Life in Bay Center on Willapa Bay

Living in a maritime fishing village in Southwest Washington state on Willapa Bay

Archive for October, 2007

Voters taking their time before sending ballots back

Posted by pallix on October 26, 2007

 excerpt from article at The Daily World:  Voters taking their time before sending ballots back

In Pacific County, Auditor Pat Gardner said, as of this morning, 2,028 ballots have been returned. That’s about 16 percent of the county’s 12,000 or so registered voters.

“That’s pretty good,” Gardner said. She added that there aren’t any particularly “hot” races in the county to draw voters.

Chris Stephens, chief deputy auditor, said that in the last General Election, about 60 percent of the Pacific County electorate voted. Because the number of ballots coming in day-to-day is “pretty consistent,” Stephens said the office is expecting a “good turnout.”

Updates on the returned ballots are being posted on the Pacific County Web site; voters in that county who have mailed in their ballots can check to see if their vote will count by entering their name or registration number at www.pacificcountyballots.com.

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Sunny Autumn Day at the very blue Bay Center

Posted by pallix on October 26, 2007

I took my dog, Jake, for a thorough and long walk yesterday, going a little further than we usually walk. It was a crisp, sunny, Autumn day and perfect for getting out of the house after the wind and rain storms of the week before. My mother had sent some of her digital photos of Autumn colors where she lives and I had thought I might take some photos to show off Autumn where I live. Well, I didn’t find much color, found a lot of blue, but some great photos anyway. Sharing a few here.

processing building Bay Center

full size click here – processing building Palix River, on Bay Center Dike Road

Fishing boat

full size click here – Fishing boat on Palix River, Bay Center Dike Road

processing building on pier posts

full size click here – processing building on pier posts, Palix River on Bay Center Dike Road

private ramp and dock

full size click here – private ramp and dock on Palix River, Bay Center Dike Road

dock for fishing boats

full size click here – private dock for fishing boats, Palix River, Bay Center Dike Road

Dock of the Bay tavern and restaraunt Bay Center, WA
full size click here – Dock of the Bay tavern and restaraunt Bay Center, WA

old historic Pioneer Cemetary, Bay Center, WA
full size click here – old historic Pioneer Cemetary, Bay Center, WA

historic former owners of our house; Bochau marker at  Pioneer Cemetary, Bay Center, WA

full size click here – historic former owners of our house; Bochau marker at Pioneer Cemetary, Bay Center, WA


View of the Palix River and Bay Center Port from old historic Pioneer Cemetary

full size click here – View of the Palix River and Bay Center Port from old historic Pioneer Cemetary


Oyster shell holding area - oyster shells galore

full size click here – Oyster shell holding area – oyster shells galore

Posted in Bochau family, dock, oyster farms, oysters, Pacific County, photos, restaraunts, tideflats, Uncategorized, wetlands, willapa bay | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Too early for winter storms in Autumn

Posted by pallix on October 20, 2007

 It is not even the end of October yet, and I’m still looking at the color palette nature displays as the leaves on the trees turn various shades of gold, orange, brown and red when the first of the ‘winter’ storms hit this week.    Wind and rain storms hit Washington coasts Thursday without much of a transition as the winds blew in at 50-60 mph.  The night before on our local channels, the weather forecasts indicated expected wind storm, but with assurance it was not going to be one of the ‘big ones’.

Well it was a big one.  And as I watched the tall evergreens at the back of our lot swaying back and forth in a furious dance, I knew those winds had to be considerably higher than what the weather forecast predicted.   Well thank goodness that through what is sometimes called persistent nagging when women do it, but something quite more visionary when men do it, I was able to convince husband to have the limbs of our almost 100 year old monkey puzzle tree taken down before October.

The monkey puzzle tree died – probably last year and had been slowly deteriorating over the years since we bought this house.  My husband is very attached to the tree, and despite the fact that it has turned brown with only a hint of green in the uppermost branches, he was convinced it still had life in it and could be saved.  This summer my husband finally acknowledged that there was no life left in the tree and we would bring it down.

With a slight summer breeze in early September, a couple of the branches cracked and came down.  Remembering the fury of the winter wind storms last year, I was very anxious to get the limbs off the tree and get the tree down.   Sweetie scheduled it for mid-October and I insisted it had to be done before October.    As I watched the trees swaying nearly to bending over this week, I am so relieved we got the better part of bringing the tree down done before the first wind storm hit.

Note to myself to take a photo of the evergreens swaying in wind storm…..

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Tales of the Willapa, as told by TurnerJake

Posted by pallix on October 20, 2007

 tales of the willapa curmudgeon

Somewhere in the year 2000, when husband and I were still at the having fun stage with the internet and computers, back in the day when one could playfully build a personal website, back before blogs and business enterprises took the internet seriously, we built a personal webpage for the Tales of the Willapa – tall tales as told by a curmudgeon character we named Turner Jake. Just some amusing tall tales crafted by my husband’s observations of the new region we moved to here in Willapa land.

As personal webpages disappeared and fell out of vogue, I continued to move his tales to different personal webpages until I found a permanent home for them here.

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Willapa Bay Lighthouse – Lost Lights

Posted by pallix on October 20, 2007

Another lost treasure to Willapa Bay, the Willapa Bay Lighthouse, situated on what is North Cove (Washaway Beach) where land mass tumbles into the Pacific Ocean. The Willapa Bay Lighthouse was lost in this way – depicted in historical photos below from WLA Photo Gallery

Willapa Bay Lighthouse

Willapa Bay Lighthouse-Originally known as the Shoalwater Bay Lighthouse. A fourth-order Fresnel lens provided the light’s beacon when it went into operation on October 1, 1858. “Twelve miles south of the Grays Harbor Lighthouse, the Willapa Bay Lighthouse once marked the northern side of Willapa Bay. Built in 1858, the lighthouse operated for over 80 years until it was undercut by the sea and tumbled into the bay in December of 1940.

Several replacement towers have served to mark the bay, each one being placed ever farther north and east of the original lighthouse. Much of the city of North Cove has also tumbled into the sea…The last tower, which stood three-fourths of a mile from the site of the original lighthouse, apparently succumbed to erosion in the 1990s.” (Text courtesy of “lighthousefriends.com”) Photo courtesy of E.DeWire. Date unknown.

