Give a listen to the Washington State Parks jingle

Here’s an advance listen to the new official jingle commissioned for Washington State Parks. Expect to hear it as part of a new push to market the state parks system.

“There’s beauty all around, from the Columbia Gorge to Puget Sound,” goes the poppy-country ditty, entitled “Embrace Your Nature.”

A sharp-eared editor in the Kitsap Sun newsroom noticed it sounds a bit like the Smokey and the Bandit theme song. For comparison, head here.

Ask your doctor if Nature is right for you

A recent Stanford University study suggests that hanging out in nature may boost mental health.

Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, the study found that people who walked for 90 minutes in a natural area, as opposed to those who walked in a high-traffic urban setting, showed decreased activity in a region of the brain associated with depression.

You can read the study here.

Or, you can watch a funny video (above) that basically says the same thing.

The spoof on prescription drug commercials makes a compelling case that Nature (in this case, the name of a fake drug) can improve your health, well-being and may make you “question what the (expletive) you’re doing with your life.”

Beware, side effects can include “spontaneous euphoria, taking things less seriously and being in a good mood for no apparent reason.”

The three fastest journalists in Kitsap

David Nelson, Chris Henry and Andy Binion.
David Nelson, Chris Henry and Andy Binion.

A team made up of Kitsap Sun journalists managed a respectable showing at last weekend’s Wilder Hare Triathlon in Hansville.

Coming in 16th place didn’t earn the shiny trophy, but hey, Team Fit2Print (get it?) did beat about two-thirds of the competition.

Binion high-fiving Nelson at the finish line.
Binion high-fiving Nelson at the finish line.

Sun editor-in-chief and marathoner David Nelson handled the the 10 K route with ease, placing second overall. Fresh off a Portland-to-San Francisco bike ride, cops and courts reporter Andy Binion had little problem with the race’s hilly 28-mile ride. South Kitsap and education reporter Chris Henry was the team’s swimmer. Her route was a one mile (two laps) around chilly Buck Lake.

Andy and Chris give much of the credit to David, and not just because he’s their boss.

“David crushed it, coming in second with a really good time,” Chris said. “He’s modest saying he was part of a team versus people who started the run after the bike and swim.”

Chris said the West Sound Triathlon Club pulled off a great event.

“They did a wonderful job. A lot of work, a lot of fun,” she said. “Between WSTC and the Kitsap TriBabes, I would say there is a very healthy (no pun intended) triathlon culture in Kitsap County. For me, a 60-year-old with a (mostly) desk job, it gives me incentive to do fun outdoor activities.”

For the full results, head over here.

Trail closure expanded near Olympic National Park wildfire


Olympic National Park is closing another section of the Queets River Trail due to the spreading Paradise Fire.

The fire, which is now nearly 2,400 acres, has reached Bob Creek, a landmark firefighters decided in June would trigger additional closures and heighten the firefighting response.

The expanded closure includes all areas east of Spruce Bottom on the Queets trail.

Firefighters are likely to increase helicopter water drops and the use of 3,000-gallon water tanks, which will be flown into remote areas of the fire area.

For more information about the fire, head over here.

Photo: Queets River, Olympic National Park.

How to get to Fudge Point

Fudge Point's 3,000 foot-long beach. Tristan Baurick/Kitsap Sun
Fudge Point’s 3,000-foot-long beach. Tristan Baurick/Kitsap Sun

My story about Washington State Parks’ plan for the Fudge Point property has elicited a few questions about how to get there.


The 141-acre property on Harstine Island is not yet an official state park but it is open to the public. No signs mark it as a state park property and there are no park amenities, such as parking, bathrooms, trash cans or running water. Basically, it’s a big undeveloped property with what park officials say is one of the best beaches in the region. Click here for a bunch of park planning documents on the property.

Before I give the directions, I want to note that the property’s use as a public park has been controversial with some folks in the neighborhood. They’re worried about traffic, trash, noise, fires, trespassing and other negative side effects that they say come with a state park. One reader told me this week that “No Trespassing” signs are cropping up like weeds in the area. Thankfully, all the readers of this blog are smart, considerate people so I don’t even have to mention that you should never litter, start illegal fires, trample nearby commercial shellfish beds or do anything that violates the rules of conduct at a state park.


OK, so to get there from Kitsap, head south on Highway 3. About 20 minutes after passing through Belfair, get ready to make a left on East Pickering Road. Take Pickering across the Harstine Island bridge and then take a right on South Island Drive. Take a left on Harstine Island Road and then a right on Ballow Road. Continue on Ballow a little more than a half mile. Where Ballow veers sharply to the left is where you should start looking for a spot on the roadside to park.

As I mentioned above, Fudge Point has absolutely no parking. Park staff have told me you can park along the road but you have to be careful about driveways and the sensitivities of nearby property owners.

In the road’s bend  (opposite from a clear cut) are two side-by-side driveways. The driveway on the rightGate is the access road into the Fudge Point property. The other driveway (without a gate) is private. So remember: no gate = stay out. Gate = go right in. The gate is locked and no motorized vehicles are allowed on the park property. The driveway, actually a former logging road, is about a mile long. You can walk it,  or better yet, mountain bike it. The above map shows the logging road’s route in yellow.

