Pacific Northwest Salmon Center gains momentum with property

It’s good to see progress on the Pacific Northwest Salmon Center, which was originally envisioned as an $18 million, world-class facility that would attract people from throughout the Northwest.

The dream is still alive, but it appears that the center will need some time to get on its feet — unless one or more major benefactors step forward. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has just acquired a key 52-acre parcel, as I describe in today’s Kitsap Sun.

Site of future Pacific Northwest Salmon Center in Belfair (foreground)

There’s nothing wrong with dreaming, and organizers include some of the same people who began with a few small salmon incubators and eventually turned the Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group into a highly respected research organization.

So far, those with opposing views have been kind of quiet. In the past, concerns have been raised about the salmon center working outside of public view and about failing to follow proper procedures. A couple of the critics were North Mason School Board members who were ousted in the last election.

Still, there is a provision added to Mason County’s comprehensive plan about protecting agricultural land. I understand there are still some concerns about how the language — which involves intensity of uses — might affect the plans for the center. It’s an issue that may need to be worked through if plans are to be fully realized.

For now, it’s time to celebrate the 52-acre acquisition. A get-together is planned for Wednesday from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at property, which is part of the Johnson Farm, 600 Roessel Road, Belfair.

Scheduled speakers include Jack Johnson, property owner; County Commissioner Lynda Ring Erickson; Joe Ryan, salmon recovery program manager for Puget Sound Partnership; Dan O’Neal, a member of the Puget Sound Partnership’s Leadership Council; and Mike Boyle, chairman of the board for the North Mason Chamber of Commerce.

3 thoughts on “Pacific Northwest Salmon Center gains momentum with property

  1. I’m surprised such a place would be chosen for a salmon development center…if salmon would be raised there in the closed end of Hood Canal.
    Doesn’t the Hood Canal waters at Belfair have health issues introduced salmon effluent would add to?

    Sharon O’Hara

  2. The Pacific Northwest Salmon Center will not be producing salmon, but will serve as a salmon ‘museum’ and learning center by inviting folks to visit, learn and explore. The PNWSC will provide information about the complex and sensitive nature of Hood Canal by sharing the results of research and monitoring activities. The location of the PNWSC is very conducive to learning about the regional and local issues surrounding salmon. The end of the canal has freshwater streams, a large intact estuarine system, and nearshore habitat which leads to a dynamic marine system. The opportunity to provide a ‘salmon’ message integrated with how we share the land has great potential. I encourage everyone to learn as they can about the goals and vision of the PNWSC.

  3. Thank you, Dan Hannafious, for a clear explaination. I’m glad to know salmon won’t be raised there.

    …”…The end of the canal has freshwater streams, a large intact estuarine system, and nearshore habitat which leads to a dynamic marine system.”

    Fresh water streams flow into the canal all along the North Shore but it hasn’t served to lessen the toxins in the canal…or has it?

    What is the nearshore habitat you mentioned?

    The possibilities for direct public education on the marine life ecosystem there is enormous…but I thought the canal was fragile and wouldn’t lend itself to a heavily visited display center.

    We don’t have cleansing tides in the canal as the Kitsap Marine Science Center in Poulsbo has.
    And that wonderful facility is underfunded…

    Does part of the Johnson farm land flood at any time? If so, what provisions would you make?

    Teaching about our environment is a great idea – but not to the point of too many people loving that environment to death through overuse.
    In my opinion… Sharon O’Hara

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