Subject: Re: Bowermand Basin Boondoggle Date: May 1 13:23:16 1995 From: Burton Guttman - guttmanb at elwha.evergreen.edu
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 estimates.
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 elwha.evergreen.edu The Evergreen State College Voice: 360-866-6000, x. 6755 Olympia, WA 98505 FAX: 360-866-6794