Willapa Bay Lighthouse

Willapa Bay Lighthouse

Willapa Bay display-Westport Maritime Museum. June 2004. (click on image to enlarge). “In 1939, the lighthouse was declared unsafe and abandoned. On December 26, 1940, the lighthouse met its demise. It had been precariously hanging over the side of the bluff, looking as though it might topple at any second. The Coast Guard decided it was endangering the many sightseers who swarmed to get a last glimpse of the light. One wall had already collapsed.

First, they washed away the remaining sand from the west side of the structure and then set off a charge of dynamite which toppled the lighthouse over the brink, ending another part of U.S. Lighthouse history. The lighthouse was once accompanied by the nearby Shoalwater Bay Lifesaving Station. In 1889, the federal government decided to change the name from Shoalwater to Willapa to rightfully honor the tribe of Indians who had inhabited the land for centuries.” (Text courtesy of Lighthouse Digest, Jan1999)

see these and more photos at Washington Lightkeepers WLA Photo Gallery

Posted in Lighthouses, Neighboring communities, Pacific County, Pacific ocean, willapa bay | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Here today – gone tomorrow; The ol’ Lumber Building in South Bend is no more

Posted by pallix on October 17, 2007

The Old Lumber Building (proper name is The Lumber Exchange Building) that stood in South Bend along Hwy 101, finally was torn down this year despite efforts by the latest owner to renovate, re invigorate and make the building into a downtown type hotel with mini-mall shops below. Not going to happen. The building was condemned and torn down this year (2007). For as long as we have lived here, I’ve heard people tell us stories about this historic building. In another post, another time, I’ll try to find and blog about the history of the Old Lumber Building in South Bend. For now though, courtesy of website Bygone Byways, here is a photo taken on one of the road trips along Highway 101 in Willapa region.

Lumber Exchange Building

The historic Lumber Exchange Building in South Bend, WA. Built in approximately 1902, torn down in 2007.

When will I ever learn that taking pictures is important part of present day history.  I don’t have one photo of The Old Lumber Exchange Building.  But notice the street level front windows.  In our home in Bay Center, the former owner added onto the kitchen and had the angled windows placed at what is now my kitchen sink.  The seams on the windows at the angles are a vertical strip of beaded glue and while that has been worrisome to me, it seems to hold up through all those Pacific gale winter storms.  So now that the Lumber Exchange building is gone, windows and all, I have a bit of nostalgia that my kitchen window was done on the same design as the  street level windows at the Lumber Exchange building.   Big whoop – I know, but, it is noteworthy – to me – so I’m making a note.

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Is the Idyllic Estuary known as Willapa Bay under threat?

Posted by pallix on October 17, 2007

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Many say yes to the need to control spartina in Willapa Bay while some say no need to spray chemicals in pristine Willapa Bay to control spartina. I’m paying curious attention, since we are now residents on this wondrous bay. What we have come to take as indicative and a large part of the reason why we chose to put roots down here in the region of Willapa Bay – Willapa Hills – in Pacific County of Washington was the untouched by humans wilderness aspect of life in this area. In the near decade we have lived here, we have learned a bit about the region from our neighbors at work, at church, at home and in the community.

We do not work in the primary industries of timber, commercial fishing, farming, tourism, or small business that make up most of the industry in this region. So we remain always respectful onlookers, observers, if you will, of those who labor in these industries.

Of late though, my attention has been drawn to something that would likely not have been more than passing interest to me were it not for the fact that it is the reality of where we live. More out of curiosity than necessity, I’ve been drawn into doing a bit of looking into the research of others, far more expert than I, on the matter of eco-relationship of life forms who share the Willapa Bay; plant life, marine life, bird refuge, and human life.

We know a bit about the oyster farms, oyster farmers, and commercial fishing industry in the area because they are our neighbors, but also because our employment vocations put us in touch with the ebbs and flows of human economic sustenance in this region. If it isn’t going well for the marine life here, then it isn’t going well for the human life here either. There is a strong interdependence and one in which human stewardship plays an important role. A role seemingly well understood by the people who know and appreciate with respect the history, the immediate present and the future of Willapa Bay.

Oyster farming on Willapa Bay, Washington

Oyster farming on Willapa Bay

My (step) father introduced us to awareness of Willapa Bay because he and my mother made almost annual visits here, and both would tell us of their trip that year. One of the things he used to tell us, often and with great pride, was that Willapa Bay was the third largest bay in the country and the most pristine. He was a longshoreman and had at an earlier time in his life, in his younger years worked the docks and boats on Willapa Bay. He passed last year, Jan 2006, and some of his friends may well remember Charlie Ellsworth. He was a guy’s guy kind of man, honest, forthright, sincere, loyal, a veteran and had a strong work ethic. His pride of the Willapa often piqued my interest, but not enough to seek it out and see for myself until one day…..

My husband and I took a planned camping trip ourselves to meet up with my children at Fort Stevens in Warrenton, Oregon. Causing us to drive on Highway 101, through towns of South Bend, Raymond, which we actually had never heard of before and then about 10 miles out of South Bend, was the road sign for Bay Center — the place were my mom and dad took an annual vacation trip. Thus was our introduction to this region of Washington and it was so breath-taking that I wondered aloud if we could transfer our employment here and take up residence here. (We both were employees for State of Washington, Dept. Social and Health Services and can transfer where openings exist in offices in Washington state).

There was one opening, not two, and my husband got himself transferred to South Bend, and we moved here and thus began our life in Willapa. Over the years, as we got acquainted with the area, we knew it was among those considered economically depressed and that while it was not flourishing in terms of human economic development, it was an environmental treasure not yet exploited. Unlike some residents who are generational families living in the area, we are imports – from the city – no less, but we have become very attached to the beauty of the region and feel blessed to have the opportunity to live here.

This was more quiet knowing on my part. Over the years we have lived here, I have only begun to understand how important the region is to Washington state and on a larger scale to other bay, estuary, wilderness communities that have been less cautious in their over development and exploitation of the fragile co-existence that must remain to preserve the quality of life that keeps Willapa Bay the least spoiled estuary environments in North America.

