on the ship's lowest deck, from Bangor to the sea. Once the Trident
in the Rorida's torpedo room, another crew reaches the western end of the Strait of Juan
is getting ready for action. de Fuca, "it's time to pull the plug," said
Today the crew will test-launch a Mark Gonzales, executive officer of the Rorida's
48 torpedo — a million-dollar weapon so blue crew. The sonar
smart that if it misses its target it is pro After the sub dives, it needn't come system picks
grammed to come back and try again. back to the surface until the patrol is over.
The torpedo being shot today has no Air is manufactured, water is purified from
up the tiny
warhead on it. After launching, it will be the sea and tons of food are stashed aboard. sounds of
retrieved and put back into service. During all this time, one thing is more hundreds of
No tense, sweaty-faced officer barks important than any other to the ship and its snapping
"Fire one!" into his headset as a torpedo crew: silence.
shrimp. After
roars from its tube. Instead, there is a calm Aboard a Trident sub, any sound can
countdown, after which a technician pushes jeopardize national security if a listening
test firing a
a button in the control room. Soviet sub is anywhere within miles. There torpedo, a
A loud hiss, lasting less than a second, fore, silence is not just a virtue; it is a neces torpedoman
is the only sign that the torpedo has been sity, a habit, a way of living. removes the
pushed from its tube by pressurized water. Machinists don't drop tools. Cooks smashed
After the launch, a burly torpedoman don't bang pots and pans. Doors and hatches
opens the tube to check it. Inside he sees the aren't slammed, they are closed with great,
remains of two
smashed remains of two Hood Canal shrimp gentle care. Whenever possible, crew Hood Canal
sucked into the screens during the launch. members climb into their bunks, or "racks," shrimp sucked
"It's the catch of the day," he says. to avoid making noise. Toilet lids aren't even into the tube.
lifted for fear they will fall back down with a
1he Trident submarines based at "Something like that can be heard
Bangor spend more than twice as much time miles through the water," said Senior Chief
out on patrol as they do in port. Mercer, who adds the crew goes "to any
For 75 days at a time, 160 crewmen length to eliminate" noise.
stand ready at a moment's notice to launch Meanwhile, the work load hardly lets
24 missiles packing up to eight warheads up.
apiece toward targets in the Soviet Union, if "The average officer can easily work 18
called on by the president to do so. hours a day," said Perkins.
The chances of that call coming are Every crew member stands six-hour
almost incalculably remote. Nevertheless, watches, which are followed by 12 hours of
the crew must be ready to act. work, training and drills. The remaining six
They live inside their enormous steel hours can be used for sleep if there are no
vault on manufactured air, surrounded by more drills during that time.
pipes, cables, computers, machinery — and It's easy to forget whether it's day or
missiles — never contacting the outside night, said Mercer, so most crew members
world, from an undersea world about as orient themselves by which meal they are
alien as any found on this planet. eating — breakfast, lunch, dinner or mid
A shakedown cruise in Dabob Bay is night rations.
part of the preparation for a cruise that starts Under this kind of regimen, the
about three weeks before the sub actually excitement of heading out to sea wears off
leaves on patrol, a time called "refit." after about the first two weeks of the patrol.
"This is the most painful period in a The sameness gets to some people. It's
submariner's life," said Senior Chief always the same shipmates, with the same
Machinist's Mate Greg Mercer of Bangor, mannerisms, telling the same sea stories in
who has served aboard Trident subs for the same way.
years. And there are the worries of isolation.
Refit period means 18-hour work days, "I'm confident in my wife's abilities; she can
hard work, no sleep, inspections, extra duty handle anything," said Mercer. "But you still
and very little time for anything else, worry. You worry about your family. You
including one's family. And it's all domi worry about the unknown."
148 • Using the Resource

By the midway point of the patrol, the the keel depth gauge race from 400 to 350 to
crew is ready for some diversion. So, by 300 to 250...
tradition, there is mid-patrol night — an As the sub breaks the surface, there is a
evening of skits, auctions and other hilarity momentary surge of weightlessness. Then
that crew members don't talk about to the sub goes level.
outsiders. A sailor scrambles up the ladder to the
After that, the world begins to look top of the sail, opening the hatches on his
"Ifthe ship brighter as crew members start counting off way.

gets out (on a the time until the end of the deployment — The outside air floods into the control
four weeks, three weeks, two, one... room, bringing with it the scents of the
patrol) and And then comes that magic day when outdoors that have been missing all day in
something the submarine returns to the Strait of Juan de the sub's sterile, manufactured atmosphere
doesn't work... Fuca, rises up from the ocean depths and — the salt air, trees, flowers....
it can create a surfaces. The OOD orders a course heading back
real domino The hatch is opened and for the first toward home at the Bangor base.
time, the smells of the world above come The helmsman tosses his gum into the
effect. One pouring down into the filtered atmosphere trash.
reason that aboard the submarine. So strong is it that
doesn't happen some crew members with sensitive nostrils
much is nearly swoon. The Concept of Deterrence
because we Hours later, the Trident berths at its
Along shadow is cast on the golden
Bangor pier and the crew files off,eyes
have Dabob glitter of sunrise on Hood Canal by
blinking in the harsh, unfamiliar sunlight
Bay here to use and straining to focus on distances farther
the tall sail of a Trident nuclear

for testing." missilesubmarine pulling away from the

away than the end of the missile deck.
enormous Navy pier complex at Bangor.
— Cmdr. Henry Microbes in the air — absent in the
The giant billion-dollar submarine,
Gonzales, USS submarine's manufactured atmosphere —
the most fearsome weapons platform in
Rorida give everyone in the crew a cold.
the U.S.arsenal, is about to disappear
But the hardest thing to get used to is
beneath the sea for 2 xli months with its
the excess of noise — horns honking, people
crew and 24 nuclear-tipped missiles.
jabbering, dogs barking, television, radios,
The sub's mission while there is to
car engines...
act as a well-hidden persuader — to
It can all be overwhelming to a subma
convince the Soviet Union that America is
riner not yet weaned from the culture of
ready and able to respond with megatons
of nuclear fury to a Soviet attack against it.
About three days later, the sub's
This is what the Navy calls "strate
alternate crew takes over and the just-
gic deterrence."
returned sailors get some well-deserved time
At any given time, there are five or
more of the huge Trident subs patrolling
the waters of the Pacific off the Soviet
1he Rorida's BlueCrew has all this to
But the subs can't carry out their
look forward to as they spend the rest of the
mission without a home base to keep
morning and afternoon steering their huge
them supplied and working. And this is it
sub around the underwater Dabob Bay
— the 7,100-acre Naval Submarine Base in
course. They change depths, submerging as
Kitsap County, with its high-tech facili
deep as 400 feet. They test equipment, they
ties, equipment and thousands of skilled
monitor everything. Then it is time for the
final test.
And the base can't operate without
"Emergency surface the ship!" orders
the Hood Canal itself. This is the subs'
the officer of the deck in the control room.
conduit to the sea, 155 miles away.
The diving alarm sounds three times.
Together, the waterway, the subs
The chief of the watch reaches over and
and the base offer a very persuasive
throws open the emergency blow actuators,
argument against starting a nuclear war
forcing tons of water from the ship's tanks.
with the United States. And thafs the
The sub angles upward and the red digits of
Naval Submarine Base, Bangor • 149

The Trident
based at
Bangor spend
more than
twice as much
time out on
patrol as they
do in port.
During all this
whole idea. County, is where the ships' missiles are time, one thing
"The worst thing you can have in loaded and unloaded. is more
deterrence is uncertainty," explained Using all these facilities, a Trident important
Capt. Malcolm Wright, commodore of submarine returning from patrol can be than any other
the eight-submarine Trident fleet based repaired, loaded and readied for another to the ship and
on Hood Canal. "That lets (the enemy) patrol in 25days. Then ifs back out to sea
its crews:
think, 'Maybe we can get away with (a for another 75 days with a new, refreshed
nuclear strike).' You don't want him crew. silence.
thinking that." "Deterrence is a funny concept,"
In fact, everything at the Navy's said Commodore Wright. "We have to
Bangorbase on Hood Canal is designed have the ability to do something that
to keep the Soviets from thinking that. nobody wants to do — and do it so well
First, there is the Strategic Weapons that we never have to do it."
FacilityPacific,or SWFPAC(pronounced To keep its edge, the crew con
"swiffpack"). This is where the subma stantly practicesmissilelaunches — going
rines' missiles and warheads are stored, through the procedures without actually
maintained and serviced. It is guarded by launching missiles or, less often, launch
a company of Marines authorized to use ing missiles armed with dummy war
deadly force against intruders. heads.
There is the Trident Refit Facility, in Eventually, the procedure becomes
essence a small shipyard that keeps the so ingrained in each crew member's mind
submarines operating flawlessly and that he can do it without thinking.
silently. But could the average middle
The base's Trident Training Facility, Americans who man the launcher and fire
with simulators that replicate all the controlconsoles— guys raised on mom,
equipment on a Trident sub, is used for baseball and apple pie—be able to fire
teaching and re-teaching crew members weapons knowing they would destroy
how to operate their ship before they much of the world and the people in it?
ever go to sea. "I don't think they (crew members)
On the waterfront is a huge off could do it. I know they could," Capt.
shore pier complex, complete with Paul Sullivan, commanding officer of the
drydock, that can accommodate several Trident sub Rorida, said. 'The (nuclear)
submarines at once and provide support threat has to be a viable deterrent. I have
for the nuclear reactors that power them. no doubt that the crew could perform its
A covered explosives handling mission."
wharf, the tallest structure in Kitsap
ByLloyd Pritchett
150 • Using the Resource

Section 4

Bangor is where Hood Canal nature coexists with the

Mission: awesome firepower ofthe nuclear weapons age.
Keep It
ByLloyd Pritchett

T h e two Canada geese were Little did the geese know or care that
winging northward, high over the the little pond they had chosen for their nest
treetops of Western Washington, was in the midst of the largest concentration
when they spotted a small pond of nuclear weapons in the region.
below in the midst of an enor Surrounded by a double row of
mous grassy field, near Hood barbed-wire-topped chain link fence, the
Canal. cleared grassy field with its small seasonal
The pair descended and landed on the pond is home to the Strategic Weapons
pond's glassy surface. Facility Pacific, inside the Naval Submarine
The large birds immediately liked what Baseat Bangor.
they found. No humans or dogs intruded on Sitting at the top of a bluff overlooking
the pond's solitude. Plenty of wild food was Hood Canal, it is the storage and mainte
available in the immediate vicinity.The nance area for hundreds of nuclear missiles
waters of the pond were clean and ample. and warheads carried on undersea patrols
So they stayed. And in the following by the giant Trident subs homeported at the
months, they hatched and reared a brood of base.
goslings there. Any unauthorized humans who might
Naval Submarine Base, Bangor • 151

try to enter the area could be shot by Marine estuaries, a dozen streams, and other
sentries constantlyon guard. But the Canada habitats, including four miles of shoreline
geesewere welcomed. along Hood Canal.
As the pair raised their young family All this diversity supports a teeming
there, they often took the goslings for walks population of wildlife.
between the earth-topped concretebunkers Here are great blue herons and great
where the weapons are stored, oblivious to horned owls, osprey, kingfishers, mountain
the megatonnage around them. quail,ducks, widgeons,mergansers,coho TheBangor
The geese aren't the only creatures salmon, rainbow and cutthroat trout, red fox, basegoes to
perfectly happy to live inside a military bobcats, river otter, beavers, coyotes, rac
installation known more for its powerful coons and more than 150 blacktail deer.
weapons than for its plentiful wildlife. And Tom James, the base's fish and lengths to
Some 5,000 acres of the 7,100-acre wildlife biologist,said even cougars have preventoil or
submarine base are wooded, and it also is beensightedinsidethe compound, attracted waste from
home to lakes, wetlands, fields, small by the deer. getting into
Hood Canal.
"I've never
Preserving the Environment seen a military
base where the
Here is a sampling of specificthings year,providingincometo support the water is so
the Naval Submarine Base at base's forestry program and some extra
Bangoris doing to preserve and funding for area schools. pristine,"says
enhance the environment at the installa • Contract loggers hired to log on Lt. Robert
tion on Hood Canal: the base are required to leave 10 large Rothwell, base
• A coho salmon hatchery has been trees per acre,leaving a diverse environ operations
established and salmon runs restored on ment behind instead of a clearcut. "If you officer.
streams feeding Devil's Hole, a natural leave large trees,you attract hawks and
wetland on base. So far, 500,000 salmon eaglesthat eat the voles that might chew
have been released. down little trees," said base forester
• Old hazardous waste sites on the Arthur K. Schick.
Bangor base,createdyears ago before • Natural areas of the Trident base,
modern disposal methods were available, including all wetlandsand lakes,are off-
are being investigated for possible limits to construction and development.
cleanup.Two are on the shore of Hood • Cattail Lake, at the base's north
Canal. Crews tentatively are scheduled to end, is stocked with rainbow trout.
begin an interim cleanup of the worst site, Cutthroat spawn naturally in the lake,
known as "Site F," in the near future. and an 11-pounderwas recentlycaught.
• All waste discharges from the base • Submarine pier facilities on Hood
are being pumped away from Hood Canal were built far off-shore to allow
Canal. Hazardous industrial wastes are room for migrating salmon to pass.
trucked by licensed haulers to a federally • The base is cooperating with
approved site off-base. Waste oil is researchers to find white pine trees on
processed at a recyclingplant. Sewage base that are resistant to blister rust — a
dischargesare pumped off-base to the killer disease that is wiping out whole
Brownsvilletreatment plant, operated by stands of the tree across the West.
Kitsap County. • Each winter, the local chapter of
•The amount of hazardous waste the Audubon Societyis admitted to the
generated by the base has been slashed in base to conduct a bird species count.
half in the past few years. The facility now • Wildlife is monitored across the
is embarking on a program to cut the base, leading to interesting discoveries
amount of ozone-depleting chemicals it about habits of different species. A recent
uses. study found that each blacktail deer on
• The base's forests are logged on a the base ranges over an area of only about
100-yearcycle,or about 30 to 40 acres per one-third square mile.
ByLloyd Pritchett
152 • Using the Resource

On the shoreline, there are mussels, Robert Rothwell, recently said in a mock-
geoducks, butter clams,oystersand crabs in serious complaint.
And, of course, everywhere there are
hundreds of smaller animals — from voles to 1he miracle is that the habitatremains
salamanders to severalspeciesof frogs. so pristine despite the base's industrial
As the rest of Kitsap County has mission— which includes repairing and
A policy of becomeincreasingly urbanized, the Bangor maintaining eight Trident missile subma
environmental base, protected behind its fence,has become rines based there and the nuclear weapons
a defacto nature preserve — with wild they carry.
animals sometimes spilling into the human- The presence of 15,000 people who live
along with a occupied areas of the compound. and work on the basealso has not frightened
strict, "I couldn't get into my parking place away the wildlife or tainted the waters of
centralized the other day because a deer was blocking Hood Canal.
authority over the way," the base's operations officer, Lt. But Marvin Frye, the base's environ-
means the
submarine A Legacyof ToxicDumping
base, with
10,000 Like other militarybases around the Bangor's most significant hazardous
residents, nation, the Naval Submarine Base at waste sites. The lagoon was used for
Bangor faces serious environmental dumping various militarycompounds
pollutes the
problems related to historical disposal from 1957 to 1972. Tests find toxics
canal and spills of hazardous waste on the base. moving slowly through the water table
watershed less The Bangor base, formerly an toward homes a mile away.
than many ammunition depot, includes 22 scattered • Operable Unit 3 — Site 24:A
communities sites,ranging from placeswhere explosive torpedo fuel incineratorwas operated in
materials were burned or buried to places the southeast corner of the base from
with just a
used for general waste and chemical 1973 to 1983 before removal. Tests
handful of disposal. uncovered heavy metals, ordnance and
homes. The cost of cleaning up all the sites PCBs in the soil.
has been estimatedat $24 million by Navy — Site 16:Adjacent to Site 24, the
officials, but authorities at the federal spot was the storagearea for the torpedo
EnvironmentalProtectionAgencysay fuel incinerator. Drums of wastewater
costs could rimconsiderably higher. At and contaminated rags, along with
most of the sites,studies are under way to waste solvents, were stored there. Small
determinethe best method of dealing spills also were reported.
with the pollution. — Site 25 is made up of a number
The following is a summary of the of stormwater drainage ponds which
sites listed on the federal "Superfund" list accepted runoff from industrial activities
of hazardous waste sites: at Bangor.
• Operable Unit 1 — Site A: The first • Operable Unit 4—Site C West
Bangorsite placed on the Superfund list Fill material was removed from this site
was used from 1962 to 1977 for ordnance locatedunder Building7700, an area
(explosives) disposal. Ordnance included used for the disposal of picricacid and
TNT, flares, fuses, primers, smokeless torpedo fuel from 1946 until 1973.The
powder and black powder. The site is material was moved from Site C East.
located at the north end of the base. Toxic An investigation will determine if all the
soils,runoff and contaminated groundwa material was removed.
ter have been found, but no drinking • Operable Unit 5 — Site E: This
wells are threatened so far. was a dump area for electroplating
• Operable Unit 2 — Site F:A wastes from 1960 until 1973. Tests found
wastewater lagoon in the south-central low levels of metals in groundwater.
part of the base is now considered one of — Site 5: A metallurgy test build-
Naval Submarine Base, Bangor • 153

mental program director, says ifs really no preserve and enhance the environment, to
miracle. Rather, ifs all the result of careful comply with all environmental laws —
planning and follow-through, he says. including state and local laws — and to
"We operate a full-scopeintegrated cooperate with all environmental regulatory
environmental management program. We officials, Frye said.
take a holistic approach, if you will... a
balanced approach," said Frye, who has run
the program since its beginnings in the Ifs a big order, considering the envi Some 5,000
1970s, when the Navy compound was ronmental damage the base could do. It is, acres of the
converted from an ammunition depot to a after all, an industrial facility larger than
submarine base. most private businesses.
The environmental program "empha Even more important, the base handles submarine
sizes man and nature living together in some of the deadliest materials known to base are
harmony," he added. man. wooded, and it
Its three "overriding goals" are to Take nearly 200 nuclear warheads also is home to
fields, small
estuaries, a
ing located here was torn down about Lake. The material was removed in 1981. dozen streams,
1973. Experts suspect the site may be — Site 10:Buildings 1676and 1677 and other
contaminated with mercury. in the southeast corner of the base were
— Site 11: Close to Site E, this area used for herbicide storage from the late
was used for the disposal of barrels and 1950sto 1979. Some containers apparently includingfour
cans of pesticides. Consultants have leaked through wooden floors. The two miles of
begun removal of the material. buildings were demolished in 1983and a shoreline along
• Operable Unit 6 — Site C East: new building was constructed with a Hood Canal.
From 1946 to 1973, unknown amounts of paved parking lot.
torpedo fuel wastewater, explosive — Site 18: Between 5 and 10 gallons
material and solvents were disposed of in of PCB fluid were spilled at Building 1016
a gravel pit. in the southeast corner of the base. The
— Site D: Explosive compounds area has since been covered with asphalt.
were burned on the ground here from — Site27:A pit in the southeast
1946 to 1965. corner of the base was used to steam-
• Operable Unit 7 — Site 26: clean locomotives. When the pit was full,
Discharges from various industrial and the grease and residue were hauled away.
disposal operations may have contami The pit was filled during the 1970s.
nated sediments along the shore. — Site 28:A ditch adjacent to
— Site B: Roral Point at the north Building 1032in the southeast corner of
end of the base was a testing area for the base was used for paint waste and
pyrotechnics from 1950until the early solvents.
1960s and became a burn/disposal area — Site 29:Empty pesticide/herbi
for garbage, explosiveswaste and scrap cide tanks were rinsed with water that
metal until 1972. flowed onto the ground in the main
— Site 2:A dump site along Nauti garage and public works area in the
lus Avenue, across from the Reet De southeast corner of the base.
ployed Parking Lot,contains scrap metal — Site 30: From 1977 to 1985,
and inert explosive material. neutralized pesticide and herbicide rinse
— Site 4: Carlson Spit may have water was disposed of on the ground near
been used to dispose of ignition devices. a stretch of railroad tracks near the Reet
Further site inspections are planned. Deployed Parking Lot.
— Site 7: One-gallon paint cans and
ByChristopher Dunagan
55-gallon drums were dumped over a
hillsidenear a creek feeding into Cattail
154 • Using the Resource

packing 2.3 megatons of explosive power, transported from their bunkers to the base's
stack them on 24 rockets filled with 25 tons explosive handling wharf, the entire road
of high-explosive propellant apiece, then line surface and roadbed is inspected visually,
them up inside a steel submarine housing a electronically and with guard dogs.
fueled-up 90,000-horsepower nuclear During the loading procedure, blast
reactor. shields are in place.
What do you get? An extreme case of In case the worst happens and a missile
The miracle is safety-consciousness, say personnel at the accidentally ignites, they are only stored or
that the base who work with this high-power techno- moved in areas of the base away from
wizardry every day. community facilities, public highways and
They say the Navy goes to such lengths private property that could be damaged.
remains so to minimize the hazards of its nuclear The subs' nuclear reactors are built to
pristine despite submarine operations on Hood Canal that exacting standards. All radioactive fission
the base's there is really nothing for people in the products are contained within high-integrity
industrial vicinity to worry about. fuel modules that can withstand battle
With the pervasive culture of safety in shock.
the submarine service, the risk level is No radioactivity is released to the
Marvin Frye, reduced to as near zero as possible, they say. environment, and tests are conducted
the base's 'To the Trident sailor, safety is para annually in the air and water at Bangor to
environmental mount. We breathe safety, we train safety confirm this.

program and we live safety," said Lt. Cmdr. Jay

Perkins, training officerfor the Trident
director, says submarine group at Bangor. A few environmental problems have
it's the result "The emphasis on safety really pre cropped up from time to time — including
of careful cludes any major catastrophes." chemical and oil spills.
planning and Officialswon't discuss the specificsof But Frye said all spills are immediately
follow- their safety precautions, but they are willing cleaned up, no matter how minor.
to discuss them generally. Old hazardous waste sites on the base,
%through. Nuclear warheads are designed with created back when it was an ammunition
multiple safety features, then are subjected to depot, also are being readied for cleanup, he
rigorous analyses and testing to ensure said.
weapon integrity even in the event of a And all waste from the base is pumped
handling accident, said Cmdr. Keith away from Hood Canal, he explained, to
Arterburn, spokesman for the base. That prevent contamination of the water. Small
means a weapon won't explode unless it is residential areas outside the installation put
activated, prepped and launched thousands more pollution into Hood Canal, through
of miles away during an actual nuclear war. their septic systems, than the entire Bangor
The missiles that propel the warheads base.
on their way are touchier. Loaded with tons The fact that so many wild creatures
of solid rocket fuel, they are listed as a "Class are thriving and that the waters of Hood
A" explosive — the most sensitive type. Canal remain unpolluted is a signal that
To prevent an accidental ignition of the environmental programs and safeguards
fuel by lightning, buildings where the established by the base are working.
missiles are maintained are outfitted with "Hood Canal is a tremendous asset to
enormous 50-foot lightning rods. the United States Navy and to national
To keep the fuel from degrading, it is security and we're doing all we can to make
kept at a constant temperature and humid our presence as neutral environmentally as
ity. Safety procedures guard it against being we can," said Capt. Malcolm Wright,
bumped or jolted during handling. commodore of the Trident submarine
When missiles are loaded aboard squadron.
submarines at the base, they are moved Added Capt. Lawrence J. Kramer,
inside containers carried aboard special commanding officer of the submarine base:
vehicles that transport them at extremely "It really is a beautiful place. I hope it will
slow speeds. always be that way."
A half-hour before the missiles are


A stateparks ranger patrols the

crowded beach at Twanoh State Park.
Section 1
Nearly half a million people visit the
park near Union each year.
Beaches Host
By Seabury Blair Jr.

