Letters to the Editor

Transportation: Keystone ferry options limited

To Celia Schorr, Washington State Ferries:

We of the Island County Marine Resources Committee (MRC) are troubled by apparent pre-conditions that seem to limit the scoping and deliberations for Keystone Ferry terminal improvement. These include unwillingness to consider providing ferries of improved design suitable for Keystone Harbor and, beyond that, a foregone conclusion that the Keystone site itself must be replaced by a yet-to-be-built alternative.

We understand WSF’s desire to standardize the fleet and overcome problems with the Keystone approach, but are anxious that these preconditions force the solution toward an option that may not be in the best interests of the environment or the public. We ask you to seriously reconsider these givens in light of our concerns, which include:

l The Keystone - Crockett Lake area is a priceless ecosystem.

l Please reconsider widening, extending or modifying the existing harbor and terminal rather than developing a new terminal elsewhere that would disrupt another section of shoreline and uplands.

l Please re-examine the feasibility of building ferries designed for this crossing, of similar capacity to the current boats, with the power, draft and maneuverability to negotiate the current and entrance to the harbor.

l Help us understand how running a larger ferry half as often as the current boats in the summertime would constitute a service improvement, which we understand is one of the project’s objectives.

l Please note that the alternative site identified near the gravel ponds (where Highway 20 makes a right-angle turn) is at, or near, a county park heavily used by fishers. How would placing a dock at this site affect the fishing and the migration of fish along the shoreline?

l How would placing a dock at the above site affect the small artificial reef?

l At the above site, have you considered the historical significance of the remains of the Keystone Sand and Gravel Company and the Fort Casey military locations?

l The Crockett Lake tide gate controls the water level of Crockett Lake. Have you considered the consequences of abandoning the existing ferry dock site and the silting that will occur?

l How would building new roads, parking lots and holding areas at one of the alternative sites impact the surrounding wetlands?

l How would the run-off of oil, fuel and antifreeze leaks affect the water quality of Crockett Lake and the surrounding wetlands?

l Please consider providing a parking area for the large number of walk-on passengers traveling this route.

Roger Sherman

Chairman, Island County Marine Resources Committee

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