No, this is not me bragging – this is me being astonished at how others, more versed and knowledgeable define Willapa Bay. And that does then, cause me to be proud of where we live, and desire to enter into a stewardship to preserve what is here for future generations to appreciate. Do my grandchildren care deeply whether spartina will overtake the bay and turn it from a mud bay estuary refuge for the thousands of migratory birds? Or will they care if the oyster farmers who have an enormous stake in the condition of the bay will continue to be watchful stewards and keepers of the bay? Will they care – not likely, but if not my grandchildren, than I know some others grandchildren may indeed care – and deeply.

I defer to others more learned than I on the matter, in recognition that I could not begin to acquire that kind of knowlege base beyond that of a reader, listener, and resident here on Willapa Bay. What do I know about burrowing shrimp, ghost shrimp, mud shrimp – native species to Willapa Bay and their impact on oysters – not native to Willapa Bay yet perhaps exactly because of the shepherding of oyster farmers exists Willapa Bay as I have come to know it — as my father said in pride – it is the most pristine bay in the country.

Thalassinidea (ghost shrimp)

Thalassinidea (ghost shrimp)

What do I know of the plant life spartina, except what I see waving on the shore and in the waters at the beaches where I live on Willapa Bay, in the Palix river that borders Bay Center Dike Road on it’s way to emptying into Willapa Bay. What do I know about the ongoing environmentally controversial matter of whether to use chemical sprays to help (or hinder) the interplay of life that now exists on Willapa Bay and likely needs to continue to remain, if not thrive and flourish on Willapa Bay.

A clump of Spartina alterniflora

A clump of Spartina alterniflora

I know very little, but I know enough to know that it is worthwhile to remain curious and interested enough to try to follow along as an interested observer, an interested bystander, an interested onlooker. And for that reason, I want to add links like the one below that do a better job of investigative reporting than I could begin to do. My son, attending Oregon State University, not that interested in what happens at Willapa Bay found himself having to learn about geology and with that a study of Willapa Bay. I have come to understand that universities and colleges in both Washington and Oregon continue to study Willapa Bay. I have come to appreciate that Willapa Bay has much to offer as a study in what is working that keeps it what it is; a clean, pristine bay – estuary – mudflats – tidelands – wilderness – refuge.

Willapa Bay Migrating Birds

photo courtesy of Friends of Willapa National Wildlife Refuge

Washington State Magazine

Willapa Bay, also known as Shoalwater, is the largest estuary between San Francisco and Puget Sound. It boasts one of the least-spoiled environments and the healthiest salmon runs south of Canada, produces one in every four oysters farmed in the United States, and is a favorite pit stop for tens of thousands of migratory birds.

And it’s in trouble.

The infestation of Spartina, imported by accident from the East Coast, collects enough silt to raise the bay floor by up to a foot, turning much of Willapa’s enviably productive tidal zone into a giant, unkempt lawn. At the same time, other introduced plants and animals and two opportunistic species of native shrimp also threaten to spoil the pristine bay.

“If you lose Willapa Bay, it’s of both state and national significance,” says Kim Patten (’83 Ph.D. Horticulture), a Washington State University researcher and associate professor of horticulture who is a leader in the battle for the bay.

“I think it’s a national treasure, because every estuary in North America would try to emulate it. There’s no other estuary out there like it,” Patten says. “We have sort of an idyllic estuary. It’s not perfect, but for all intents and purposes, it’s a very functioning estuary. You don’t get better than that.”

Environmentally, aquatic landscapes from Chesapeake Bay to San Francisco Bay are infamous for what they’ve lost. Willapa Bay’s protectors want to make it renowned for what it kept. They’re starting to get noticed.

Last June, the National Audubon Society ranked Willapa Bay second—just behind part of Florida’s Everglades—in its Cooling the Hot Spots report detailing wildlife areas threatened by invasive species. That followed a similar listing in the National Wildlife Refuge Association’s 2002 report, Silent Invasion. And the Nature Conservancy has made protecting the bay and its rich watershed one of its highest Washington priorities.

Senator Patty Murray (’72 Recreation) and her colleagues helped secure another $1 million in federal funding for this season’s work, the second in a six-year, multi-partner plan to eradicate Spartina. The state is pitching in hundreds of thousands more.

“It’s so common for us to not realize what we’ve got until we lost it,” says U.S. Representative Brian Baird, D-Vancouver. “This wonderful bay faces some real threats. Spartina, for example, is a nightmare. It can turn the Willapa Bay into the Willapa Prairie.”

……..

President Franklin D. Roosevelt established Willapa National Wildlife Refuge in 1937 to protect habitat for migrating birds. But as Spartina has thickened, Willapa’s legions of shorebirds have thinned.

Shorebirds flock to unspoiled tidal flats to peck for worms, midges, nematodes, and other critters that make up the “groceries” that fuel the birds’ long migrations along the West Coast. Some also will forage among the stubble and wrack of dead Spartina, but they won’t venture into living meadows where predators might lurk.

“Willapa Bay is one of the few stepping-stones of habitat left for migrating birds from South and Central America to Canada and Alaska,” says Nina Carter, policy director for Audubon Washington. She helped lobby her national organization to train a spotlight on Willapa’s disappearing habitat for short-billed dowitchers and tens of thousands of other shorebirds that migrate through each year.

Posted in burrowing shrimp, estuary, Friends of Willapa, ghost shrimp, marine life, marsh, migratory birds, mud shrimp, oyster farms, oysters, Pacific County, shorebirds, spartina, tideflats, Uncategorized, waterfowl habitat, wetlands, willapa, willapa bay | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Seeing Pink in Pacific County

Posted by pallix on October 13, 2007

I had a dental appointment in ‘town’ yesterday.  That means a drive from Bay Center to South Bend or Raymond.  Sometimes it means a drive to the ‘city’ and that could be Aberdeen or Astoria.  So I was headed for Raymond yesterday and encountered pink everywhere I went, it seemed.  What’s up with the pink, I wondered, but rather guessed it had something to do with supporting breast cancer awareness.   And sure enough, when I finished with the dentist (or better said, when he finished working me over – my teeth, that is) I stopped by the pharmacy in South Bend to get a prescription filled.

Some of the Raymond steel statues are decked out in pink.  As I drive by Bud’s Lumber – you know the pervue of masculine endeavors, their front displays are wrapped in pink, their trees are wrapped in pink.  Pink ribbons on lawn and yard equipment.

