Sunday, March 24, 2013

Odlin Park Old Growth

As part of the Odlin Park redesign, the County has been removing trees (see photo below). Remember, this is the redesign of the park on Lopez that was originally budgeted for $445,000 which has grown (last we knew) to $992,350.

The motivation to spend $1 million on Odlin Park has always been a bit of a mystery, but it is especially mysterious why we are cutting down trees to put in more campsites. Moreover, concern arose today that the County is going to be cutting down old growth trees tomorrow. We don't know if that's true, but here's what we do know.

Over a dozen old growth trees have been tagged with ribbons at the site (see more photos below). We are not certain whether these are "do not cut" markers or "cut" markers. However, even if they are "do not cut" markers, reports are that at least two old growth trees will be logged tomorrow anyway. The trees in question are about 4.5 feet in diameter (and 14 feet in circumference). They're big ... probably 500 years old by some estimates ... and from at least one stump in the area, it looks like one old growth tree has already been taken down. Admittedly, the removed tree had rot on the interior, but we wouldn't be surprised if all the old growth in this area had some interior rot.

So why are we building more campsites? Why are we building campsites among old growth trees? Why are we building campsites next to trees that have rot and may be a hazard? Why the heck are we doing any of this? If one old growth tree has to come down because of rot, mightn't they all have to come down ... at least eventually ... especially if they're next to a bunch of campers? It seems like every time the County takes down trees, the result is less desirable than if they had just left things alone ... like the resulting odious Eastsound mosquito factory ... or the pathetic wetland mitigation along Fisherman Bay Road resulting from the $2+ million road improvement a couple of years ago.

As mentioned, reports are that at least some of the Odlin old growth trees are scheduled to come down tomorrow (Monday, March 25), and at least one Lopezian was concerned enough to even put up his own sign on one of the vulnerable trees. If you are concerned about this, write your Council person. If you are concerned about this, write to Dona Wuthnow who is the project manager for the Odlin redesign. If you are concerned about this, show up at the park early tomorrow morning. If you are concerned about it, do something ... now!

Word is that the County is eager to get this project completed so they can get paying campers into the new campsites as soon as possible. The County wants revenue (as usual). They want the new campsites ready for this season. We think the County's got its priorities wrong. The County needs to involve Lopezians regarding the decisions about the trees, the park, and about the wisdom of putting more campsites in the selected location in the first place.


  1. If we can't control costs -- and the county cannot -- then we have to increase revenue if we're going to have growing county budgets. I guess a few old growth trees don't stand a chance compared to the county budget.

    Homeowners don't stand a chance either. They'll mow us all down.

  2. There is just no winning with the "boogey man is behind every door" crowd...let me get this straight, the TH, the "there are no problems here let's do what we want when we want it blog spot" is complaining because some trees are being removed? You gotta be kidding me. Complaining because the county *gasp* is trying to increase business? Holy cow, make up your mind already, free enterprise or not, you want the county to butt out of your property concerns, but you want to butt into the county's? What a joke, what a clear insight into Lopez...a bunch of the way, those are NOT old growth, they are second at best, third most likely...

  3. Who will speak for the trees?

    Hello? Stephanie? David? Amanda? Lovel? Jamie?

    ... crickets ...

    These aren't second growth, they are OLD GROWTH. This is insane. Stop it, stop it stop it!

    But I guess Odlin Park is providing essential public services so the County doesn't have to pay attention to its rules so much. Maybe they will start to truck in old canisters of poison gas and crates of obsolete germ bombs for storage fees. That would be one way to use the festering mosquito pit in Eastsound at least.

  4. If a tree falls in the woods and Lovel is around, will she be able to recall anything??

  5. @7:36

    You are not seriously arguing that the County has a right to privacy, are you? But that its citizens do not?

    You're not seriously arguing that the County needs to undertake a $1 million eco-tourist development campsite improvement that cuts down 500-year old trees and puts a road through a purported wetland ... none of which the local citizens wanted, are you?

