Saturday, November 6, 2010

Some Random Thoughts While Flying Over the Chuckanuts

all photos ©Paul Anderson

Fly over the Chuckanut Range and you will quickly realize:
- what a special place we have just minutes from the I-5 corridor. 
- how vulnerable it is to potential development.
- how vulnerable it is to the potential of poor logging practices and processes. 
- there are many stakeholders who will have divergent views on any change.  These include private property owners (homeowners), businesses, industrial forest landowners, logging companies, State Parks, Department of Natural Resources (DNR), local, county and state government agencies, advocacy groups like the Chuckanut Conservancy, Conservation Northwest, the Sierra Club, The Mountaineers, NCCC, Friends of Blanchard Mountain, also recreational groups -hikers, hang gliders, campers, photographers, horsemen, runners, mountain bikers, restaurant goers, motorists and motorcyclists that use Chuckanut Drive. 

The culture and history of the area has an influence and needs to be considered - resource extraction in Skagit County has a proud and long history - it doesn't mean that we agree that it can continue but that history has to be acknowledged, it is ok to be empathetic to the past.
- there will be much frustration in trying to protect an area that we love.
- it is ok to be passionate about special places like this. There will be passion on all sides of this issue.

I also have some ideas on what we can do - I guess continue to do is a better choice of words -  as an advocacy group:
- continue to provide timely information to the public about issues, events, meetings, logging etc.
- ensure that the Chuckanut Conservancy is represented on all teams, working groups, etc. even though it  can be extremely frustrating and seems to be overwhelmingly a situation of David vs. Goliath - it is what it is.
- continue to build the social network already started that will want to address the DNR and working group with little or short notice about their love of the Chuckanuts and concerns/opinions - respectful articulate discourse will have to be listened to.
- define the goals of what we want as an advocacy group, develop the tactics or actions required to achieve some or many of those goals and articulate specifically to the DNR and Commissioner Goldmark what we as an organization want and will do (or offer to do) to achieve those goals.
- educate the membership and public by identifying stakeholder groups and their issues and what can and cannot be achieved based on previous laws, regulations, commitments.
- work at consensus building.
- define/understand what we can compromise on and what we cannot and articulate that to DNR so they have a clear understanding.
- be prepared and ready to stand up for those areas we feel we cannot compromise on and make proposals - offer alternative solutions. If the solution requires large sums of money and we won't commit or are unable to commit, then it is difficult or unreasonable to take that stand.

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