So when I do arrive at the South Bend Pharmacy, and enter the store , I find pink everywhere, gift items, angel stones, pink ribbons, and even pink flamingos.  And that is where I asked my question and got the answer I thought I would get – breast cancer awareness.   Ahh, this community can be so spirited about some things, I think to myself, and in a good way.  Here is something they can do to raise funds to help local people fighting the cancer battle.  Here is where they can make a difference at a level they can touch and feel and know they have done something that counts, is measureable.

I’ve seen the communities do collective fundraisers before to help an individual family or child who encounters severe medical challenges.  I remember thinking then how proud I was to join a community who could champion local families this way.

And this morning, I see that the Pink of Pacific County is an article in the Aberdeen Daily World

Pacific County towns going pink for breast cancer

The sea of pink that will cover South Bend, Raymond, Menlo and Lebam starting today is part of the Willapa Harbor Helping Hands’ second “Paint the Towns Pink” celebration that is held in conjunction with Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

The community celebration runs until Oct. 20 with the aim of promoting breast cancer awareness and raising money for Willapa Harbor Helping Hands, a non-profit organization formed in 2004 to financially assist North Pacific County cancer patients. The group helps with expenses such as pharmacy bills, gas to drive to appointments and house payments.

   ……

If businesses see a Pink Panther sandwich board and a flock of flamingos outside their door this week, they have been “flamingoed” and must donate $25 to have the items moved to another business, where the game will start again. Businesses can call 875-5757 or Suzie Zakel at 942-6101 to have the items moved.

……..

If you have questions or need ideas on how you can participate in Paint the Towns Pink week, call Halpin at 942-5471 or the Willapa Harbor Helping Hands office at 875-5550.

Posted in Neighboring communities, Pacific County, Willapa Harbor Helping Hands | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Inconvenient Truths, Washington State and Willapa Bay

Posted by pallix on October 10, 2007

(I have Arthur’s permission to repost his story at Washblog here.)

 


The Tide is Out – Photo from Wa Dept of Ecology
Willapa Bay is not a Grand Canyon-type visual but the view is very much our typical Pacific Northwest coast.A week ago we watched our newest Netflix DVD, Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth. I can see why it got an Academy Award Nomination.I decided to ask Google some “Inconvenient-Truth”-related questions specifically about Willapa Bay – a sweet body of water that surrounds my house on three sides.

Some describe Willapa Bay and like locations as “estuarian,” where landlubbing freshwater blends into seagoing salt water.

Esturian locations are most frequently habitated by small cities and towns, dairies, and farmlands that are all visible on the landward side of Highway 101 to anyone driving up and down the Washington and Oregon Coasts.

Oh, and we’ve got lots of elk herds too.


Photo is mine
Then there are those mudflats with their promise of shellfish riches hidden in shallow waters.Add to that the lusting passion of property exploiters anxious to turn a dime with venture capital.A member of the Raymond city council recently told us that the council met a developer who expressed that he is willing to spend whatever it takes to gain title to waterfront properties that – according to him – constitute

the last available waterfront development properties on the entire western coastline of the United States.

We know our coastline as a repeated blending of bluffs, headlands, beaches, sand spits and dunes where lots of flora, fauna as well as water and land creatures have dwelt for thousands of years.

Except for the more popular small but expensive stretches of commercial holiday and vacation beaches, our coastline is not even moderately developed. There are lots of parks and acreage owned by Native American reservations – with or without trademark casinos.


Goose Point oyster beds – Photo Wa Dept of Ecology
The actual village of Bay Center is separated from the rest of the peninsula by a small bridge visible in the first picture above.Global Warming will bring the sea level above that narrow channel and dunes over which the bridge spans. My home town will ultimately and literally be an island.Low coastlines near major river-mouths are vulnerable to heavy weather damage, particularly flooding, mud slides and cave ins consequential to powerful rain and winds.

If global warning stirs up hotter and meaner hurricanes and typhoons elsewhere, we are seeing meaner winds, heavier rains, greater floodings coupled with more and more disappearing coastlines.

Click on Google “Light House Digest, Willapa Station” and you’ll see a series of pictures of an entire lighthouse that at one time stood at the center of a hill overlooking the ocean and the bay at Tokeland.

Tokeland as the seagull flies is less than 5 miles from Goose Point/Bay Center but almost 40 to get there by automobile.

The light station progressively moved further and further toward the water at the edge of the hill as corrosion depleted the soil. Eventually the station was hanging over the edge so precariously that engineers had to destroy it with explosive charges for safety reasons.

That was more than 65 years ago – before we knew what we were doing by spewing crap into the atmosphere.


So what does Al Gore’s message mean to Bay Center coastal creatures like me?Well, it means immediate and more frequent storms bringing bigger waves, greater road damage from blown-down trees and more soft spot collapses on the roads, bluffs and coastlines.


Photo is mine
Science types used to talk about El Nino raising the sea level for months at a time as well as temporarily altering wind and wave directions – all just periodic events that would eventually revert.Now, perhaps with or without any solitary influence of El Nino, it looks like we might be in for higher sea levels coupled with weather fluctuations that prompt permanent changes in weather, topography and human thinking.Now we move from somewhat domestic trivial concerns about not installing fragile decorative landscaping to the idea perhaps of elevating existing homes onto stilts,

reworking roofs, knocking down old dying houses and replacing them perhaps with brick and concrete.Our shallow water seafood farmers may find themselves engaged permanently in a need to manage a probable cyclical expansion of Spartina as well as the increasingly frequent episodes of pollution’s impact on coastal ecology and economy.


Mechanical treatment of Spartina meadow,Willap Bay, 2003
Photo Wa DNR
 

Experts predict climate warming in the future to likely raise global sea levels from 4 to 35 inches in the 21st century, as opposed to the 4 to 8 inch rise of the 20th century.

Regional differences in ocean circulation and heat content may result in a larger sea-level rise on the Pacific than the Atlantic coast of North America.

Then there is the idea that although we can’t feel it, the earth moves under our feet. It’s called uplift or subsidence (sinking) of the land surface itself.

The major uplifting terrains in the Northwest are at the mouth of the Strait of Juan de Fuca which rises one tenth of an inch per year.

The other is some 40 miles south of Bay Center at the mouth of the Columbia River. The earth rises there only slightly more than half an inch yearly.

