Subject: Re: Bowermand Basin Boondoggle
Date: May 1 13:23:16 1995
From: Burton Guttman - guttmanb at

When I posted that notice from the Grays Harbor Audubon folks, I didn't
realize it would start this kind of thread. The million dollars sounded
high to me, but I don't _know_. We need information from people like
Russell Rogers, who do know, and from someone with actual plans and

However, I see that Jon Anderson wrote:

> Realizing that the airport, etc is built on fill, anyway, there's not a
> lot of 'habitat' to protect in not building a boardwalk. But, building
> any sort of walkway out there will certainly increase pedestrian traffic,
> will put more people out onto the flats, and end up stomping more habitat
> down as well as harassing the avifauna (no, I don't think a little fence
> will keep people back any more than barricades keep touristas behind them
> in any National Park).
> For Pete's Sake - we don't need personalized, subsidized access to all of
> our natural areas. The Parks are over-crowded, crime-ridden rural slums
> as it is. We don't need to develop our National Wildlife Refuges into
> the same situation. Refuges are for wildlife! If we build access for
> people, people will come.

> And the wildlife they came to study and 'adore'? Where will they go?

When I saw the idea for a boardwalk, I immediately thought of Hans Suter
Park (I think I have the name right) in Corpus Christi, Texas, where I've
spent some pleasant hours birding. The park runs along a great marsh and
mudflat that supports herons, egrets, spoonbills, and zillions of
shorebirds in the winter. They've built a fine boardwalk right out into
the marsh, including at least one spot that is a partial blind. This
allows people to walk out easily to places where they can observe the
birds and learn to appreciate them. A kind of kiosk near the path shows
the birds most likely to be seen, with some information about them.

There is nothing overcrowded or slummy about it. It is built for people,
yes, and the people do come. If there were no boardwalk, a few birders
might thrash around in the marsh (destroying habitat), but most people
would know nothing about the marsh and would just consider it wasteland,
to be "developed." A similar boardwalk at Bowerman would allow people to
get out there easily where they could see the shorebirds and learn to
appreciate them, without having to slog through the mud. (My god, look
how much of the marsh is turned into a muddy mess every year by those of us
who slog out there now.) The boardwalk could be built to parallel the
water-line at the end, with many blind areas where people could set up
their scopes--or, for most people, just stand and look-- without disturbing
the birds.

Yes, a million bucks sounds awfully high, but I don't know. However, for
educational purposes, for helping people to understand the importance of
making that area into a wildlife refuge rather than letting it be
destroyed, for letting people see the beauty of these little animals--it
seems like a great idea.

(Apparently there are no Grays Harbor people on Tweeters. I would sure
like to see some firm plans and sound estimates.)

Burt Guttman guttmanb at
The Evergreen State College Voice: 360-866-6000, x. 6755
Olympia, WA 98505 FAX: 360-866-6794