T h e sun tints the beach as it rises public beaches around Hood Canal every
red from an August haze at year. In July 1990alone, more than 130,000
Twanoh State Park. A lone man people enjoyed Twanoh's beach. Only about
and his leashed dog leave tracks one in every 36 of those people camps at the
in the rough gravel just below the park.
high tide line. Soon, others amble Visitors to the seven state parks around
down to the beach to stretch and watch the the canal bring their boats and fishing poles,
midweek morning paint pockets of snow their water skis and water wings. They bring
pink on the Olympic Mountains to the west. vacation cheer and the emerald water works
Most people visiting Twanoh's beach at this its magic upon them.
hour come from the park's tiny campground When many of these nearly two
across Highway 106. million people go home at the end of the
Forty-seven camp spots are available at summer, they may think they leave Hood
Twanoh, Hood Canal's finest public beach. It Canal just as they found it. Their tons of
is a rare August day that the campground trash have been properly disposed, their
isn't full, even if it rains. sewage treated. They are conscientious
But campers won't erase the early visitors, for the most part.
tracks from the beach. By day's end, as many But heavy recreational use takes its toll
as 4,000 people will visit Twanoh to splash on these glorious waters. Some bays in the
or swim or sunburn. Their tracks will canal record huge increases in bacterial
obliterate those of the dawn visitors. contamination during weeks of heavy
A city larger than Seattle settles on the recreational use.

156 • Using the Resource

Nobody is certain how many more manager at Dosewallips State Park and now
people can enjoy the canal without killingit. works at Fort Ragler State Park, says most
What is certain: those who enjoy the canal campers at Dosewallips came there to stay.
today are eager to preserve it for their "We had to be one of the busiest
children tomorrow. campgrounds in the state. Senior citizens
"I'm not an ecology nut, but I do would come to stay in the winter and we
believe in keeping things for future genera had massiveattendance around May, when
It is a rare tions. I believe we need to take the steps people came to shrimp."
August day necessary now to keep this Jerry Rice,manager at
place for the people who Twanoh State Kitsap Memorial State Park,
that the 47
follow," says Chuck Stuart, a Park says most of the campers
camp spots 72-year-old Bremerton who stop there are probably
available at resident who has been on their way to the Olympic
Twanoh State visiting Twanoh for more Peninsula. "But we're
Park, Hood than a half century. becoming more of a destina
Stuart and his wife, tion camp," he said.
Canal's finest Marie, sat by their campfire
At Twanoh, however,
public beach, at Twanoh as three genera what is happening across the
aren'tfull, even tions of the family stopped to road from the campground
if it rains. talk. The afternoon sun may be more important to
burned through clouds and the canal's future. The beach
began warming the beach draws scores of canal savers.
across the road. Children's Last year, 1.98 million
shouts drifted from the beach people visited state parks on
to the quieter campground. the canal, according to the
"I think it's the old- There are times in Washington State Parks and
timers who want to see this Recreation Commission's
place preserved," said Marie
the sunny summer annual report. Only 135,236
Stuart. months when stayed overnight.
Stuarfs sons, Jim and Twanoh State Park Perhaps 100 sunbathers
John, and daughter, Beth beach is are on the beach by 2 p.m. as
Schmidt, recall visiting Twanoh Park Ranger Larry
Twanoh every year when
wall-to-wall people Otto makes a sweep through
they were growing up in and the the main parking lot. Com
Bremerton. Now they gather campground is pared to a weekend crowd,
every August for a family filled Wednesday he says, the park is empty.
camp-out. They stay in the "I've seen good years
same spot every year.
for the next and bad years, as far as
"If there's somebody weekend. crowds go," says Otto, a
here," jokes Jim Stuart, "we throw 'em out." Bremerton native. "I know that the last three
The Stuarts agree that public beaches weekends, the whole park has been close to
like Twanoh are vital to building a consensus total gridlock."
of canal savers. They fall in love with the He posted "LOT FULL" signs at all
place; they want to keep it lovely. three entrances, and cars lined up along the
"This is our only shot," says Jim Stuart, highway. As soon as one day visitor pulled
indicating the green campground with its out, it seemed, three cars pulled in.
whispering creek. "People like us will never The incoming tide warms itself on the
be able to afford waterfront along the canal." gravel, so that by 5 p.m., perhaps 400
'Thafs why we have to preserve this," swimmers at Twanoh splash in the warmest
says his father. water of the day. On the weekend, Otto says,
Families like the Stuarts can be found easily 10 times that number might enjoy the
camping every year at all of the canal's state day-use area.
parks: Shine Tidelands, Dosewallips, Nearly a half-million people — 469,431
Potlatch, Belfair,Scenic Beach and Kitsap — stayed a day at Twanoh in 1989. Almost
Memorial. Children grow up there and bring all visited between April 15 and Sept. 30. The
their children to grow up there. 180-acre park sustains greater day use than
Al Giersch, who served 10 years as any other public area on Hood Canal.
Recreation *157

Almost 20,000 more visitors stopped at sailboards on Hood Canal. They've come
Twanoh than at Potlatch, the second most here for years and years," he said.
popular of the canal parks for day visitors. 'To me, that says something. You see
In fact,Twanoh ranked 20th among the the same people every year. It's like getting
state's 144 parks in daytime attendance in to be a family. And they take this park on as
1989. Otto is pleased that his park's big their own personal area, and they don't want
crowds don't bring big problems. to mess it up."
"When I first came here (12 years ago), Sunset is as spectacular as sunrise at A city larger
we seemed to have a lot of younger kids, and Twanoh. The Olympics turn purple while than Seattle
they created some problems. But we are a the sky burns. The day area closes at dusk, so
settles on the
family-oriented park, and we don't have a campers are often the only witnesses to
lot of problems. There just isn't much nature's finest fireworks. public beaches
vandalism at all. The camper and his dog return for an around Hood
"We had a couple of professors from evening walk. The dawn tide will erase their Canal every
California last week. They came specifically tracks, but visitors will make more tomor year. In July
to this park so they could play on their row.
1990 alone,
more than
A Community of Familiar Faces

George and Maryjane Beckerstarted of them get to be good friends," says the
camping at Twanoh State Park in a campground host.
tent 40 years ago. Today Becker is While weekends are still busiest,
Twanoh's volunteer "campground host." Beckersays the pace of the campground is
He registers campers and helps the picking up during the week.
ranger and manager around the camp "A lot of times, it can be raining, and
ground. I'll still have campers corning in. Ifs
Beckersays Twanoh has changed crowded all the time, but pretty near
since he first visited. "When I first camped every weekend, you're going to have to
in here, there were stumps everywhere. turn people away. There's always some
And the road was dirt. The roads weren't that don't believe the 'Campground Full'
paved until '74 or '75. Of course, ifs sign."
gotten a whole lot more crowded, too." When the campground is full,
"It seems like most campers here Beckersays he sends campers to Belfairor
come from Seattle,Tacoma or Olympia," Potlatch state parks, the closest public
he says of the people who come to this campground alternatives on Hood Canal.
unique fjord to play. "We get groups from "We'll try to send them to Manches
Oregon and Idaho who come over in the ter, but they don't want to leave the canal.
spring for shrimp season." They'll go there if ifs the only place to
Families choose Twanoh as a go-"
destination, says Becker. They aren't When the campground and most
campers who stop there on the way to the other activities at Twanoh closes for
Olympic Peninsula. winter, Becker moves to Belfair State Park
'The kids are well-entertained here. on the other side of the canal to serve as
There's a lot for them to do. Thafs why the host there. But he tries to find time in
families come here. Ifs pretty safe here, the winter to take the 12-mile drive from
normally." Beifair to Twanoh.
Not unlike the salmon that annually "We come out to watch the salmon
return to spawn in Twanoh's tiny creek, run. Thafs all us old folks have to do in
familiesannually return to the park to the winter."
camp. "You meet a lot of people and some
BySeabury Blair Jr.
158 • Using the Resource

Section 2

A Long

By Seabury Blair Jr.

t | h ^ ^ oc" Eddy's Rose Point told to him:There were wild and woolly
mI ^^ Resort is gone from
I* I • Hood Canal, but the
fights and war-whooping on those week
ends. It was about the only outlet for the
I • spirit ofthe place lives people who worked in the woods.
I M on at motels and resorts "I remember one year, a logger
^m^^ from Quilcene toBelfair. brought in a bear cub. Everybody fed it and
"It was mostly loggers and trappers," it grew up pretty fast. It got out of its cage
says Virginia Trammell, the late Doc Eddy's and here was this lady getting a bathing suit
65-year-old daughter. "They came out to on in her room and in walks this young
have fun, and that's why people come out to bear."
the canal today." The bear was invited to leave shortly
Sixty years ago, Trammell moved out thereafter.
to the resort and 400 acres of prime Hood Early photos show a resort sign
Canal real estate her father purchased for advertising "fine fishing, sandy bathing
$25,000. Remnants of a once-grand lodge, beach,cabins,tents, boats, catering to family
above Lynch Cove three miles west of Belfair picnics and outings."
on the South Shore, is all that is left. "There were so few people out here
But in 1929, Rose Point Resort was a then," says Trammell, who resides in Belfair
hot spot for residents from Bremerton, but owns a lot at the resort site. The country
Seattle and Tacoma. was in the midst of the Great Depression;
"In those early days," she said, "log resort rent took different forms. Tents rented
gers from nearby camps on the canal would for 50 cents a night. But Dad would let a lot
get down here any way they could to let off of the loggers and trappers pay with venison
steam." or ducks instead of rent." .
Timber that will never again grow as The resort operated until 1941,when
tall was falling everywhere along the canal. World War II brought gas rationing and the
The men who were cutting and moving the country was in no mood for recreation. In
trees to mills were a rugged breed. 1943, several feet of snow collapsed the roof
"I remember stories Dad told that were of the lodge.
Recreation • 159

That was the beginning of the end for like this. Boy,was he right. It's changed.
the Rose Point Resort. But now, as then, the There are so many more people here, bless
myriad of recreational opportunities along 'em. They love it and we do, too. But it really
the canal attract growing numbers of people. does affect everything."
Trammell believes they will be either the She talks of a day in the not-too-distant
salvation or the death of the spectacular future, a day when sewers will be necessary
fjord. along the canal. She thinks people will be
She is sorry to see Hood Canal so more than willing to pay for it. "In those early
crowded, but happy so many can enjoy its "If we don't pay for it, it will kill the days, loggers
beauty. canal. If we don't look at the big picture,
from nearby
"When I grew up, the nearest neighbor we'll just be down the tube. People who
was more than a mile away. Now the don't think about it aren't looking beyond camps on the
population is so wall-to-wall. My dad always today. We have to think about it. I hope to canal would
used to say 25 years from now, it would be heaven it's not too late now." get down here
any way they
could to let off
160 • Using the Resource

Section 3

Small,independent retailers are the rulearound Hood

Business Canal, and many depend on thesummer tourist season for
the hulkof theirannual sales.
Follows the
By Travis Baker

F o r Bob and Anne Hart at the Harts see business swell in the summer,
Hoodsport Grocery, septic tanks tripling that of winter. "It's not unusual to do
are good omen. "Whenever you as much on a three-day weekend as the
see a septic tank go by and up that whole month of January," he said.
hill," said Hart, "that's new The end of the hot selling season varies
business." from business to business, but for Hart, it's
Up that hill is Lake Cushman, a 3,000- Labor Day. "It chops in half the day after and
lot recreational development that is the goes downhill from there."
lifeblood of the Hoodsport business commu In this statistics-laden society, there is
nity in Mr. Hart's view. He estimates that remarkably little hard data on the economic
two-thirds of his increased business in the impact of tourism and recreation along
summer is from summer residents. The rest Hood Canal.
is from tourists passing through. There is a widespread assumption that
And a septic tank bound for Cushman population along the canal triples during the
means another lot owner has decided to summer, but proof of that figure is hard to
invest money in a residence there — and come by. Public Utility District No. 1 in
probably time and shopping dollars in the Mason County, which provides electricity
future. from near Alderbrook Inn at Union to the
Like nearly everyone on the canal, the Jefferson County line, provides as firm an
Recreation • 161

indication of the impact of summer residents round when they bought a fishing camp
on the area's population as exists. named Glen Ayr north of Hoodsport five
Debbie Knipshield, manager of the years ago.
PUD, said 41 percent of its 3,864customers Closing in the winter was the norm on
are seasonal or recreational, denoting the canal then, Jay Johnson said, and "we
residence there 180days or less per year. The bucked big odds" in challenging that trend.
PUD gets about four new customers a month But "the clubs come out in the winter,
in the winter, twice that in the summer, she from all over within two hours of Hood "It's not
said. Alderbrook Inn is its Canal — Eagles, Elks, Moose unusual to do
biggest customer. Hoodsport lodges, the VFW, they all
as much on a
Pat McGary with PUD seem to have large travel
No. 3, whose coverage area clubs and they like to get three-day
includes Lake Cushman and together." weekend as the
the canal's South Shore from Campbell at Rest-A- whole month
near Alderbrook to Belfair, While, north of Hoodsport, of January."
said about 30 percent of its said they often have two — Bob Hart
customers are sent bills at clubs per weekend helping
addresses away from Hood fill their 97 RV spaces in the
Canal. A greater percentage winter.
used to be seasonal, he said. The Wilcoxens do a
The Mason County fairly good business at their
Tourist Center near Shelton tavern, considering it lies at
keeps careful track of where the dead end of a rural road,
the tourists and information on the tarmac of a defunct
seekers who stop there have Home of the ferry landing. But that tarmac
come from. June's total of Hoodsport Winery has become a sub rosa
1,982 was five times campground for RVers, and
January's number of stops, and gateway to when a camping club rolls in,
which totaled 390. Lake Cushman and such as the Port Angeles
The state's traffic Staircase in Eagles on Memorial Day,
counts at the Hood Canal Olympic National things are really hopping at
floating bridge and where Trails End, said fill-in
Highway 101 intersects bartender Dawnie Davis.
Highway 20 near Discovery
Bay provide an indication of what tourism
and summer residents mean on the roads. L-hris Gunter learned a lesson when
Trafficat both places doubles in warm shrimp season opened in 1990. It was the
weather. first shrimp season since he bought the
Ron Bergt of the state Department of Sunset BeachGrocery in 1989and he had the
Transportation says there were 7,505 cross wrong cat food on his shelves.
ings of the bridge in January 1989compared "Shrimpers use only one kind of cat
to 14,148 in August. The counter at Discov food," said Gunter, who lives in Seabeck and
ery Bay recorded 5,522vehicles in January, commutes each day to the South Shore store.
and 11,564 in August. "Puss'n BootsSupreme Seafood Platter."
When the motor-homing tourists and Once his distributor straightened him out, he
backcountry campers —hundreds of thou sold cases of the stuff.
sands in the Olympic Peninsula and Hood Gunter figures his business quintuples
Canal area each year — return home, people in the summer over the off-season, when he
like the Jay and Dick Johnsons of Glen Ayr keeps his store open but closes the ham
RV Park, Bob Koeppen at Snooze Junction burger stand next to it.
on the North Shore, BillCampbell at Rest-A- Labor Day was his high point last year,
While north of Lilliwaup and John and Dee he said, with $570in burger sales in one day,
Wilcoxen at the Trails End Tavern at South and 28 people waiting for burgers at one
Point depend on the camping clubs to time.
generate business. His merchandise includes the $40-to-
Those clubs have helped make a $400 wildlife paintings he does, on canvas
successof the Johnsons' decision to go year- and on fungus "conks" he takes off trees
262 • Using the Resource

when deer-hunting in the fall. "People tend counted within Olympic National Park,
to buy that stuff out here," he said of his though most of those went to attractions
artwork. reached from the western side of the park.
As one goes north along Highway 101 "We have wilderness, hunting, fishing,
up the west side of Hood Canal, there is a auto touring. A lot of people just like to drive
subtle shift in the tourist draws. Scott Hatch, the backroads," said Eldredge. 'Thafs one of
working behind the counter at the rebuilt our biggest uses."
There is a Eldon Store owned by his brother, Craig, He figures 60-65percent of those
widespread said campers in the Olympic National Forest people use facilitiesin the part of the forest
contribute greatly to the store's fair weather bordering Hood Canal "simply because it's
assumption business. close; it's a tank of gas from Seattle and the
that Backpackers and campers arriving and metropolitan areas." And he figures only 5
population leaving, or getting provisions if they outstay percent of the forest's visitors come in the
along the canal the supplies they brought with them, are winter.

triples during good customers. But weather is crucial, said Mike's BeachResort north of Lilliwaup
Hatch, remembering one rainy July 4th was named after Boband Trudy Schultz's
the summer,
when no one stopped in the store. son Mike shortly after his birth 39 years ago
butproof of Overnighters at campgrounds oper and has been run by the family ever since.
that figure is ated by and in the Olympic National Forest "That's the way of the canal, family-
hard to come brought 265,000 people into the forest in owned," said Trudy, who has run the resort
by. 1989,said Ken Eldredge, assistant recreation with her son since her husband passed away.
staff officer for the forest. But they are just "The season's so short you can't afford an
the tip of a very large iceberg. employee."
Day use, mostly one-day car tours, is And, in fact, there is scant corporate or
the largest part of what forest officials out-of-county ownership along the canal.
calculate to have been 4.6 million visitors to Minerva Beach RV park at Hoodsport,
the forest last year. Another 3.5 million were owned by a Seattle limited partnership, is a

She Finds'Tushing" the Canal an Easy Job

w i t hen a group of Shelton business manager.
l/mi people formed the Mason County She retired in 1979and stayed
F w Tourism Council in 1989, they retired (but did a lot of volunteer work)
chose 75-year-old Mary Helen Anderson until agreeing to head up the tourist
to run it. A fourth-generation Mason center.
County resident, she decided to end 10 The center handled inquiries from
years of retirement to begin her fourth nearly 6,000travelers in the first six
career. months of 1990, she said.
T think we live in the most beautiful Mary Helen was born in Aberdeen
part of the United States, and I like to on Christmas Day, as her parents were
push it." returning from visiting family in
In her younger years, she did leave Hoquiam.
the area and wound up in Washington, "My dad was a captain on a four-
D.C.,a single girl during World War II, master schooner sailing out of Port
helping print money with the Bureau of Townsend, Port Ludlow and Port
Engraving and Printing. But she returned Gamble," she said, "back in the days
here in 1944. The war was winding down when they sailed out of those places
"and I was homesick," she said. instead of Tacoma and Seattle. My family
She married George "Andy" on weekends would go on little trips"
Anderson, a Montanan, in Seattle, and she along Hood Canal, she recalled, establish
brought him to Hood Canal country. ing her love for the area that remains to
While he worked at Simpson this day.
Timber, she ran the Holiday House floral
By Travis Baker
shop in Shelton, then was a nursery
Recreation »163

rareexception. There are few businesses of ones. "New Year's Eve we're always full,"
anysize. Alderbrook Inn has no rival along said Mrs.Scherer, though Christmas isn't
the length of the canal. that good.
WhenJohnson bought Alderbrook Inn
35years ago(ifs existed for75 years), it was
The 100-unit inn, Hood Canal's most strictly a summerresort, said Mrs. Scherer,
sumptuous hostelry, depends lesson and all that was there were the cottages and
sunshine, tides, and drive-by traffic than . a restaurant and lounge where the pool is "Ifwe don't
most of the canal's tourist now?Now there's a golf pay for
businesses. Alderbrook's Alderbrook course and 36 motel units
(sewers), it
Wes Johnson, who seems that were added around
always to have the inn up for Inn 1980.
will kill the
sale but somehow never sells canal. People
it, has carved out a niche in who don't
the conference and meetings Helen Nickels swept think about it
the sidewalk in front of the
aren't looking
Operations manager True Value Hardware she
Beverly Scherer says and her husband owned for beyond today.
Alderbrook does more and the last time one sunny July I hope to
better business in the sum morning in 1990. That heaven it's not
mer than the winter, but afternoon, they were sched too late now."
conferences are the heart of uled to sign papers selling — Virginia
that business, whatever the the Hoodsport business they Trammell
season. had for 20 years. They were
They regularly have retiring.
no-vacancy nights, winter It took three months to
and summer, she said, and
Alderbrook Inn, the sell the business, but only 14
have had single conferences most complete days to sell their double-wide
that fill the inn's 80 rooms resort on Hood mobile home on the canal.
and 20 cottage units. For Canal, defeats the "Everyone seems to want to
some of the biggest, they've get a house on the water all
seasonal doldrums
had to farm out the overflow of a sudden," she said.
to motels in Shelton and
byhosting And where does one
Belfair, or to some cabins conferences and retire to after living in a
nearby. meetings. tourist mecca like Hood
Though the inn gets Canal? Moses Lake, said
individual customers from all over, it doesn't Helen. "They have more fishing lakes there
do much marketing out of state and over than anywhere else."
seas, she said. Despite such robust business, John Skelton, owner of the Hungry
there is no talk of expanding. Bear restaurant in Eldon for seven years,
As with just about everyone else says his business still is increasing but he
catering to tourists and summer residents wonders if everyone's is.
along the canal, shrimp season means "The big drawing cards aren't here any
business — non-conference business — for more," he said. Fishing is a shadow of what
Alderbook Inn, said Mrs. Scherer. Shrimpers it used to be; shrimping is limited to a couple
rent many of the rooms during the season. of weeks in May before school is out; and
The inn's dock, where spaces are rented, is clamming and oystering is shut down at the
filled with boats at that time of year. Inn Dosewallips, because of seal feces.
operators don't make any special effort to "It seemed like before the parks were
avoid conference business at that time of running full most of the summer months,"
year. But shrimpers have their own means of he said. "Now you can get into most any of
making sure there's room. "Shrimping them most of the time.
customers normally will book for the next "We're still increasing (at the Hungry
year when they check out," she said. Bear). There's still plenty of people coming
Hunting season contributes little to the through, but I don't think there's as many
inn's business, but holidays do, even winter people staying here anymore," he said.
164 • Using the Resource

