Friday, November 9, 2018

Salish Sea: The Wonders of the Past

The Salish Sea has one of the most diverse marine ecosystem and rich cultural history. Named after the first people who inhabited the area called the Coast Salish; the Salish Sea has one of the largest inland seas. Measuring about 7,470 km with 419 islands, the total sea surface has outstanding 16,925 square kilometers. At its deepest, Salish Sea can go as far as 650 meters and that has a biodiversity of 253 species of fish, 172 species of birds, and 37 species of mammals. 

Its territory stretches along the coastlines of Puget Sound, Strait of Juan de Fuca in Washington, Seattle, Strait of Georgia in British Columbia, and Vancouver. Because the Salish Sea borders the US and Canada, it has a spectacular beauty to boasts while providing economic growth for the two countries. Its waterways provide a convenient way to connect communities, century-old trades resulted in the very urbanized communities along the Salish Sea. 

Early Settlers of Salish Sea 

More than two hundred thousand Native people inhabited the banks of the Salish Sea even before the Americans and Canadians came. They had created a very intricate and close-knit relationship of other tribes that spanned in its waterways. Because of its geographical location, salmon and other animals became their main source of food as well as the different variety of plants that are endemic in the region. 

As the fur traders began coming in from other parts of the country, the communities surrounding the Salish Sea started to change. Its people suffered great loss because some kind of epidemic plagued the area. In the journal of the British mariner George Vancouver, he described his expedition during his 1792 voyage as haunting. He and his men found several abandoned tribes covered with what clearly looked like human skeletal remains. Thousands of Native people died from the disease but there are several hundred more that survived and thrived in its waterways. 

More and more people began arriving along the waterways of the Salish Sea as it promised opportunities for everyone. As the sea yields an abundant harvest of fish, its lands are great for cultivating. Not long after, thousands of fur traders settled in the area around the early 1800s, the Natives experience limited access to their fishing spots. It was then followed by commercial salmon fishing during the late 1890s. Large-scale companies began mass-producing salmon in cans which are both impressive for the economy and destructive for the environment. 

Because of the severe damage and pollution in the Salish Sea, the US and Canada signed a salmon conservation treaty in 1930. Experts claimed that the destruction and overfishing were so severe that it resulted for the salmon to be listed under endangered species in the 20th century. 

Today, more than 7 million people live in the coastlines of the Salish Sea, enjoying the amazing view and spectacular natural resources of this body of water. It’s even home to some of the world’s most powerful business including Starbucks, Amazon, Microsoft, and Boeing. 

Friday, November 2, 2018

What You Need to Know about Puget Island

According to history, the British explorer, Lieutenant Broughton was the first ever white man to laid eyes on the Puget Island, after Lieutenant Peter Puget. More than a decade after the discovery, Lewis and Clark named it as Sturgeon Island and Sea Otter Island. But the first settlers on the island are the Norwegians Johanes and Frances Ostervold who came to Puget Island to farm and fish, which it was famous for being “Little Norway”. 

When the first road opened in 1925, it connected two important ports and ferries, Westport and Cathlamet. Measuring about 3 miles wide and 7 miles long, it houses about 800 residents as per 2000 US census report. The island is teeming with natural resources, with reserves, and great fishing spots. But there are more to it than that; here are some of the best places to visit in Puget Island. 

Wahkiakum County Ferry 

Your trip would not be completed until you set foot to its famous passenger ferry. Considered as the last operating toll passenger ferry on the Lower Columbia River, it has one of the most beautiful routes drive loop. Operating for every day of the week, it leaves Puget Island going to Westport and vice versa. As waters in the island are pretty much calm, your kids will surely love a change of scenery for a change. 

Jasper’s Store 

Established in 1919, Jasper’s Store is like an icon in Puget Island, it was built as an apartment in the back with a boarding house on its second floor. Many considered it as a heritage site, where you can still glimpse how the residents built their houses to accommodate their lifestyle back in the days. It’s a perfect place to stretch those legs after a quick trip with the ferry as its located next to the ferry landing. 

Sons of Norway Helgeland Lodge 

Located at 444 State Route 4, this lodge is another great place to visit in Puget Island. As Norwegians were the first settlers in the island, they built the place as their center to meet and mingle with each other, with a lot of throws with their cultural dance. When the early settlers finally had their own lives, they formed the Sons of Norway Helgeland Lodge where they built the Norse Hall in 1937. Up till now, they celebrate festivities here especially their Scandinavian events. The lodge also serves as a popular venue for weddings, reunions, and other family gatherings. 

Two Islands Farm Market 

But before leaving the island don’t forget to drop by at their Two Islands Farm Market. It’s a great way to know more about the locals and their produce. Founded in 2006, this farmer’s market provided locals a way to expand and cater their best local produce. Who knows you might find one of a kind souvenir back home.