Subject: Bowermand Basin Boondoggle
Date: May 1 09:36:35 1995
From: "M. Smith" - whimbrel at

On Sun, 30 Apr 1995, Burton Guttman wrote:

-After shorebirding at Bowerman Basin today, I found this on my windshield:
-Grays Harbor Audubon Action Alert

-Please call the federal congressperson listed below who represents the
-Grays Harbor area and ask that money be appropriated for the building of a
-boardwalk at the Grays Harbor National Wildlife Refuge. Total cost is
-estimated at ***one million dollars***.

(snip) (emphasis mine)

Now, I don't think I'm out of line here, but isn't that an awful lot of
money to be asking for a *boardwalk*? Think about it, they want 1
*million* dollars. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for supporting our refuges
and parks, but I think this sounds like precisely the type of financial
boondoggle that conservatives are tired of paying for (and me). Though
I'm not a conservative, I will admit they have a point about limiting
government spending. Just because a project is sponsored by the Grays
Harbor Audubon Society, and (perhaps) the Bowerman Basin NWR, doesn't mean
conservationists should blindly step in and support it. I can't believe
they are serious about wanting a million-dollar boardwalk. I have been
out there three years in a row, and I see the need for such a structure.
But I cannot picture what they would put on it to cost a *million*
dollars? Sterling silver railings? Computerized laser-guided
identification scopes? Maybe a helicopter landing pad? Tripod-mounted
Zeiss 10x40 binos every 10 feet? Any contractors on Tweeters who do such
work? I think if we are going to write our congressional reps and ask
them to support a million-dollar boardwalk, we can't be too upset when
they don't want to allocate funds for buying habitat.

Tweets who have been out there, what do you think? All it really needs is
a simple boardwalk from the end of the airport parking lot out to the
sandy spit. And maybe a low split-rail fence to keep watchers from going
out too far. This would even make it wheelchair-accessible. Maybe even
have a tall observation platform at the parking lot for people who don't
wish to walk out to the spit? The goal should be to minimize the impact
feet have on marsh when so many people trod along the same path. I could
see that project costing $50K or so, that would leave us $950K to buy the
grazing rights to Sagebrush Flats, to exterminate Spartina in Padilla Bay,
to buy lowland old-growth forests, to restore Palouse Prairie patches.

**Think about it - one million dollars**

Jeez, for a million bucks, I'd consider going into boardwalk-building.

Michael R. Smith
Univ. of Washington, Seattle
whimbrel at