Kitsap gets a head start on the crabbing season


The waters west and south of the Kitsap Peninsula are opening for crabbing about a month earlier than the rest of Puget Sound.

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife has OK’d the start of recreational crabbing in Hood Canal and the South Sound for next month.

“We’ll send out a schedule for crab fisheries throughout Puget Sound in the coming weeks, but there was no good reason to hold off on these areas,” said Rich Childers, Fish and Wildlife’s shellfish policy manager. “Sport crabbers in these areas have fallen short of reaching their catch quota in recent years, so we can afford to give them more time to fish during the upcoming season.”

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Glacier-trapped camera finds owner thanks to high-climbing dentist and Port Orchard Facebookers

Lynn Lippert

Three years ago, Lynn Lippert was near the top of Mt. Olympus taking one of those epic shots you can’t wait to show your friends.

As her camera clicked at the edge of an icy crevasse, Lynn lost her balance. She caught herself, but her camera wasn’t so lucky. It dove deep into the crevasse.

“Even if we could have seen it … it would have been impossible to reach,” she said.

Miraculously, Lynn will get to show off those photos off after all. That’s thanks to a bit of global warming, a high-climbing Port Orchard dentist and a Port Orchard Facebook group frequented by a man with “a very particular set of skills.”

Chris Mueller
Chris Mueller

The camera’s happenstance rescue mission began when Chris Mueller, who has a dental practice on Bay Street, was recently trekking up the same route as Lynn.

The glacier had apparently receded, as it has been doing at a fast rate in recent years, allowing a glimpse of Lynn’s long-lost camera. Chris managed to pull out the “ice-encrusted” thing. Inside, he found lots of sunny photos of smiling people hiking, biking and climbing. It was unclear who owned it, but Chris tried “a total shot in the dark”: he posted a few of the photos on the Port Orchard Facebook group’s page.

Here’s his post:


The page is the kind of place people share (a lot of) backyard bird photos, ask for plumber recommendations, sell old hedge trimmers, or poll Port Orchard residents about whether or not Fred Meyer sells bulk flax seed (rather than, you know, actually calling Fred Meyer). It’s not the kind of place you go looking for mountain climbers who might be missing cameras. But what the group does have going for it is a lot of active members (12,651 at last count).

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Scenes from opening day of the shrimping season

DSC_0504Despite a late start to the season, opening day of Puget Sound shrimping still drew crowds in Hood Canal.

Low tides pushed the opener about a week, forcing many shrimpers to change vacation days, motel reservations and other plans.DSC_0476Quilcene and Dabob bays were as busy as ever, though, with lines to get boats in and out before and after Saturday’s four-hour shrimping period.

Three more days remain for Hood Canal shrimping: tomorrow (Wednesday), May 28 and May 30. For dates and times in other marina areas, head over to the state Dept. of Fish & Wildlife’s shrimping page.


Photos: Dabob Bay on Hood Canal. Tristan Baurick/Kitsap Sun

Sellout crowd for ‘Return of the River’

IMG_4724Thanks everyone who turned out for Friday’s sell-out showing of “Return of the River” in downtown Bremerton.

The Kitsap Sun hosted the screening as an added feature in our ongoing coverage of the Elwha River dam removal and recovery.

The film documenIMG_4729ts the Elwha’s history, from the early days of dam construction to the long political fight to tear them down.

We hit the theater’s capacity (795 seats) and, unfortunately, had to turn a lot of people away. The filmmakers quickly sold all the DVD copies they brought to the event.

You can still order a DVD by sending the filmmakers an email. Info here. Kitsap Regional Library has a copy for check out but the holds are stacking up.

Part of the ticket sales benefited Great Peninsula Conservancy, so a nice big check’s headed their way.

Photos: Tristan Baurick/Kitsap Sun

Parkland Profiles: Eagle Harbor’s hidden park

DSC_0188People traveling Bainbridge Island’s busy Eagle Harbor Drive have no doubt seen it. It’s the green beach meadow with the little white sailboat that’s been grounded there for years.

Unbeknownst to almost everyone, this five-acre slice of waterfront has been publicly owned for more than a decade. A few years ago, it was made a park – though no official dedication or announcement was made. No signs mark it and no park maps identify it.

