Outdoors

Saving Blanchard

The legacy begins with you

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Along the coastline of Chuckanut Drive, the logging countdown is on.

Blanchard Mountain, the Oyster Dome Trail, and surrounding hiking trails and campgrounds are in imminent danger of being clearcut as long as people stand on the sidelines. This is not only about saving the trees and protecting a vital ecosystem that provides a safe haven for animals and humans alike, it is also about humans stepping up, speaking out, being active, responsible and empowered.

Thousands of residents know this forest well. They come every week, all year long, for recreational activities and memorable sunsets. This place is part of the beauty that defines the Pacific Northwest, and in return we identify with it. Of course, Blanchard Mountain isn’t the only endangered place in the world, but it is in our local backyard and now is the time to take action to save it.

From my experience on this planet, the story I have seen play out over and over goes like this: People have an obligation to take care of their daily lives. They work hard, raise families, go to school, and find themselves busier than they anticipated. Meanwhile, the environment they care about slips away. So many times we just put off writing that letter or contributing money to a worthy cause because that is just one more thing to put on the to-do list.

In this case, the result of postponing these simple efforts will be the loss of 1,600 acres of forest along the last part of the Cascade Mountain Range. If the $7.7 million still needed to permanently protect Blanchard isn’t found when the current legislative session ends on April 23, logging will start in July and the impacts will be irreversible. To put it bluntly, this is the grand invitation for waking up in 2017. Standing up for Blanchard Mountain is the training we need to get back on point for dealing with the present state of our society in this country.

Getting in contact with your local representatives is easier than you think. With just a few clicks, you can send comments to Governor Jay Inslee (http://www.governor.wa.gov), contact the State Legislature (http://www.leg.wa.gov), sign your name on an online petition (http://www.change.org or www.bit.ly/SaveBlanchardMtn), glean details at a land trust site (http://www.conservationnw.org) and more. Most of these tasks can be accomplished within 15 minutes. If you type up your thoughts and mail a personal letter, it takes less than an hour. Start somewhere.

In fact, make contacting elected officials a daily routine. Once local representatives catch wind of people’s interest they are more likely to pay attention.

At the moment, there is a local online forum going on with the locals of the Blanchard area, some of which have been working to preserve Blanchard Mountain for quite some time. This is open to anyone and there are plenty of people to connect with. It’s a great place to start.

Recently, people have been making the trip to Olympia to visit and speak with Legislature representatives. Letters are being written, petitions are being signed, people are passing out flyers along the trailheads, actions are being posted daily online and active discussions pertaining to strategies for what is coming up next are being held.

Most of all, people are needed and will be needed to keep this momentum and effort going forward. If you have ever made time to take a hike up to the Oyster Dome, please take time to speak out and take action to protect your forest.

Activist, writer and musician David A. Smith (Dave Salad) has called the Pacific Northwest home since 2006.

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