Joel Colvos, who has been active in the campaign to reopen the
park, was one of the first visitors this foggy morning. He
snapped a few photos that you can see in this post. The sun’s out
now, so it’s a perfect time to check out one of the
best public beaches on the Kitsap Peninsula.
The park is between Banner Forest Park and Olalla. Take Banner
Road to Millihanna Road. From the parking lot at the end of
Millihanna, take the trail down the hill to the beach. It’s a bit
of a walk and it’s all uphill on the way back.
The Kitsap County Parks Department now wants to channel the
activism that pushed for the park’s reopening into hands-on
volunteerism. The department put out a call for people to help keep
the park clean and its trail clear.
Here’s the department’s announcement:
With the reopening of Anderson Point Park, the Kitsap County
Parks Department is seeking volunteers to assist with the
maintenance and upkeep of this beautiful park. Volunteer projects
may include removal of invasive weeds and replanting with native
vegetation, repair of the park kiosk, and general park clean-ups.
The parks department will also appreciate park volunteers being
extra eyes and ears on the park.
Kitsap County Parks is holding an informational meeting for all
interested volunteers at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 26 at the Long Lake
Community Center, 5100 Long Lake Road.
For more information on this valuable volunteer opportunity,
please contact Lori Raymaker at Lraymaker@co.kitsap.wa.us or
No volcanic eruption in history was as closely watched as the
one that rocked the Northwest 35 years ago today.
Mount St. Helens, visible from Seattle and Tacoma, was within
sight of millions of people when it blew a 12-mile-high column of
smoke and ash into the sky on May 18, 1980.
“What was unusual about the eruption of Mount St. Helens … was
that it had taken place in a developed country, clearly visible
from the skyscrapers and universities of the Northwest’s two
largest cities,” wrote Rob Carson in Mount St. Helens: The
Eruption and Recovery of a Volcano. “People rushed to the
mountain, fascinated and horrified at the same time. In the days
after the blast, news photographers fought for access to
helicopters; scientists, would-be scientists, tourists and
reporters stormed the barricades set up around the edges of the
blast zone, wheedling, cajoling, threatening guards to let them
Carson was among the many journalists there to document the
aftermath. He was an editor with Pacific Northwest magazine, the
precursor to Seattle Magazine. Carson continued to write about St.
Helens as a special projects reporter for the Tacoma News Tribune.
When it came time to write a book to mark the 10th anniversary of
the eruption, Carson – who had been nicknamed ‘The Volcano Guy’ by
his colleagues – was the natural choice. The first edition of
Mount St. Helens was published in 1990.
The book was republished last month to mark the eruption’s 35th
anniversary. The 160-page 2015 edition has new photos and an added
chapter on the mountain’s recovery and the vast leaps in volcano
research since 1980.
Carson lives on Bainbridge Island and continues to write for the
News Tribune. I met him at his neighborhood coffee shop to talk
about the decades he’s spent writing about St. Helens.
“It’s funny how quickly things slip into history,” he said.
“When you live through it, it’s so vivid. Some people were so young
when it happened that they have no memory of it at all.”
Carson was part of the scrum of reporters who showed up for the
many press conferences before the eruption. Far from a surprise,
the eruption came after weeks of rumbling and steaming.
“We kept asking ‘when is it going to blow up?’ And of course
they didn’t know,” Carson said. “Weeks were going by and it was
Carson was in a Seattle bar when the mountain finally popped its
“I was in the U-District on 45th when I saw it on TV,” he said.
“I thought ‘finally it’s gone off!’”
The volcano didn’t erupt upward, as many scientists had
predicted, but sideways. It’s blast was so powerful it stripped
nearby ridges clean of soil, vaporized plants and toppled trees
nearly 20 miles away. The boom could be heard as far away as
Saskatoon. Several drainages were flooded when 70 percent of the
mountain’s snow and ice melted all at once from the intense heat of
the eruption. The water came down in a raging, super-heated
slurry of mud, ash and avalanche debris.
Carson remembers visiting the Toutle River, where he saw houses
half-buried in mud.
“They were buried right up into their windows. I found a
basketball hoop with its net six inches from the top of the
Fifty-seven people were killed by the eruption. Some were
flooded in their homes, some were choked by ash as they watched the
eruption from what they thought was a safe distance.
“People were sneaking in (to the closure zones) and trying to
get as close as they possibly could,” Carson said.
As devastating as the eruption was, it didn’t take long for the
mountain’s slopes to spring back to life.
“It was such a cool thing to watch the earth recover, and so
fast,” he said. “Only a few weeks after, scientists found spiders
in the blast zone. They had drifted in on their webs on air
currents. Birds were dropping seeds. Animals that had burrowed
underground were poking their heads out.”