Screen Shot 2016-05-03 at 11.00.51 PMThat’s because the property known simply as “Lumpkin” is not quite ready for visitors – or at least not a lot of them. Much of the property is dominated by sensitive tidal marsh, limiting the development of trails and other basic park infrastructure.

“But it’s a really nice spot, and it’s a different experience being in it rather that what most people do, which is see it from the other side (of the harbor),” said Dan Hamlin, the district’s park services superintendent.

DSC_0131Despite its limitations, the property offers a scenic viewpoint and a pullout for kayakers and paddleboarders. The water-side half of the meadow is covered in sea beans (delicious sea beans).

Sea beans

The property shouldn’t be confused with a park-like private property on the other side of the harbor (next to an auto repair shop).

The district has no plans for the Lumpkin property but the public is welcome to visit. Hamlin says it would fit nicely into cross-island trail network that may one day link Winslow with Gazzam Lake Nature Preserve on the island’s west side.

The meadow could be harmed by heavy visitation. The park district might consider building a boardwalk and viewing platform to protect fragile grasses from foot traffic. However, these structures would require special permitting and analysis to ensure that they have little impact on wildlife and tidal habitat, said park planner Perry Barrett.

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Test your Elwha knowledge, win tickets to “Return of the River”

On Friday evening, the Kitsap Sun will host a screening of “Return of the River,” a documentary about the Elwha dam removal project. The show starts at 6.m. at the Admiral Theatre in downtown Bremerton. That’s the trailer above. The filmmakers, John Gussman and Jessica Plumb, will be on-hand for a panel discussion.

Tickets are $12, with proceeds benefiting Great Peninsula Conservancy.

Photo: Admiral Theatre Foundation
Photo: Admiral Theatre Foundation

I’m offering two free tickets to the first person who aces my Elwha quiz.

All of the answers can be found in my recent story, “River Delta’s Rebirth,” which explores the dramatic changes happening at the mouth of the Elwha.

Study up by reading the story here.

Send your quiz answers to me by email,


1. How much sediment has flowed down the Elwha since its two dams were removed?

2. How many dump trucks would that fill?

3. How tall was the Glines Canyon Dam?

4. How has the fashion sense of decorator crabs changed since the dams were removed?

5. Port Angeles built a massive seawall near the Elwha’s mouth to hold back what?

6. How much did the dam removal cost?

7. What kind of seafood does the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe say is in greater abundance now that the dams are gone?

8. What human-made feature still blocks part of the river at its mouth?

9. What percentage of shoreline between the Elwha’s mouth and Port Angeles is covered by bulkheads and other beach armoring?

10. What day was the last bit of dam blasted out?


Don’t have what it takes to be a winner? Don’t worry, you can still buy your way into the a seat at the Admiral. But you’ve got to act quick. As of this (Tuesday) morning, we had pre-sold about 500 tickets, so we’re getting pretty close to capacity. Online ticket sales and more info about the screening can be found here.

Want to help revive the Elwha?

DSC_1241Today’s story about the uncertain future of the Elwha River’s re-vegetation project sparked some questions about how people can help.

Fortunately, there are plenty of opportunities to get one’s hands dirty (and wet, and cold) as a volunteer at the Albright Native Plant Center in Sequim or during a planting party on the river.

It’s not for everyone. The recent replanting party I joined involved walking knee-deep through a river channel, a bit of a hike and hours of digging.

DSC_1099DSC_1060As Laurel Moulton, one of the project leaders, said, “I have people stand in the rain and dig holes — and they thank me for it in the end.”

The volunteers I spoke with were all smiles.

“The river changes every single time I come out,” said Stephen Lowe of Sequim. “It’s a river that’s alive.”

The planting season just ended, but the volunteer work parties should start up again in October and run until March. One or two parties are scheduled each month. Call (360) 683-0757 to find out what’s scheduled when fall comes around.

DSC_1230The native plant center offers year-round volunteer opportunities. Drop in anytime between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Mondays and Wednesdays, to see where you can help with watering, weeding, potting, etc. It’s a fascinating place, and its staff truly value their volunteers.

DSC_1306“The volunteers have been essential here,” botanist David Allen told me during a tour. “They built it and they’ve been helping out with everything ever since.”

