Letter: Once gone, what we value on Whidbey may be irrecoverable

Letter to the Editor


Elections are coming and both sides argue their importance.

At issue is whether we should foster development or maintain our island’s rural character.

We’ve been blessed to have our local culture chronicled by historians like Dorothy Neal, Peggy Darst Townsend and retired Deception Pass Park Manager Jack Hartt. Their books are photo-documented, excellent reading and available at libraries and to purchase.

Interestingly, they well establish the reality of global warming showing, pictures of winter ice skating on what used to be known here as Freund(ly) Marsh.

Our late Island County sheriff Arnie Freund, who grew up here on Whidbey, told me that when he was a boy he used to take his car out for a “spin” on Cranberry Lake’s winter ice. We haven’t had winters like that for many years.

Change happens fast enough without making it worse. What’s more it’s nearly impossible to reverse.

We must not forget that we are an island with limited resources of water, farming, trash disposal, forest and wildlife environs, and congestive propinquity relief. Once overwhelmed, these treasured values that many come to experience aren’t likely to repair in our lifetime.

There are those who want to exploit our drinking water aquifer that took ice age millennia to establish. Sea water intrusion is an everlasting threat to all islands. Tinkering with it could be devastating.

Already, limits have been clamped on freshwater from the Skagit River watershed. It no longer is an unlimited resource. The pipeline allotment is unlikely to increase, ever.

Wiping out forests that took ages to grow can’t be restored overnight like the way we rip them out.

Why not take a lesson from infamous Easter Island, not that far away? It was found to have been forested until cleared by local inhabitants.

The effect is said to have altered their rainfall, decimated their entire culture and left lonely stone faces staring out over a desolate ocean in vain hope for an Easter rescue.

We don’t want to become stone faced moai.

Think about it when marking your ballot. Progress sometimes isn’t. Let’s keep what we have.

Once gone, “it’s gone for keeps.”

Al Williams

Oak Harbor