    That's the way this County works, and it doesn't suit us ... no. This County does things for its own benefit, not for the benefit of its citizens ... or for the benefit of the environment. If it can earn revenue and shift costs to citizens (CAOs), it will. If it can increase enforcement and beat up on homeowners for land use peccadillos and get money out of it, it will. And if it has to cut down 500-year old trees and spend $1 million to get a few more shekels, it will.

    This County is all about itself, not about the citizens ... not about the environment. Yep, as long as the County continues to look after itself and not the People, it can't win with the TH.

  6. I imagine we will have Council candidates getting tied up to trees. Yes, that's good. I'm sure there are important trees like the young couple are defining in the picture that should have been marked as DO NOT CUT.

    I have eleven eagle perch trees, not nests, as delineated by the DOE as part of my forest conversion permit. (eight months it took) They said I could cut down four of them, my choice, but I cut none of them.

    Those darn responsible San Juan County property owners; we have GOT to control them, inspect them, fine them, jail them. I am one of them.

  7. There may be a hand-full of old-growth trees in the entire San Juan's, those are NOT old-growth, take a trip to where old-growth actually exists and you will know those are NOT old growth, and the point is be consistent, why does the TH give two craps about some trees being cut down? If a private citizen has shoreline property is it not the TH's position they should be able to clear trees out for a view? I mean c'mon that view means property value, cut that crap DOWN! Ohhh but when the County does it it's a CONSPIRACY, probably a part of Agenda 21...OHHH NOOO not Agenda 21!!

  8. Evelyn F. Fuchser where have you been? Would you be a write in candidate?

    Your letter is fantastic!

    All the best to you! Give em Hell, lady.

  9. @8:06

    Um ... well ... thank you for clarifying that these trees aren't particularly special to anyone. I think the people in the picture might disagree with you, as well as several others.

    Obviously this post has served more as an ink-blot test for you, revealing more about your preconceptions than it does our position. Thanks for giving us an insight into your perspective.

    The government is not a person, and is not entitled to rights, as a person is. People are entitled to rights, not government. Consistency is not the goal, democracy is.

  10. 8:06 First, welcome to free speech and the TH where it exists all day long. Yes, there are agenda 21 folks ringing their bells.

    I must correct you, however, as the TH has NEVER (yeah, I've been reading since day one) said that shoreline property owners should mow down trees for the view and to enhance property value.

    Sorry, that language never has happened and if you have such a quote please let us see it. (I'll try to be the first to offer an apology.)

    In fact, the TH spends it's time mostly on on digging up information on the reality that County government has run a muck and Odin Park is sadly another example.

    Stick around. I suspect you will see soon that the TH has YOUR and the general public's interest at heart.

  11. If a tree falls in the woods, and two cows aren't around to hear it, is that "absenteeism"?

    Back to reality, I don't live on Lopez, but I hope the big trees are saved, no matter if they are "old growth" or not.

    Jumbo difference between private property and public property, especially parks. If this were private property, might be different, but it seems especially whacked that a park wants to take out big trees. We want big trees in our parks. Although, San Juan County wants campers rather than big trees. Campers pay cash on the barrelhead. Trees are freeloaders! They're non-paying deadbeat cellulosic leafy scum!

    I don't get where @8:06 is coming from either. What did a large-but-not-quite-up-to-your-standard-non-old-growth tree ever do to you? If I didn't know better, I'd say you've been drinking the moat water again.

  12. Thank you Amanda Azous for the odious Eastsound mosquito hatchery. Thank you Scott Rozenbum (sp?) for the pathetic Lopez Road wetland mitigation eyesore.

  13. How long would it take to get a return on the $million, after daily expenses? I think the county should run all the business around here. We could all own it in common. Sounds just to me.

