I’m a Seattleite and a weekender on Whidbey Island. My family and friends are part of the growing number of people visiting Whidbey every year to enjoy the beautiful views, hikes, shops, galleries, restaurants, and the peace and quiet of island life.
My wife and I liked the Coupeville area so much that we bought land there 15 years ago in the hopes of building a home one day.
As the holidays were approaching, and I was preparing to write this letter, the U.S. Navy canceled talks about how to mitigate adverse effects of increased EA-18G Growler operations and I was reminded of A Christmas Carol — or was it The Nightmare Before Christmas? — where Ebenezer Scrooge gets a chance to visit his past, present and future.
Whidbey’s future is up in the air, quite literally. To get some perspective on the “present,” I searched for the Northwest’s 10 Best Day Trips, and not surprisingly, Ebey’s Landing National Historic Reserve was on the list. That’s a no-brainer for Seattleites, it’s a stunning place and extremely photogenic.
I was curious to see if this tourist website mentioned jet noise, so I scrolled down to the bottom of the page and found this rather vague warning: “Please note, U.S. Navy jets from nearby Naval Air Station Whidbey Island periodically fly over the campground … depending on the direction of the wind, their flight pattern may put them above the park, creating noisy conditions for campers … during the day and night … have been neighbors since 1942 … will do our best to notify campers…”
Now, imagine Whidbey’s “future” and how this warning to visitors would read if the Navy proceeds with its plans to turn Central Whidbey into a virtual wasteland:
“Please note: With the U.S. Navy’s recent quadrupling to 23,700 operations of approximately 118 decibel Growlers … for one hour a day on average … you and your children can expect hearing loss, higher anxiety, higher blood pressure, and higher taxes … also be prepared for dropping property values, lower economic income from tourism … a greatly diminished natural environment with a lowered Orca population … “
This is “The Ghost Of Whidbey Future.” The Navy needs to wake up and listen to its neighbors and not let this nightmare become a reality. We must continue to stand up for our communities. For more information visit sound defensealliance.org
It’s time to say “No New Jets. No New Flights.”