Saturday, April 11, 2015

Where are the eagles, Grandpa?

Rusting ship knees on Slip Point, Clallam Bay
Nature bats last. And hardest.

Hello, everybody. Including Olympic Peninsula communities who are waking up to what's happening to you.

Olsen's Resort in Sekiu has been reborn as a company that understands the old days of destruction for profit might not make a very good future for this area.

They have begun to offer much more in the way of scuba-diving and canoeing, and understand that the Olympic Peninsula has the prized status of Audubon areas.

They understand that - with all wild animals now at refugee status - we need to stop sanctioning killing and destroying for fun - an antique and unhealthy practice, especially for the minds of children - and out-of-date resource harvesting for profit. Destroying the wild for profit ALWAYS results in the final death of any profit at all.

Right now, on this Peninsula, logging is going on in wetlands, wildlife areas - including areas with long-time eagle nests - and even in county parks. The destruction of the forests of Pillar Point and Tumbling Rapids, and the clearcutting of the wetlands around Clallam Bay, are cause for shame, not celebration. 

Clallam Bay's eagles and all other animals are under siege. Neah Bay does not allow cutting anyplace near an eagle's nest. What's wrong with us outside the native communities?

Who did such destruction benefit? Money went into pockets for the short term, while threatening what could be a permanent future clean industries - birding and careful forest management - and took away access to forests for the elderly and children. Kids and people on canes can't tramp around in logged regrowth, and we all know it. 

Forests are massive, complicated systems, not crops - a tree is not grass. ANYTHING made from a tree that is not wood has some level of toxicity. As a girl from a pulp town, I've seen the paint peeling off the walls of houses around the Everett pulp mills. 

Tearing down the peninsula's future for low-quality acid paper and outgassing building materials, and all those pallets for shipping goods from China is no kind of future.  The forests could be preserved for careful harvesting of large, quality trees, which would allow for wildlife to thrive as well as people.

People would stop freaking out if there was the "waste" left for wildlife, including snags. They could be taught that the reason for large forest fires was because every last forest fire - the ones that cleaned out dead undergrowth, allowing fresh, clean plant growth, good for all living things - were extinguished by humans who thought all fire was bad - rather than the native communities who had used fire carefully for centuries. Food plants could return - real ones - not intrusive non-native plants. People could learn.

I've seen what happens when an area was ultimately - as usual - destroyed for forests, and caved under to development. Mukilteo-Everett used to look like the Olympic Peninsula. Look at it now. 

This might make developers happy, but its future is Seattle - and look at Seattle's prices, now. The only thing land is good for there is real-estate churning. Who from out here can afford to live there? 

Note: people who formerly cheered to see burning clearcuts on Vancouver Island are now seriously worried as the clearcuts come close to their home. They know they'll suffer everything from flooding to hill collapse to refugee predators in their yards. 

Forks already has a recent shameful record, when a bear living near the town was driven from its home by a clearcut, and slaughtered because it had nothing to eat but farm animals. Cougars show up in yards, trying to get at the chickens - are caged chickens natural diet for anything but a starving predator? Does nothing change? Can none of us learn? Or see?

Only caring if it affects us is what being a NIMBY is all about. "Not In My Back Yard" only happens when a bad system develops far away and then crawls closer to home.

Whoever up here works to save the eagles, the trees for a better future, and all the wildlife for all life will be praised. Whoever helped kill everything from selfishness and short-sightedness or simple destructive ego, will not be forgotten. Just not in a good way.

Someday, a community will say "Enough!" and organize a class-action suit. Think it can't happen? As an army vet, I'm part of a class-action suit against the army for nerve-gas poisoning, along with the whole town of Anniston, Alabama. If it can happen for military poisons, it can happen for thoughtless resource extraction.

it's not city vs. country - American cities and country swap populations all the time. Those of us from cities grew up in what used to be country, and understand the dangers. People growing up in cities are trying to save what little they have, or reintroduce preservation. Should we be far behind them?

The Olympic Peninsula has only one history that counts - the destruction of the forests, and the extermination of the wolves. Anything else is pretending. It began to do penance by the establishment of the parks.

One side or the other will be remembered. Which shall it be? And whose children will ask: "Where are the eagles, grandpa?"

Congratulations on the Nature Conservancy's recent purchase in the Hoko area - there is a future. And shame on Clallam Bay, that fell for those Working Forests = Working Families signs, as an excuse for logging-company land-grabs for cheap, with no future. Is it too late for Clallam Bay? Or will it learn in time?

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