Germansreported that they were highly

IhePort of Seattle regularly brings impressed.
travel writers from Japan, Germanyand "We hope to do it more often," she said
Britainhere to tour Washington state. One of the canal stops.
such tour, 11 journalists fromGermany, Heuss also tellsof a Californiacouple
made a rare stop along Hood Canal on the who,afterseeing Hood Canal, asked "Why
Kitsap side in June, gladdening hearts at the hasn't someonedeveloped this for tourism?"
Visitors and Convention Bureau in Somevery likely will try, and soon,
Bremerton. observesJayJohnsonof Glen Ayr.
'They did a seven-day trip of the Family-owned tourist and recreation
Olympic Peninsula, and Hood Canal was business are "the usual thing at this time," he
their favoriteplace of the whole trip," said said. "But we see land values growing and it
Mim Heuss, head of the bureau. "Weput will forcesome big changes out here. These
them up in four different bed and breakfasts mom-and-pop operations may go by the
along the canal,and they willbe goingback wayside because of the value of the land.
to Germany fired up about tellingpeople Youmay have to either get big or get out.
about the canal." "On this side of the canal, there's
B.J. Stokey, tourism manager for the nothing like Alderbrook Inn and ifs close to
Port of Seattle, acknowledged that it was a demanding that kind of place.Once some
rare stop along the canal for their media one whacks out something like that, it will be
tours, and her staff who accompanied the a lot tougher for the smaller ones."
Recreation *165

Section 4

the Canal
By Christopher
Boaters enjoy Hood Canal waters and help
determine whether theystay clean. Dunagan

Pleasant Harbor is a snug, teardrop- thatbusy Memorial Dayweekend, said

shaped bay along the western researchers from the state Department of
shore of Hood Canal. Evergreens Health. Two months before, bacteria were
grow to the water's edge, and practically nonexistent, they noted.
eagles soar over the bright water. "Shellfish tissue was clearly adversely
Even at the marina, where boaters affected by the presenceof boats," the report
pull in for food and gasoline, one can discern states, "in that 91 percent of the samples
rocksand pebbles in water up to 10 feet from within the harbor exceeded the com
deep. mercial shellfish meat standard."
Pleasant Harbor is the last place you That's not to say boats are the principal
would expect people to be dumping raw source of pollution for Hood Canal as a
sewage from their toilets. Yet during the whole. Other studies point to failing septic
opening days of boating season in 1988, the systems, livestock and even harbor seals as
harbor was suddenly hit by bacterial pollu main sources of bacterial contamination in
tion, according to researchers taking samples other areas of Hood Canal.
there at the time. But even occasional visitors can
In the quiet, undeveloped bay, boats damage water quality, said John Heal,
were the only logical source of pollution on administrative director of the Hood Canal
166 • Using the Resource

Coordinating Council. valve" — which directs the waste either to a

"Boaterslike to say, 'It's not us' — like holding tank or into the water — some 14
farmers and loggers and septic tankown percent said they always leave the valve
ers,"saidHeal. "Butthere's no question it's open to the outside waters. Another 38
happening, and the impacts are noticeable in percent saidthey discharge sewage onlyin
certain small embaymentson busy week the main channels of Puget Sound.
ends." Federal law prohibits discharges
"Boaters like Such impacts are believed to be the within three miles ofshore —thatis,any
to say, 'It's not result of pleasure boaters and commercial where in Puget Sound or Hood Canal.
fishermen who pump theirmarine toilets A shortage of shoreside facilities is the
overboard in violation of federal law. The reason cited most often forillegal discharges.
farmers and increased pollution can be measured, In Hood Canalthe onlypump-out stationin
loggers and especially in shellfish that concentrate operation in 1990 was at Port Ludlow
septic tank organismsin their meat, and posesa threat Marina.
owners. But to human health,officials say. The state Department of Parks and
there's no
Jay Wilkens of Fresno, Calif., marveled Recreation and the Hood Canal Coordinat
at the clear waters of Pleasant Harbor, where ingCouncil bothlaunched programs to teach
question it's he moored his boat "Good Times" while on peopleabout the impacts of boating, and
happening, and a trip to Canada. 'The delta at Antioch (near boaters maybe listening.
the impacts are Stockton, Calif.) is like a sewer. You can Lance Willmon, assistant managerat
noticeable." catch fish, but they'renot fitto eat. People Port Ludlow, said the number of boaters
—John Heal, there just dump the stuff overboard." using the marina's pump-out systemhave
Hood Canal
It's important, said Wilkens, that increasedfrom just a few over the course of a
Coordinating boatersunderstand what they have in Hood year to as many as 20 on a typical weekend.
Canal and do whatever theycanto protect it. Pleasant HarborMarinamanager
"When you can see the bottom in 8 or Wayne Harris said so few boaters used the
10 feet of water, that is wonderful." marina's pump-outstation that it was hardly
Boaters also may spill smallquantities worth the constant repairs.
of oil and gasoline into the water, threaten 'The pump itselfwas not designedfor
ing the healthof marineorganisms, particu a saltwater environment," said Harris. 'The
larlyat marinas. Oilforms a toxic layer on pump froze up, and I ended up justthrow
thewater's surface, where many microscopic ing it away."
plantsand animals spend a critical part of But more and more boaters started
their lives. asking about the facilities.
Non-boaters alsoneed to pay attention "I've turned down tenfold the number
to theirimpacts on HoodCanal, officials say. ofinquiries thisyearthan we pumped out
Forexample, summer visitors may overtax lastyear," saidHarrisin 1990. "People are
inadequatesepticsystems alongthe water becoming aware. I thinktheadvertising is
front, and litterbugs can turn the canal into a getting out to people."
garbagecan— with dangerousimpacts on Harris wanted to get the facility back in
wildlife. operation, but a replacement pump is costly,
Some boaters become defensive when $3,000-$4,000. It was running againin 1991.
people talk about sewage. Certainlynot all Under a new program funded by boat
boaters are to blame, said Heal, but small taxes,the state will pay for construction of
bays are especially vulnerable. pump-out stations if marina owners agree to
'There are enough studies that I'm maintain them and pay for electricity. One of
convinced bacterial contamination is a the first pump-out stations under the new
problem, and a good portion of it comes program was built at Twanoh State Park on
from boats," said Heal. theSouth Shore ofHoodCanal and opened
In a 1988survey of more than 3,000 in 1991.
boaters around Puget Sound, nearlyone out Holding tanks aren't the only ap
of five readily admitted their boats had a proved method of handling sewage, accord
toilet with direct discharge into the water. ing to Coast Guard officials.
Coast Guard regulations require that such BobCromes of Lilliwaup installed a
boats have at least a holding tank to contain $1,500 sewagetreatmentsystemthat grinds
the wastes. and treats the sewage with chemicals.The
Of boaters whose vessels had a "Y- treated effluentcan be legallydischarged,
Recreation *167

but the method isn't without controversy. Boatersare allowed to use portable
"Wewould never pump it out in a bay toilets, said Booth, but they can't dump them
like this," said Cromes, sitting in the galley overboard.
of his boat "BlueChip", docked at Pleasant DennisMcBreen, manager of Seabeck
Harbor Marina. "We live on Hood Canal, so Marina, said he finds boaters often stop at
we're very protectiveof it." the marina to use the dockside restrooms
Cromes and his wife often travel to rather thandisposing oftheirwaste in Hood
Canada, where officials prefer that he Canal.Somealso are carrying portable toilets In a 1988
discharge thesewage withoutchemicals, onto their boats — even if they have an survey of more
which contain formaldehyde. installed toilet already, he added. than 3,000
'They'd ratherhave (waste) in the "People don't want to get theirin-boat
toilets dirty; that's a continual linewe hear," boaters around
water than formaldehyde," said Cromes.
Formaldehyde can be toxicto marine said McBreen. But the use of shoreside Puget Sound
organisms, asit istobacteria, but theU.S. facilities also means people are thinking nearly one out
government putsthefirst priority on human about pollution,he said. offive
health and won't allow discharge without "In Hood Canal, the number of people admitted their
chemical treatment. whodump it overboard is quitesmall,"
boats had a
'There is no questionthat peoplehave added McBreen.
gottendisease from waters that are in It is hard to comparethe impactsof toilet with
fected," said Dr. Willa Fisher of the different types of pollution, according to Bill direct
Bremerton-Kitsap County Health Depart Clelandof the state Department of Health. discharge into
ment. But raw sewage dumped into the water the water, in
On the East Coast, contaminated water creates a more hazardous problem than the
same amount of effluent from a malfunction violation of
is associated with hepatitis and intestinal
illness, she said. In the Gulf of Mexico, ing septic tank. Coast Guard
people have contracted cholera. Tuberculosis Unlike liquid effluent, whichis diluted regulations.
is another disease passed through raw bysaltwater, floating solids canharbor huge
sewage. colonies of dangerous bacteria for long
'The other thing you see," she added, periods oftime. When the solidsfinally
"are eye infections and skin infections breakapart, they release bacteriathat can
related to bacteria in the water." ruin shellfish beds and swimming areas, he
The Coast Guard, charged with said.
enforcing illegal discharges fromboats, Donna Simmons of Hoodsport, who
appears to be cracking down on violators. grewup on Hood Canal and recently
"MSDs (marine sanitation devices) are headed an education projectaimed at area
regularly checked whenever we do any boaters,says people must be willing to
Coast Guard law-enforcement boarding," changeif Hood Canal is to survive.
said Dennis Booth, chief of marine law "From the time I was a little girl until
enforcement for the Seattle District. "For the now," she said, "there has been a tremen
lasttwoyears now,we havereally worked dous increase in the number of boaters."
hard at enforcingthe MSDregulations in Her Hood Canal Boater Task Force,
Puget Sound." sponsored by the Hood CanalCoordinating
In a 12-month period ending in June, Council, drew together localpeople who
1990,578 MSD violations were noted in concluded that education was the solution.
Washington and Oregon, said Booth, and Thegroup produceda brochure/boating
about half of those resulted in fines ranging map and erectedsigns last summer at 15
from $150 to $350. The others were warn marinas and boat launches.
ings. "Thesignsbasically ask that people
Coast Guard officers regularly check to properlydisposeof sewage,trash and
make sure that boats with an installed toilet engine-maintenance products," she said.
have either a holding tank or a treatment 'They point out that Hood Canal is a very
system. TheY-valve mustbe "secured" in a fragile bodyofwaterand is susceptible to
closed position to prevent discharge over that kind of pollution."
board, said Booth. That means using a The message is getting through, she
padlock, heavy tape or non-releasabletie. added, because it comes from the hearts of
One can also remove the valve's handle, he localpeople — including boaters who care
said. about Hood Canal.
168 • Using the Resource

Wildlife Victim to Debris

Despite its natural beauty, Hood Beach. While it is illegal to dump any
Canal is marred by the trash of waste off a boat — and boats over 26 feet
many people. mustdisplay a signsaying so—a surpris
Habitat, seeminglyabundant for ing amount of the debris comes from the
Canal is a seabirds, includes killing trapsmadeof land, he said.
veryfragile abandonedfishing lineand plastic six- "Thebulk of the debrisin Puget
body of pack rings. And natural food sources in Sound is land- and shore-based. A lot
water and is the water and along the shoreare tainted comes from roads, ditches and storm
susceptible withtinybitsofplastic thatbirds pick up drains."
and eat,mistaking themforfish eggs and The most common type of marine
to that kind tiny creatures. debris isplastic foam usedin drinkcups
of Hood Canal is actuallycleanerthan as wellas foodand bait packages. Ifs also
pollution." many areas around Puget Sound, observ used as flotation in docks, and a tremen
— Donna ers say, and residents and visitors are dous amount breaks off into the water,
Simmons generally good caretakers of the water. said Pritchard.
Butthe human recordis farfromspotless. Eventually the foam chunks break
"Peoplefor the most part want the downintoround "cells," small enough to
water to stay clean," said Donna be eaten by birds and fish. The solution,
Simmons, coordinator of a boater educa he said, is to sheath flotation material in
tion program for Hood Canal, "but there vinyl,so the plasticfoam can't get loose.
are always those who do not make the Pritchardsays the problemwill only
connection betweenthrowinga six-pack be solvedwhen enough peoplerealize
ringinto the waterand theideathat they that every plasticcup they leavebehind at
might be destroying wildlife." a picnic, everyplasticbag they failto grab
The answer is to keep plasticsout of when the wind comes up, is part of Hood
the water—but thafs easier said than Canal's debris problem.
done,saidKenPritchard ofAdopt-A-
By Christopher Dunagan
Recreation *169

Devil's bike near Mount Walker has

been isolated from encroachment of
non-nativeplants but is vulnerable to
even the most innocent human visits.

V i s i t i n g Devil's Lake is like spongy lichens grow in 3-foot-tall mounds

stepping back in time, perhaps called hummocks. Nearby, a "pygmy old-
200-300years, to a period when growth forest" grows ever so slowly in the Section 5
civilization had not yet carried wet peat.
the seeds of foreign plants to the Only a botanist could fully appreciate
Pacific Northwest. At one end of the precious values of this ancient lake,
the lake lies an enchanted world — a rare hugging the slopes of Mount Walker south Visits and a
bog, where the sound of distant bubbles of Quilcene. One botanist, Jerry Gorsline, is Pristine Lake
accompanies each footstep in the spongy ecstatic.
moss. Gorsline, a member of the Washington ByChristopher
Here, tiny sundew plants secrete a Native Plant Society, has identified five Dunagan
sticky residue to capture microscopic insects; different types of wetlands and dozens of
wild cranberries cling to delicate vines; and native plants within the lake's drainage, all
170 • Using the Resource

on state land. To his delight, the lake has western side of the Olympics has become
escaped invasion from alien plants that tend plagued by it.
to drive out survivors from prehistoric times. 'The grass forms dense patches, and
T don't think we have any non-natives few plants can compete with it," said Nelsa
here," said Gorsline. "That's why we've got Buckingham, often cited as the leading
to protect this area." authority on native plants in the Olympics.
Gorsline is worried about human Less than 100 feet from Devil's Lake,
Visiting activities that threaten the lake, activities that the dirt road becomes so muddy, even in
"Devil's Lake is seem routine to fishermen summer, that vehicles skid
who crowd the lake on
Devil's Lake around in it as they pass
like stepping summer weekends. through.
back in time, He's particularly 'That kind of distur
perhaps 200- concerned about a dirt road bance," said Gorsline,
300 years. The that winds its way to the "provides a perfect seedbed
lake has edge of the water. Vehicles for canarygrass."
could easily carry the seeds Though worried that
escaped of foreign plants to the water, publicity might bring even
invasion from where they could invade the more people and more
alien plants delicate marsh. Boats could impacts, Gorsline said the
that tend to introduce other exoticplants, lake is headed for ruin unless
drive out including prolific Eurasian the public understands how
milfoil. precious and fragile it is.
survivors from Up the road a short "Only by attracting
prehistoric distance lies an outpost of attention to this place is there
times. alien plants — early invaders hope of saving it," he said,
so common that Northwest
The pristine lake, adding that people can enjoy
residents often claim them as unspoiled by it for recreation — if they're
their own. There's foxglove. invasion from careful.
('Thafs everywhere but non-native plants, The road to the lake is
these pristine areas," said hugs the slopes of difficult, and Gorsline is not
Gorsline.) There's the broad- encouraging visitors. But
leafed English plantain, Mount Walker those who do come should
nicknamed "white-man's south of Quilcene. stop at the ramshackle A-
footsteps" because it fol frame building near the lake.
lowed settlers across the continent. Visitors should not trample through the
There's also wall lettuce, a plant from marshy areas, he said.
Northern Europe that was first noticed in the The bog, he explained, "is very sensi
San Juan Islands in the 1920s. It is unknown tive to compaction. I'd never suggest a trail
in most areas of the United States, but in the to direct people into the bog."
Northwest it has spread from the lowlands What he would like to see is protection
into the subalpine slopes of the Olympics. for the lake, located on land managed by the
Gorsline's greatest fear of all is a tall, state Department of Natural Resources. The
wide-bladed and "extremely vigorous" grass land borders Olympic National Forest.
called reed canarygrass. He spotted the plant In 1992, the DNR intends to auction off
along the rutted road to the lake, not more the trees around the lake. Included in the
than 1 V2miles away. timber harvest would be a number of
Canarygrass is a "rhizomatous" plant "residual old-growth" trees, survivors of a
that spreads rapidly through underground fire that raged through the Mount Walker
shoots as well as by seeds. It will grow in area in 1864.
moist soil and even under a few inches of Some of the old trees, still showing
water. Once the plant takes hold, it is nearly charcoal-black "fire scars" from the Mount
impossible to eliminate, said Gorsline. Walker fire, may date back to 1701, when an
The Eurasian plant did not invade earlier fire destroyed most of the timber on
Washington state until the 1950s,but today the eastern edge of the Olympics.
canarygrass is stealing habitat from native Gorsline, employed by the Washington
plants everywhere. Lake Ozette on the Environmental Council, uses his expertise to
Recreation • 171

help arrange agreements about how timber In doing so, he said, protection could
will be harvested. The process is known as be extended to the old-growth timber, the
"TFW," for Timber-Fish-Wildlife. Gorsline five wetlands, as well as a hillside that
has proposed keeping the logging back from contains some rare and unusual "sapro
the lake. phytes" — plants that grow on decaying
"As a TFW person," said Gorsline, "I material.
have to respect the harvest goal, so I didn't Few undisturbed lakes are left any
go to (DNR) and say, T want no harvest at where today, said Buckingham. Devil's Lake "Only by
all.'" may be especially at risk. "Lakesare like attracting
But what Gorsline would really like is a people. Youcan compare them loosely,but
attention to
trade of land between the DNR and the every lake is different.I can't think of any
Forest Service that would bring Devil's Lake other lake quite like it." this place is
within the Olympic Forest boundary. there hope of
saving it."
—Jerry Gorsline

The People of
Hood Canal


Section 1

The Canal
for our

By Christopher

There are few places

along Hood Canal where
new construction is not
evident from the water

D r e s s e d in a red flannel shirt and down off the 6-foot ladder. He was nearing
blue jeans and wearing a tool the end of another honest day's labor. A few
belt hitched up with wide more days like this and he would be finished
suspenders, Keith Daniels took framing this house overlooking Hood Canal.
aim and pulled the trigger. Then he would move on to the next job.
"Wham! Wham! Wham!" Construction is everywhere in Hood
Shiny steel nails surged into smooth Canal country, where new houses sprout
lumber as Daniels directed the powerful nail like spring flowers.
gun with little effort. Some builders carve out choice build
It had taken the 29-year-old carpenter, ing sites on steep lots overlooking Seabeck,
with the help of one or two others, 3 x/i Union and Quilcene. Some squeeze expen
weeks to create the basic structure of a 1,800- sive new structures onto the last remaining
square-foot home. waterfront lots along the South Shore. Others
Daniels smiled warmly as he stepped transform older vacation homes into modern

