Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Value of High Places

Looking over Eliza Island. copyright 2011 Paul K Anderson

Sunday, March 27, 2011

For Public Service

Calvin Collander digs into a special project as he works to become an Eagle Scout.

With friends and members of the Honors Biology program at Sehome High School, over 200 native plants were planted on a steep hillside in Fairhaven Park at the north end of the Chuckanut Range.

Good job Calvin!  You and your father Magnus have a right to be proud of what you are accomplishing.
Calvin and Magnus Collander

Students walked back and forth dozens of times between the staging area and project slope.

While Magnus prepares to drop off compost,
Rae Edwards - Bellingham parks volunteer coordinator
engages students on their next activity

Lindsay, Peter, Reed and Mackenzie plant an area of steep slope
to prevent erosion and serve as a water filter protecting the salmon stream below.

Reed and Peter (teammates on the Sehome  track team) race back and forth
after getting home at 11 PM from a track meet the previous evening, and attending a workout at the school.

Cherry Point Will Become the Largest Coal Exporting Facility in North America

One of two coal trains passing thru Fairhaven late Saturday afternoon.

"Our export agreement with the Gateway Pacific Terminal gives us rights to ship 24 million metric tons of coal annually. These volumes are a part of total terminal capacity that will be permitted to move up to 54 million metric tons of all bulk commodities at capacity, including up to 48 million metric tons of coal, depending on market demand and other factors. "

Peabody Coal Company Spokesperson Beth Sutton in her response to one in a series of articles by Eric De Place in The Weekly Score from Sightline Daily.  Read it here!

Here is a link to an article in Commodities Now on the explosive demand for more coal in China if the economies of scale can be improved by building a facility on the west coast. In other words by building this facility at Cherry Point it will create and open up a huge market for coal from Wyoming and Montana.  The economics aren't there if the coal is shipped out of Houston/Galveston.

So when the spokesperson for Peabody Coal company says "depending on market demand and other factors", she is being a bit misleading implying that this is all market driven and somehow important in the reasoning behind the approval for building/permitting this facility. China will simply buy the coal from Indonesia or Australia if this facility isn't built. Their version of free market forces don't calculate in the cost to the degradation of air quality, water quality, home devaluations, health costs, noise, etc., etc., etc.

According to Eric DePlace,  the quality of this coal in btu's produced, is inferior, thus cheaper per metric ton - if you add the cost of shipping through the Panama Canal it will simply make it too expensive and the market will not be there for Wyoming and Montana coal.

So! The economy of scale requires a huge facility on the west coast.The marketing campaign focuses on 24 million tons passing through our town, but by opening this facility to ship coal to China an almost insatiable demand for western coal will be created requiring at the minimum twice the amount passing through the Chuckanuts and Bellingham and more than twice the number of ships coming into the facility than is being advertised in the Bellingham Herald.

Plus we will have to give them tax subsidies and pay for the vast majority of upgrade requirements required by the Burlington Northern Santa Fe.

And let's be realistic about shipping wheat from this facility - it won't happen it's a deflection by the marketing people.  The vast majority of wheat from eastern Washington is barged down the Snake and Columbia River to loading facilities near Portland and further downstream.

The odds that anything but a token amount will ever be shipped out of a facility in Whatcom County are next to nil.

Largest coal shipping facility in North America - are we really that proud of the direction this spectacular county is heading?

all photos copyright Paul K Anderson 2011 please click on any image to enlarge

Will the tourist industry use images like this to attract visitors to Whatcom County?

Burlington Northern Santa Fe locomotives haul up to 150
coal cars through Bellingham

BNSF coal train passes through Fairhaven and
below South Hill

Chuckanut Range viewed between coal cars

Monday, March 21, 2011

Why We Live Here

Full Moon Over Our Home Ground
Copyright Paul K Anderson 2011

Bellingham and Mt Baker at Dusk
copyright Paul K. Anderson 2011

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Chuckanut 50K II

The lower mountain was relatively flat along the Interurban

The day started out dark and cold as runners descended into Arroyo Park and across Chuckanut Creek

Elite runners almost half way into the race and after almost 2000 foot elevation gain still find energy to smile and say thanks for coming out to shoot photos!

After running many successful marathons - the ultra distances lured.

1st place Geoff Roes, Nederland, Colorado

Geoff Roes was hugged by his girlfriend Corel LaForce
after setting a new course record. His time of 3hrs. 41 mins. 51 secs.
beat the old record by 7 minutes 48 seconds.

Michael Smith, 2nd place of Flagstaff, Arizona was greeted at the finish line.

Top 5 mens finishers. Geoff, Michael and Eric Stagg (#2) of Ashland, Oregon broke the old mens record.
Aaron Heidt of Vernon B.C was 4th and 5th was Tim Olson from Ashland, Oregon

Chuckanut 50K

An amazing group of 300+ runners, including world class competitors, participated in the Chuckanut 50K yesterday on trails and roads within the Chuckanuts.