That means that low-lying settlements and harbors will be at an ever-increasing risks, especially as risk is exacerbated by increasingly larger storms.

That of course means more and more loss of coastline to erosion and directional changes of sediment flows that restructure the shape of the coast line. Similar problems are consequences impacted by fluctuation in ocean stream’s directional flow.

When meaner winter storms and heavier rains soak into the soil we’ll suffer more and more land and mud slides and flooding with resulting troubles on bluffs, beach fronts as well as farms and homes along rivers.

Oh, and temperature and other changes also mean that other growing things not normally found this far north on the Pacific Coast could drift this way, stake out a claim on life and begin homesteading where they ain’t wanted; crowding out what is wanted.

… Or worse, crowding out and contaminating our natural harvestable friends out here in our shallow waters.

Ever heard of the European Green Crab? Look it up.


European green crabs in their natural habitat are smaller than those in invaded habitat – Jeff Goddard
University of California, Santa Barbara DOI. USGS. Western Ecological Research Center.
Now it is true that warmer summers might mean longer tourist seasons. Hell, if the water warms up enough we’ll have a North Pacific Waikiki Beach, complete with big surf and big surfers, right?Tourism might bloom, but for those heritage and culture-based dwellers who’ve been here for generations – who haven’t necessarily been interested in tourist trapping – folks may have to start trapping them there tourists anyway just to survive.

Closer to reality, if it warms up enough, canneries might move on, leaving cannery-supported family incomes stranded.

Expensive homes drive up prices – great!

But expensive homes don’t bring family shopping centers. No Target Stores or JC Penny – more like Lord and Taylor.

If the cannery job is lost, even if your house is paid for, who will pay those new higher property taxes?

So much for staying on the old homestead where families have laughed and wept for generations.

What to do in anticipation?

Well, I have to go to work right now, so the rest of my story will have to be next time.

… Later

by Arthur Ruger, posted at Washblog, Feb 16, 2007

Posted in Bay Center proper, Pacific ocean, willapa bay | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Washaway Beach ‘Hungry sea devours dreams’, Seattle Times article

Posted by pallix on October 10, 2007

Seattle Times isn’t the first and won’t be the last to publish an article about Washaway Beach at North Cove where Willapa Bay meets the Pacific ocean.  I’ve heard people who have lived here much longer than I tell me a bit about how Washaway Beach was once considered a playground for wealthy Seattlites in past decades.   In this time of global warming, climate change, the phenomenom of Washaway Beach which is literally washing into the ocean couldn’t be a more timely time for Seattle Times to write this article.

article;  ‘Hungry Sea Devours dreams’, Seattle Times  Sept 14, 2007

NORTH COVE, Pacific County — From Greg Tumidanski’s front deck, the steel-gray ribbon of the Pacific Ocean stretches beyond sight. Pelicans divebomb the surf. The wind is gentle and warm.

All this — a cabin on more than seven acres of oceanfront land — he picked up for just $45,000 two years ago.

It was a deal so good it just had to have a catch: Tumidanski expects his oasis on the sea to be gone in about three years, consumed by the omnivorous waves at Washaway Beach.

This two miles of shoreline at the northern confluence of the Pacific Ocean and Willapa Bay, 12 miles south of Westport, is believed to be the fastest-eroding beach on the Pacific Coast. It has lost about 65 feet a year to the sea since the late 1800s. More than 100 homes, including the entire town of North Cove, have already disappeared, many of them in the past 20 years.

Yet despite the very public destruction, official warnings and a decade-old building moratorium, people such as Tumidanski keep putting down good money for property here. Sixty-five parcels have changed hands in the past six years, long after it became virtually impossible to buy a homeowner’s policy.

It’s a perverse real-estate calculus: the closer to the water, the cheaper the land. Beachfront can be had for $500, but it might not survive the winter. On the other hand, property a quarter-mile inland can fetch $100,000 or more. After all, it might last as long as a couple of decades.

“You tell yourself, this property is usually for the rich,” Tumidanski said as he surveyed the view from his deck.

“This view, even for a few years, is worth it.”

Aptly named

As its name proves, Washaway Beach has not been a secret. As the northern channel of Willapa Bay carves away land so that it can empty more efficiently into the Pacific, one home after another has slid into the ocean.

Its historic name is Cape Shoalwater, and people two decades ago talked about saving it. But today, the cape is largely gone and so is any real hope of help from local, state and federal governments.

More than $24 million has been spent to protect Highway 105 nearby, and $12 million is planned to shelter the Shoalwater Bay Indian reservation just to the south. But there are no plans to protect the property at Washaway Beach.

Today, it’s an eerie graveyard of real estate. Dozens of rusting water pipes, chunks of foundation and pieces of asphalt sprout from the sand. Up the beach, some of the remaining properties look mostly abandoned, placidly waiting their turn to slide away.

Protecting what’s left would cost hundreds of millions of dollars, said Mike DeSimone, the head planner for Pacific County.

(read more at the article link )

Posted in Native Americans, Neighboring communities, Pacific County, Pacific ocean, willapa bay, Willapa Bay in the news | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Chester Tavern in South Bend featured in New York Times Restaraunt Review

Posted by pallix on October 10, 2007

Who knew?  Right here in my own neighborhood!  South Bend is the town just up the road from our little Bay Center hamlet.   Wish we liked to eat oysters, but neither of us do so living in what is named as South Bend – the ‘Oyster Capital of the World’ isn’t quite the draw for us.  The region, the geography, the people, living off the I-5 corridor or as one of the local people calls the area – ‘God’s Valium’.  One apt name, there are others that try to describe this pristine wilderness paradise gem in Pacific County.

article; New York Times; South Bend, Wash:;  Chester Tavern, Sept 30,  2007

…….

Not so at the Chester Tavern. In this unprepossessing bar in South Bend (1005 West Robert Bush Drive, 360-875-5599), on Willapa Bay near the Washington coast, oysters are deep-fried with the kind of fanatical care you might expect in the self-proclaimed “oyster capital of the world.” (One in six oysters consumed in the United States come from the bay, according to the local Chamber of Commerce.)

No overbattered blobs here. The three-inch oysters — selected by the graders at the Coast Oyster plant — get a mere dusting of cornmeal and are fried in clean, unfiltered vegetable oil at 350 degrees, hot enough to seal in the sublime juices.

