The project will replace an existing 36” wide trail and steps with a path wide enough to accommodate passage of a raft. The new path will probably be paved with concrete. FWSR will submit a short SEPA comment and a longer general comment.
The SEPA comment deadline is November 13, 2020.
General Comment Deadline is November 30, 2020. Written comments relating to the Shoreline Conditional Use Application will be accepted until the time of a public hearing before the Klickitat County Planning Commission. Any comments received will be entered into the record. (Read Shae Hill Proposal here.)
Project description from JARPA: The proposal is to upgrade a small 36″ wide existing gravel trail that goes in the direction the river flows. This trail starts at the top of the earthen shelf and descends west to the bedrock, then currently turns due south for the final few feet with steps. The total drop is approximately 9 feet. The purpose of the trail is to provide and facilitate raft ingress/egress to the White Salmon River, which, due to the stairs, we cannot currently put our raft into or take it out of the river on our property. This is a private use and will not have any commercial aspect. Given the particular slope of the area and overhead fir trees, the path will be straightened and excavated using hand tools. There will be no fill deposited below the present earthen shelf. In the process, the existing wood-reinforced stairs where the path turns south will be removed and replanted with native bushes to further stabilize the earthen shelf (please see the attached replanting plan). The path would then be paved with brown dyed concrete and /or paver stones to safely access the river for ingress and egress.
FWSR submitted two comments on the Spring Creek FPA.
One, written by our attorney, addresses the ways in which the FPA fails to meet legal requirements, including triggers for classification as a Class IV-S requiring a full SEPA. 2020 07 20 Public Comment BRICKLIN & NEWMAN
Our second comment addresses environmental damage that could result from the logging as proposed. For example, there are three known Western Gray Squirrel (WGS) nests in the area proposed to be logged. WGS are in a category known as Priority Habitat Species, along with some species on site. DNR timber harvest rules do not protect these habitats. FWSR comment-Spring Creek FPA 2706931
As we have said before, the DNR rules for timber harvest do not adequately protect things that are required under other state laws to be protected. A SEPA process might produce a higher level of protection. Might is the operative word. The best protection is that logging just doesn’t happen on this parcel.
Join us on October 5th for a slow-paced trip through the old lake bed and dam site to the Columbia. With luck, we’ll see salmon and steelhead swimming in some shallow portions of the river, and spawning beds (redds) for the Fall Chinook. Knowledgeable guides from Zoller’s will fill us in on the natural history.
“It’s like having our very own science project in our front yard,” said Mark Zoller, 29 year White Salmon River guide. “We have such a special opportunity to watch nature re-claim and heal itself over the next several years. I’m amazed, as is everyone at how quickly the river hastaken control and is proceeding to repair 100 years of blockage.“
We will experience breath-taking scenery, some fun rapids (Class III), float past the site of Condit Dam, and pass through the Narrows.
There is an approximately 200-yard portage around one impassable ‘keeper’ pool. If you are concerned about how strenuous this portage is, please contact Zollers.
To reserve your seat, call Zoller’s Outdoor Odysseys directly at 509-493-2641.
In addition to warm weather, summer also brings the White Salmon Riverfest & Symposium to our community each year. Scheduled this summer for Wednesday July 10th, Husum will be bustling with activities with something for everyone all day long.
The event kicks off with the incredibly popular annual community float. This affordable, $20 raft trip is designed for the local community to enjoy the river together. If you have not had that opportunity before, this fun event is a great way to see why the New York Times mentioned this river as one of 4 “must do’s” in the country for 2013.
Reservations for the rafting trip can be made by phone (800.306.1673 / 509.493.8989) or online at www.wetplanetwhitewater.com . Please note, the trip is intended for folks who live in the area, in the White Salmon valley or the extended Gorge communities. “We care about the White Salmon River, and appreciate being able to take visitors and neighbors rafting and kayaking every day. It always surprises us how many folks in the area have never been out on the river, so we love creating this opportunity each year to share it in an affordable way with community members who don’t get a chance to get out on the river as much as we do,” says Wet Planet owner Todd Collins, who is also on the Husum – BZ Community Council.
After the rafting trip, rafters and event attendees are invited to grab lunch by the newest eatery in Husum, Big Man’s Rotisserie. For the occasion, the Big Man’s grill will be stationed at the parking lot of the Husum Fire Hall, welcoming people to the afternoon’s Symposium.