Human-led efforts at recovery were not so successful. Carson
recounts in his book how $20 million in federal emergency-relief
funds went toward seeding and chemically-fertilizing the blast
zone. Of the 13 grass species spread across the mountain, only one
was native to the Northwest. Most of the seeds failed to take root
and much of the fertilizer blew away in powdery clouds.
“Worse, in places where the grass took hold, it short-circuited
the natural process by hardening the top layer of the debris,
keeping the native plants out,” Carson wrote.
The eruption triggered rapid advances in the field of
“It was revolutionized,” Carson said. “Geologists used to have
to do everything by the seat of their pants. They’d have to go up
and land at the crater and do measurements with carpentry tools.
Now they do it with remote sensors and instantly get measurements
What happens in the depths of St. Helens is still a mystery.
“And predicting eruptions is not at all a certainty,” he
So, when will it erupt again?
“Could be this afternoon or in a couple hundred years,” he
For Carson, St. Helens made clear that nothing is forever.
“We think of mountains as these stable points, like
touchstones,” he said. “When everything changes around us, you can
always look at the mountains as something that’s permanent. But
it’s not at all permanent. Rainier’s a volcano, and things are
changing underneath. It’s like they say: there is nothing permanent
Mount St. Helens: The Eruption and Recovery of a
Volcano is published by Sasquatch Books. More info can be
Glenwood Springs has about half the population of Port Angeles,
so that may put them at some disadvantage. Plus, the weather’s
really nice in Colorado right now. While it rains on the peninsula,
keeping P.A.-ers at their computers, Glenwood’s residents are
probably playing outdoors. According to Outside, there’s plenty to
enjoy: a whitewater park on the Colorado River, nearby hot springs,
lakes, caves, canyons, forested mountain bike trails and a plenty
of rock climbing routes.
“Adventure is part of the locals’ genes,” according to
We’ll now see if incessant Internet voting is another Glenwooder
Top photo: Port Angeles campaign poster by Tammy Lynn
Conservancy has launched an online fundraising campaign to drum
up the last $25,000 needed to purchase a forestland west of North
Kitsap Heritage Park.
Known as Grovers Creek, the 270-acre property is particularly
valued as habitat for wildlife. Grovers Creek has stands of
old-growth trees, wetlands and streams supporting coho and
cutthroat. It’s at the heart of several North Kitsap properties
slated for acquisition through the Kitsap Forest & Bay Project.
It’s aim is to preserve nearly 7,000 acres between Kingston and
Port Gamble and install several miles of the Sound to Olympics
wrote last week, Bainbridge Island and Port Angeles were the
two Washington towns chosen for Outside magazine’s annual “Best
BI and PA managed to best Ashland, Ore. and Santa Barbara,
Calif. to advance in the first round. Now they face each other.
It’s an affluent island in the heart of Puget Sound vs. a working
class town in the shadow of the Olympic Mountains.
Today is the last day to weigh in. The winner will take on
either Glenwood Springs, Colorado or Whitefish, Montana. To cast
your vote, head over here.
As of this morning, Port Angeles had a slight edge (about 300
votes) over Bainbridge. I’m seeing Bainbridge Islanders mounting a
late get-out-the vote campaign via social media, so things could
change before voting closes tonight.
“We have a long way to go to catch Port Angeles in this bracket!
Vote now!,” Bainbridge outdoor clothing and gear store Wildernest
wrote on its Facebook page last night.
“Keep your votes coming!” the Bainbridge Island Downtown
Association urged this morning. “We are running behind Port Angeles
right now. We love them, but let’s vote for us to be the “Best Town
Port Angeles’ campaign is a little more advanced. They’ve
already made up a few campaign materials poking fun at
Bainbridge Island is one of just two Washington towns vying for
a place in Outside
magazine‘s annual “Best Towns” competition.
Outside is letting readers narrow a list of 64 towns through a
series of voting rounds. The first round pits Bainbridge against
Here’s what Outside had to say about Kitsap’s island city:
“Thirty miles of multiuse trails link Bainbridge Island, just a
35-minute ferry ride from Seattle. However you navigate it, you’ll
pass a network of vineyards, organic farms, and nature reserves.
You can even camp on the beach at Fay Bainbridge Park, 15 minutes
from the shops and cafés of Winslow Way.”
Ashland is framed a bit differently. Instead of farms, vineyards
and coffee shops, the south Oregon town offers a playground for
“serious trail runners,” skiers, river rafters and the hard-core
hikers of the Pacific Crest Trail.
Both towns are about the same size, but homes are cheaper in
Ashland. Prices there are about $250,000 lower than the $610,000
you’ll likely pay on Bainbridge.