176 • The People of Hood Canal

waterfront wonders. resort community. Today, funny little houses

For nearly every new house goingup, with upside-down rowboats in their yards
one can find a family-in-waiting, fostering still capture timeless views of Hood Canal
dreams of moving into a new neighborhood, and the Olympic Mountains.
making new friends,enjoying the natural Disappearing, however, are the
setting. Waiting for the house Daniels is undeveloped lots. Modern new houses have
erecting are Glen and June Forbes, who sold gone up almost as fast as the price of lots still
"What is the a house with a Puget Sound view to build for sale. Fromalmostany vantagepoint in
good of a their new home overlookingHood Canal. Driftwood Key,one can spot two or three
Every silver lining has a dark side, and houses under construction.
house if you
the dark side to a new house is the unavoid People looking for a natural view and
don't have a able damage it brings to the Hood Canal quiet setting are finding it throughout the
tolerable ecosystem. For every human family moving Hood Canal region,one of the last unspoiled
planet to put it into the forest, some wildlife must move out. areas in the Lower 48 states.
on." For every family improving its quality of life,
—Henry David there is some effecton the quality of water.
The damage is dictated by the location 1he price of growth is very real, says
of the homesite as well as the concern of the RickKimball, environmental planner for the
builder and future occupants of thebuilding. KitsapCounty Department of Community
The damage at each lot may indeed be Development, but ifs not easy to see the
slight. But already, tens of thousands of environmental impact of a single home.
human beings have becomean integralpart "I think we're dealing with these things
of the Hood Canal ecosystem —and plan better and better," he said, "but if you have
ners tell us that real growth is just now 50acres of forest land and you put 50 houses
coming to the region. on that, you can't help but have an impact."
With the arrival of spring, Daniels has One of the first, and most noticeable,
been working 10-hourdays on this house in results of clearing land for a house can be
the Driftwood Keydevelopment near the tip seen after the first rainfall, said Dave
of the Kitsap Peninsula.He feels good about Dickson,a drainage specialist with the
the work. KitsapCounty Public Works Department.
Earlierin the day, a rare April hail In a forest, trees, vegetation and
storm pelted the urifinished roof with frozen organic groundcover soak up moisture like a
iceballs. As Daniels talked, melting ice still sponge, releasing it slowly into streams and
dripped through the cracks. into the ground itself. But human encroach
"Ifs nice out here," said Daniels, ment removes a portion of that natural
glancing toward the cloud-covered water. sponge. The roof of a house, a driveway or a
"Thisis where I'm going to buy. We just rent street prevent water from soaking back into
now." the ground. Even a grassy lawn has only a
Like other areas once considered fraction of the absorption qualities of a thick
distant from civilization, Hansville doesn't organic carpet on the forest floor.
seem so remote in today's real estate market. "Everybody likes nice wide streets,
"People moved to Bellevue until they found paved sidewalks and driveways, but all
that Bellevuewasn't so nice anymore, so those things cover the pervious surfaces we
they moved to Bainbridge," said Daniels. have left," said Dickson. "A well manicured
"Now they're moving here." lawn looks nice but... there's not a lot of
Trained by North Kitsap High School, percolation through a lawn unless it is
Daniels says his job as a carpenter is "cre underlain by gravelly soils."
ative," better than the "menial" job he had Seeking lower ground, water will drain
for three years working in a lumber yard. offsuch hard surfaces,pick up speed across
Construction is an important force in steep slopes and then carve out drainage
any economy. Statewide, more than 5 channels that never existed before. Streams
percent of the labor force is employed in swell more rapidly due to the surge of water.
construction trades. Housing construction in Rows are higher than the last time it rained
particular is going strong in the Hood Canal equally hard. But after the rains stop, there is
region. less water released by the remaining vegeta
Driftwood Key, developed in the mid- tion. Streams decrease in size during dry
1960s, once had the appearance of a lazy periods.
Development *177

This fundamental change in drainage Larry Ward, owner of Olympic Homes

affectsfish habitat. Silt transported by water in Poulsbo,argues that some of the new
can smother salmon eggs buried within a regulations represent a basic shift in the
stream's gravel. High water flows can philosophy of who should pay for commu
rearrange the gravel, dislodging eggs from nity services.
their nesting place. "When I was a kid, I went to public
It's the same boom-and-bust pattern of school," he said. "I lived on a city street with
water flow caused by logging clearcuts, but city sewer and water and paved sidewalks. Construction
the effects of development The local government paid is everywhere
are even more pervasive. for them, because it was
in Hood Canal
Clearcuts eventually grow perceived that the whole
back; developments are Driftwood Key community benefitted by the country, where
forever. sidewalks we walked on and new houses
by the schools we went to. sprout like
"Now, government spring flowers.
Daniels was hired to spends the money and sends
frame this new house by Dan the bill to our children. We
Forbes, a contractor who has have shifted the burden to
built numerous homes in the the home buyer. We ask
Hansville area. The owners them to pay for schools and
are Dan's parents, Glen and sewer systems."
June Forbes, the former Those against growth
owners of the resort in support the higher cost of
Hansville known as Forbes housing, said Ward. But the
Landing. strategy may backfire on
"For 20 years, we had Hood Canal because it forces
the same view," said Glen Built on the new home buyers to move to
Forbes, 65. "Ships came in all northeast bank of more remote areas where
the time, but after a while I the canal, land is cheaper, such as the
didn't even notice the view."
Driftwood Key, forested lands of Kitsap
Now, they have a view County and even the foothills
of Hood Canal with the
with building sites of the Olympic Mountains.
Olympic Mountains standing for 726 homes, Within the entire Hood
tall on a clear day. relies solely on Canal drainage area, it is
"Hood Canal is a septic systems. getting difficult to find an
beautiful piece of water," area unspoiled by human
said Forbes. "I hope people development, according to
recognize the value and try to protect it." local planners and biologists.
A growing list of building codes, health Newcomers transplanted from cities —
codes and energy codes — not to mention and even some people who have lived in the
environmental regulations to protect wet country all their lives — drag a host of
lands and reduce stormwater runoff — keep urban-type problems into the woods with
raising the price of a basic house, says Dan them.
Forbes. But he recognizes the need for most In addition to causing increased
of the rules, he said. stormwater runoff, the average family
"We're all working on a level playing consumes 300gallons of water a day, said
field," he noted. "You figure you have to get Jerry Deeter of the Bremerton-Kitsap County
so much money from each house to make a Health Department. Families who water
living for you and your family." their lawns in the summer may use up to
The extra cost is just passed along. 1,000gallons a day, he added.
A major problem for younger families In most areas, water is pumped out of
is that the price of even the cheapest homes the ground. So far, water is plentiful in most
may be out of reach. Daniels, married with a locations in the canal watershed, but increas
7-year-old daughter, hopes to work out an ing growth may reduce groundwater
arrangement whereby he can use his build supplies and bring a day of reckoning.
ing skills to obtain his own home. Most An average family also generates
young families don't have that option. nearly 100pounds of garbage a week
178 • The People of Hood Canal

throughout the year and recyclesabout 10 Insecticides used on lawns create a

pounds, according to a new study in Kitsap variety of problems. In at least two places on
County. In addition, laundry and cleaning the Kitsap Peninsula, Diazinon pellets killed
chemicals are flushed down the drain, where flocks of ducks after the birds ingested the
they enter the septic tank and ultimately pellets,apparently mistaking them for food,
flow back into the groundwater. said Greg Schirato, a biologist with the state
With the exception of Alderbrook Inn Department of Wildlife.
Every new at Union and Port Gamble, sewage treatment Even when the insecticide does its job
house brings plants don't exist on Hood Canal. Sewage perfectly, it may not have desirable results.
goes into septic tanks, some so old that Birds may eat poisoned insects, thus poison
nobody knows if they even work anymore. ing themselves, or else the insects may
damage to the When David and Carol Smith built disappear, eliminating an important food
Hood Canal their home near Union in 1984,they tore supply for both birds and fish.
ecosystem. The down an old structure that started out as In general, people are much too casual
amount of nothing more than a sleeping platform, built about their use of pesticides, says Cha Smith,
by David's grandfather about 1912. director of groundwater protection for
damage is "A lot of the old buildings just sort of Washington Pesticide Coalition. 'The way
dictated by the grew as people wanted more comfort," said they (pesticides) are advertised and pro
location of the Carol Smith. "They'd build a wall here, a moted really encourages their use and
homesite as kitchen here, a bathroom there." overuse."

well as the When the Smiths tore down the old As development spreads into remote
house, they were dismayed to find nothing areas, new houses crowd wildlife out of the
concerrn of the more than an antique cesspool buried not far forests, said Schirato. Dead or dying trees —
builder and from the water's edge. ideal habitat for birds and small animals —
future Health officials from all three Hood are often removed to prevent their falling
occupants. Canal counties continue to discover onto someone's house.
drainfields that no longer work, if they ever Rotting vegetation, including fallen
did. High bacterial counts have been mea logs, are cleaned up, destroying an impor
sured in several places, spoiling prime tant part of the food chain. Overhanging
shellfish beds — one of the canal's great trees and vegetation may be chopped back
resources. from alongside streams, altering the water
If normal wastes aren't bad enough, temperature, eliminating a source of fish
you don't have to look far to find an isolated food and causing stress to salmon and trout.
spot in the woods where somebody has New home owners never realize the
dumped a pile of garbage. Often, the pile is damage they cause.
near a stream, which means it is not so "People don't think much about it
isolated after all. Then there are people who because they don't see dead animals," said
believe that disposing of motor oil means Schirato, "but the animals are gone. They
dumping it on the ground. either die or move someplace else, crowding
Vehicles themselves leave a trail of other animals out."
pollution, including oil and heavy metals Many families wouldn't think of
such as lead, copper and zinc. moving to a new home without the family
Even green space, that lovely grassy pet. But a dog or cat can do more damage to
lawn, can create serious water quality wildlife than the house and all the people in
problems. The owner of a quarter-acre lot, it, said Schirato. Dogs chase and kill deer.
following manufacturers' recommendations, Cats go after birds and fish.
would apply as much as 40 pounds of Some people think the woods are a
nitrogen and 80 pounds of phosphorous perfect place to let their animals run loose, he
each year to keep a yard nice and green. noted, but nothing could be further from the
Fertilizers and weed killers can migrate truth.
into natural areas, upsetting native plant People love rural areas for a variety of
communities. Washed into surface waters, reasons, and some are very careful about
they can generate algae blooms and decrease their actions. Still, anyone who becomes a
dissolved oxygen, even to the point of killing part of the Hood Canal ecosystem alters the
fish, as has been seen several times in lower balance that went before.
Hood Canal.
Development •179

Timber management consultant Canj

Hanson encourages landowners to
consider options to clearcutting.

M a n y of the private lands that a house in the early decades of this century.
drain into Hood Canal have In 1984,Smith replaced the old home with a Section 2
been carved up into building modern house, which he visits on the
sites and appear headed for weekends.
development. Smith's management of the remaining Choosing
But not every property owner forest land is a lesson for property owners
has dollar signs in his eyes. who are conservation-minded but have no
Consider David Smith, 62, a Seattle desire to lock up their land strictly for fish Development
insurance agent who inherited 90 acres near and wildlife.
By Christopher
Union and would like to pass on the land to "We are thinking about keeping it in
his children. timberland," said Smith, "unless someone
"I was born and raised up there," said would agree to do a reasonable job of
Smith. "I dearly love the area. I have seen my development."
kids raised up there and now my grandkids Smith hired a forestry consulting firm,
are coming up." Washington Timberland Management of
Smith's land spans both sides of Union. Gary Hanson, owner of the company,
Highway 106 and includes a waterfront lot worked out a plan to thin the timber, which
where his grandfather gradually constructed provided Smith the cash he needed to
180 • The People of Hood Canal

subdivide the property into five-acre lots and of money in his pocket," said Hanson.
put in a high-quality all-weather road. Hanson planted grass seed along the
If an excellent builder came along with new road where vegetation had been
the right price and a sensitive plan for removed. In the areas that contained dis
development, Smith admits he might sell the eased fir, he planted white pine. State law
lots. But his preferred plan is to divide them requires reforestation within three years, but
among his children. it is best to plant right away — before the
"Idearly love Hanson, the consultant, brush takes over, said Hanson.
the area. We said some loggers take Hanson advises
advantage of landowners by Smith landowners to research
are thinking
about keeping
offering deals that sound too property forestry issues before signing
good to pass up. a logging contract. That goes
it in "We find," said for anyone — even owners of
timberland, Hanson, "that too many a single acre. A consultant
unless people don't know the value isn't required, he said, but an
of their trees." owner should certainly get
Smith's own father an independent appraisal
would agreeto allowed a logger to clearcut and advice on harvest and
do a the lower portion of the land replanting.
reasonablejob for some quick income. But Hanson also suggests
the logger failed to replant that owners take bids from
of any trees. The bare land loggers on the basis of total
development." eventually grew alder trees, weight or volume of timber,
— David Smith
which were worth consider as opposed to a percent of
ably less than the fir trees gross value, because markets
they replaced. Dave Smith used are always changing.
"My dad got taken," According to Hanson,
admitted Smith, who had the
careful timber the trees on Smith's property
ground replanted with fir management add value to the building
seedlings. practices, including sites, and homes can be
Hanson, who gradu selective thinning, worked in among the trees
ated from the University of with less environmental
Washington in 1967with a
in logging the 90 damage than in a clearcut
degree in forestry, advises acres he owns on area.

clearcutting only for specific both sides of Smith says the future of
purposes. For Smith's land, Highway 106. his land is uncertain, but he's
Hanson thinned out about a not about to let the commu
third of the trees, clearcut small patches nity down with shabby development. After
where disease was evident and retained all, his own home is at the bottom of the hill.
several trees strictly for their habitat value. "If someone wants to pay me a lot of
"We were able to thin this, rehabilitate money, I might be swayed," he said, "but I
the lower end, and put a substantial amount don't think it is worth screwing up the area.
Development •IS!

Residents near Union scurry tofill sandbags in

an attempt tokeep runofffrom a golfcourse
development from damagingtheirhomes.

I t seems like only yesterday that Hood But we are doing the same thing over
Canal was a frontier kind of place. months." Section 3
Turn around, and there are highways. In North Mason and some portions of
Turn around, and there are develop Jefferson County, trees are being removed
ments. Turn around, and there are golf for development at nearly the same pace. Losses Come
courses, gravel pits and shopping No single housing development, so Easily
centers. grocery store, marina or golf course creates a
At an alarming rate, forest land is being significant problem for Hood Canal, but the By Christopher
converted to housing and other uses in combination of all them together does have Dunagaii
Kitsap County, said Mike Reed, who reviews significant impact, experts say.
forest practice applications for the Port A typical golf course, for example, uses
Gamble S'Klallam Indian Tribe. at least 10 tons of fertilizer a year, said
"The conversion applications just pile Dwane Erich of Alderbrook Inn Resort near
up every week," he said. "If we lost this Union. Alderbrook also uses 18 million
amount of timber in a blowdown in two gallons of water a year to keep the grass
days, we would call it a national emergency. green.
182 • The People of Hood Canal

Nobody knows how much of the flushing rate, Ecology officialshave said.
chemicals escape to Hood Canal, but 'The one thing that makes you frus
Alderbrook is just one of four golf courses trated," said Lockhart, "is that there's too
either operating or proposed in the Hood much government bureaucracy. Nobody is
Canal watershed. coming up with answers, and you can't
Despite the growth, Hood Canal move but at a slow crawl."
remains in pretty good shape, experts say. After Ecology gives the go-ahead, it
"Ifwe lost this Vast tracts of forest land remain undevel will take another two to three years of
amount of oped, and important fish and wildlife species studies, design and financial planning before
still make their home in the watershed. any work can be done, said Lockhart.
timber in a
Hood Canal offers Washington residents one Nobody doubts the need for sewers, he
blowdown in last chance to preserve an area that has not says. An ongoing study by Mason County
two days, we yet been spoiled by growth. shows that some 50-60percent of waterfront
would call it a "We are not yet at a point where we septic systems are already failing in nearby
national have lost so much habitat that wildlife can't Allyn, which drains into Puget Sound.
migrate through the area," said Greg "As far as septic tanks on Hood
emergency. But Schirato, regional biologist for the state Canal," he added, "I'd say probably 60-75
we are doing Department of Wildlife. percent drain right into Hood Canal. Some
the same thing While native salmon have declined sit just 6 to 8 feet from a bulkhead."
over months." drastically, only part of the problem can be Poor soils and high water tables mean
— Mike Reed, attributed to stream damage, according to that septic systems don't always function
Port Gamble Dennis Austin of the state Department of properly, even when there is adequate room
S'Klallam Tribe Fisheries, which intends to study the habitat for a drainfield,according to a report by
issue in the coming months. Edmunds-Ludlow Associates, consultants
All three Hood Canal counties — for the port.
Kitsap, Mason and Jefferson — are strug Alderbrook Inn near Union operates
gling to deal with the growing number of one of the few sewage treatment plants on
people moving into Hood Canal. Hood Canal. When the system failed to
function properly in 1990, the Department of
Straining the Limits of Septic Ecology took over management. Today, the
Systems quality of effluent is much better, officials
I n most places, septic systems do an All around Hood Canal and along the
excellent job of treating household streams that drain into it, failing septic
sewage, experts say. But aging systems systems have been discovered by health
along the southern shorelines of Hood Canal officialsfrom Kitsap, Mason and Jefferson
may be killing the canal's production of counties.
living things. In most cases, old drainfields can be
No longer can you take shellfish at replaced or new drainfields can be installed
BelfairState Park; commercial oyster- farther back from the canal. Jefferson County
growing operations have been shut down; has even implemented a low-interest loan
and fish kills the past few years have been program to help with the cost.
attributed to low oxygen levels due to But nowhere is the problem as severe
pollution. as along the north and south shores of lower
"The whole canal is dying an inch at a Hood Canal. Much more pollution in that
time," said James Lockhart, a Port of Allyn area will mean increasing fish kills, said
commissioner who has pledged to bring Herbert Curl, who studied the chemistry of
sewers to the Belfair area. the area for the National Oceanic and
The port commissioners have pro Atmospheric Administration.
posed a sewer project for most of Belfairand Nutrients from sewage, as well as
for homes along the North Shore of Hood fertilizer, may be to blame for pockets of
Canal out to the edge of the district. But the low-oxygen water that sometimes spread
project has been stymied while the state from lower Hood Canal into the main
Department of Ecology considers the best channel.
location to dispose of the effluent. Sewers may be the only answer for
Hood Canal should not be used for Belfair'sLynch Cove and the shallow areas
disposal because of its extremely low of Hood Canal out to the Great Bend near
Development • 183

Union and Tahuya, according to a growing homes farther back from the water — and to
number of residents. leave the natural systems in place, he said.
"The people on the canal in the port The concrete bulkhead could well be a
district are all for it," said Lockhart. "We fitting monument to man's ongoing battle
have had public meetings to find that out — against nature.
and we'll have more as soon as we get a There it stands at the edge of Hood
decision from the Department of Ecology." Canal, solid, unyielding, absorbing the
Lockhart says he will continue to pour punishment of waves, day after day in all No single
his energy into the dream of building a kinds of weather. Then it cracks and col
sewer system. lapses.
"That's the reason I ran for the port The folly of bulkheads, argues Terich, a
district. We need it bad. After that, I don't professor at Western Washington University, grocery store,
give a damn. I don't want the job." is that they attempt to hold back natural marina orgolf
erosion, but end up altering the entire course creates
Changing Nature's Buffer shoreline. "One of the major problems with a significant
bulkheading is that we are putting a very
rigid material in a fluid, mobile environ
Waterfront residents along Hood
Canal often claimed their piece of ment." Hood Canal,
paradise by filling a shoreline lot and Beaches are the result of natural but the
building a bulkhead to protect the fill from erosion from sandy bluffs and upland areas, combination of
the water. he said. In fact, beaches have been called all them
In doing so, they unknowingly "rivers of sand" due to the consistent
movement of sand along a shoreline.
speeded the destruction of the canal's
shorelines and beaches. 'The one thing I am most concerned have
In many places in Hood Canal — about is if we keep putting up structures, we significant
notably from Union to Belfair and out to will prevent that sediment from getting impact.
Tahuya — homes were built upon fill placed down to the beach. We will start having a
behind bulkheads, according to Sean Orr, a loss of beach."
shorelines administrator in Mason County. During slide presentations to the
Ever since then, homeowners have public, Terich shows photographs of beaches
clung to their valuable piece of waterfront that have been altered in a matter of years
property, replacing the bulkhead whenever due to bulkheads, which also have destroyed
necessary. Only recently has Mason County wetlands and near-shore habitat for fish and
begun to question the need for every new shellfish.
bulkhead, said Orr. The easy flow of fresh water into
"When we try to discourage bulk saltwater is disrupted by bulkheads, which
heads," he said, "people think we are crazy." create vertical walls at the edge of the water.
Orr, along with state Department of No bulkhead can be considered
Fisheries officials, may force a property permanent due to the dynamics of upland
owner on the South Shore of Hood Canal to erosion and lateral movement of sand, not to
remove an expensive new bulkhead built 4 mention wave action, said Terich. Waves
feet in front of an old one that was failing. cause increased turbulence in front of a
'There was a massive smelt spawning vertical bulkhead, undercutting the wall and
area below his failed bulkhead," said Orr, causing failure.
"and 250-300 square feet of spawning area Where bulkheads are necessary to
was lost because he stuck that bulkhead out protect property, Orr said, neighbors should
there." work together to consider the entire system.
Tom Terich, a geographer and regional "Oftentimes, one property owner puts
planning expert, argues that bulkheads are up a wall, which causes wave energy at the
"entirely unessential as far as serving any end of the wall, so the next property owner
purpose for the common good... The miles feels he has to do something to protect his
and miles of walls and piles of rock simply property."
serve to protect the private property of a few Researchers are studying new designs
individuals who built too close to the for bulkheads that minimize damage, he
shoreline to begin with." said.
Localgovernment should do every One of the "softer approaches" to
thing to encourage people to build their protecting beaches, said Terich, is to add the
184 • The People of Hood Canal

right type of beach material in a particular Department are working jointly on a $50
location and allow the waves to spread it out million program to redesign highway
along the beach. drainage systems throughout the state to
"You have to treat the whole beach as a reduce the amount of water pollution.
unit." Strategies include using existing right of way
and buying new land for the installation of
Ribbons of Development settling ponds and grassy swales, both of
Despite the which reduce toxic chemicals.