Please support Fairhaven Runners they are a sponsor of the Chuckanut 50K as well as a leading benefactor to the Chuckanut Conservancy.

More later but here are some of the images from yesterdays competition.

Please click on any image to enlarge.

All photographs are copyright Paul K Anderson 2011

Runners crossed Chuckanut Creek and began the switchbacks up to the Interurban Trail 

Early in the race runners were still clustered together but the steep trails quickly dispersed  the crowds.

Snow had fallen on the upper elevations allowing Michael Smith, the early race leader from Flagstaff, Arizona, to keep cool on the rugged elevation gains.

Eric Stagg on the right climbs Cleator Rd. with Colorado native Geoff Roes, on the left.
Geoff paced himself early in the race before passing Michael Smith at about the 22 mile mark

Tim Olson of Ashland, Oregon

The elite ladies weren't too far behind near the top of Cleator.

High tech fabrics, watches, hydration systems and tunes helped many of the runners.

Runners ate and drank on the run to keep fueled and hydrated.  Numerous check points and aide stations were positioned over the 30.6 mile course. 

Some were motivated by friends and family members.

Super Moon 2 over the Salish Sea

Super Moonset over Lummi Island by copyright Paul K Anderson 2011
One of the advantages of high places like the Chuckanuts is the ability to over look our home grounds. In this photo the "Super" moon sets over the Salish Sea and Lummi Island.  Clouds obstructed the moon within minutes after this image was captured a short while ago.

Super Moon over the Salish Sea

Photographed this morning shortly before moonset.
Copyright Paul K. Anderson 2011

Friday, March 18, 2011

Chuckanut 50K

One of the iconic events of the year that utilizes the wonderful trails and roads in the Chuckanut Range is the Chuckanut 50K.  The event starts at Fairhaven Park this Saturday morning and ends almost 4 hours later for the top runners.

If you get a chance please stop by the Chuckanuts and encourage these athletes on their quest.

Check out the website for the Chuckanut 50K.  Who knows maybe this will inspire you to participate in this excellent event in future years.

RACE START: 8AM Fairhaven Park near the north end of Chuckanut Drive.

click on image for a bit larger version.
And while in Fairhaven be sure to stop by one of the iconic businesses nearby - Fairhaven Runners - Steve Roguski and his staff are huge contributors to the Chuckanut Conservancy. They also sponsor many fine events like the Chuckanut 50K, local track teams and local runners! 

image from earlier this winter by Paul K Anderson

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Logging, Coal Dust and the Progress of Man

Timber Harvest in the Chuckanut Range by Lee First

Lee First and all our friends over at RE Sources for Sustainable Communities and the North Sound Baykeeper's Team are great to work with, we all love the Pacific Northwest, the Salish Sea, the Cascades and our Home Ground of Whatcom and Skagit Counties!

Lee, a field investigator for North Sound Baykeepers shared this photograph from a recent hike in the Chuckanuts.

Although this timber harvest was on private land, high up on top (as revealed by the spectacular view of the San Juans) it is an indicator of the degradation that this beautiful area is being exposed to from the extractive resources industry.

Soon, the Chuckanuts, Chuckanut Bay, Samish and Bellingham Bays will be exposed to 25 million +  tons of coal passing through each year - for decades if action isn't soon taken. The Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad states on their own website that each coal car, on these 150 car trains, can lose as much as one ton of coal between the mines in Wyoming and Montana and Cherry Point, Washington.

Coal dust and particulates will be deposited along the tracks and in the surrounding landscape of the Skagit River Valley, the Chuckanuts, the oyster beds of Samish Bay, numerous salmon streams, Larrabee State Park, through Edgemore, Fairhaven, Boulevard Park, South Hill, Western Washington University, downtown Bellingham and the neighborhoods heading out to Cherry Point.

Families enjoying an event at Boulevard Park just yards from the BNSF tracks
copyright Paul Anderson 2011
The progress of man can better be measured by safe and healthy families, clean air, clean water and sustainable communities.

Please support the Chuckanut Conservancy.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Mr. Peabody's Coal Train and the Chuckanuts

Copyright Paul K. Anderson
A Burlington Northern Santa Fe freight train passes thru Blanchard as it enters
the Chuckanuts.
As many as nine fully loaded coal trains a day will pass through the Chuckanuts and return after unloading according to a plan by SSA Marine to build a $500 million bulk loading shipping terminal at Cherry Point in northern Whatcom County.

Coal would be loaded on freighters bound for China.

Peabody Energy recently announced that it was prepared to export 24 million metric tons of coal per year via the new Gateway Pacific Terminal.

Bob Ferris, executive director of Re-Sources for Sustainable Communities was recently interviewed and quoted for an article in the Bellingham Herald.

ReSources for Sustainable Communities has additional information on their site.

Expect with the terrible earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear reactor disaster in Japan that there will be a huge marketing push for the continued use of coal - and development of this project.