The center is in Robin Hill Farm County Park – a really nice park with a section of the Olympic Discovery Trail running through. The address is 323 Pinnell Rd.,
Sequim. The center’s entrance is about 600 feet west of the park’s main parking area.

For more info, head over here:

DSC_1301Photos: Tristan Baurick/Kitsap Sun

Beach naturalist training series begins Thursday

BeachNaturalistsVolunteer beach naturalist groups do some pretty interesting work in Kitsap.

Besides learning a great deal while exploring local beaches, the naturalists have the opportunity to take part in important research.

A good recent example was the Bainbridge Beach Naturalists’ participation in a region-wide investigation that used thousands of mussels to reveal evidence that human-caused contaminants are creeping into all parts of Puget Sound.

Click here in case you missed our story on that.

The Washington State University’s Kitsap Extension is recruiting a fresh batch of naturalists this week. On Thursday, they’ll start their annual beach naturalist training in downtown Poulsbo.

The training involves five evening classes and a few field trips.

“We’ll learn about sea stars, clams, crabs, and other cool critters – as well as seaweeds and plants that live on our beaches,” said Lisa Rillie of the Kitsap Extension.

Graduates of the program can volunteer on several service projects, including helping with beach exploration trips and monitoring projects like the one mentioned above.

Here are the details:

When: Thursday evenings, April 7 – May 5 from 6 pm to 9 pm.
Where: Poulsbo Marine Science Center, 18743 Front St.
Who: Adults and teens are welcome to attend. Children under 14 must be accompanied by an adult.
Cost: Cost for 5 weeks is $75. Scholarships are available.

More info: Contact Lisa Rillie at or register online at Space is limited.

Photo: Bainbridge Beach Naturalists assist on a state Department of Fish & Wildlife mussel monitoring project in February . By Steve Zugschwerdt

Several days of razor clamming set for April

ClamsAprilState fisheries managers approved a big batch of razor clamming days for the first part of April.

Here’s the schedule:

  • April 4, Monday, 5:04 p.m.; 0.1 feet; Long Beach
  • April 5, Tuesday, 5:51 p.m.; 0.0 feet; Long Beach
  • April 6, Wednesday, 6:36 p.m.; 0.0 feet; Long Beach
  • April 7, Thursday, 7:07 a.m.; -0.6 feet; Long Beach, Copalis, Mocrocks
  • April 8, Friday, 7:54 a.m.; -1.1 feet; Long Beach, Copalis, Mocrocks
  • April 9, Saturday, 8:42 a.m.; -1.3 feet; Long Beach, Copalis
  • April 10, Sunday, 9:32 a.m.; -1.2 feet; Long Beach, Mocrocks
  • April 11, Monday, 10:23 a.m.; -0.9 feet; Long Beach
  • April 12, Tuesday, 11:19 a.m.; -0.4 feet; Long Beach

Note that the opening switches from evening to morning tides beginning April 7.

The state Dept. of Fish & Wildlife delayed the razor clam season due to high levels of domoic acid, a toxin produced by marine algae. Toxin levels at Twin Harbors Beach remain above the threshold (20 parts per million) set by public health officials, and remains closed for clam digging.

Razor clams at Twin Harbors had the highest levels of domoic acid during the peak of the harmful algae bloom in 2015,  and it’s taking longer for clams there to rid themselves of the toxin, said  Fish & Wildlife shellfish manager Dan Ayres.

Twin Harbors may not open this spring. Fish & Wildlife continues to monitor toxin levels  will announce openings on the department’s razor clam webpage.

Photo: Washington Dept. of Fish & Wildlife

New energy drink made from Bremerton’s drug-spiked wastewater

WasteWater WildWhere scientists see an environmental problem and Bremerton’s city leaders see a public relations embarrassment, two local entrepreneurs see money – and lots of it.

“When we heard the news, a lightbulb just went on in my head,” said Alex ‘Blaine’ Layder, a resident of Poulsbo. “And I was, like, ‘We can sell this stuff, bro.'”