growth, Hood Highway 101along the western shore of Unfortunately, the major roads around
Hood Canal offers travelers a beautiful Hood Canal were built at the edge of the
Canal remains
introduction to the scenic waterway, water, sometimes next to a sheer cliff. Room
in pretty good but that road would never pass today's enough for such pollution control measures
shape. Vast environmental rules, experts say. may not exist, said Clay Wilcox, a DOT
tracts of forest The same goes for Highway 106along maintenance supervisor for the area.
land remain the South Shore and Highway 300along the Grass-lined ditches, proposed for some
North Shore. areas around Puget Sound, simply aren't
undeveloped, practical there, he said.
'To fill the wetlands and in some cases
and important the beach itself, to cross the rivers and creeks "Along Hood Canal, we are lucky to
fish and and cedar swamps and bogs would be an have any ditch at all," he said. "There are
wildlife species almost impossible job today," said Mike areas where there is just barely enough ditch
still make their Leitch of the state Department of Transporta there to say there is a ditch."
tion in Olympia. To make matters worse, the ditches
home in the
Throughout the Hood Canal area, flow more or less directly into Hood Canal.
watershed. development would not exist were it not for "Over by the marina on Highway 106
all the roads and highways that carry people (at Union), there are cross culverts that wash
to and from their homes. These long ribbons directly onto the beach," he said.
of pavement break up wildlife habitat and The district has three areas that create a
cause drainage problems in every spot tremendous amount of sediment in the
touched by concrete or asphalt. ditches due to sloughing from steep banks,
Highway records are somewhat said Wilcox. In addition to the marina area at
sketchy, but it is easy to imagine the huge Union, one is where the Skokomish River
cliffs that had to be excavated for portions of approaches Highway 106 and the other is
Highway 101 and 106.Rockand debris from near the Purdy Creek crossing of Highway
the cuts no doubt were used to fill wetlands 101.
along the route. It takes two or three days of work each
The long stretches of uniform highway year to clean the stretch of ditch called Purdy
in place today once were smaller county Canyon, he said, and about 1,600yards of
roads. Since the 1920s,the state has up debris is removed in that time from that one
graded various sections of the roads, officials ditch.
say. Nobody knows how much sediment
But few roadways in the state come as along the highways fails to settle out in the
close to a sensitive body of water as those ditches, thus washing into Hood Canal, said
around Hood Canal — and runoff from Wilcox,but it is no small amount. Cleaning
roads can be a major source of water pollu out the ditches isn't considered pollution
tion. control, he said, but without that mainte
"Any time you have an impervious nance the ditches would fill up and all the
surface, you have two things to worry about: contaminated sediments would wash into
water quantity and water quality," said Gary the canal.
Kruger of the state Department of Ecology.
Major pollutants include petroleum Demand for Gravel Alters the
products dripped from automobile engines Landscape
and gas tanks, lead deposited from gasoline,
and zinc and copper loosened during wear A l Hoover used to have a nice little
and tear on the engine. In addition, pesti duck pond in his front yard. Now, his
cides used to reduce roadside vegetation can yard is nothing but a pond. And the
be carried along with stormwater. water is still rising.
Ecology and the Transportation Hoover's entire neighborhood along
Development *185

Old Belfair Highway is affectedby excess Katie Littlefield, who lives next to the
water. Watsons,sat at her kitchen table and glanced
"The ducks and geese love it," says out the window at the gravel pit, which
Hoover. Not so the neighbors, however, who dominates her view.
claimtheir problems began a decade ago "We have lived here about 18 years,"
when Anderman Sand and Gravel took over she said. "It was really beautiful then."
a surface mining operation on a hill behind The Department of Natural Resources,
their homes. which has responsibility for surface mining Hood Canal
Gravel mining is needed to build roads operations, has attempted to reduce the flow offers
and concrete foundations for all types of of water from the pit by requiring a series of
development. In fact, state law considers sedimentation ponds on the pit property. But Washington
surface-mining programs as vital as timber one mitigation plan after another has failed residents one
and agriculture. to keep silty water from flowing onto the last chance to
"We moved out here in 1980 because neighboring property. preserve an
we liked the area," said Hoover, a quality One answer would be for the neigh area that has
assurance inspector at Puget Sound Naval bors to grant easements to get the water
Shipyard. "We purchased property across swiftly to the Union River, but nobody not yet been
the street and lived there until 1987, when wants to be part of a plan that directs dirty spoiled by
we moved here." water into the already troubled river. growth.
Until 1983, the gravel pit was owned Besides,say the neighbors, that would
by Service Fuel Co., which operated a small only complicate the problem because
asphalt plant on the top of the hill. The environmental agencies such as the state
operation went bankrupt a few years later Department of Fisheries and Department of
when the quality of gravel declined. In 1986, Ecologywould never allow the discharge.
the current operator arrived. "They've approached me to buy my
"When they came, the area had been land," said Medeiros, "but it's not for sale.
logged," said Hoover, "but it was select My contention is if the state requires them to
logging. They cut the rest of the trees." contain the water on site, then that's what
Among the trees cut down, he said, they have to do. The only solution I see is to
was a 50-foot buffer between his land and put the vegetation back to the original
the gravel operation. Anderman also condition."
expanded the pit down the edge of the hill, The Department of Natural Resources
he said. ordered that Anderman solve the drainage
Anderman officials choose not to problem, but Anderman appealed the matter
comment, but during legal proceedings, they to a state hearing examiner. Christine CUshe
maintained that the operation has complied ruled that the current system of drainage
with all state and local rules. "removes that runoff to a safe outlet, namely
Hoover climbed the bank behind his the natural drainage pattern in the area,
house and pointed out a natural swale on his which includes the adjacent properties."
land, where water accumulates during Furthermore, said Clishe, "Anderman
heavy rains. But silty water from the gravel is not by law and should not be required to
pit has begun to fill in the swale, he says. correct the community water problem of the
Despite an earthen dike between the area. That long-standing problem has been
two properties, Hoover's land still gets more created by nature and several property
water than it ever did, he says. owners."
Hoover's neighbor, Richard Medeiros, Needless to say, the neighbors weren't
also has a low-lying area on his property to pleased with the ruling, and Hoover pledged
the south. The area has turned into a swamp, an appeal to Superior Court.
filled with cattails and other wetland plants.
Joe Watson, who lives across the street The Results of Clearcuts Show Up
with his backyard to the Union River, said Downhill
surface and subsurface water has flooded his
yard and even run into his well under More than a few Mason County
pressure. residents have grumbled the past few
"Sometimes we used to get water in years that their county government
the yard," he said, "but it didn't stand like was failing to control development. But,they
this." say, a single event in November 1990may
186 • The People of Hood Canal

have jarred the county to its senses. "That area handled every rain event for
The awesome power of stormwater the past 30years," said BobClose,president
runoff was demonstrated near Union during of the Mason County Protective Association,
the heavy rains over the Thanksgiving which represents property owners in the
weekend, when water gushed down a steep area.

ravine, depositing tons and tons of soiland After the clearcut, water coming down
gravelacrossHighway106 justaboveHood the 50-acre ravine cut a path between two
"I'dsay Canal. homes and flowed down a driveway to
'The material was coming faster than Highway 106.
probably 60-75
we could get rid of it," said Clay Wilcox, a "It was most fortunate that the drive
percent (of the maintenance supervisor for the state Depart way was there," said Close, "or one or two
septic systems) ment of Transportation. houses could have been in jeopardy."
drain right into Despite the best effortsof both state Since then, culverts have been installed
Hood Canal. and county crews using heavy equipment, to bring the water off the hill, carry it across
Some sit just 6 they couldn't beat the onslaughtof sand and the road and release it into Hood Canal.
gravel washing down the hill. Theyended The county ordered the developer to
to 8 feet from a up closingthe highway for a day. prepare an environmental impact statement
bulkhead." Since then, Mason County has filed a beforeany more work was allowed on the
— James $250,000 lawsuit against the property owner project, known as Black BearResort. The first
Lockhart, Port of blamed for the mess, George Heidgerken, a priority was to stabilize the slope and
Allyn commis Sheltondeveloper building a 230-acre golf prevent further damage.
sioner course and resort community on the hill Close and Clift agree that the incident
overlooking Hood Canal. has alerted Mason County officials to the
The county claims that Heidgerken potential problems of development. At the
cleared the property of all trees and vegeta time, the county had no ordinances for
tion without proper drainage controls. He dealing with the kind of clearing and
also failed to install a system ordered by grading taking place on the steep hill.
county officials after they discoveredthe Sincethen, the county has adopted a
problem but before the flooding occurred. grading ordinance, approved a North Mason
The lawsuit was filed to recover the water quality plan and is gaining speed on
county's emergencycostsas well the costof new requirements under the state's Growth
hiring a consultant to work out drainage Management Act.
controls, said Mike Clift of the Mason "Theyare looking at things much
County Prosecutor's Office. differently," said Close.
"I think we can make a case that what The Growth Management Act requires
they did led step-by-stepto the damage up counties to identify problem areas and take
there," he said. steps to protect them. Mason, along with
Heidgerken says he should not be held Jefferson County, could have opted out of
responsible for damagefromnaturalrunoff, the requirements of the act based on their
and he blames most of the problem not on population, but the two Hood Canal coun
the clearcutting, but on the heavy rains. ties agreed that planning for growth was in
Ifs an argument that most residents their best interests.
don't buy.
Development • 187

Local officials are searching for a way to manage the growth

that's threatening tooverwhelm the Hood Canal watershed.

S t a t e requirements for managing wants to see "politics" at work — not the

growth couldn't come at a better kind of backroompolitics that has gained a
time to protect Hood Canal, says bad reputation,but the original meaning of
Larry Dennison, a JeffersonCounty the word. "Politics is the process of creating
commissioner. public policy. The power has to be close Section 4
But normal, everyday people hold enough to the people that they can feel it."
the real key to the future, he added. All three counties have begun planning
The Hood Canal counties — Kitsap, at the grassroots level,but they eventually Planning for
Masonand Jefferson —are rapidly moving hope to coordinate their efforts for Hood Growth
toward new policies they hope will protect Canal. It is a different process than one
forestand agricultural lands from the evolving in Oregon, where such policies are By Christopher
onslaught of development. set at the state level. Ditiiagaii
State law also requires that they Kitsap County Commissioner John
identify and protect: Horsley said he believes people can under
• Fish and wildlife habitat. stand the goal of protecting public resources.
• Wetlands. "But I think we are going to get into
• Groundwater recharge zones. some tremendous controversy when we go a
• Landslide areas. step further and try to restrict what people
• Areas prone to flooding. can do with their land."
Under the law, the public gets to help Horsley knows about planning for
design land-use policies that protect the growth. As the county's first Trident coordi
natural system — and that should mean nator and later as county commissioner, he
more than government just going through helped prepare for the population boom that
the motions, argues Dennison, who chairs arrived with the giant Naval Submarine Base
the three-county Hood Canal Coordinating at Bangor.
Council. As a result, Kitsap County is ahead of
"Policies are worthless unless you have both Mason and Jefferson in growth-
the constituencies to support them," he said. management planning. But with five times
"Until enough people value these kind of the population of Mason and 10 times the
ideas, we will not be able to make them population of Jefferson, Kitsap also suffers
work." the greatest environmental damage from
Dennison wants the environmental development that's already occurred.
movement to have personal meaning to all "We can handle the next 100,000
who live in the Hood Canal region. He people who come in," said Horsley, "if we
788 • The People of Hood Canal

develop a land-use pattern that concentrates

Hood Canal Shores Under Pressure people in our urban centersand protects the
rural areas from overdevelopment."
Carving up what's left of a limited resource None of the major urban centers
proposed are within the Hood Canal
watershed, though Port Gamble may
ilood Canal's once become a much larger community than it is
isolated and undeveloped
nature has changed
today, said Horsley.
dramatically in the past few "What we're trying to discourage is a
years.Sparse development checkerboard pattern of 2 '/2-acre tracts or 5-
has given way to intensive
pressure as property owners Quimper
acre tracts without adequate road systems,
and developers seek to cash Peninsula water systems or open space," he noted.
in on the heavy demand. Puget Phyllis Myers, a habitat biologist for
Western Washington's Sound
the Suquamish Indian Tribe, says she is
exploding population has
spilled over into Kitsap, weary of the growth battles taking place as
Mason and Jefferson rural areas are forced to make room for more
counties. Hood Canal and Watershed Pot
boundary -Ludlow
Olympic Mountain views
are drawing new settlers by "I'm feeling sad these days," she said.
the hundreds. All this new
"Someone said to me recently, 'We don't
development, plus the have growth management; we just have
inadequaciesof older
development in the Hood
Port A growth.' "
Canal watershed, have Gamble Myers helped put together a new
increased the pressure on the water-quality plan for Dyes Inlet between
delicate ecosystem.
Bremerton and Silverdale. The plan calls for
, . KEY ' Watershed
new populations to move into areas already
residential boundary paved over by development.
"Development should take the form of
redevelopment in the city of Bremerton," she
said of the county's future.
Olympic Maintaining areas in forestry is a goal
•fj^^s'-Silvetdak required by state law, though it may be
Peninsula ^^~Olympic
.••'View easier to accomplish in the lesser-developed
'Hood Point/
portions of Mason and Jefferson counties
W.. Watershed \ than in Kitsap.
mv boutaa>y\ Horsley said he hopes to be able to
convince major forest land holders in Kitsap
The .'.. .' J Bremerurn
to retain their property in timber — perhaps
Great f by allowing them to build higher-density
Peninsula I
communities in more urban locations.
•fm DeWatic
But he says he's "discouraged" about
Belfair • • the declining runs of wild salmon and about
North Shore management by the state Department of
The numbers of fish reaching their
tlh Sliare native streams are governed by two factors:
1) the success of their reproduction — which
depends on the local water quality, and 2)
the number caught on their way home.
In the spring of 1991, Fisheries an
The Hood Canalwatershedrouglily follows the linedown thecenterof
the Great Peninsula. Drainage west of the line ends up in the waters of nounced a cutback in commercial and sport
Hood Canal. Drainage east of the line is into PugetSound, it's bays and fishing to protect wild coho returning to
Hood Canal. But Northwest Indian tribes say
Areas of intense shoreline development, shaded black, are increasing. it is not enough.
Next, the upland view areas will get the pressure.
It is sad to think that the magnificent
fish may be on a permanent decline, said
Source: Kitsap, Jefferson, Mason counties and Sun staff research Horsley. He suggests that salmon may be a
good yardstick for measuring the success or
Development • 189

failureof localcontrolson development. political pressures.

"They are like the canaries that went BothDennison and Horsley say they
down into the mines as a test of when the air find the concept of urban thresholds appeal
was bad," said Horsley. ing and would like to incorporate it into
Unfortunately,studies are lackingon regional planning.
just how severely the streams already have State and county agencies are getting
been degraded. better with environmental regulations. Not
One sectionof the Growth Manage so many years ago, the Department of State law
ment Act which has gotten little attention Fisheriesfailed to prevent, or apparently requires that
callsfor innovative techniques in managing even notice, damage from development.
growth. counties
Now, both Fisheries and Wildlife review the
"It is a very short, but I think powerful plans for new developments with an eye for identify and
section," said Steve Wells of the state potential impacts. protect fish
Department of Community Development. Fisheries can force developers to and wildlife
'Think of a tool kit in the hands of the protect streams, and Wildlife can often habitat,
counties and cities.They are right now protect habitat for migratory birds and other
deciding what tools are going to go into that animals. Both are using their authority under
kit." state law to mandate stormwater controls to groundwater
They may choose a heavy hammer — prevent excessiverunoff. recharge zones,
the police authority of local government, Kitsap County, which has made some landslide areas
including zoning controls and building attempt to control the rate of runoff in the and areas
restrictions. They may add a scalpel — the past, is now discussing strong new mea
prone to
ability to purchase development rights sures, including those that would reduce the
precisely in areas that should be preserved. amount of pollution, said David Dickson of flooding.
In essence, the state has given the the Kitsap County Department of Public
counties authority to decide. Works.
Mike Reed, a biologist with the Using a computer, engineers can now
S'Klallam Tribe in Port Gamble, has urged design a stormwater system that more
Kitsap, Mason and Jefferson counties to closely matches the natural-flow conditions
adopt what he calls "urban thresholds," a of a site. In addition, grass-lined ditches,
concept originally proposed to protect known as biofiltration swales, can be used to
resources from logging operations. absorb pollutants before the water leaves the
Thresholds are measurable values that property.
reflect the amount of damage to an ecosys Already, the county has begun requir
tem, such as a watershed. ing such modern stormwater controls in new
For example, biologists can measure developments, though a full-blown ordi
the amount of sediment in a stream. One nance and storm-drainage manual probably
threshold level — perhaps a 10 percent ratio won't be ready until 1992,said Dickson.
of sediment to gravel — would alert forest Unmanaged growth has spoiled many
managers to an upcoming problem, and areas of the country, including parts of
logging could be reduced. At a second level, Washington state. Some would argue that
perhaps 25 percent, drastic changes would even Hood Canal has been damaged beyond
be required to reduce the level of sediment recognition. But a majority of planners and
— even if it meant stopping logging alto biologists say Hood Canal still contains
gether. many natural wonders, despite the pressing
Reed argues the same approach should growth.
be used "when you move down the water "We may have let things get out of
sheds into the urbanizing areas." Urban hand," said Reed. "We may have some dirty
thresholds would put the burden on devel laundry that we need to clean up. I believe a
opers to prevent the kind of damage that has lot of our actions are based on the remote
occurred in the past. idea that we will not be around to live with
Only in this way, Reed says, will the consequences of what we do today."
politicians be held accountable for commit That attitude, he argues, has got to
ments they make in the face of economic and change. And what better time than now?


Section 1

Indians Plied
Its Waters
By Gene Yoachum

Skokomish elder
Joseph AndrewsSr.

H o o d Canal offered bountiful the canal as a much simpler, more pristine

fishing amid cool waters and a place in their youth, when it was a base for
picturesque aquatic highway to their subsistence.
the three major Indian tribes Joseph A. Andrews Sr., 76, recalled the
living there in the decades prior years just prior to 1920as a time when he
to the 20th Century. The history rarely wore clothes and when Hood Canal
of the canal was shaped by the Twana, was a "beautiful place" to be while growing
Chemakum and S'Klallam tribes, but only up. Early in the morning, he'd watch deer
remnants remain today: the Skokomish, the along the shores of the canal lick salt off
Suquamish and the S'Klallams. rocks at low tide.
Elders from the three tribes describe Andrews' eyes glistened as he talked

Native Americans »191

about how the autumn sky "just turned the portage between Hood's Canal and the
dark" as huge flocks of migrating geese flew main waters of the Sound, where the Indian,
overhead, issuing sounds "that were like a by carrying his canoe three miles, avoids
lullaby to my ears." rowing around a peninsula 50 miles long."
He remembered sitting in the bow of Skokomish means "River People,"
his grandfather's 24-foot shovel-nose canoe derived from their settlement at the mouth of
as a preschooler, "eating salmonberries that the large freshwater river that empties into
hung out over the canal. I wasn't a very good the canal. The Northwest
picker,but I could eat them pretty good. The Chemakums are believed to have
Coast tribes
"When I was a young boy, before I originated from the Kwilleuts, who lived
went to school, the Indians traveled the canal south of Cape Hattery on the PacificCoast. lost most of
by canoesand rowboats equipped with Eellswrote that a portion of the Kwilleut their creative
sails," said Andrews, an elder among the tribe, according to the Kwilleut tradition, traditions
Skokomish, whose reservation sits at the came inland from the coast following a very within a few
Great Bendof Hood Canal in MasonCounty. high and sudden tide long ago and settled decades of the
"We had camps on both sides of the near Port Townsend, calling themselves
canal," he said. "There were plenty of fish "Chemakums."
treaties they
and clams. There were trees along both sides; By 1887,Eells said the Chemakums signed with
the loggingcamps were just getting started." were "virtually extinct," there being only 10 whites in the
Andrews said he "didn't wear clothes left who had not married whites or members mid-19th
until he was 8 years old. There was no need of other tribes.Only one four-member family Century.
to becausethere was lots of privacy out was included in the total. At one time, the
Indian culture
there." Chemakums occupied lands from the mouth
When he was about 13 years old, of Hood Canal to Port DiscoveryBay. was banished
Andrews had an encounter with a couple of The S'Klallam tribe derived their name during the
whales that he's not forgotten. from "Nusklaim," a word in their language school year at
"About halfway across the canal, these which meant "strong people." boarding
two whales buzzed me," Andrews recalled. The S'Klallams had claimed territory
"They bumped the boat and made waves schools the
from Port Discovery Bayto the Hoko River
that bumped me, and the dogs barked, but on the northern coast of Washington. children were
they didn't tip me over." Shortly before the turn of the 20th sent to.
When he told about being accosted by Century, Eellsnoted many S'Klallams had
the whales, Andrews said his mother moved to Little Boston, opposite Port
explained the huge beasts may have been Gamble; to Jamestown north of Sequim; and
trying to get to the dog and her puppies, Port Townsend and Port Discovery Bay,
noting that whales eat seals and other small where most were employed at sawmills.
animals. Another band of S'Klallams made their
Andrews' tribe shared use of the canal home in Elwah, about eight miles west of
with two others, the Suquamish and the Port Port Angeles, living largely on fish. (Al
Gamble S'Klallams. though the Port Gamble clan changed the
The Skokomishelder said his people spelling of the tribal name to S'Klallam, the
had friends among the Suquamish Indians, closestreflection to the correct pronuncia
although "they had a hostility among them. tion, the Jamestown and Lower Elwah clans
It seemed like they always had to have still use Klallam in their names.)
someone's permission to be in the area. We
never worried about it, but they did."
Ihe Suquamish and the Skokomish
were the main users of Hood Canal during
Doth sides of Hood Canal originally the latter years of the 19th Century, accord
were inhabited by the Twana Indians, ing to Lawrence Webster of Indianola.
divided into three bands, the Du-hlelips, At 91, Webster is the eldest of the
Skokomish and Kolsids, the Rev. Myron Suquamish tribe, centered on the Port
Eells wrote in The Twana, Chemakum and Madison Indian Reservationin North Kitsap.
Klallam Indians of Washington Territory, 'They used the west side, we used the
published in 1887. east side" of the canal, he said. The Klallam
He said the word 'Twana" was Tribe, particularly those from Port Gamble,
believed to mean a portage,coming"from didn't begin to make substantial use of Hood
292 • The People of Hood Canal

Canal until after Pope & Talbot built its it required. Younger Indians "began to get
lumber mill at Port Gamble in 1854, Webster busy with other things."
He recalled taking a cedar dugout
canoe on a month-long fishing trip on the Irene Purser, 90, an eldermember of
canal when he was about 4 years old. the Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe at Little
"It was a family canoe, seven of us," he Boston, also remembers the canal as a major
The S'Klallam said. It was large enough for four adults, thoroughfare for early settlers.
three children and the She and two other
Tribe derived
group's camping equipment. Hood Canal S'Klallam tribal elders — her
its name from They paddled the half-sister, Mildred Decoteau,
"Nu-sklaim," a canoe northward from Miller tribes 64, and Catherine Moran, 81
word in their Bay around the Kitsap — recalled how game, fish
language that Peninsula, into the mouth of and other forms of life were
Hood Canal and all the way found alongside the canal.
meant "strong
to the south end of the Then commercial ventures
people." saltwater channel. and increasing numbers of
The group had timed residences began to change
the journey to the canal to the life they'd grown to
take advantage of the tides enjoy.
because without help from "In those days, you
tidal currents, their canoe trip could go where you wanted
would have been much to dig clams or go fishing,"
longer. Even with tides Decoteau said. "It was an
working in their favor, the important part of daily life."
trip required the better part Purser said she could
of a day. The Skokomish (1), remember when there was
They spent the next the Port Gamble "only one store on the canal
month living in canvas tents S1 Klallam (2) and — at Lofall. People went
pitched along the banks of the Suquamish (3) there to buy hardtack, flour
the canal, sleeping on cattail and sugar."
mats, fishing each day and allfound She recalled her
drying their catch over sustenance in the grandparents taking her to
campfires to keep it through bounty of the Hood Puyallup with them to pick
the winter. Canal watershed. hops and going to Brinnon to
After they'd caught and catch and dry fish for the
dried what they could take back in their winter. She also remembered family mem
canoe, they returned home. The trip back, bers baking bread by burying loaves in hot
however, took a full day's paddling and part sand and "eating fish on a stick every day
of another, Webster recalled, because they and never getting tired of it."
had miscalculated the tides needed to make Moran said her people would dig
their journey easier. clams each winter and sell them for 50 cents
When he was growing up, Webster a bushel.
said Anderson Hill Road in Central Kitsap Purser's family had a large canoe, large
and the Port Gamble-Suquamish Road in enough for a bed in the middle for the
North Kitsap were not roads,but merepaths children in her family to sleep, with room on
— routes used frequently by his people to each end for adults to sit and paddle the
get to and from Hood Canal.He said tribal craft.
members who were in fishing camps on the In addition to paddling and using tidal
canal for extended periods often used the currents to their advantage, the Indians also
trails to tend to matters back home. The nine- relied on the winds to power their canoes
mile trek could be made within a few hours. and flat-bottomed boats, Moran said. She
Webster recalled the Suquamish didn't recalled how sails were created by sewing
go over to the canal as much starting in flour sacks together.
about 1910. Older tribal members were less 'The canoe was how they got around,"
inclined to make the trip because of the effort she said.
Native Americans »193

Section 2

Seek Their
Spirit Song

Skokomish spiritual
leader Bruce Miller
brought theold
cleansing ritual back to
his tribe.