At the beach you can enjoy a 3,000-foot-long stretch of sand, a lagoon rich in wildlife and some great views of the Key Peninsula and Mount Rainier.

Image courtesy of Washington State Parks

Take a virtual tour of P.O.’s Bay Street path

Reporter Chris Henry strapped on a GoPro and biked along Port Orchard’s waterfront to show the route of the Bay Street Pedestrian Path.

As you can see from the above video, the 1.5-mile-long route is mostly a plan at this point. There are two finished sections, but Chris had to join with vehicle traffic a few times and ride along a few narrow shoulder sections. Read more about her ride here.

The path has been in development for about five years. The completed route will run from the Annapolis ferry dock (where Chris starts her ride) to Port Orchard Marina Park. Recently, the state chipped in $3.5 million to help construct the east portion of the route.

Here’s Chris’ latest story on the path: Port Orchard’s Bay Path bridge work to start soon


Giant red squid washes up on Puget Sound beach

Two guys fishing for salmon north of Seattle came home with quite a fish tale. Make that a squid tale.

Brought in by the tide on Sunday morning was what might be a robust clubhooked squid. Dwellers of the deep, these real-life sea monsters rarely make their way into Puget Sound. When they do, they’re usually found dead like this one was. This may be due to the sound’s shallower depths, higher temperatures and lower salinity. Basically, the squids need it cold, dark and salty.

The squid, which was found on Shoreline’s Richmond Beach, was partially eaten and was missing at least one tentacle. It was just under 7 feet long and was estimated to be about 65 lbs.

For more about clubhooked squids, read this:

Click below to see a few more squid photos from the Beam Reach school’s Facebook page

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Chinook salmon fishing ends early in North Kitsap


Chinook salmon fishing along Kitsap’s north shore will close early this season.

State fishery managers expect the catch quota for Marine Area 9 to be met by the end of this weekend. Area 9 includes the waters off the north end of Kitsap, from the Hood Canal bridge to Kingston. See map (left).


Starting Monday, fishing for coho and pink salmon will still be allowed but chinook must be released. The daily limit for the area will be two salmon plus two additional pink salmon.

State Dept. of Fish & Wildlife fishery manager Ryan Lothrop said anglers have done well in the area. Chinook fishing was set to close Aug. 15 but anglers have already caught about 80 percent of the catch quota.

As of today (July 23), anglers had caught an estimated 1,953 chinook in Marine Area 9. The catch quota for the area is 2,483.

Beginning Monday, anglers will be able to fish for salmon in the area south from the line between Foulweather Bluff and Olele Point, Lothrop said. This section of Marine Area 9 was closed during the chinook fishery. Anglers fishing in this section have the same daily limit for salmon as the rest of Marine Area 9.

Photo: Anglers cast off Point No Point on Kitsap’s north end. Tristan Baurick/Kitsap Sun

Pooping cyclist starts Idaho wildfire


A cyclist trying to “leave no trace” sparked a wildfire that has burned more than 70 acres near Boise.

Firefighters say the cyclist made a pit stop in a ravine in the Boise foothills yesterday. After relieving himself, the cyclist lit his toilet paper on fire. An ember caught the wind and set a patch of dry grass ablaze.

“He thought he was doing the responsible thing by getting rid of the toilet paper but quickly realized the fire was out of his control,” Boise firefighters said in a statement.

An interagency firefighting organization issued a very earnest public advisory urging people to “bury human waste” and refrain from burning soiled toilet paper.

The cyclist confessed to the TP torching and apologized. He was cited, fined and may be held responsible for some of the Boise Fire Department’s costs once they are tallied.

Photo: Wildfire in Hulls Gulch Reserve near Boise, Idaho. Courtesy of the Boise Fire Department.

Report: State parks generate $1.4 billion per year

One of the many weddings held at Kitsap Memorial State Park. Courtesy of Washington State Parks
One of the many weddings held at Kitsap Memorial State Park. Courtesy of Washington State Parks

Washington State Parks visitors are pumping $1.4 billion into the economy each year. That’s according to a not-yet-released report assessing spending by state park visitors.

Park officials teased some of the report’s findings at Wednesday’s state parks commission meeting in Poulsbo.

The report also estimates that state parks support 13,000 jobs and generate about $200 million in federal, state and local tax revenue.

The report was prepared by Earth Economics – the same Tacoma-based firm that released a much bigger report early this year about the state’s outdoor recreation economy. That report found that outdoor recreation generates almost $22 billion per year.

“We wanted to know our share of that $22 billion,” said Peter Herzog, assistant director of Washington State Parks.

The spending is on everything from wedding bookings and camping fees to gas and food.

I’ll have a story about the report later this week.

Park officials will be sure to send the report to the state’s elected leaders. The Legislature has been chipping away at tax-supported funding for state parks for years. To fill the gap, state parks instituted the Discover Pass, raised fees and took a more “entrepreneurial” approach to park management.

Showing state parks’ big dividends could sway some leaders to invest more in the park system, Herzog said.

“This is more fodder to help our cause,” he said.