Layder and business partner Joe King, of Seabeck, are turning Bremerton’s infamously drugged-up wastewater into what industry experts are calling the world’s first energy drink derived from an assortment of prescription medications and illegal drugs found in municipal wastewater. If the wastewater goes untended like this, it’d only give a rise to more unscrupulous businesses. This proper garbage disposal comparison guide takes on a diverse set of factors to apprise citizens on the dangers.

They call it ‘Wastewater Wild.’ If approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the drink – chock full of uppers, downers, hormones, pain killers and a random assortment of diabetes and high blood pressure meds – could hit stores in time for summer. Flavors will include grape, raspberry, watermelon, lemon-lime and ‘blue.’

In February, government and university scientists published a report revealing that high concentrations of cocaine, methamphetamine, caffeine, antidepressants and other drugs were flowing into Puget Sound from Bremerton’s sewage treatment plant. Salmon visiting the waters off Bremerton were found to have high levels of caffeine, steroids and other chemical compounds.

Having undergone a rigorous treatment process to remove solids and bacteria before release, the wastewater is considered ‘clean’ when it’s pumped into Sinclair Inlet, said the plant’s manager, Sue Widge.

It’s unclear whether such effluent is safe for human consumption.

“Hey, it’s clean, man. I mean, it’s clean enough,” Layder said. “If it’s clean enough for those salmon and orca whales – which I think are, like, endangered species – then it’s clean enough for everybody, right?”

“And besides, all this stuff came out of people in the first place,” King added. “We’re just putting it back.”

“Yeah!” exclaimed Layder. “We’re, like, recycling. You know? Go green!”

The makers of Wastewater Wild plan to market their drink to practitioners of ‘extreme sports.’

“Oh, yeah, this is going to be big – whitewater kayaking, bungee jumping, hang gliding, freediving, BASE jumping, pickleball…” King said.

“Imagine all that while drinking this,” Layder said before chugging a can of Wastewater Wild.

Another key demographic might be weekend warriors looking to spice up a day of skiing or mountain biking.

“Just imagine the rush of Prozac, Flonase, Paxil, Cipro, Zantac, Lipitor and, like, who knows what else hitting you all at once when you’re shredding the singletrack up at Stottlemeyer,” King said.

Wastewater Wild is not without side effects. The full impact of consuming a multitude of chemical compounds found in wastewater has not been fully studied.

“It’s true there’s side effects,” said Layder, who began to shiver and sweat after crushing his empty can. “Like right now, I’m pretty stoked, but I think the walls of my heart are on fire. And, bro, could you gimmie that bandana? I think I might cry blood again.”

A preliminary list of side effects can be found below.

Hives, restlessness, bleeding from eyes, cool pale skin, itchy scalp, delusions of grandeur, twitchy toes, slippery nose, knowing where the wind blows, burning sensation under eyelids, diarrhea, difficulty with concentration, dryness of the mouth,  excessive hunger, loss of appetitive, fast or irregular heartbeat, no heartbeat, puffy elbows, sweaty elbows, joint or muscle pain, joint disjointing, drowsiness, staying awake for a week or more, tooth loss, severe tooth growth, trouble breathing, swelling of ankles or hands, forgetting to remember, remembering to forget, shivering, shaking, feelings of vim and/or vigor, unusual facial movements, headache, blindness, seeing too much, seeing into the heart of the matter, lack of energy, unpleasant breathe odor, breathe odor reminiscent of Skittles and cauliflower, liver rupture, lung collapse, itching along inner-dome of the skull, constipation, blue-yellow color blindness, seeing colors no one else can, excessive use of the phrase ‘just sayin,’ spontaneous combustion, blistering elbows, loosening of skin around elbows, creaky elbows, elbow loss, clay-colored stool, wood-colored stool, blood in stool, stool in stool, vomiting, depression, violent ennui, bleeding gums, fainting, noisy breathing, noisy ears, nosy neighbors, nosy nose, hostility, excessive weight gain, red lumps everywhere except elbows, yellow eyes or skin, swollen or painful glands, slurred speech, giving speeches, feelings of sluggishness or weakness, hair loss, excessive hair growth on elbows, scaly skin, howling at the moon, mooing at the sun, yawning, stomach cramps, ouchies all over.

  • E D I T O R ‘ S   N O T E :  A p r i l  F o o l s !