The other Washington city in the running is Port Angeles. To
move forward in the bracket, P.A. will have to top Santa Barbara,
California. As Kitsap Sun sports editor Nathan Joyce put it,
“that’s like a 16 seed vs. a number one,” or, to put it another
way, it’s like North Dakota State taking on Duke.
Also representing the West are Flagstaff, Juneau, Santa Fe, Las
Vegas and Ogden.
To be chosen for the competition, a town had to offer “top-notch
restaurants, vibrant farmers’ markets, friendly neighborhoods, and
unparalleled access to hiking and biking trails,” Outside’s editors
wrote. “In short, the perfect jumping-off point for adventure.”
No Washington or Oregon towns made the
top 10 in last year’s competition. Duluth, Minnesota was ranked
#1, topping such outdoor meccas as Boulder (#10) and Missoula (#9).
So, clearly, the competition’s rigged. Or at least it favors voters
who vote early and often.
Port Angeles understands this. The town’s chamber of commerce is
mounting a “get-out-the-vote drive.” In a recent email missive, the
chamber noted that Outside’s “target market is 2.5 million people.”
The typical Outside reader’s annual income is more $90,000, “making
this an attractive demographic to promote outdoor opportunities
available in Washington state, and especially Port Angeles…”
Who knows, Port Angeles could be the next Duluth. As much as the
name ‘Duluth’ might conjure images of an icy lake port, snagging
the #1 spot increased tourism and positive press coverage,
according to the P.A. chamber.
You have until Friday to vote in the initial round. The winners
of each round will advance until the final two towns face off. The
top 16 will be announced in Outside’s September issue.
At last check, Bainbridge had a strong lead over Ashland and
P.A. had just edged past Santa Barbara.
Above is the latest aerial photo of the dramatic changes
happening at the mouth of the undammed Elwha River.
The photo was taken on Saturday by Tom Roorda for the Coastal Watershed
The mouth grows wider and more complex by the day. Increased
sediment flow and other changes are drawing a host of species,
including salmon, seabirds, and the
threatened candlefish, which hadn’t been seen in the mouth of
the Elwha for decades.
Below are two older photos of the Elwha’s mouth. The one on the
left shows the mouth just after the removal project began in late
2011. The photo on the right was taken prior to dam removal.
“After over 20 years of grappling to keep nearshore restoration
on the radar we’re gratified that the Elwha nearshore has evolved
into a poster child for the heart-lifting evolution that happens
when one removes two large scale dams,” wrote CWI’s director Anne
Shaffer in an email.
For more about CWI’s work in the Elwha’s nearshore environment,
head over here.
Bears appear to be getting a taste for human food and losing a
fear of humans in Olympic National Park’s Enchanted Valley.
Black bears have approached hikers in the valley and at least
one bear was seen eating human food and trash.
In response, the park closed
six miles of the valley to camping on Friday. The camping
restriction extends from Pyrites Creek to the O’Neill Pass trail
junction. The area remains open for hiking.
Park officials say bears that eat human food come to consider
people as a food source, and “are extremely dangerous.”
Stay at least 50 yards away from bears and keep food, trash and
all scented items (lotions, deodorant, toothpaste, etc.) stored and
out of reach of wildlife at all times, park officials said in a
The area will remain closed to camping for 30 days.
Park info about how to keep food and garbage safe is available
For information about wilderness hiking and camping, including
current trail condition reports, visit Olympic’s online Wilderness
Trip Planner or stop by the park’s visitor center in Port Angeles.
It’s open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. or call (360) 565-3100.
Photos: Enchanted Valley. Tristan Baurick/Kitsap
The Kitsap Sun is bringing the filmmakers of a new documentary
about the Pacific Coast Trail to Bremerton for a special screening
at the Admiral Theatre.
Mark your calendars now for the June 4 event at 7 p.m.
‘Do More With
Less’ highlights the beauty of the trail, which runs from
Mexico to Canada, and the people who dedicate months to hiking its
The filmmakers, Eric Timmerman and Travis Barron, are coming up
from Austin, Texas to present the documentary and answer
One hiker featured in the documentary is Bremerton resident
Kevin Koski. I
profiled Kevin in 2013 after he won an award for his work with
Olympic Mountain Rescue. He just happened to be hiking the PCT when
the filmmakers were making the ‘Do More With Less.’ You can catch a
few glimpses of Kevin in the trailer (above). At the 1:33 mark, you
can spot him over on the right, munching camp food with fellow
Kevin will give a presentation of his journey just before the
June 4 screening.
TIME & DATE: 7 p.m. on Thursday, June 4
WHERE: Admiral Theatre, 515 Fifth Street, Bremerton
TICKETS: $10. Call (360) 373-6743 or visit the Admiral Theatre website to
purchase in advance. All ages welcome.