The result is sweet like corn bread, briny like the sea, creamy as a raw oyster and greaseless enough for even the calorie-concerned to down a dozen. Seven dollars buys six oysters with French fries, and $3 more gets the perfect chaser, a Fish Tale organic amber ale. For what may be the best fried oysters in the country, this is a bargain well worth the roughly two-hour drive from Seattle (or even a $318 round-trip flight from New York on JetBlue).

The genius behind the shell is Tim Sedgwick, who worked in the garment business in Seattle until 1994, when he bought the bar and began developing his oyster recipe. Oysters have since become the family business — Mr. Sedgwick’s daughter Amy was nominated for a regional Emmy for her public-television documentary “Shucks: An Oyster Story.”

Mr. Sedgwick is no monomaniac, however. Researching the history of the tavern, which dates from 1897, also occupies his time. A secret poker room once stood outside the building, he said, and big black-and-white photos over the pool tables show Oscar Chester, the original owner, who happened to be the town sheriff.

………

Posted in Neighboring communities, oysters, Pacific County, restaraunts, Willapa Bay in the news | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Those Yellow Evergreens at White Pass

Posted by pallix on October 9, 2007

Subalpine Larch or Tamarack

This is our second trip in October over White Pass en route to Eastern WA. The first time we took the trip over White Pass, I distinctly remember what I called those yellow Evergreens and how I told people about them and receiving a rather ho hum reaction. Either like I didn’t know what I was talking about or had mistaken the varieties of other trees with leaves that turn yellow in Autumn.

But this time, I was prepared, sort of – because I knew what I was looking for and despite that my digital camera was too low on batteries to snap photos, I knew I planned to google it when we got home and find out once and for all about those yellow Evergreen trees.

And, sure enough, I did find what I was looking for – it is called the Western Larch, or Subalpine Larch, or also known as Tamarack, or more precisely Larix Occidentalis.

Elevation 1,000 to 4,500 feet in 20 miles on Highway 12 from Packwood to White Pass, and along White Pass where those Western Larch grow is a spectacular view in October. Western larch, a deciduous evergreen and the needles turn vivid yellow after the first frost. We seemed to catch the season just in time as the yellow Western Larch just popped amongst the permanent green evergreens alongside the mountain. It is so much worth the drive just to see the view.

Photo courtesy of Steve Jurvetson, who graciously provided creative common license for use of his photo.

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Wetland Walks; Guide to Washington’s Public Access Wetlands; Pacific County

Posted by pallix on October 9, 2007

Wetland Walks: A Guide to Washington’s Public Access Wetlands

Pacific County

Fort Canby State Park
2 miles southwest of Ilwaco
Contact: Washington State Parks, Region 1, (360) 753-7143
Fort Canby is a 1,700 acre park where the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean. It offers four trails which wind through the forests and headlands. Marsh, swamp, saltflat, and tidal creek areas can be found here. Migratory birds are often seen on the beaches.
Leadbetter Point State Park
Stackpole Road, 3 miles north of Oysterville
Contact: Park Manager, (360) 642-3078
Located at the northern tip of the Long Beach Peninsula, this state park offers a unique blend of natural areas, including dunes, ponds, and marshes. It is best to call ahead for information. No fees for day-use.
Palix River Access Area
1/2 mile south of Palix River Bridge off Highway 101
Contact: Department of Fish and Wildlife, Region 6, (360) 533-9335
An interpretive sign is in a pullout off the east side of the highway, from which the saltflats at the mouth of the Palix River can be viewed. Travel west on the nearby Bay Center Dike loop road to view a variety of other wetland types. No trails or restrooms.
Willapa National Wildlife Refuge, Lewis Unit
4 miles east of Long Beach on Jeldness Road
Contact: Refuge Manager, (360) 484-3482
This refuge unit has freshwater marshes at the south end of the bay which provide habitat for numerous waterfowl.
Willapa National Wildlife Refuge, Reikkola Unit
2 miles east of Long Beach on Yeaton Road
Contact: Refuge Manager, (360) 484-3482
The gravel road ends at a field where you can walk to wetlands. A good example of a diked tideland, this area provides feeding areas for shorebirds and waterfowl. Call ahead to check for seasonal closure.
Willapa National Wildlife Refuge, Leadbetter Point Unit
End of Stackpole Road, Oysterville
Contact: Refuge Manager, (360) 484-3482
This site offers a look at a variety of wetland types: marshes, swamps, saltflats and tidal creeks.

Posted in marsh, Pacific County, shorebirds, state parks, tideflats, waterfowl habitat, wetlands, Willapa National Wildlife Refuge | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Tacoma News Tribune article about Willapa National Wildlife Refuge; ‘Paradise, So Close to Home’

Posted by pallix on October 4, 2007

Well written article appeared in the Tacoma News Tribune, Sept 27, 2007 calling attention to Willapa National Wildlife Refuge and beautifully describing the area where we live on pristine Willapa Bay. Aptly titled ‘Paradise, so close to home’ and written by Jeffrey P. Mayor, I am pleased to recommend the article which says better than I can what is beautiful about the region where we have chosen to live.

excerpts;

The mix of ocean beach, tideflats, freshwater marshes, an island dotted with towering cedars and a unique art trail make the Willapa National Wildlife Refuge a worthwhile stop.

Established in 1937 by President Franklin Roosevelt, the refuge now covers more than 26,000 acres and 260 square miles of water.

It’s a birder’s paradise, home to Western snowy plovers and great blue herons. It’s also a rest stop for countless migrating ducks and geese.

It’s a place where kayakers can paddle up to a waterfront campsite on Long Island. In the middle of the island is a 274-acre stand of remnant old-growth Western red cedars.

It’s home to 13 species of amphibians, black bear, deer and elk.

… spending a day exploring the ancient cedar grove, one of the prime attractions on Long Island.

The largest estuarine island on the West Coast, the island covers 5,400 acres. It is home to Sitka spruce and Western hemlock, black bears, elk and deer.

“Long Island is a real treat of a place. The ancient cedars there are pretty unique. They are among the oldest in Washington,” said Yoav Bar-Ness of The Nature Conservancy.