  14. If a tree isn't old growth, just give it a few years and it will be.
    When info camping, i like being in the woods not cleared out parked out "glamping" sites. Glamping = glamorous camping. Like a certain unnamed campground in the islands that has a sore with several varieties of "gourmet marshmallows".
    We want more of that??

    I envision a local Lopez campground as a few vehicles on a large rural lot with visiting folks enjoyin the company and hospitality of the islanders.

    Open your fields Lopezians!! Open your hearts!!
    Advertise free camping or "campsite available for trade : fish, firewood, beer or other!!

    Flood the Internet with a post that promoted local islanders allowing campers.

    Those trees are stunning. Thanks to all those who are working towards preservation.

  15. Democracy: The tyranny of the majority.
    If the TH believes in democracy then the inevitability of a Lovel, Lisa, Jamie council will affirm that the majority of people in the San Juans think the CAO is a good idea and is the right way to go...that's what you truly believe?
    Agenda 21 is coming BE AFRAID, BE VERY AFRAID...OMG I think I just saw a black helicopter being flown by Shirene Hale with Stephanie Buffam hanging out the side with a camera ohhhh noooo Agenda 21 Agenda 21

  16. @7:03, 7:36, 6:10 just show that trolls live in (posts about) woods.

  17. Look at the damage the County has inflicted on Eastsound recently, in an effort to spend grant $$$ on things the residents don't want, and that ruin the look and feel of our village:

    - the ugly fenced "wetlands" project behind the village green
    - the ugly fenced "wetlands" project on the Stone Bridge Farm property
    - the Mount Baker Road superhighway conversion project

    It brings a tear to your eye to go through Eastsound now.

    But we need to keep our county employees fully-employed, and those grant dollars flowing.

  18. @8:06 consistency troll

    Where's the tree blowdown forest BS buffer that Shirene (sic @6:10) invented for the CAO.

  19. The only reason the project cost doubled is because Pratt is so responsible with our tax money.

    It was in a wetland, who knew?
    There was old growth, shoreline buffers, red-legged frogs, surf smelt, and birds, who knew?

    Now the cost of every project will double. Who Knew?

  20. Hahahahahaha!

    Who knew?

  21. Dona W "I have old growth" at 1:23 on the video.

  22. I believe that many/most/all?... supporters of Lovel and Lisa are only supportive because they are fooled by a facade. I am fairly certain most people haven't had the time or energy to delve into the details concerning the CAO. And it's a very difficult thing to express quickly.

    Not only that..but in our society we are taught to adhere to authority figures from our very early childhood. And the council people, planning dept, etc...have a tiny edge there that relies on that small bit of (often undeserved) built in respect.

    Add to that the faux environmental message they tout (when really they're following the grants or the ego) and you have a predisposition that has gotten us into this mess.

    I am an environmentalist but I disagree entirely w/their point of view. But I have spent hours, days, weeks, months! researching the CAO business. I have no confidence or trust left there. I particularly dislike Shireene Hale's influence there.

    Lovel will keep repeating..."We're required to update the CAO blah blah blah..." but can't back up the real reasoning behind the new "requirements" when pressed. But you have to have some facts in your pocket to know some pressing is needed! Luckily word seems to be getting out. But any majority rule supporting her in this case will be a sadly ignorant one.

    Another impression I have is that the Odlin Park situation is another Grant funded circus. Just think of how kids...when they've struggled to earn their own money...spend it very carefully...but if they're casually handed a pile of bills it flows like water. They almost want to get rid of it.

  23. And incumbent Jamie to the effect that we have all the CAO buzzwords in one place ... Odlin Park. Hahahah. Now, spend more money and get out those chainsaws.

    Yes, and she clearly says we have old growth. Let me ask something to the little drone buzzing around out there, how does a 500 year old tree turn out to be second growth in your grand philosophy>

    The notion that either the TH or commentators lack strong environmental ethics because we laugh out loud a corrupt, self-dealing incompetent government is well ... kind of laughable really ... offensive in a way ... sort of desperate

  24. Agenda 21 is some sort of conspiracy theory, if I read some posts here correctly. It is "only" a set of voluntary guidelines for "sustainable" development .
    Just as harmless as the CAO's?