I t is mid-winter and pre-white man. Farther were more S'Klallams at Little

The last of the yabu, the dog salmon Boston and Port Gamble, Port Ludlow,
people from the Skokomish and other Had lock and Port Townsend.
rivers, have been hauled in and The S'Klallams spread into the former
smoked. Food the Tuwa'duxq have Chemakum territory from their original
gathered should last the season. camps along the Strait of Juan de Fuca as the
Now it's time for the 1,000 or more Chemakums — depleted, it is said, by war
people of various bands scattered around the and smallpox — declined first to a remnant
curled leg of water they call of a people, then to a memory, then to a
tuwa'duxqlsi'dakw — the Twana's saltwater footnote.
— to congregate in their plank houses and By 1859, only a few years after the
devote their time to more spiritual matters. federal treaty had been signed with the three
Nine communities surround the tribes, the S'Klallamswere very much in
Twana's saltwater, occupied by three or five evidence all along the passage to the canal.
bands, depending upon whose account Their chief, Chetzemoka, hosted a
constitutes history. three-day ceremonial gathering of 400
Edward S. Curtis, who photographed S'Klallams in 1859 that a San Francisco
tribes throughout the West at the turn of the newspaper correspondent described as an
century, located the Duhle'lips at Union "invocation to their Tomanawos, or Great
Creek, the S'kokomish at their river, the Spirit." Tomanawos was a Chinook word,
Soatlkobsh along both sides from what is the trading jargon spoken by Indian and
now Hoodsport to the Dosewallips at what white alike.
is now Brinnon. Once into the canal, the saltwater
Members o{ the S'Klallam tribe belonged to the Twanas. Beforecentury's
apparently camped at Brinnon, but farther to end, their five bands were all called
the northeast there were more Twanas — the Skokomish after the river where their 4,000-
Kolsids at what is now Quilcene, another acre reservation was located, and where
version of their name, and the Slchoksbish most of their depleted population eventually
on both sides beyond. settled.
194* The People of Hood Canal

were full of color — although he was not

lheyhad named 32 different places on allowed to witness much — but not
the river, 146on the canal, including some grounded in meaning.
whirlpools and other special spots that were Four people went into extended
to be avoided lest the salmon people become trances and were revived by mask-wearing
offended and not return. dancers.Spirits were called by the beating of
This intimate relationship with their rattles upon the roof of the lodge house.
Unlike the natural surroundings, upon which they People danced masked as bears,
northern tribes, relied for their relatively abundant existence, lizards, cranes. People blackened their faces
was shared by all the Coast Salish and other and filled their hair with white feathers. One
many of whose tribes throughout the Northwest Pacific man appeared to swallow an arrow.
similar Coast. None of that should have been re
ceremonies Winter was the time when those corded, remarks Miller. The correspondent
were attended, relationships were most often displayed in notes that Chetzemoka was admonished for

described in song and dance. It is the time when tribal permitting whites at an evening perfor
members may become "Indian sick," the mance, where they disgraced him with
detail, term members of Xanxanitl, the Skokomish laughter.
explained and tribe's secretsociety, have given to a state of Unlike the northern tribes, many of
analyzed by mind that requires certain prescribed whose similar ceremonies were attended,
white scholars, spiritual steps. described in detail, explained and analyzed
most of the "Indian sick is when you go through a by white scholars, most of the CoastSalish
sudden or maybe a gradual character change were — and still are — secret. And the
Coast Salish
in your life," says Bruce Miller, a Skokomish artifacts of their rituals gone.
were — and spiritual leader. "You could pass along the right to have
still are — Millerbrought the old practices back to a mask, but not the mask itself," explains
secret. And the the tribe after his initiation in a Lummi Miller. "To have an uninitiated person
ceremony in 1977. Indian sickis likea flu for observe vilified the ceremony."
artifacts of
which there is no detectable cause. Until the 1978 Native American
their rituals Freedom of Religion Act, ceremonies were
'That means that your spirit song is
gone. trying to be born," Miller explains. "Welive also technicallyillegal.Tribal members were
in a societyin which the majorityof people sometimes jailed for participation.
are without a song, and from my observation At the Skokomish Reservation, only
they wander lost. They leave their own the TreatyDaysceremonies the last Saturday
culture to find a culture that will give them a in January are open to the public.They are
song." calledTreaty Days because celebrationof the
Song— harmoniesof human sound Point-No-PointTreaty was the only justifica
that precede and underlie formal language tion government agents would allow for the
— was given by the Great Spirit to express forbidden practices.
basic human emotion. Xanxanitl initiates must endure
It's the same old song — and dance — isolation and deprivation, based on the
Miller notes with a slight smile.Spirit dance theory that it strengthens one for hardship
accompaniessong in the longhouseor that can come at any time. 'That teacheskal,
smokehouse where rituals known only to the utmost belief that the spirit will give you
members resemble those of ancestors like what you need to survive until you get
Frank Allen, one of the last dancers. better," says Miller.
Allen's death in the 1950s, at the same The Salish and other Pacific coast
time as that of Miller's grandmother, also a people had wealth-based cultures. Status
dancer, was the end of spirit dancing for the was achieved partly through the redistribu
Skokomish until Miller reintroduced the tion of wealth in the potlatch ceremony and
practice. the children of the wealthy particularly
Song is a cure for Indian sickness, an needed such training.
expression of the power of the spiritwhose When an initiate ends his or her fast,
name you have taken in a naming ceremony. each morsel must be shared, "because then
In the old days, says Miller, a person without you begin your new lifeby sharing an
a song wasn't really alive. atmosphereof thankfulness," says Miller.
The ceremonies described by the San 'They are forced to admire the beauty of the
Francisconewspaper correspondent in 1859 simplicity of their life."
Native Americans *195

Suquamish artisan EdCarriere.

E d Carriere's eyes gaze down at Although there are many basket

thick fingers tangled in their makers among the coastal tribes, only Section 3
deliberate work. Lost in it, his voice Carriere regularly attempts the traditional
is barely audible as he tells about open-weave clam basket. They are sturdier
the conviction that drove him to re- and less showy than the more tightly woven He Weaves
learn this painstaking task after so grass and cedar bark baskets used for
Past and
many years. storage, carrying and cooking.
"My desire is to make baskets that Clam basket makers did not adorn Present
aren't being made anymore," says the theircreations with meticulousfancywork Together
Suquamish Indian, arching and weaving stiff like that of the other types. They would last
cedarstrips of limband root into warp and only a season or two before breaking down ByJulie
weft. from heavy use and saltwater decay, while McConuick
"I feel like it's a link, a connection, and the others lasted generations.
I'm doing it exactly the way it was done The Northwest Coast tribes lost most
hundreds of years ago." of their creative traditions within a few
Carriere is starting clam basket bot decades of the treaties they signed with
toms for his classof novices. They often get whites in the mid-19th Century.
stuck on this difficult initial part of the They were quick to adapt to new ways.
process, so he is sparing them that frustra Manufactured goods replaced many of the
tion in their early work. materials they had collected for centuries to
196 • The People of Hood Canal

carve, weave and decorate. workshop addition to house not only

Denim and gingham replaced hide, basketry but carving materials and tools.
beaten cedar and dog's wool clothing. He's taken up carving under the
Modern cookingin pots and pans replaced tutelageof S'Klallam JakeJonesand Duane
the tightly woven baskets used to make Pasco, a white carver who has gained a
"stone soup," any water-based concoction worldwide reputation for meticulous work
into which hot rocks were dropped for heat. in the Northwest Indian tradition.
The art of Peopleused pails to collect and wash "Everyartist needs something else," he
clams.They lasted longer than the strong oldsays with a conviction born of experience.
basket making He has a log on his land all picked out for his
waned from Only a few women retained the basket- next major project, a canoe carved in the
arrival of weaving skill.One of them was Carriere's traditional style.
white society great-grandmother, Julie Jacob. Carriere sells every basket he makes,
until the 1930s, Once her fingersbecame too stifffor and he also likes to produce a bent cedar
the work, the 15-year-old great-grandsonshe bark pouch of a type used to carry whaling
had raised was taught to help. tools in the bows of canoes.
ironically, But when he was grown, Carriere, now People find him. He does not advertise,
government in his late 50s,stopped making baskets, went nor prepare work for galleries, nor take
programs to work at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and specialorders, "because then it would be just
sought to teach raised a family. like a job.I just do it when I have the time
"In '691 started to work with it again and I feel like doing it, because then I can
basket making
and bring the art back," he said. "It tookme make a better basket."
about four years to make a fairlygood, Completing the first of a long series of
impoverished decent lookingbasket.I had to try to pull all bottoms for the class he's teaching at the Port
Indians during that knowledge out and try to remember." Gamble S'Klallam Art Center, Carriere
the Depression. Carriere believes he owns close to muses aloud about his students and his
every basket book ever written in English. work.
Multiple examples from other basketry He says it takes 12 hours to make a
specialties have joined a broad assortment of medium-sized clam basket, not including
Northwest native work on shelves in gathering and preparing materials,which
Carriere's living room. are stored in a freezer.
For more than 20 years, his workbench "It looks so easy, and then, when I start
has been the dining table in the house he teachingclass,no one can do it." He smiles
built across from his great-grandmother's into his hands. "My fingers get really worn
home. It is located on family land along the and smooth if I'm weaving every day ...All
Indianola beachfront in North Kitsap. the little fingerprints get worn off."
But this year, Carriere is completinga
Native Americans *197

Duane Pasco, a non-Indian who isan expert in

traditional Northwest Coast tribal carving, teaches
a class in bentwood boxmaking.

"... the construction of (these) boxes is The tribe put up a building in 1989 to
somewhat peculiar. The sides andends are made house a canoe carving project led by Pasco Section 4
ofone board; where the corner is tobe, a small for the state's centennial. When that was
miter is cut, both on the inside and outside, partly done, the building became a classroom to
through. Then the corners are steamed and bent help bring back the traditional arts. Teaching
at right angles, and the inside miter is cutso Pasco, a non-Indian carver in the
the Tribes'
perfectly that itfits water-tight when thecorners Northwest Coast tribal tradition, teaches
are bent." — Rev. Myron Eells,missionary design and box making to several older Lost Art
and diarist, in The Twana, Chemakum and tribal members. They, in turn, will pass it on
By Julie
Klallam Indians of Washington Territory, 1887. to the next generation, said Jones.
More modern steaming methods are
O n the beach at Point Julia, available to soften the wood for bending, but
Northwest carver Duane Pasco the class also used the traditional method of
is tending a rock-filled fire and burying it with hot rocks covered in sword
digging trenches in the sand. ferns.
His students in the bent box Bent box making methods were
class, several from the Port entirely lost, even among the more tradi
Gamble S'Klallam tribe, are putting finishing tional northerly tribes, by the time Pasco first
touches on their rectangular cedar boards, tried it 30 years ago. An account by pioneer
prepared at the reservation's new art anthropologist Franz Boas seemed complete
building across from the tribal center. until he tried it and failed, Pasco said.
The last bent boxes handed down The next step was to study examples
within the tribe were reduced to ash several collected in museums and — voila! — a key
years ago in a fire that destroyed tribal undercutting method could be discerned
chairman Jake Jones' home. that allowed a scored piece of wood to fold
198 • The People of Hood Canal

tightly in upon itselfand form a watertight Eskimos."

seal. The basket making is an integral part of
The bent boxes — unique to the world the economic well being of the community
of the Northwest tribes — were often used because we're a poor people, basically," said
for storage, and sometimes bound by woven Miller.
strands of cedar bark for carrying and to Miller and other basket makers in the
bind them together inside canoes. tribe now often use modern dyes and
The bent boxes materials, including raffia from Madagascar,
— unique to At theSkokomish Reservation, 40 rather than pursue the laborious process of
miles south by canoe along Hood Canal, gathering, treating and creating native dyes.
the world of tribal member Bruce Miller has shared his "The basket making itself comprises
the Northwest basket making skills and experience with only about 5 percent of the whole process,"
tribes — were others, including children, since 1970. he said.
often used for Among the three Hood Canal area But some entirely traditional baskets
storage, and tribes, the Skokomish have been most with trademark Skokomish dog, stacked-box
successful at maintaining their traditional and other designs are still made from
art. beargrass, cattail rushes, shredded cedar
bound by "Actually, we have a budding commu bark and "sweet grasses."
woven strands nity of artists," said Miller, known primarily Rit dye easily replaces and outlasts the
of cedar bark for his twined and coiled baskets, but also as "blue mud" of the marshes used to stain

for carrying a carver and beadwork artist. There are 14 materialsblack, the roots of Oregon grape
Skokomish basketmakers, who generally for yellow, the alder bark that once was
and to bind
market their work to a steady clientele of chewed to a paste to obtain red. "Nowadays,
them together collectors and galleries. we use a blender," Miller said, "but ifs not
The work of carver Andy Wilbur, the same red."
silversmith Pete Peterson and basket maker While such methods may not seem
Richard Cultee has gained international entirely authentic, Skokomish artists are
recognition for beauty, Miller said. quick to point out that the elders themselves
Miller, 46, credits two key elders, were fond of innovative techniques that
Louisa Pulsifer and Emily Miller,for passing could save them time and trouble.
along before their deaths the traditionally Hernandez laughs at the memory of
female art of basket making to his genera her grandmother, who decided the best way
tion. to remove unwanted mucus from grass
Miller learned from Emily Miller, materials was to place it between plywood
whose granddaughter Mary Hernandez sheets and drive back and forth over it with a
recently decided to continue the family car.

tradition into the fourth generation. "My grandmother didn't even know
Baskets of all sizes and for all purposes how to drive," she laughed, but it beat
continued to be made privately by tribal scraping off the stuff with dull knives.
members, Miller said, because it was an It's not only troublesome, it's often
enjoyable occupation and because it, unlike hopeless to try to do things the old way.
other arts associated with forbidden reli Rediscovering the old methods is
gious practices, was never banned. another matter. Miller said he learned most
Miller once found some "Louisa of what he knows about tribal traditions "by
baskets" in New York shops and learned keeping my ears open. Some of this I've
that one of his had reached a collection at the never seen, but was described time after time
Museum of Folk Art in Berlin. by my elders."
But the art waned from arrival of white For several decades, renewed interest
society until the 1930s,when government in the Northwest native arts has opened new
programs sought to teach basket making to markets and created a revival of interest
impoverished Indians during the Depres among tribal members themselves, who can
sion. point to the work of their elders and ances
"We thought it was hilarious," said tors with pride and appreciation.
Miller. "It was like selling refrigerators to
Native Americans • 199

Head Start students at the Port Gamble

S'Klallam Tribal Center are introduced
to the language oftheir ancestors.

A Cultural Appreciation on Native American studies.

"Just that time of year everybody says Section 5
Many of their grandparents went to "I am part Indian,' " said Pat Hawk, director
boarding schools,where much of the of Indian Education at the school. Hawk, an
Indian culture was banished during 18-yearHood Canal employee, directs the Using the
the school year. session, where students learn cultural Classroom to
Today, the grandchildren attend Hood comparisons among the American tribes.
Canal School, where educators try to re "They didn't all live in tepees; they
kindle interest in Indian traditions. didn't all wear feathers." Tradition
Almost 100 Indian students attend the The session also includes visits by
school, located at the Skokomish Reservation people in the tribal community who share
on the Great Bend of the canal. They repre skills in storytelling, puppetry, dancing and
sent about 40 percent of the K-7 student fishing lore.
population. She also directs a year-long art class for
Inside the school, students get remind the older students, who worked on painting
ers of the culture that existed long before an Indian mural in the hallway.
white man's schools first came to the "We want to keep the traditional arts
Skokomish in the 1870s. Interest in Indian alive," Hawk said.
heritage seems to rise during the fall when The school's funding for Indian
the curriculum includes a three-week session education is limited, said Superintendent
200 • The People of Hood Canal

Robert Weir. Statefunds totaling $5,200, and Reviving the Language

federal TitleV funds totaling $17,000 went to
the school for Indian education in 1990. Nuts'oo... chasa ... lleewh."
"We have to squeeze salaries from that, The guileless pre-schoolers in the Port
as well as things for the kids," Weir said. Gamble S'Klallam Tribe's Head Start
Tied to the money is the requirement class wrap their throats around the clustered
that Indian peoplein the community stay syllables of theirancientlanguageas if born
Native involved with the school. An Indian Parent to it.
American Education Committee meetsmonthlyto "...ngoos... lhq'achsh ...t'xung."
students learn
discusscurriculum and classroom problems. Theyhold up eachlittlefingerand
"We are a liaisonbetween parents and repeat with teacher Myrna Milholland from
better by the teachers and staff,"said LaurieByrd, the Lower Elwha Klallams, who holds
doing. They parent and Head Start teacher. flashcards with pictures of familiar tradi
pick up more If parents raise concerns, committee tional objects. •
from discovery members act on their behalf. Nuts'oo kw'ayungsun — one eagle.
"A lot of the parents are uncomfortable Two whales — chasa ch'whe'yu. They run
than from
with the teachers," Byrd said. out of fingers at 'oopun.
books. Only two of the school's 22 teachers are Milholland is out of numbers after
Indian. The underlying cultural differences nineteen, she admits to her adult class later
may have something to do with parental in the morning. She had only a few words of
discomfort. Whateverthe reasonfor any nuwhstla'yum ootsun — the S'Klallam
discomfort, Byrd believes the solution is language — until, as a young woman, she
getting people together to talk. began helping her mother, NellieSullivan,
"We need to keep communication with the sometimes unruly mixed summer
open," she said. classes of adults and children.
The Indian Parent Education Commit Milholland recalls that children in the
tee was successful in arranging tutoring for tribe had begun to mimic the language when
Indian students last year. The Skokomish her mother used it, poke fun at the old
TribalCouncilfoots the bill,paid for out of sounds, until she stopped speaking it.
the council's fish tax. Many of the Skokomish She loved working with her mother
are fishers. and tries to keep up the work despite
The tutoring sessions include not just occasional feelings of inadequacy. "Someof
emphasis on any skill the students need to the words are so hard, I'd almost have my
practice, but also about 15 minutes a session facein her mouth trying to pronounce
on native arts or crafts. them," she smiles.
"We want to ensure that there is a When her mother died a few years ago,
multi-cultural concept in all the curriculum," only six elders in the Elwha tribe retained
said SallyBrownsfield, a fifth-grade teacher any use of the spoken tongue.
at the school and a parent member of the Now Milholland must use a tape
Indian Parent Education Committee. She is a recorder to preserve what is left of the
member of the Squaxin Island tribe. language among her elders and hopes to get
Brownsfield contends that Indian access to the University of Washington
students have different learning styles from language tapes made decades ago and
their Anglo classmates. stored somewhere. A book of the language
"It's been shown that Native American created by University of Hawaii researchers
students learn better by doing. They pick up is flawed, based upon only one source who
more from discovery than from books," spoke two tribal languages and mixed them
Brownsfield said. With that knowledge, she up. Her mother told her to ignore it.
plans her classes so the students can be Milholland's mother needed her help
interactive. because she was educated to teach children
"I let them do the experiment first, then and she knew how to keep them busy and
the reading, then the experiment again," she deal with their short attention spans. Today,
said. "With other classes, I might give the as with every Wednesday language class, the
reading and instruction first." children are learning something new and
adding it to the small store of basics.
ByJessie Milligan
Out come the animal puppets. You
Native Americans • 201

remember sta'ching, the wolf,says Port Gamble, where tribal sources say the
Milholland. campwas displaced by the white
He playeda key rolein the storyof community's graveyardafter the milltown
pretty Nakeeta, heard lastweek and related was established in 1853.
again today. Straying from her mother The ancients were known as excellent
duringa berrypicking expedition, she traders and fierce warriors. But by the time
became lost and was eaten. Her mother's Jones' generation was born, there were no
grief wassostrongthatshe wasgiven Lake more canoe makers, no more spirit quests, Most adult
Sutherland as consolation. no more "nuts'oo... chasa ... lleewh." tribal members
Tsyas, hand. They trace the outlines of The Port Gamble S'Klallams recently
share a legacy
their ten fingers onto their book of coloring put thetraditional "s" prefix backbefore
their name. Likemany of the words, it works of generations
pictures. Later, theywilltakethese books
home and maybe their parents will take an bestifyou suckin on the prefix, breatheout of white
interest. on the next syllables, much like playing control that
It is with the children that the future of harmonica. included
the traditional culture rests, tribal leaders The tribe hired Milholland to help
distrust and
say. regaintheirculture,whichas any linguistor
Most adults share a legacy of genera poet knows, is embeddedin the words. contempt for a
tions of white control that included bans on Jones' sisters, Ginger and Geneva Ives, Pacific
the language and customs,distrust and signed up fortheadult language class and Northwest
contemptfor the "savage"ways of a Pacific added to MilhoUand's vocabulary with Coast culture
Northwest Coast culture rich in personal memories of sounds buried since the death
rich in
industry, art and religiousceremony. of their grandmother 47 years ago.
"I think we were one of the first people All three agree on the variable meaning personal
to givethem up," S'Klallam chairmanJake of umit, which can be sit down or get up, industry, art
Jones says of the old ways, mostlybecauseof dependingon what you do with your hands. and religious
earlyand persistentcontact with whites,he But nu can't be the only way to say ceremony.
surmises. "no," says Geneva. "She always said
SeparateS'Klallam bands once ranged 'aunu'," she muses about the large old lady
from Neah Bay at the far western tip of the she waited upon in old age. Maybe she
OlympicPeninsula to Discovery Baynear meant "no more."
Port Townsend; from Lower Hadlock, where Myrna Milholland writes that down.
artifacts at a beach called Tsetsibus indicate a Maybe her elders will know.
meeting ground centuries old; and later to ByJulie McCormick