And as the reading finishes reading the article, and visualizing what we know to be true, a bit of a description of a Pacific Northwest paradise – nature as it might have been 100 years or more ago – the article ends with four challenges at Willapa National Wildlife Refuge

Four challenges at Willapa National Wildlife Refuge

1. Dune ecology and restoration
The issue: In the Leadbetter Point Unit, refuge staff members are dealing with the spread of European beach grass. It was planted to stabilize the sand dunes and has done that job too well.
The impact: The proliferation of the grass has harmed the species that require more open dune terrain, such as the Western snowy plover. That has forced the plovers to nest at the edge of the grasses, making them more susceptible to predators. Also, wind-blown sand covers the eggs the plovers lay on the open beach.
The work: Staff members have partnered with oyster operations in the area. They are using shells to stabilize the beach without use of grass. Charlie Stenvall, project leader at the refuge, said they have been able to clear 85 acres, with a goal of 100 acres.

2. Forest restoration
The issue: Rehabilitating forest areas that have been cut for timber.
The impact:One estimate says that less than 1 percent of the original coastal old growth remains. The loss of old-growth stands has affected wildlife, such as the marbled murrelet.
The work: The refuge is looking to revitalize its forest lands through thinning, reintroduction of declining tree and plant species and eliminating unnecessary forest roads. “We’re trying to return these to an old-growth forest. The time frame is we have to do the work now. But we many not know if we hit it right for 100 years,” Stenvall said.

3. Spartina
The issue: Also known as smooth cordgrass, it’s thought that spartina came to the area in the late 1890s when it was used as packing material. In 1997, 25 percent to 32 percent of Willapa Bay’s nearly 47,000 acres of tidal flats was infested with spartina.
The impact: Spartina reproduces faster, overtaking native plants. Its spread also forces some animals to find new nesting areas, and it often covers feeding and resting areas for migrating birds. It also threatens to overgrow oyster beds throughout the bay.
The work: The refuge has partnered with the state and other agencies. “That goes on ad nauseum. But we are making lots of progress on that,” Stenvall said. He cited a stream where the spartina had been removed, hoping to revive a chum salmon run. Last November the chum failed to show, “but there were thousands of shorebirds in the area where there was a spartina meadow.”

4. Budget
The issue: The refuge’s annual budget is $1.3 million. That has risen just $200,000 in the last five years. In addition, that money also goes to operate the nearby Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge and the Julia Butler Hansen Refuge for Columbia white-tailed deer. There are just 13 employees to work at all three refuges.
The impact: A meager budget makes it difficult to meet the six public uses mandated by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service: environmental education, interpretation, photography, hunting, fishing and wildlife observation. One example is that the refuge’s Salmon Art Trail is not open on weekends because of a lack of staff.
The work: “All the things we’re doing, we couldn’t do them without partnerships,” Stenvall said. “They’re worth millions, that’s not a joke. Our partnerships bring in more for our resource protection than I get through my federal budget.”

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Dock of the Bay and the Willapa Whopper burger

Posted by pallix on October 4, 2007

We know a bit of the history of the ‘Dock of the Bay’ restaraunt and tavern in Bay Center. For decades it was known as ‘The Blue Heron’ under ownership of Beverly Smith. She sold it a couple of years ago, and the new owners, from out of the area, Yelm, WA, tried to make a go of it but it didn’t go. Last year a local couple bought it and seem to making a go of it. So we’ve eaten there and even had a few beers under three different owners. We will ‘treat’ ourselves every once in a while to a meal there when we are permitting ourselves to eat meat. Our efforts at being sort of vegetarians go along well enough, allowing for occasional white meat as chicken, but every once in a while we just have to lapse and have a good old fashioned heavy duty burger and we know two places to get them – ‘Dock of the Bay’ and Clarks Restaraunt in Artic, WA.

So it was pleasing to see a write up that included and referenced the Willapa Whopper burger on the menu of Dock of the Bay in Bay Center. My husband, Arthur (Sweetie), had one of those Willapa Whopper burgers at one of our outings, and the amount of meat on the burger is close to obscene! He dared me to have one at another of our outings, and I can’t believe I took him up on his dare, but I did and sure enough, there are so many ingredients of that burger, it gives the Clark’s Restaraunt menu item of a hot doggity burger a real run for the money.

Article from Coast Weekend – Mouth of the Columbia:, These Willapa Bay roadside attractions are worth the stop

Pacific County, Wash. – On a clear day, following the Pallix River from U.S. Highway 101 west to Bay Center, then returning along the Willapa Bay shoreline (on Bay Center Road), is as pretty a drive as you’ll experience anywhere in the Northwest.

Oysters are king here, and the Willapa bivalves are grilled to perfection at Dock of the Bay, the only restaurant between Naselle and South Bend.

Savvy diners may remember this place as the Blue Heron Inn. Not much has changed since the change in name and ownership, save for the cosmetic improvements to the rough ‘n’ tumble lounge. You still might see a patron kicking back an oyster shooter and a beer at, say, 10 a.m. on a Sunday morning. Unless you want to belly up to the bar or play a game of pool, the small adjacent dining room, where slanted windows look out toward the harbor, is a better bet to enjoy a meal.

Our favorite time to mingle among the locals is morning, though fishermen and loggers ofttimes occupy the three tables during noontime and dinner, too. The half-pound Willapa Whopper burger draped with ham, bacon and an egg is popular, as are the deep-fried or sautéed prawns and the fish baskets. But we come for oysters, especially the hangtown fry omelet or oysters and eggs. The latter breakfast, available any time, showcases a quartet of medium-sized Willapa Bay beauties, oysters so fresh they taste of morning sunlight sparkling on saltwater. Accompanying hash browns, and lots of them, are the real deal: grated taters heated on the same grill as the ‘sters. A heartier breakfast you won’t find, but don’t come here expecting espresso (coffee’s from a pot), tea other than Lipton or anything fussy or fancy.

Other meals featuring oysters include a six-ounce steak and ‘sters, oyster burgers, oyster club sandwiches and a seven-piece oyster dinner sided with a flavorful oyster stuffing that’s unlike anything you’ve ever tasted from inside a turkey.

Dock of the Bay, Bay Center Road and Second Street, Bay Center, Wash., (360) 875-5130, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays (open every day in summer); breakfast and lunch entrees less than $10, dinner $9 to $20; must be 21 or older to dine here.

