Preserve our ridge lines
As I was enjoying the beautiful vistas from Washington Park, my eyes drifted over to the Skyline community and ridge line.
I was stunned when I looked toward the north at the gaping scar slashed into the lovely wooded, sloping contour of the island. It took me a few minutes to assimilate the fact that anyone would have been allowed to clear cut this large section of our island’s ridge line.
The last time I had looked in this direction there was no sign of carnage. This time it was glaring, yet still incomprehensible. Modern thought and techniques of land management and development prioritize the protection of irreplaceable resources, for conservation, aesthetic and environmental integrity, now and into the future. What is going on here?
It is apparent that our city officials — mayor, city council members, planners, etc. — are not protecting our island’s native habitat, our trees, forests, especially our precious ridge lines.
We cannot repair the damage already done to the integrity of our island’s beautiful ridge line, but we can do something about protecting the rest of it. We must demand better of city officials who have the responsibility to set guidelines and hold developers accountable. If protective ordinances are in place, they need to be adhered to and enforced. If they are not in place, they must be incorporated, as soon as possible.
I ask Anacortes residents to go out to the west side of the city and look up at the huge gash along our ridge line. Is that what we want our island to look like in just a few years? Even one wound like this severely diminishes the integrity and beauty of the island and ridge line. Tolerating or ignoring the damage being done is abdicating our responsibility to be good stewards of this land, and allows the destruction to continue. Once it it gone, it cannot be replaced.
It is gone, essentially, forever.
Old dump is bad choice for bike-park site
As an avid user of Anacortes Community Forest Lands hiking trails, I believe the proposal to use the old city dump site for a mountain bike skills course flies in the face of the primary purposes of the ACFL: “preservation through education, outreach and stewardship.”
Lands have been put into trust in the ACFL for specific purposes which would be totally negated by the proposed bike training course. Preservation of the quiet, serenity and beauty of our forests and providing habitat for wildlife should be the foremost considerations when weighing this proposal. This site is not a “brownfield” as characterized recently by the Parks and Recreation director. It is a lovely, vibrant meadow and home to coyote pups, deer and other wildlife.
Only after the litmus test of whether we should abandon or facilitate the primary purpose of the AFCL has been determined should remaining aspects of the decision regarding this proposal be considered. And, there are many other concerns such as safety of the contents of the dump site, water and wetlands impact, effects on wildlife, parking, management and control of activities at the course, etc.
These issues would not occasion concern at an alternate site outside ACFL in developed Anacortes.
Safeguarding our world
Last May, scientists delivered a shattering assessment on humanity’s impact on the natural world. The report of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services drew from nearly 15,000 sources of information to determine the state of the biosphere.
The verdict, as you might expect if you’ve paid attention to the collapse of insect populations, coral reefs, fisheries and forests, as well as a sixth mass extinction event, is chilling.
Humans have so “severely altered” the biosphere, including a stunning 75% of the planet’s land, that “around one million species already face extinction, many within decades.” This looming calamity is largely due to “shrinking habitat and land-use change.”
The unraveling biosphere reflects a badly damaged relationship with the wild world, a relationship industrial society has failed to respect and nurture at its peril.
Sadly, this ear-splitting wake-up call doesn’t seem to have reached our island, if two recent project proposals are any indication.
A “business-as-usual” approach was revealed in the Anacortes American in its articles on nine duplexes approved on Ferry Terminal Road and on a bike skills park slated for the Anacortes Community Forest Lands.
The duplex site is “forested in alders, aspens, cedars, firs, hemlocks, maples and pines, and is habitat for deer, eagles, hawks, heron and songbirds.” Nonetheless, it will be “substantially cleared.” The bike park would take over a former dump bordering one of the most species-rich areas of the ACFL. That site has evolved into habitat for wildlife from owls to coyotes.
From our backyards and local forests to the wider biosphere, it’s past time to put the needs of the wild community before the desires of the human community, and to realize that both wild and human worlds are deeply interdependent.
Wendell Berry wrote that when tasked with making decisions concerning one’s community, “always include local nature — the land, the water, the air, the native creatures — within the membership of the community.” Wise counsel, especially now.
Now more than ever, we’re called upon to do all we can to safeguard a world than has blessed us with gifts beyond measure and to do all we can to prevent its collapse at our hands.
A good place to start is right here at home.
No back-in angle parking downtown
If changes are to be made to downtown Anacortes parking, please do not make any more spaces back-in angle parking.
Backing into a narrow space is a more precise maneuver than backing out into a wide space, taking more time while holding up traffic.
A sudden stop in traffic to then attempt to back in gives the car behind you no notice, whereas backing out into traffic alerts others by the presence of your back up lights.
If no other parked cars are present as guides, there is very little visibility of the lines, another delaying factor in sliding into a parking space.
As parking challenges downtown increase, please don’t add more back-in spaces to the challenge.