Opinion

We can save the Sound by working together

I’m not going anywhere this summer! Every year at about this time, I pledge that I will not leave the Island for the next three months.

Ever since a fateful trip five years ago to an island in New England that shall remain unnamed, when we not only missed the Strawberry Festival, but all the best weather and low tides, I have made this vow.

Why leave Vashon when we have just about the best beaches, trails and “warm” water swimming around? Why not spend our short little summer enjoying the treasures of Puget Sound? Each day can be a new adventure, right here at home.

The third annual Low Tide Celebration, this Saturday at 10 a.m. at Point Robinson, will be another great adventure opportunity for the whole family. There will be a visit from a native canoe, traditional storytellers, expert talks and guided beach walks. The Low Tide Celebration is a great chance to connect with this place called Puget Sound and a great way to start the summer.

We Islanders live here because it’s such a beautiful area. The peace and quiet, nice neighbors and natural scenery combine to make Island life special. But beneath the beautiful blue waters, Puget Sound is in trouble.

It’s hard for me to imagine, as I’m strolling along the beach with my daughters, that the Sound is sick. Unfortunately, it is — today, this icon of the region is ailing from pollution and high, not low, impact development, among other things.

But we can’t wait for visible signs of Puget Sound’s distress. The time to act is now, before we lose the sight of orcas swimming and singing to each other, or the taste of local salmon for dinner. These animals, and the places they live, are part of our way of life, and we have a responsibility to protect and restore them for our children.

Fortunately, there’s a campaign already under way to help the Sound, and they’re making it easy — and fun — for everyone to chip in. It’s called the Alliance for Puget Sound Shorelines, an ever-growing grassroots group of folks that care about the region, including People For Puget Sound, The Trust for Public Land and The Nature Conservancy.

Public events all around the Sound are showcased on MudUp.org, a Web site run by the Alliance for Puget Sound Shorelines, which is working to support the state’s 2020 Puget Sound restoration initiative by taking immediate action to create new parks, restore the shoreline, support positive legislation and, perhaps most importantly, show people from all walks of life how they can get involved. With the help of the public, the Alliance has already completed three of the parks and restored 36 miles of shoreline, plus improved protections on 872 miles more.

The continued success of the MudUp campaign depends on all of us. If we’re all willing to get a little muddy and do some honest manual labor or learn a few new things about the Sound, we can make a real difference for the place we live.

Vashon is one important piece of this puzzle. Our Low Tide Celebration comes a day before World Oceans Day, June 8, which reminds us that by keeping the Sound healthy we’re doing our part on behalf of our oceans.

My family loves exploring all the beaches of Vashon, from KVI to Fern Cove to Dockton to Manzanita Beach. This Island life is precious to us. I want the girls to still be uncovering rock crabs and moon snails when they’re my age, perhaps while showing the beach to kids of their own. If we want our beaches to provide adventures for the next generation, we all need to do our part to help Puget Sound.

— Lisa Jaguzny is the deputy director of People For Puget Sound and the mother of two young beachcombers.

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