    Perhaps the Agenda 21 defenders could explain exactly what impact "Contraction and Convergence", or "Greenhouse Development Rights" would have on our daily lives if the Rio+20 crowd could wave their magic coercive wand and implement these policies? After all, it is just a set of "guidelines" for sustainable economies and climate change mitigation.

  25. This is so interesting. No, Agenda 21 is not a conspiracy theory at all. The idea of the United States being governed by the United Nations is a bit over the top, but that's not the issue at all.

    We can be governed by international treaties what we agree to right? And the UN can play a major role in formulating international treaties and providing a forum for debate to bring parties to the table, right?

    Of course it does, that's the whole point of the UN. But signing a treaty is a voluntary act. After the act, enforcement is possible but usually a bit tough to pull off.

    Agenda 21 is a set of policies for sustainable development established by the Rio accords, for voluntary implementation primarily at the local municipal level. Bush I endorsed it, so did Clinton.

    It has unleashed an eco-industrial complex to shove it down our collective throats while being told its voluntary.

    But it is not a conspiracy.

  26. TH, Thank you for linking that video. It is truly a circus and Lovel's comment "We have identified additional funding...." is SO TYPICAL!!!

    VOTE FOR BOB JARMAN!!!!! Someone who doesn't think money grows on trees in wetlands in frequently flooded areas where endangered amphibians party...!

  27. Has anyone seen today's Island Guardian announcement of the Code Enforcement hearing meeting for Thursday??? Given the case they are currently involved in, this is scary as He!!. Do a search on Nuisance Abatement Teams in the California area of Antelope Valley. Notice that the county is going to define a Nuisance and their Rights to Entry to Private Property. Seems some Constitutional rights are about to get violated yet again. The county employee's work for US, not as a money making, self serving, business that controls US. If the County Council allows this to go forward, they all need to be recalled for violation of our rights!

  28. Re: TrustIslanders! In a letter to the editor Royce Meyerott states:

    TrustIslanders! is a PAC that is listed with the Public Disclosure Commission and will follow all rules as required by the State of Washington.

    I can't find it on the PDC. Does anyone know where it is listed? I think I might be looking at the wrong place. A link would be great.

  29. Regarding the Public Disclosure Commission. They will the post records soon.

    Trust Islanders! was properly registered and acknowledged but it is brand new (barely a few weeks) and it will take a little bit for the PDC paper mill to catch up, once it does the reports should post regularly.

    Stay tuned.

  30. @10:28 -- thanks!

  31. @ 7:36 am Drink some coffee, man, because I don't think you're processing what TH posted. First, it may come as a surprise but Odlin Park is not the County's "property" in the same way that your house is your property. (You DO own property, right? So you know what I'm talking about.) Odlin Park is the people's property. The County management forget that--they see only more "projects" to use their "expertise" on. Replace country roads with highways; cut down trees and add campsites to "grow" the local economy (and the purview of the Parks Dept.).

  32. @ 9:33 am--The PDC has rules and deadlines for filing. It is my impression that the Trust Islanders group just formed a short time ago and its report would not be due for a while. I expect that the PDC website has the time deadlines posted. Check it out.

  33. Great plan! Chop down trees, pave it over, and sell the resulting firewood to campers! That's about the level of reality of our economic planning around these parts.

  34. I object to the notion of "trolls." A troll in common internet usage seems to be someone who disagrees with the larger group on a discussion board. I don't see it that way. The person who comes and disagrees pretty much either (a) makes a strong case for his or her point of view, or (b) makes an ass of him or herself. Don't seek to deprive the discussion community of the valuable input of the former or the entertainment value of the latter.

