The Kitsap County Parks Department is predicting that work to
reopen Anderson Point Park will finish up on Dec. 3.
That’s not necessarily the day the public will be welcomed back
into the South Kitsap park, but it does mark the end of a $170,000
project to stabilize Anderson Point’s hillside. The park was closed
in 2010 when it appeared that the hillside was dangerously
unstable. The trail to the park’s long, sandy beach snakes down the
hillside, and portions of it had crumbled away during winter
Kingston-based Sealevel Bulkhead Builders is scheduled to begin
moving equipment to the site on Oct. 28. Work on drainage
improvements will start two days later. Construction of a retaining
wall will take about a month, ending around Thanksgiving. Cleanup
will happen during the first days of December, according to the
Not yet worked out is how the parks department and nearby
residents will share Millihanna Road, which serves as the only road
access to the park. The handful of households on Millihanna
threatened legal action against the department if the park is
A documentary film about the removal of the Elwha River’s dams
will grace Bainbridge Island’s biggest screen on Nov. 1 and 2.
According to its filmmakers, “Return of the River” is a
“story of hope and possibility amid grim environmental news. It is
a film for our time: an invitation to consider crazy ideas that
could transform the world for the better. It features an unlikely
success story for environmental and cultural restoration.”
You can watch the trailer above.
Tim McNulty, author of “Olympic National Park: A Natural
History,” praised the film as “visually dazzling, lyrically
evocative, and fluid as mountain snowmelt.”
The state Dept. of Fish & Wildlife is releasing what they’re
calling a “torrent” of trout in Western Washington lakes this
Nearly four times more catchable-sized trout will be poured into
lakes than last fall, setting the stage for some phenomenal fishing
through the holiday season.
The only local lake to get some of the 340,000 fish is Kitsap
Lake, which was scheduled for 4,760 trout on Oct. 1. That’s about
equal to the lake’s allotment last fall.
Some of the nearby lakes getting a trout infusion include
Jefferson County’s Gibbs Lake (370 fish), Teal Lake (155), Leland
Lake (2,975), and Mason County’s Island Lake (2,180), Lost Lake
(2,420), Nahwatzel Lake (2,500) and Spencer Lake (4,400).
Fish & Wildlife has a higher number of fish to stock because
of a legal settlement with the Wild Fish Conservancy. The
settlement prevented the release of early winter hatchery trout
into most Puget Sound rivers.
More than 300,000 of the trout that would have gone to rivers
will instead go to lakes.
Fish & Wildlife held the trout over the summer and reared
them to “catchable trout size.” Most of the trout are between 11
and 13 inches long.
I wrote a
feature story for Sunday’s paper.about the Kitsap connections to “Boys in
the Boat,” a bestselling book about the University of Washington
rowers who won gold in the 1936 Olympics.
Two of the eight rowers lived on Bainbridge Island. Roger
Morris, the only one of the bunch with any prior rowing experience,
spent part of his childhood on Manzanita Bay. Jim “Stub” McMillin
spent his final decades on the island.
Daniel James Brown, the book’s author, managed to describe the
crew’s gold medal-winning race with convincing detail. That’s
partly thanks to the fact that pioneering filmmaker (and Nazi
propagandist) Leni Riefenstahl was there to capture the action.
You can see the footage above. At the 4-minute mark are some
close-ups of the UW crew at the finish line. Rowers Joe Rantz, who
serves as the main “character” in Brown’s book, and McMillin are
seen putting a giant wreath over their heads. Rantz is the one with
the blond crew cut and McMillin is the lanky blond guy at the
The footage was part of Riefenstahl’s “Olympia,”.
an epic, two-part documentary about the 1936 Olympics.
“Boys in the Boat” is a great read, even if you aren’t a rowing
fan (I certainly wasn’t). The backdrop of the Depression-era
Northwest will be interesting for locals, especially the chapters
about Rantz’s pre-college years in Sequim, where he was abandoned
by his parents and turned to bootlegging and fish poaching to
Kitsap Regional Library is featuring “Boys in the Boat” as its
“One Book, One Community”
program.. KRL is planning
several events around the book this month, including discussions
with Brown and local rowing luminaries. For a schedule of events,
After battling 10-foot-high swells and capsizing in the surf,
Poulsbo sea kayaker John Kuntz figured his problems would be over
when reached shore.
But that was only the start of a five-day ordeal on a remote,
storm-blasted stretch of the British Columbia coast. Kuntz and his
paddling partner, Luca Lezzi of Bainbridge Island, found themselves
trapped until the Canadian Coast Guard could reach them.
“It was combination of terror and just amazement,” said Kuntz,
owner of Port Gamble-based Olympic Outdoor Center. “I’ve been in a
lot storms but never a storm that lasted so many days and was so
intense. It was like standing next to a jet engine for about five
Kuntz and Lezzi, who works for Kuntz, ended up staying on the
windswept beach for five nights. On Friday, the Canadian Coast
Guard pushed through gale-force winds to reach them. Both are now
safe at home.
