Trout Lake Newswriters
Sandi Thygesen, 395-2318
Terry Scott, 395-2760
Pat Arnold, 395-2233
Bonnie Reynolds, 395-2527
88 million people watch Super Bowl, says the newspaper, but it didn't say how many of them are in Trout Lake and it didn't say how many of them know how to read XXXVIII. The headlines will be shorter, anyway, when we get to XL.
Our boy's basketball team is currently leading the league, after two squeaker games with dramatic finishes. This is one of the best teams in recent years, with good prospects for success at the district level. The girls are fighting the good fight as well. After this week there is one only more home game, against Klickitat, on Feb. 13. Let's get out and support our teams and see how far they can go.
This community is full of remarkable people. One of them, Monte Pearson, received the Lifetime Service Award from the Mt. Adams Chamber of Commerce at a dinner in White Salmon on Jan. 31. The award recognized Monte's many contributions to his community. The list is long and includes service on many community boards, including 30 years on the Community Council. He has served the school by coaching track and cross country, and by donations of land and labor to the school, most recently for completion of the track and soccer field, along with others. Monte was the Glacier Springs water manager during critical years in the development of the system and also has served on the board.
In addition to community service, Monte is a capable and successful businessman. Mountain Laurel Jerseys (and yes, named for Monte and Laura) was the first organic dairy in the Northwest, a transition that was possible thanks to careful and skilled herd management and farming practices over many years. Monte has provided employment to many Trout Lake people, and is a generous and patient employer.
Monte has also served the Baptist church in innumerable ways, from membership on the Elder Board to making the fire before services, putting his faith into practice in many ways. Monte and Laura raised four wonderful children and are grandparents to six.
The award mentioned these activities and facts, and more. If readers will allow me an expression of personal opinion, I will say that what is more important than a list of memberships and positions, but harder to express, is the place that Monte has in the hearts of many in our community. His dairy, and the church on land next to the dairy, is geographically at the heart of the valley. Truly joyful noises (even sometimes in tune) arise from those enjoying Monte's music and his leadership of so many choirs. Monte's own cheerful and generous heart for service has nourished and inspired others. All of us have our imperfections and trials, but most of us don't deal with them as cheerfully as Monte does his.
By the way, Monte and his wife Laura were brought to the awards banquet on the pretext of a dinner out with friends. They looked a little puzzled at finding that the dinner out was with a rather large number of friends, including prominent White Salmon business people, at an awards banquet, but they settled down to enjoy dinner. The surprise on their faces was real. Good job, conspirators.
Speaking of remarkable people, the Trout Lake Fair chairpersons, Bill and Marjorie Mitchell, have made plans to escape. They say they are going to visit family, but probably they calculated that a trip far away is the only way to extricate themselves from fair activities, knowing full well that if they were anywhere within reach they would be drafted yet again. Marjorie and Bill have put in years of devoted and effective service to the fair, for which we are grateful. Are you next? Please come forward, you are needed. Or if you aren't the one, send your neighbor.
Work is expected to start this spring in the Gotchen Creek area (on the Gifford Pinchot) to reduce the threat of fire resulting from defoliation by spruce budworm. This decision is the result of a long process, over several years, a process that points up how forest management strategies change as knowledge increases and goals change. The plan includes thinning and other actions to reduce fire danger by reducing fuel loads and by encouraging the growth of tree species more resistant to the budworm.
In the web of interconnected issues that this column always turns out to be, Gotchen leads me in two directions. First, we do live in an area where danger from wildfire is potentially severe. The Washington State University Extension office in Skamania County (Ole Helgerson, extension forester) came to Trout Lake last week with a presentation on wildfire preparedness. This program offers information on measures that can be taken around homes BEFORE the wildfire starts. These measures, some of which most people might not have thought of, such as providing turnaround space for fire trucks are in a very good pamphlet titled "Living with Fire: A Guide for the Homeowner." Fireproofing your home does not mean you have to cut down every tree around the house. The pamphlet explains about reducing ladder fuels and tree canopy separation distances, neither of which requires removing all the trees and shrubs. Call Andrew Lembrick 509-427-4130 or go to www.firewise.org for more information.
Second, the Gotchen plan keeps activities well away from the shorelines of the White Salmon River and Cascade Creek. This is good news. It also demonstrates the importance of the bill, introduced in 2003 by Rep. Brian Baird and by Sen. Maria Cantwell, to designate the Upper White Salmon (including Cascade Creek) as a Wild and Scenic River. The stretch of the river included in the legislation is entirely within the boundaries of the national forest. Even so, various forest activities could adversely impact the river, with consequences for those downstream. Wild and Scenic designation would increase the level of protection afforded the Upper White Salmon.
While we are on the river, well, not literally, the Friends of the White Salmon River, a local group that has worked for two decades on White Salmon river issues, is conducting a search (a contest? -- is there a prize?) for a new logo. Contact Sarah Arnold at 395-2669 for details.
And one last water item. As directed by the Northwest Power Act, sub-basin planning for fish and wildlife on the White Salmon river, among other streams, is beginning. The plans, when completed, will direct Bonneville Power Administration funding for fish and wildlife protection, mitigation, and enhancement. The process starts with public meetings, two of which will be held in White Salmon on March 11 and May 4. For more information call Robert McDonald at 509-884-8756 or check at www.nwcouncil.org/fw/subbasinplanning/
The Community Council and the Fire Department took the proposal for radio/pagers to the Economic Development Board on Jan. 22. The board's decision to fund or not to fund should be known within a month. Stay tuned.
Democratic Party caucuses for Trout Lake and Glenwood precincts will be held Saturday, Feb. 7, at the Trout Lake School at 10 a.m. Remember that there will be no state primary this year. The caucuses take action on presidential candidate selection and on platform issues, from local to national. Republican Party caucuses will be Tuesday, March 9. Check the Enterprise for location information or call Laura Cheney in White Salmon.
Cabin Fever Festival -- don't forget, Feb. 7. Lots to do, inside and out.