Life on the

BUI Bruns enjoys a cup ofcoffee at the Belfair Cafe

Section 1 B i l l Bruns wrapped his fingers Hood Canal, Belfair and its surrounding
around a cigarette, gulped a shot of territory have become a haven for people in
black coffee and smiled from his search of tranquility.
Growing seat at the counter of the Belfair But Bruns also knows that if he were 20
Pains in Cafe. years younger, he might not so willingly sing
"I consider myself very fortunate," such praisesof Belfair and its rural appeal.
Belfair said Bruns. "I've lived in the best of times for He knows there are signs that the parade of
ByJim Rothgeb a sportsman like myself. For someone who newcomers may be sapping Belfair of its
likes to hunt and fish, I can't think of any small-town foundation.
more desirable time and place to be than "In 20 years, you probably won't even
right here." be able to recognize this town," said Bruns.
For an innocent moment, Bruns, a 69- "We'll see large residential areas developed
year-old retiree from Puget Sound Naval because of the spillover from Kitsap
Shipyard, was Belfair'schief spokesman. The County."
chamber of commerce couldn't have said it In the last two decades, Belfair's cup
better. already has filled.
Located at the eastern most point of • There once were two mom-and-pop

Life on the Canal • 203

grocery storesin town. Now there's a large culturalthingsto do here so you have to like
supermarket,and rumors persist that the rural atmosphere and appreciate the
another large supermarket chain will soon outdoors."
announce plans to build in Belfair.
• In 1965, there was only the Belfair
Cafe. Now there are at least six family-style Justoff theOld Belfair Highway, near
eateries along the strip on Highway 3. the intersection of North Shore Road, sits a
• There were no senior housing ramshackle house behind a row of trees. Located at the
facilities. Now there are two, each funded The back half of an old Mercedes Benz eastern most
through the federal government. hangs out the garageand immediately point of Hood
• There were two churches serving through the front door of the house a few
mostly an interdenominational audience. feetaway is the kitchen.Turn right and Canal, Belfair
Now there are six churches with 12 separate there's a bedroom so filled with smoke and and its
denominations. heat from a wood-burning stove that it's surrounding
• The most prosperous banks were uncomfortable to breathe. territory have
once a hole in the backyard or a space under This the modest home of Cecil Nance,
become a
the mattress. Now Belfair has a bank, a an 82-year-old Belfair character who clings
savings and loan, and a credit union. mostly to his memories. Nance often walks haven for
They're all signs of a spreading through town,stopping at the Belfair Cafe, people in
population and one wonders just how much the post office and Thriftway. He has very search of
longer Bill Brunscan callBelfair and this few teeth, but it doesn't stop him from tranquility.
corner of Hood Canal an outdoor paradise. bearing a wide grin, even for strangers.
It was in 1964 that Carol Wentlandt "I lived here when the only time you'd
and her husband, Sanford, first moved to see anybody, it was in a horse and buggy,"
Belfair from their home in Seattle. He said Nance. "I liked it here a lot better then."
worked at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Those were the days when Belfair was
had grown weary of the daily commute to known as Clifton, a town of homesteaders
Bremerton. Land around Belfair was cheap who depended on Hood Canal for its fishing
in the 1960s and the Wentlandts were eager and the timber around it to eke out a living.
buyers. Bytoday's standards, land values The canal was too shallow to make Clifton
around Belfair are still on the downside. much of a port town, so it depended mostly
Wentlandt says now she can relate her on a criss-cross of roads over which loggers
experience then to author Betty MacDonald towed their loads.
in the Western Washington classic, The Egg 'This has always been a crossroads
and I. town," said Irene Davis, who's compiling a
"I was used to life in the fast lane and history of Belfair. "Thecenter of the commu
this place was so quiet," said Wentlandt, nity was the intersection of the roads to
who livesalong the south shore of Hood North Bay(now Allyn)and Seabeck."
Canal. "It was hard to make the adjustment That center has changed through the
because this place seemed like we were decades,as Highway 3 eventually replaced
moving to the end of the world." the Old BelfairHighway as the town's most
Now Wentlandt manages the Mary E. important artery. Later came the develop
Theler Community Center, carved from the ment on the roads lining the north and south
estate of one of Belfair's most influential shores of the canal,shaping Belfairinto what
families and the closest thing the it is today.
unincorporated town has to a full-time Accordingto Nance and Davis, the old
tourist information center and chamber of Clifton post office was closed in 1913. Nance
commerce. says it was because the postmistress was too
"It used to be that people would just busy reading everyone's mail instead of
occasionally come in with questions about distributing it. Two years later, the towns
the area," said Wentlandt. "Now we're people demanded the post officebe re
getting newcomers at about the rate of three opened, and changed its name to Belfair.
times a week. People come in and say, I've 'The name Belfair came from a novel,
just moved here, what is there to do?' called St. Elmo," said Nance. "Lizzy Murray
"What I tell them is that they really was reading the book at the time and they
have to like the outdoors — camping, just decided on that name, for no special
fishing, birdwatching. There's not many reason. My mother thought Belaire would
204 • The People of Hood Canal

have been a better name, but I wish it would But if Mason County government
have stayed Clifton." yields to the demand for sewers in Belfair
"New Clifton" is still a crossroads and the surrounding area, it may open a
town and a lot of people view that as a land rush even more prominent than today.
problem. Despite its constant flow of traffic, And there goes the rural neighbor
thereis only one traffic light—flashing at a hood.
crosswalk. A growing population does, however,
"In 20 years, 'Traffic has always been tough around have its benefits. The North Mason School
you probably here, especially in the District,growing at the rate
won't even be
summer," said Neil Werner, Belfair of about 10percent per year
owner of Neil's Lumber and for the past decade, has
able to Garden Center. "I can prospered with the steady
recognize this remember many years ago stream of 20th Century
town. Well see having to wait to cross the homesteaders.
large street, and I still have to In 1980, it was one of
wait." the poorest districts in the
Werner, like others, state, so bad it faced discon
favors a new highway to tinued school bus service in
developed eliminate the problem but it an entirely rural district.
because of the could hurt his own business. 'The community was
spillover from 'The solution is to put a divided between the upper
bypass on the ridge around class on the shoreline and the
the town," said Werner. lower classliving inland,"
County." 'That way you could said Walker. "It was a
— Bill Bruns eliminate a lot of the traffic Belfair, the fastest stratified population, but the
thafs just passing through." middle class was missing."
The state highway
Since then, more and
department supposedly is community on the more baby boomers with
studying it, but bureaucracy canal, is adjacent school-aged children have
moves slowly — just like the to some of the moved into the district, and
horse and buggies that watershed*s most schools have prospered with
Nance remembers from his the passage of each new levy
fragile areas. that couldn't get passed 15
years ago.
That led to better times. North Mason
1he key to Belfair's future may not rest is now one of 33 school districts in the state
with the people running over the top of the serving as a model for the state's 21st
land as much as it does with the water Century educational program.
running under it. "It was amazing to see this small, rural,
Sewers are a hot topic in this North economically undernourished schoolsystem
Mason area, where, according to Werner, the become a model for the state," said Walker.
population numbers about 10,000 in the About 39 percent of the students in that
winter but swells to more than 60,000 during school district come from families with
the summer. incomesfrom the federal government. It's
Because of the pressure that septic proof that much of North Mason has become
systems place on the delicate ecology of a bedroom community catering to workers
Belfair'swetlands, some people say there are from PSNSand Bangor,and military families
very few bathrooms along the row of in general.
commercial businesses on Highway 3 that They're willing to trade 30 to 35
work properly. minutes commuting one-way to their jobs in
"Belfairhad better solve its septic exchange for reasonable housing prices and
problems, but there is a sharp division on the promise of a quiet, rural life.
this," said Jerry Walker, a retired
midwesterner who moved here about five
years ago. 'The oldtimers say a well- Dill Bruns, who likes the coffee at the
managed septic tank is best, but the new BelfairCafe, paid $18,000 for 10 acres of
comers say sewers are the only answer." undeveloped land near the Tahuya River in
Life on the Canal • 205

1973. He figures with his 9-year-old house, "IfSea-Tac Airport eventually takes off
it's worth about $125,000 to $130,000today. and decides to build a satellite at Kitsap
Those figures are mild compared to the (Bremerton) Airport, this place will be
soaring property values today in Kitsap, another Mercer Island — a fast-growing
King and Pierce counties. metropolis out of control," Carol Wentlandt
But with its preferred location and said. 'That's why a sub-area plan is needed
bargain prices, Belfairteeters on the verge of for this area. You can't stop progress, but
prosperity. It almost seems that everything you want to make sure people appreciate it
good about it — land bargains, rural atmo and make sure that it grows properly."
sphere, friendly people — is also bad — And if the Bremerton Airport doesn't
increased pollution and overcrowded roads. align with Sea-Tac?
The one constant that won't go away is "Belfairwill still grow," she said, "only
an ever-increasing population. slower."
206 • The People of Hood Canal

Homes crowd the waterfront ofthe

Bridgehaven development at South Point.

ridgehaven is a posh community Some residents of Bridgehaven sail

off South Point, near the spot past a marina at the north entrance of their
Section 2 where Hood Canal kisses Puget micro-canal to moor their 40-foot sailboats at
Sound. Perched on its miniature their homes. Some drive their Buicks and

New Homes peninsula 10 feet above sea level, their Jeep Cherokees onto their treeless
Bridgehaven forms a canal within sandspit from the community of Trail's End.
Jam the the canal. They cross speed bumps and 10-miles-
Backwaters In some respects, it is a microcosm of per-hour signs, and pass a sign that advises
the splendid fjord it faces: perhaps 30 all who enter that Bridgehaven is a private
BySeabury Blair Jr. Bridgehaven homes line the beach on both residential community.
sides of the peninsula. About a football field The folks who live above Bridgehaven
wide, this man-enhanced sand bar — like the at Trail's End look across the roofs of the
shores of Hood Canal — serves as the sole Bridgehaven houses to the emerald stretch of
filter for the septic drainage from these Hood Canal.
homes. The Trail's Enders don't often cross
Life on the Canal • 207

paths with the Bridgehavenites. If they visit Outside, a survey crew is attempting to
the spit, they dig clams or sun themselves on find old property lines between the tavern's
their community beach at the south end of parking lot and Bridgehaven property. Most
the finger of sand that scratches the eastern of the stakes are buried under the asphalt of
tideline of Hood Canal. the old ferry parking lot.
Where the two groups are more likely
to meet, however, is at South Point's only
commercial establishment. I hesurveyors are harbingers ofa new John Barberof
The Trail's End Tavern wave of growth that is about Bridgehaven is
once rocked and bulged with South Point to slam into the shores of
glad that most
people, when South Point South Point. Wilcoxen and
was the eastern terminal for Rockefeller talk of the of the houses
the barge that ferried cars proposal to build a 60-acre along the
across Hood Canal during a shopping center just east of sandspit are
four-year span after the the intersection of the South built because it
Hood Canal Bridge sunk on Point Road and Highway
Feb. 13,1979. 104.
Dee Wilcoxen took over "I don't think it'll get in handle too
the tavern several months there. Pope and Talbot won't many more.
after the bridge was restored let it happen," says Wilcoxen.
in the early 1980s.On the day The Port Gamble timber
the BeachGirl stopped giant has its own plans for a
running, the tavern's former shopping center closer to its
manager closed the doors burgeoning vacation-
and never came back. It's The Bridgehaven retirement community of
been quiet ever since. Port Ludlow.
"Some days," says
development at From his Trail's End
Wilcoxen, looking across the South Point has vantage point above
old parking lot to the canal, filled a narrow Bridgehaven, BillShipley
"I'm here by myself until 4 sand spit with watches a developer dig
o'clock. It's pretty quiet three septic percolation test
around here these days."
upscale houses. holes in two remaining lots
On this day, Don "Rocky" Rockefeller, on the spit. Shipley, a Gorst resident, lives in
who lives in a motorhome across the parking a travel trailer parked permanently on his
lot, is counting pulltab tickets for Wilcoxen. recreational vehicle lot.
Rockefeller("They tell me I'm his ninth He's fixed his trailer up, with a big
cousin."), 46,spent his teen years at South deck facing the sunrise across the canal. A
Point and relates how Trail's End got its catwalk to a feeding station for squirrels and
name. birds arches from his bank to the trunk of a
"Yeah, it used to be the end of the trail big fir, perhaps 30 feet off the ground. It's an
for the Pony Express. See, they made Port airy lookout, one Shipley says his wife
Angeles the officialwest end of the Pony doesn't like to visit.
Express, and this is where they would ride The retired Puget Sound Naval
to." Shipyard worker is proud of his getaway. He
The tavern and restaurant were built says he's camped up and down Hood Canal
more than three decades ago, before the most of his adult life. He fishes — "I caught
bridge was built and the new Highway 104 an 18-pound salmon right off the point last
bypassed South Point by three miles. year" — and puts out his crab pots regularly.
Hunters and fishermen still stop by the Shipley says he hasn't noticed any
tavern, says Wilcoxen, but mostly it serves decline of shellfish in the canal, and says,
the folks of Trail's End. though there are fewer salmon, "you can still
"Not too many people from catch them if you know where to go." He
Bridgehaven come in here regular," she says. says that when the salmon run, you can
Wilcoxen sips from a glass of bottled water. practically walk across the canal on the decks
The tavern's well, located across the parking of commercial fishing boats off South Point.
lot within 100 feet of the canal, contains salt He keeps a small boat at the marina, he
and iron and cannot be used for drinking. says. He waves in the general direction of
208 • The People of Hood Canal

Bridgehaven before continuing: "But if you Barber says he helped establish a

want to see some boats, you ought to go resident-controlled Public Utility District to
down there in the summer. That's where the get water piped down to the spit from wells
money is." up above. As he talks outside his beachfront
home, he waves to a passing car, explaining
that a neighbor is driving her husband to the
beventy-four-year-old John Barber was Trail's End Tavern for an hour of socializing.
among the first Bridgehaven residents. "She'lldrop him offand then go back
Freshly retired out of Bellevue, Barber and pick him up later," he said.
moved to Bridgehaven to watch it explode Barber says he's glad that most of the
with houses after it was "discovered" by houses along the sandspit are built because it
those seeing the vacant lots from the decks of couldn't handle too many more.
the Beach Girl.
Life on the Canal • 209

The "Schafer Castle" on thecanal's

South Shore, designedfrom a
European postcard in 1926, is oneof
HoodCanal's plush properties.

H o o d Canal houses a number of along the Rhine. He said, 'Here's the post
the rich and reclusive along its card, Elizabeth, now you design it.' " Section 3
shores, but there's no truth to Ayer, the first woman architect li
the rumor that Clark Gable once censed in Washington state, took him up on
lived in a turreted castle not far the challenge. Working with Edward J. Ivey, Plush
from Twanoh State Park. she included many castle-like details: a huge Properties
"That's just a story," says Bob Close, fireplace with a little seat inside it; a romantic
who owns the landmark known as the window seat facing out on the canal; a turret ByAnn Strosnider
Schafer Castle. "The ranger up at Twanoh with a winding staircase; and a leaded
likes to send cyclists down here to see 'Clark arched window made with old bottle glass.
Gable's house.' " It was built as a summer place in 1926.
About four miles west of Twanoh, the Schafer and his two brothers were owners of
striking half-timbered house — with well- Schafer Brothers Logging Co. in Grays
groomed topiary trees at its entrance — is a Harbor.
real head turner. Close, who manages industrial parks in
Close says his grandfather, Albert Seattle, grew up in Aberdeen where his
Schafer, had architect Elizabeth Ayer design father practiced law. But he spent summers
it from a postcard he had received from swimming and waterskiing at his grandpar
friends in Europe. ents' place on the canal.
"I think the postcard showed a place "They'd open it up Memorial Day
210 • The People of Hood Canal

weekend and close it on Labor Day week Chuck and JoAnne Haselwood do.
end." Their sculpted 10-acre course slopes
A perfect place for children, the house down to their white Mediterranean-style
includes boys' and girls' bunkrooms, where stucco house and swimming pool. The
a child could have as many as five friends Olympic View property — near Subase
stay overnight. The unusual purple fixtures Bangor — overlooks Hood Canal and the
in all the bathrooms are originals, says Close. Olympic Mountains.
Down the "I've noticed Kohler is introducing Haselwood, owner of Haselwood
road — on new colors, but I've never seen a color quite Buick and West Hills Honda in Bremerton,
like this." says he's no golfing fanatic.
the west side
The inside of the house is lined "I play once in awhile, but mostly, I
of throughout with clear Port Orford Oregon like the atmosphere," he says.
Alderbrook cedar. The sandstone around the big central Maintaining that atmosphere of palm
Inn— is the fireplace came from Tenino, and the ante trees and manicured greens keeps three
compound lope, mountain goat and moose heads on the workers busy full time. Equipment for
walls were supplied by his father, a big game course upkeep is stored in a building the size
owned by hunter. of some folks' houses.
Bill Gates, A visitor notices modern touches as The course was nearly three years in
the founder well. An outdoor shower has been converted the making — last summer was the first time
of Microsoft into a hot tub and spa, and the roof, origi the Haselwoods and their friends got a
whose net nally made of cedar bark, has been replaced chance to play on it.
with slate. The sloping ground had to be shaped
worth was
and mounded to create three greens, two
recently ponds and 11 tees. "You can play 18 holes if
reported at Down the road — on the west side of there's only one foursome," says
$4 billion. Alderbrook Inn — is the compound owned Haselwood.
by BillGates, the founder of Microsoft whose Designers from McCormick Woods
net worth was recently reported at $4 billion. built the course, and bonsai specialist Dan
From the road, a thick stone wall keeps Robinson did the landscaping.
rubberneckers away; from the water you can The Haselwoods moved to the canal 15
see a group of low, tastefully designed years ago from a house on Lansing Street in
modern houses. The Nordstrom family also Navy Yard City. "A friend owned the
owns two houses on the South Shore of property," recalls Haselwood. "When we
Hood Canal, on the Belfair side of came out here to look at it, the woods were
Alderbrook. pretty thick, and we had to paw our way
If you're in the market and a cool $1.2 through. When we saw the view, we said
million doesn't phase you, check out the this is for us."
Daviscourt estate, also on the South Shore. The scenery is always different because
The 4,000-square-foot main house, hidden of the play of the sun and the clouds around
from the road by a discreet cedar hedge, the mountains, the Haselwoods say. Their
includes a solarium, a family room with a 333 feet of waterfront is high bank — 85 feet
pool table, 230feet of waterfront and deep high, in fact — but they're now in the
water moorage. process of installing a tram down to the
"You can bring your yacht," says beach.
listing agent Jim Avery of John L.Scott. Chuck Gilman, a local architect,
Bud Daviscourt of Bellevue had it built designed the house. At the time, the
as a summer house 16 years ago. He also Haselwoods still had four children living at
bought 10 acres on the other side of the road home, so they had a four-bedroom, two-
and built two additional houses there. It bathroom "kids' wing" built at one end of
would make a perfect family compound, the house and their own master bedroom
Avery observes, but it may be broken up into wing at the other.
two parcels. Between them, they have seven
children and 11 grandchildren, so the
swimming pool and the extra bedrooms get
Dob Close may have a turret and the plenty of use, especially during family
Daviscourts their own dock, but how many gatherings in the summer.
people have their own private golf course? It was Dan Robinson who suggested
Life on the Canal •211

the palm trees. Mediterranean fan palms do road to West Hills Honda too.
just fine in the Northwest, Haselwood says. Clark Gable may not have lived on the
They've been thriving on his Hood Canal canal, but he would have felt right at home
property for 13 years and can be seen on the among the palms.