They had set out on Sept. 19 from Fair Harbour on north
Vancouver Island. They planned to turn around after three days and
“On Sunday, it was calm and sunny and beautiful but the wind
picked up pretty quick,” Kuntz said. They were hit with gusts of up
to 25 knots as they raced for shore.
Kuntz has been paddling for more than three decades. Lezzi, 21,
has far less experience, but he made up for it with youthful
courage and brawn.
“I was proud of the kid,” Kuntz said Lezzi, who used to row for
Pacific Lutheran University. “His inexperience didn’t even
They reached land in the nick of time. Within a half hour, the
wind’s strength had doubled.
They camped on the south end of the Brooks Peninsula Provincial
Park, a 71,100-acre, densely-wooded preserve that gets few
visitors. When they woke, the storm was still surging, eventually
reaching 74 knots and tossing 40-foot waves off the peninsula.
Kuntz radioed for a water taxi, but the captain said there was
no way he was going into the storm.
After getting an earful from journalists, First Amendment
advocates and lawmakers, the U.S. Forest Service says it will delay
finalizing rules requiring the press to get special permits and pay
a fee to shoot photos or videos in wilderness areas.
The Forest Service will allow public comment on the rule for an
additional month, until Dec. 3.
“The U.S. Forest Service remains committed to the First
Amendment,” Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell said in a
statement. “To be clear, provisions in the draft directive do
not apply to news gathering or activities.”
Craig Welch of the Seattle Times pointed out, Forest Service
practices often don’t match Tidwell’s words. Several journalists
reported having to obtain permits not just to shoot photos and
video but to conduct interviews in wilderness areas.
In one case, permits to Idaho Public Television were delayed for
months while the Forest Service determined whether government
officials would approve of the finished story.
“It’s pretty clearly unconstitutional,” Gregg Leslie, legal
defense director at the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the
the Oregonian. “They would have to show an important need to
justify these limits, and they just can’t.”
A Forest Service official told the Oregonian that the
restrictions are meant to preserve the character of wilderness
U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-Gig Harbor) joined other members of
Congress in urging the Forest Service to rethink its policy.
“Foremost, I am concerned about the important First Amendment
rights of journalists,” Kilmer wrote in a letter you can read
below. “They should be able to have access to these public areas in
order to communicate with the public – whether about potential
environmental challenges or extraordinary natural assets.”
He noted that he had invited members of the press onto Olympic
National Forest last month to discuss the Wild Olympics bill, which
would designate 200 square miles as wilderness. You can read about
“I am concerned that regulations and costs like those under
consideration would create unnecessary barriers that would preclude
local media members from participating, and, as a consequence,
local residents from having access to information about these
stunning lands and waters,” Kilmer said.
Those wishing to comment on the rules can do so
Olympic National Park and the movers hired to save the Enchanted
Valley Chalet have starkly different explanations for the bizarre
press restrictions I encountered at the chalet site earlier this
As I wrote in the Trails & Tides blog post last week, the
park invited press to the site but barred access to the work area
and prevented the press from speaking with anyone associated with
the move. You can read that post
here. My full story about moving the chalet from the eroding
bank of the Quinault River can be found
Park officials now say that the restrictions were at the behest
of the movers.
“The contractor had requested that the park service handle the
media and respond to media questions,” park spokeswoman Rainey
McKenna wrote in an email to Steven Friederich of the Vidette newspaper in Grays Harbor
County. “The lead contractor and his subcontractors (packer and
cook) also expressed that they did no (sic) wish to be interviewed
during the operation.”
Friederich had asked several pointed questions of McKenna after
reading my post. He then forwarded the responses to me.
Jeff Monroe, The project’s lead contractor, called McKenna’s
“We were muzzled,” he said. “They said, ‘quit talking to the
press.’ So we had to do it.”
Monroe, whose business is based in Sequim on the Olympic
Peninsula, has never been shy with the press.
His exploits as a house mover have been highlighted in several
news stories, including a few in the Kitsap Sun. Often the story
tip comes from Monroe himself. He granted interviews to me and
several other reporters during the months before the chalet was
At the chalet site, Monroe twice approached me to talk about the
project but went silent when McKenna caught up with him. Five other
members of his crew spoke with me when out of view of park
“Rainey really kept us at bay,” Monroe said. “Now the job’s done
and I can talk to who ever I want.”
Monroe said he had to agree not to speak with the press in order
to get the moving contract approved.
“I basically had a gun to my head,” he said. “The chalet was
going to fall in the river, and they wouldn’t let (the move) happen
unless I agreed. I said ‘OK, I don’t have time for this political
crap. I gotta save that chalet.’”
Olympic’s lead spokeswoman, Barb Maynes, remembers the
“He told me he didn’t want to talk with the media, and we took
that seriously,” she said.
Monroe also disputes an assertion in McKenna’s email that it was
he who established the safety rules that kept the press far from