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Chinook Nation and Bay Center

Posted by pallix on October 3, 2007

It’s not mine to say, so better said by Native Americans of the Chinook Nation, link

excerpts:

The Chinooks paddled in to Point Ellice and brought the Corps food when their own boats could not manage the turbulent Columbia. Lewis and Clark praised the Chinooks’ skill and beautifully crafted canoes, then stole one on their way home.

The Corps of Discovery was the vanguard of a steadily increasing flow of traders, both from sea and inland. Within a few years, white people established trading posts in Astoria and in Vancouver. They pushed the Chinooks deeper inland and brought with them disease, including smallpox, malaria, and measles, wiping out almost 90 percent of the tribe. Where Lewis and Clark and their men once drifted down the Columbia past the fires of hundreds of Chinookan villages, now all that was left were abandoned longhouses and hastily dug graves.
To survive, the Chinooks married into other tribes and lived in insulated pockets where they could still fish and carry out their traditions as much as possible. One of these pockets of Chinooks was, and still is, the town of Bay Center, Washington.

It is still a Chinook stronghold, although many of the younger generation have moved away. At its peak, over a third of Bay Center’s inhabitants were Chinook. Charles Cultee, the Clatsop whose stories Frank Boas transcribed in 1894 in the book Chinook Texts, was one of the Indians who lived in a cabin along the beach. Phillip Hawk’s father, John Hawks, was another. Phillip was the last Chinook born in the village. His family moved up the hill to Bay Center when he was 5 or 6 years old and enrolled him in school. That’s when he learned to speak English.

Phillip is in his mid-80s now, but still strong from fishing crab and oysters and from his daily walks along the beach and through the swamp of cattails near the old Chinook village site. Walking today, we pass the carcass of a bear. We pass where the orchards used to be. We pass posts that once held up boardwalks through the swamp. Finally we come to the old village site on Willapa Bay, plotted out long ago so that people could walk out of their houses be at work immediately harvesting oysters. These days the beach is covered with spartina, an invasive weed from China that was carried in the bilge water of passing ships. The spartina chokes out the sweetgrass used by Chinooks in making baskets. The sweet, small native oysters are nearly gone, too, muscled out by the vigorous Pacific oysters seeded by Japanese fishermen.
The village site is grown over by alder and underbrush. Phillip shows us the plots that belonged to his family, the Cultees, and the Chinook minister. Cabins without electricity or running water sat in each plot. By the 1930s, the Chinooks abandoned most of the cabins for land on the Quinault reservation or houses with electricity in Bay Center. The last Chinook to live in the village, an elderly bachelor and one of the few Indians who could drive a car in Bay Center at the time, abandoned his cabin in 1953

We also see the corner post of an old Shaker church. Many of the Indians at Bay Center were Shakers. Tony Johnson explains that Shakers believed people didn’t need Bibles, they could talk directly to God — a belief that dovetailed smoothly with American Indian tradition.

The Chinook Nation is not federally recognized, which is a sore point with the Chinooks.
Council chairman Gary Johnson says that the tribe has always been recognized and shouldn’t have to apply for recognition. He points to the Halbert Decision of 1934 that granted land allotments to Chinooks and other tribal nations, and he notes that members of the tribe had received fishing rights for years. In 1967, the Bureau of Indian Affairs unilaterally delisted about 100 tribes, including the Chinooks, saying that they didn’t have reservations and therefore weren’t official tribes. (Later, the Sammish tribe claimed that the delisting was illegal and had its recognition re-instated.) In 1978, the Bureau of Indian Affairs established a Branch of Acknowledgement and Research to approve the recognition of tribes, and the Chinooks began a 23-year process to regain recognition.

At last, on January 3, 2001, the Chinook Nation was formally re-recognized. The tribe was elated. On the 89th day of the appeal period, the Quinault Tribe filed an appeal, saying that the Chinooks hadn’t followed the correct procedures in applying for recognition. Gary says that over half of the Quinault reservation’s allotments are held by Chinooks, and that federal recognition of the Chinooks was a threat to Quinault control of the reservation and its resources, including its casino.The appeals court reaffirmed the Chinooks’ recognition, but the appeal still had to be approved once again by the Department of the Interior.
By now, President George W. Bush had succeeded President Bill Clinton and appointed a new Secretary of the Interior, Gale Norton. Rather than simply approving the judge’s confirmation of the tribe’s recognition, the Secretary subjected the appeal to a full review. The tribe was on pins and needles, but became optimistic when Gary Johnson and his wife were invited to a luncheon at the White House to commemorate tribal involvement with Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery. Two days later the tribe received word that their recognition was denied.

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Mrs. June Bochau and her son, Merrill Bochau

Posted by pallix on October 3, 2007

Our neighbor who was raised in Bay Center, shared with us some of the old photographshe acquired from his parents. This photo shows the owner of our rather well know Bochau’s Chateau house; Mrs. June Bochau taking her little son, Merrill Bocha for a walk – crossing the bridge – in Bay Center.

Mrs. June Bochau and her son, Merrill Bochau

Mrs. June Bochau and her son, Merrill Bochau

click on photo to see full size

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Where the dock was and no longer is..

Posted by pallix on October 3, 2007

bay-center-history-new-dock-not-yet-completed-ships.jpg

This dock would have been one block down from the house where we now live, if this dock still existed. It doesn’t but the photo does show life before in this fishing community on the bay.

Photo shows a lively ‘bay’ community. Before the county roads and state highways, the communities on Willap Bay used boats more often than vehicles. As a bay community, people would boat over to other communities to do visiting, shopping, and for get-togethers.
The communities on Willapa Bay included Long Beach, Tokeland, Shoalwater, Bruceport, and where Willapa Bay becomes Willapa River, communities of South Bend and Raymond.
In this photo, the dock has freshly been built, and does not yet have railings, and shows the use of boats by the locals in their everyday endeavors. The dock is no longer there, and with roads and highways now, people drive more than boat in going about daily business.

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Twighlight on beach in Bay Center

Posted by pallix on October 3, 2007

twighlight on beach in Bay Center

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Canoeing on Willapa Bay to Long Island

Posted by pallix on October 3, 2007

A video that explores a canoe trip of the estuaries of Willapa Bay (Long Island). Link to video at Google. Looks like what we look at every day living on Willapa Bay. Pleased to have found this google video – sharing it here.

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