After the community float, the White Salmon River Symposium agenda offers an exciting list of current and relevant topics that have been on many a river user’s mind ever since Condit Dam came out. “The landscape of the White Salmon River has changed, and we hope to provide information on current issues for river users and landowners that pertain to the river and its resources,” says Jeanette Burkhart, organizer of this year’s symposium.
The topics, presented by regional experts, include a “state of the river” overview; conservation resources available to landowners; the threat, identification, and prevention of the spread of aquatic invasive species; watershed stewardship; Fish resources: an update and what to expect. A moderated discussion will follow with a panel of river-related specialists, who will wrestle with the benefits and challenges of wood in the river. Additional sub basin and river-related information will be provided by organizations at table displays. Washington State Dept. of Fish & Wildlife staff will hold two demonstrations on how to decontaminate a water craft (using a boat-washing station outside the fire hall) in order to prevent the introduction or spread of aquatic invasive species, which could threaten the economic and ecological vitality of the river. Raffle drawings will be held in between talks, and visitors will have opportunities to interact with presenters and panelists.
Following the symposium, it’s time to get out on the river again for the Social Paddle & Trash Bash. The Wednesday Evening Social Paddle, organized each week by Luke Maddox with the Kayak Shed, is joining forces with local raft guides lead by Zoller guide Ben Kofoed for a River Clean Up. Paddlers are challenged to pick up as much trash as possible, and prices will be given for the most and/or funniest river trash collected.
After a great day of varied activities, the party will move to the Husum River Side B&B and Ice House Café. The river community will be able to grab a slice of pizza by Solstice, and a beverage at the bar. This will also be a great opportunity to watch OPB’s documentary about the White Salmon River, created by Andy Maser. As of 8.30 PM, local band The Shed Shakers will be filling a packed dance floor.
Enough is enough. FWSR opposes the approval of a permit to do additional harm to the shoreline of the White Salmon River by constructing a private raft launch. We have participated in innumerable permitting processes in the White Salmon River watershed. In general, the permitting process has proved to be worthless for environmental protection. When regulatory agencies issue permits, they legalize harm.
The current application states that there will be no damage. We disagree. We also think that this application must be considered in light of on-going cumulative damage to the shoreline. This application results from a long process of short plats, starting with in 1997. The basic fact is that agricultural land is being converted to residential use, which is potentially much more harmful to the river. Every stage of this process has offered an opportunity for the County to protect the shoreline buffer, but no protection or improvement has resulted.
Additionally, the shoreline in the Husum area has degraded through unpermitted actions. Some of these actions have been brought to County attention in complaints filed with the County. None of them have been resolved in favor of the buffer and the river.
Buffers matter. Making room for the river to live naturally, move as it wants, absorb large woody debris, gravel beds, move rocks, and generally be itself is essential for all species that depend on the river, including humans.
Buffers are living systems. Humans have lived among the natural systems of the White Salmon for millennia, and no doubt there have been foot paths down to the river throughout human existence in this area. Animals make paths, too. Our current ability and willingness to do damage to natural systems, however, is unprecedented, and it comes at a dangerous time with the growing impacts of climate change.
We can’t stop human migration, including the on-going migration of people into the White Salmon watershed. We can, and must, take every step to protect the natural resources that are needed to nurture and sustain not only the human population but the entire diverse community of plants, animals, fish, and insects that live here. We are past the point where we can continue to exploit the natural systems without severe damage to our own ability to survive.
Enough. Protect the river.
This is a picture provided by the applicant in the application. This is what the current "buffer" looks like.
Update on the application for a private launch site in Husum. I'm not great with this picture stuff, but the yellow line in the picture below shows the width of the undisturbed buffer that's supposed to be, which is 50' of undisturbed vegetation. Fifty feet isn't nearly enough for a healthy buffer, but that's what's required.
The Wild & Scenic Management Plan calls for 100' in this area.
The actual buffer is a pitiful thing, complete with grading within the 50 ' boundary. Don't be confused by the shadows of trees.
I don't know who did the grading. I don't think it was the applicant, but it doesn't matter who did it - the damage is severe and real.
The County should not permit more damage in the form of a hardened launch path.
I will be posting the FWSR comments on our website as soon as I can. In the meantime, in my next post, check out our general perspective on this.