    And where did this Agenda 21 stuff come from? I thought we were talking about Odlin Park?

    Seems pretty clear that we've awakened the Park Department honchos however. Good to see them out on a lovely sunny day like this.

  35. We can sell the firewood and get our $1 million dollars back, then add in some fines and fees and we are good. This is easy. We can just convert the whole county over to a boom and bust tourist based economy. Who wants to work more than 8 to 12 weeks anyway?

  36. Dear TH,
    Will you please post the video again on the cost overruns at Odlin Park? I just saw it and I would like to send it to all my friends who voted for Lovel. I can't believe I voted for any of the people in that video.

  37. Work on the group campsites at Odlin is complete. The ribbons on the trees were placed by an arborist hired to check the condition of the trees and remove dead, hanging limbs.
    There are no plans to cut down any of the marked trees, or any of the other trees in the area.
    At the arborist's recommendation, one diseased, near-dead tree will be shortened to create a habitat snag, and one Douglas Fir will be shortened below severe rot damage caused by an infestation of borers. The arborist said that the tree should then survive. He said the diseased portion of the fir is threatening to fall on its own and could strike a frequently used portion of the park.

  38. How on earth can it cost $975,000 dollars to improve an existing campground?

  39. @7:36p This must be the troll that lives under the bridge. One that actually believes that increasing the CAMPING tourist economy will help solve our economy's problems. Yup, fer sure. People not paying much for lodging and bringing their own groceries are gonna really add to the County's bottom line. If they eat in restaurants, there will be a surge in our sub-minimum wage service jobs, for three or four months out of the year. But's that's OK, because we'll build more "affordable" housing to house. And grow enough organic food to feed them.

  40. Here's a thought: if the County Park people had a clue, or a communication advisor, they might have issued a release to the community, or put up a code for the ribbons. Whenever I see a tree with a ribbon it, I get nervous; Public Works is longing to get rid of those annoying huge trees that line our roads on Orcas. Did anyone see the amazing hack job that the County did on the roadsides? Just ripped the existing foliage to shreds back to the easement line. Looks like a hurricane or locusts blew through here. Now try to do that on your property with Shireene looking over your shoulder. Ha.

  41. It is important to clear the sides of our roads and expand them to make room for eco-cyclists from other planets. Get out of the way.

    OK. There aren't any no-growth trees in Odlin Park. Wait, there are 500 year old trees in Odlin Park. No tress were cut down. Wait, two were cut down today?

    And and it costs over $900,000 to tweak a little campsite? At what, $45 a night or some such 3-4 months out of the year?

    What an exciting economic development program.

  42. I agree w/@ 6:19. Whenever I see tape on trees I assume they'll be
    taken down soon.

    Every island resident should be required to watch the video brought up by @7:23 before voting. It says it all.

  43. Last year this park spent over $100,000 remodeling the park managers house. This house receives no rent. It earns no money back to the county coffers. That $100,000 could have gone to actual needed park projects that are benefitted by everyone. New stairs at Agate Beach, complete the way to Blackie Bradie's beach, fix the parking lot at Shark Reef, repair the potholes at the existing park, fix the exisiting and well used ball field, or finish the campground you promised us last year...many projects could have come before free housing for the all ready well paid staff.

    Check the budget last year. Big money being spent here. Seeminly unchecked.

  44. Impressive - all the news that's fit to make up.

  45. @ 7:36p TH never said there were no problems here--how about bloated bureaucracy making the life of the citizen and even County employees miserable? Or people who think that more tourism will solve our economic problem (camping tourists at that) so we should spend $1 million of cutting down trees. And the notion of "butting into" the County's business is a bizarre one--isn't that called democracy? Boy, do our "professionals" get annoyed when the citizens question their decisions. How dare they?

  46. @ 7:52pm We really don't like anonymous posters who don't say something worth reading. Are you complaining that some prior statement is not true? Because it is "cowardly" not to specify.