Find a Place to Visit Thescenery is

Clark Gable may never have owned night/$350 per week. Sandy Spalding,
the castle-like home on the South owner.
Shore of Hood Canal, despite • Seabreez Cottage, 16609Olympic because of the
persistent rumors, but he once stayed at View Rd. NW, Silverdale 98383,692-4648: play of the sun
the elegant WillcoxHouse on the canal. Private house on the beach with hot tub and the clouds
And those who can't afford to buy a and view of the Olympics. $99-$129 per around the
place on Hood Canal can still experience night. Dennis Fulton, owner.
the serene beauty of a night or a weekend • Summer Song,Bed and Breakfast,
on the water, as Gable did. P.O. Box 82, Seabeck 98380,830-5089: One
In recent years, a number of owners beach cottage, breakfast served on the
have opened bed and breakfast inns or beach when weather permits. $55/
single cottages to the public. Accommoda weekdays; $65/weekends. Sharon
tions range from refurbished cabins to the Barney, owner.
Willcox House. Here's a listing of canal- • Tides End Cottage, 10195Manley
side accommodations: Rd. NW, Seabeck 98380,692-8109: One
• Canal House, 29993 Hudson Ave. cottage on beach, full equipped. $60 per
NE, Poulsbo 98370,779-2758: A guest night/weekly rates. Gerry Taylor, owner.
house right on the beach. Cook-your-own • The Walton House, 12340 Seabeck
breakfast. $80 per night. Coburn Allen, Hwy. NW, 830-4498: Decorated with
owner. antiques. Two guestrooms with private
• Clark's Seaside Cottages, E. 13990 baths, $63 and $72.50; vacation apartment,
Hwy 106,Belfair 98584,275-2676: Three $75.Shirley and Ray Walton, owners.
rooms in cottages across Highway 106 • The Willcox House, 2390 Tekiu
from the water with beach access and Rd., Bremerton 98312,830-4492: Five
water views. $85-$115 per night. Jim and rooms with views, $100-$155. Private
Judy Clark, owners. beach and pier; guests may arrive by boat
• Right Smart Cove Cottage, 426 or seaplane.
Wawa Point Rd., Brinnon, 796-4626: Prices quoted were for 1990.
Cottage on private beach, sleeps 4. $65 per
272 • The People of Hood Canal

Demand for waterfront homes on Hood Canal

has outstripped supply.

he story of hordes of Californians not anymore."

Section 4 washing over the landscape and A lot of new residents and recreational
driving up land prices around owners have come to Dewatto Bay in the 15
Hood Canal may be an urban or 20 years she has been spending the warm
Waterfront myth. half of the year there, notes Lydia Wood, an
Land Rush They don't exist,unless they're Old Belfair Highway resident the rest of the
stopping off in KingCounty first. year.
By Travis Baker Real estate people and canal residents "Most of them are from Kent and
seem to agree. The price pressure that has Auburn," she said, "a few from Seattle. Most
made canal property hard to find and harder of the timea friend comesout and brings a
to pay for is coming out of the Seattle area, friend, and then buys a little pieceof prop
not from the Golden State. erty."
"We took a poll in the office," said That pattern isn't universal, however.
Bonnie Davies, associate broker at Reid Karen Ramsey of John L. Scott's
Realtyin Belfair, "as to who was buying Poulsbooffice said Californians make up a
here, and it was mostly Seattlites getting good share of that office's clientele.
ready to retire and thinking ahead and But Kitsap County statistics compiled
coming over and buying acreage." by the Digest of Real Estate Sales and Loans,
"The demand comes from the Seattle a Port Angeles publication, said that of 5,338
market, the 1-5 corridor, at least 80 percent of sales throughout this county in the first
it," agreed Leonard Schmidt, broker at seven months of 1990,250 buyers came from
Realty 7 in Belfair. California and 1,185 were from the Seattle
Added Jerry Rogers of ERA Olympic area.

Realty in Jefferson County, "The 1-5 corridor

is growing, and some of those folks want to
get back to where they used to be but they're W hoever is buying Hood Canal
Life on the Canal *213

property, there's a lot less to buy than there analysis for a client," she said. "We have
was just three years ago, said the real estate such a diverse kind of house out here. We
people. A buying spurt in 1988and 1989 can have a $200,000 house with what looks
cleaned out a backlog of unsold properties, like a $50,000 house next door, but it will cost
and new listings have not been plentiful you $150,000" because the land is so valu
enough to replace them. able.
But once again, the answer changes Waterfront buyers are a breed apart
somewhat as one moves north. Jerry Rogers, when it comes to financing, too, said
a sales associate at ERA Olympic Real Estate, Schmidt at Realty 7. VA purchasers are
located alongside Highway 104 a couple becoming more plentiful with interest rates
miles north of the Hood Canal Bridge, said at 9 percent, he said. But they're the upland
there is a lot of undeveloped waterfront buyers.
property that changes hands from time to "Waterfront buyers (often) put down
time. And Jack Westerman, Jefferson County 50 percent cash," he said.
assessor, said "We have a large number of
bare-land waterfront sales."
But land with homes on it is as scarce
as to the south, said Rogers.
"People just don't want to sell their Hood Canal Residential Demand
What sells does so for increasingly
higher prices.
Westerman said his staff is reapprais
The canal's natural beautyis attractive to those
ing the Chimacum School District this year seeking residential surroundings of a
remarkable nature.
and he expects land values there to double Shown are the number of parcels listed
from the previous appraisals four years for sale on or within view of Hood Canal
in the first week in March 1991 and their
earlier. Rogerssaid prices of canal waterfront average asking prices;and the number
had been going up 10 percent a month until which sold in the previous 12 months,
followed by their a\'erage selling prices.
the middle of last summer, "but it was way
behind everybody else to start with.
"People came and bought the Seattle
area waterfront, then the (San Juan) Islands, Western North Kitsap
then suddenly they discovered Jefferson No /Asking No. /Selling
14/ $236,035 15/ $77,630
County wasn't very far away and prices Residence*
Land only 49/ $373,492 38/ $307,565
went up." Resldences 12/ $188.93S 25/ $117,700

But they're still lower than in Seattle, Land only 20 / $ 42.205 25/ $ 24.292

he noted, and Frank Leach, associate broker

at John L. Scott in Silverdale agreed. "Values
Western Central Kitsap
here are miniscule compared to King and NoJAsking No. /Soiling
Snohomish county," he said. One hundred Residences 5/ $312,700 8/ $292,250
and thirty feet of waterfront on Hood Canal Land only 6/ $153,750 7/ $ 92,207

that might bring $130,000 here could go for Residences 8/ $164,990 14/ $175,923
Land only 11/ $ 79.863 8/ $ 27,793
10 times that at Maidenbauer in Bellevue, he
Darryl Cleveland, assessor in Mason
South and North Shore
County, said property valuation increases on No 'Asking No. /Selling
Hood Canal waterfront have moderated. His
residences 5/ $430,800 20/ $170,915
staff reappraised that end of the county for Land only 5/ $107,100 13/ $ 48.581

this year's taxes and found only 13 to 20 Residences

7/ $91,471 23/ $ 62.675
Land only 6/ $53,416 13/ $ 18,484
percent growth over the previous four years.
The land is the thing on the waterfront.
"Improvements are the lowest part of
the assessment," noted Mac McKenzie of All
Points Properties and past president of the
Kitsap County Association of Realtors.
Davies with Reid Realty in Belfair agreed. Source. Kitsap Co Multiple Luting Service
"It makes it hard to do a market
214 • The People of Hood Canal

base, have a much longer view than one

bev Horning, who sold the Happy year. Ester says the progression of higher
Hollow conveniencestore to the Templeton's and higher taxes,however moderated by
chain early in 1990, said her six years in the cushions in the laws, worries her.
business saw the South Shore of the canal
But she holds no animosity for the
become more permanently populated. She individual moving here.
knew of a lawyer and a father and son in the "The Californians we've known have
Theprice contracting business who flew to work from been very nice," she said. "I don't blame
their homes on the canal.
pressurethat them for getting out of there, do you?"
"You also have a lot of young business
has made people who are more affluent than others.
canal property They have beautiful homes on the canal and
hard to find spend four days on the canal and work three Buyers, Dig Deep
in Seattle. Others commute from Tacoma
and harder to
and Olympia.
pay for is Is $1.2 million more than your pocket
But the area remains essentially "a book can stand? Can you go $219,000,
coming out of giant retirement community, but one of or $209,500, or $159,500?
the Seattle extremely vivacious people. They might be Those are the prices of four of the
area, not from 55 or 85 years old, jogging down the road." ever smaller array of Hood Canal water
the Golden Many were not full-time residents. front homes on the market earlier this
"We'd see the influx of people on Thursdays. month.
And it became a very consistent business for The $1.2million place is the 10-acre-
me at Happy Hollow whenever there were plus Daviscourtcomplexon low-bank
storms or high tides as people came to check South Shore Road in Mason County.
their homes."
The $219,000 was the asking price
Buyers on the canal want summer for a two-bedroom home with 1,400
homes, a place to retire and, occasionally, a square feet on 1.25 acres with 100 feet of
place to live now. Retirees and those plan low bank waterfront in Jefferson County.
ning their retirement make up a huge It's on the remote Coyle Peninsula,
proportion of canal real estate prospects. halfway down the west side of the canal.
Not all retire there.
For $209,500, you could get a brand
"Many people buy with a dream of a new 1,200-square-foot rambler with three
chalet on an acre," said Leach in Silverdale,
bedrooms and two baths on a 70-by-300-
"But they don't — for medical reasons or foot medium-bank lot in Kitsap County
being closer to shopping." near Hood Canal Bridge.
No matter. They buy the land, often And if you can scrape together
paying top price and creating the impression $159,500, it would buy you a double-wide
that newcomers are resented by the longtime mobile home at Bald Point,18 miles out
North Shore Road from Belfair at the
If that's true, it appears to exist more in Great Bend in the canal. You'd get a 50-
the abstract than in connection with specific by-100-footlot with no-bank, bulkheaded
individuals. And it tends to erupt around the water frontage.
time the county assessor sends out notices of That, it would appear, is rock
revaluation. The tax statements themselves
bottom for buying a home on the canal.
are easier to take, said Westerman.
A reliable inventory of available real
State law cushions the property owner estate all around the canal isn't easily
from the full impact of his escalating value, available. But the Computer Multiple
so that taxes increase substantially less than Listing Service in Silverdale can give a
the land value.
good picture of prices between Union in
"We've seen that if we look in other
Mason County and the northern extreme
areas," said Westerman. "There was an
of the canal in Kitsap County, providing
unbelievable reaction to value increases in
the land is listed with a CMLS-member
King County last year, but not a fraction of Realtor.
the same concern now that the tax state
A CMLS printout in March 1991
ments have been mailed."
But some, like Ester Starcevich of
King's Spit south of the Bangor submarine
Life on the Canal • 215

listed 24 waterfront homes for sale by its members RealEstate alongside Highway 104in Jefferson
between Union and Foulweather Bluff. There had County, said his firm had only one canal home
been 43 waterfront homes sold between the two listed, the one on the Coyle Peninsula.
points in the 12months prior to that week. But for $145,000 a person could claim 10
Comparable figures for homes with a canal acres with 371feet of unimproved lowbank
view (27 available, 62 sold), raw land on the water (60 waterfront and extensive tidelands. That's only
available, 58 sold) and raw land with a canal view (37 $390 per foot, but ifs located on remote Tarboo
available,46 sold) suggested there are properties to Bay in JeffersonCounty.
look at. Two-and-a-half acres of high bank water
As with all waterfront, undeveloped Hood front on the Coyle Peninsula sounds like a bargain
Canal frontage is sold by the front foot. Darryl at $39,500, Harding said. But add another $15,000-
Cleveland, assessor in Mason County, said North $20,000 if you want electricity, which would have
Shore waterfront is worth between $1,200 to $1,250 to be run to the lot.
per footjust now, with South Shoregoing for up to Asking prices near Hood Canal Bridgevary.
$1,400. A hundred feet of shoreline in those areas, There was 7-10ths of an acre with 76 feet of high
therefore, could set you back $120,000 to $140,000. bank for $102,000. For $155,000, there was a whole
Thafs for land with good depth, and room for a six acres just four miles away. And $130,000 would
home and septic tank. Beachfrontproperty on which buy fiveacres with 284feet of high bank in the
a home would have to be built across the road drops same area.

to about $400 per front foot, he said. Construction on There were other homes available on the
such lots can be difficult due to the steepness of the North and South shores in Mason County, said
terrain lining the canal. Bonnie Davies of Reid Realty in Belfair.For
High-bankwaterfront in the difficult-to-reach $175,000, you could get an old fixer house suitable
Dewatto area goes for $200 to $300 per foot,he as a summer cabin on a good-sized 75-by-235-foot
added. lot. That's $2,333 per front foot and the house may
The economics of lots with a view of the canal, subtract value rather than add it.
but no frontage, can be peculiar, he said. In some South Shore also offered homes on the water
places, it doesn't matter how big the lot is — within from $205,000 and $350,000. The latter one has a
reason. The view is what's being purchased, and the dock.
price is the same to be looking out from a third-of-an- Frank Leach, associate broker at John L. Scott
acre lot as a half-acre, he said. Twenty thousand Real Estate in Silverdale, said canal waterfront in
dollars is a likely price for those lots, if unimproved. Kitsap County can run from $600per front foot for
JeffChapman, chief appraiser for AssessorJack "really lousy waterfronf' — high bank and mostly
Westerman in Jefferson County, says the mostly unusable beach — to $3,000 for low bank and
high-bank canal frontage in his county ranges from some high bank with good depth.
$500per foot on the Coyle Peninsula to about $1,000 Mid-range prices for Hood Canal waterfront
near Port Ludlow. Just south of the Hood Canal homes is $450,000, he said, but a 110-by-325
Bridge, $600 to $700 is a common per-foot price, he waterfront lot on Stavis Bay Road with a 1,500-
said. square-foot home in average condition could be
Elmer Harding, a salesman with ERA Olympic had for $175,000, according to CMLS data.
By Travis Baker
216 • The People of Hood Canal

Section 5

More Than
the Sum
of Its

John Davis

A Farmer Is Displaced and an average take for each of the Davis

children was about 25 to 30 cents a day.
A s a young boy growing up near Belfair "We used to sell out of all our veg
35 years ago, John Davis has some etables and then go home," Davis remem
fond memories. bers. "But today? People wouldn't dare send
On most weekends, he and his broth a kid to do that today."
ers and sisters would pile into the family What happened then and what's
wagon on the family farm and head to town, happening now weighs heavily on Davis.
where they sold fresh produce between the He's probably one of the most traditional
gasoline pumps at Pope's Grocery Store. farmers in Western Washington and yet he
Beans and pumpkins sold for a nickel, feels that tradition has been squeezed from
Life on the Canal •217

its place, even in once-sleepy Belfair. Many of those newcomers to Belfair

Now, the 45-year-old Davis says, "I'm are people who work on federal military
outa here." And he means it literally. installations in Kitsap County and commute
Davis and his wife Judy left the family to Bremerton and Silverdale. Like the first
farm north of Belfair and Hood Canal in 1991 homesteaders who settled this territory
to make a new home on an 80-acre spread nearly a century ago, they're looking for low-
near Ladysmith, Wis. priced land in a natural setting. And they are
And in Belfair, losing Davis is big willing to commute more than a half-hour to "But there is
news. He is one of its most well-known and work in order to live there. no way I could
recognizablecitizens and certainly one of its "If they want to work a 40-hour-a-
week job, they should live where they work
stay on this
most ardent farmers.
The streets of town have been wiped and try to make that community a better farm and
clean of Davis and his favorite mode of place to live," said Davis. "It's just not expect to turn
travel — an old-fashioned horse and buggy. necessary for everybody to have five acres of it over to my
Davis' reasons for leaving seem to land and have to commute such long children. If I
reflect a few facts of life in Belfair. He said distances to work."
the last straw happened about a year ago The car has caused much of the
stayed, Vd be
when he was hired to plow a lot on Treasure problem, he adds. And that's one reason he giving them a
Island, in Puget Sound, about seven miles prefers to get around with a team of horses third
south of Belfair, and, in turn, the islanders and a wagon instead of an automobile. His generation
complained about the way Davis crossed wife still drives a car, but Davis likes horse farm — and Vd
their one-lane bridge with his wagon team power, both on the road and on his farm.
Davis sold his dairy cattle several years
be giving them
and the droppings his horses left behind.
"I told them that since they drive an ago when the wholesale market dried up. He nothing."
automobile and use gas and oil, they are has raised corn, potatoes, oats, and timothy. — John Davis
more a part of pollution than I am," said "Farming is more than just a job," he
Davis, who refused to clean up after his said. "It's a place you want to be 24 hours a
animals. day. It's a place you hope your children will
Davis says he can remember when take over some day and you want that farm
Treasure Island had only a handful of in a place your children would be willing to
houses, and now it's covered with perma accept.
nent homes and summer cottages. In "But there is no way I could stay on
essence, that's what has turned him off to the this farm and expect to turn it over to my
area of Hood Canal closest to the population children. If I stayed, I'd be giving them a
centers of Bremerton, Tacoma and Seattle. third generation farm — and I'd be giving
"This is suburbia now. It's gone." them nothing."
Dressed in overalls and a workshirt,
ByJim Rothgeb
the dark-bearded Davis talked about life in
general a few weeks before his move.
Davis is strongly opposed to the urban Love of the Outdoors Drew Them to
sprawl he believes has come to Belfair. He's the Canal
watched it since he first located here in 1952.
"Instead of adjusting to the city and subur Teresa and Mark Barron of Quilcene
ban life, these people have come out here know why they live on Hood Canal.
and destroyed this," Davis said. "Loggers "Our love of the outdoors drew us
have been driven out of the lowlands, and together," she said. "Our courtship was in
the price of farming has become so expen kayaks."
sive around here it's impossible to even They celebrated their first wedding
consider it. So I am going where there is no anniversary on June 21,1990.
urban sprawl." From their residential vantage point on
Sand Hill Road was once a dirt strip, at Thorndyke Bayalong the deep, cold canal,
best, and now it's a major asphalt artery the Barrons enjoy "just watching animals
linking Tiger Lake with North Shore Road. and seeing what they do," she said.
Just a few years ago, a new elementary Barron is a native of the region and his
school was built about a mile from Davis' wife came to this area 12 years ago from Los
farm — another sign of a growing popula Angeles.
tion. He is an artist, crafting pottery mostly
218 • The People of Hood Canal

and firing it in an ancient-style Japanese kiln came from having grown up on Hood Canal
he built himself. He is also a self-employed and getting to know and love the wild places
carpenter. I knew as a kid," he said.
She is employed by the Jefferson Much of the historical perspective
County Planning Department, and formerly Hirschi has about the canal came from his
worked with the Makah Tribe near Forks, grandmother, who told him about her
the Olympic National Forest, Olympic grandfather settling at Seabeck in the 1850s.
"My National Park and with fisheries in Alaska. Later, Hirschi's great-great-grandfather
inspiration for She has a master's degree in resource bought the Brinnon homestead at the mouth
management planning and also raises of the Duckabush River.
doing what I miniature horses on their Hood Canal "My grandma always told stories
do came from acreage. about big elk herds at the mouth of the
having grown Forests of the nearby Coyle Peninsula Dosewallips River, of cougars, of signs of elk
up on Hood burned around the turn of the century and in Kitsap County when she was small,"
Canal and now is in various stages of second growth, Hirschi said. "Then, I started seeing changes
including some "remnant monster" trees in my own lifetime, and I became worried
getting to that have survived. about losing what we have on Hood Canal
know and love The 70-year-old second growth creates and wanted to pass on what I knew about
the wild places a "canopy of green" for the Barrons and the the natural world to kids."
I knew as a wildlife living along the canal. That inspired him to write his books.
kid." "We've got deer, osprey, owls, pileated 'The canal has been my roots, my
— Ron Hirschi
woodpeckers, just to name a few animals," home," Hirschi said. "I grew up in Port
she said. "Having this privacy and rapport Gamble. My father worked in the mill, my
with nature... makes us feel protective of our grandfather and great-grandfather. I never
environment and puts pressures on us to worked a day at the mill, but I spent a lot of
keep the extraordinary quality of life we time following my dad around and fishing
have, to keep it as nice as it is now." from the docks."
The area is experiencing "lots of The decline of fishing in the canal is
spillover from Kitsap and King counties," something Hirschi has viewed with sadness.
she said, as folks burned out on urban life "In Kitsap and Jefferson counties, the
seek a different lifestyle. streams are really being neglected," he said.
'The world is coming to us now. It's at "Maybe it's because we tend to think that it's
our threshold, although we really don't want the bigger streams where all the fish come
the world to settle here. Everyone who lives from, but it's all the small creeks where they
here feels especially privileged to be here. really come from."
Besides New Zealand and Alaska, I've never As a 12-year-old, Hirschi and his
seen a more beautiful, undisturbed place," friends, had an informal agreement relating
she said. to a small, unnamed stream where an alder
sawmill was located.
ByGene Yoachum
'This was the first place I ever saw fish
spawning and even as kids, we had an
Afraid That the Best Is Gone agreement that you couldn't keep fish you
caught in that stream," he said.
Growing up, quite literally, on and in But a few years ago a local logging
Hood Canal had an effect on Ron company clear-cut along the banks, sprayed
Hirschi, a former fish and wildlife 2-4D on maple trees along the banks and
biologist and author of children's books. then piled wood chips in the headwaters.
The 43-year-old Hirschi and his wife, "The combination of all that means
Brenda, have lived on Miller Bay near there are no more fish in there now," Hirschi
Suquamish for the past three years. Prior to said. "A very valuable run of cutthroat trout
that, they lived at Vinland, north of Bangor. was wiped out."
He worked several years as a fish and The gradual destruction of the natural
wildlife biologist, most recently with the Port habitat of Hood Canal by increasing num
Gamble S'Klallam Tribe at Little Boston. This bers of people has been disheartening,
year, Hirschi decided to devote his energies Hirschi said. It's prompted him to make a
to writing full-time. "painful decision," to leave Hood Canal and
"My inspiration for doing what I do Puget Sound for a life in Montana. The
Life on the Canal *219

Hirschisplanned to leave the area sometime and pollution is evident to RalphLartz, 60, of
during 1991. Belfair.
"We can shoot for the moon, but we
ByGene Yoachum
can't even take care of the earth," Lartz said,
shaking his head.
Enjoying the Lush Greenery Lartz, however, is willing to do his
Moving to Hood Canal from Montana He recently led a citizen group that "Citizens have
more than 50 years ago "was the best developed North Mason's first water quality
move we ever made," according to to take the
protection plan.
Alvin Ackerman, now 66, of Quilcene. opportunity
The plan, adopted in Octoberl990,
The hot, dusty, grasshopper-infested represents the first time in 20 years that and do the
wheat fields of Wolf Point, Mont., were no work
Mason County has amended its comprehen
match for the lush greenery and mild climate sive plan, the document that sets policies for themselves if
of Puget Sound and Hood Canal, Ackerman development.
said, recallingwhen his parents and 10of the they want it to
The water quality plan also represents
family's eventual 13 children came to