We are writing this letter as the nine Vashon-Maury residents who risked arrest on Friday, Jan. 2, blockading the two main entrances of the Glacier Northwest gravel mine on Maury Island.
Our action, which actually consisted of two separate blockades, came about as part of a community-wide effort to oppose Glacier’s unreasonable plan to dramatically expand its gravel-mining operation on Maury Island, a plan that has been opposed by residents here for more than 10 years. Many of you have been a part of this struggle in the past, and our actions came at the tail end of a prolonged legal and legislative battle that has sadly left few options.
The blockade was more successful than either of the two injunctions that have been filed against Glacier since it began construction on its new pier in early December. We actually delayed construction, and we would like to encourage everyone to consider direct action as our best chance to protect Maury Island.
We are a diverse group of Islanders who came together at the last minute. Some of us joined the blockade for political reasons. We wanted to stop this corrupt corporate system, at least in one place, at one time, in its tracks.
We also felt that we could have a better chance on whatever issues come next if we could exercise our power as citizens here on our own Island, and come together and learn in the process.
For some of us it was even more simple; we could not stand by to see the destruction of the precious eelgrass beds in our own aquatic backyard and see yet fewer orcas and salmon return each year, or fewer herring spawn, in this important area, one of four aquatic reserves in Washington state. The thought of it simply broke our hearts.
But what is true for all of us is that Vashon-Maury is our home, more than any other place in the world.
None of us had ever locked our wrists inside of steel pipes. We learned that it can be scary to take such a stance all at once, but when we saw the support that came around us we also learned how rewarding it can be, and with the unfolding of recent events we believe that we are winning.
That we were able to put ourselves on the line was a great privilege and a joy, an act of loving kindness to our community and to our place, which has given the same to us for so many years.
We invite you to join us and the quickly growing movement of Islanders who made what we did possible. It is imperative that we prevent Glacier from completing its new construction before Jan. 14, when the so-called fish window closes and it has to suspend construction for several months — giving us the necessary time to finally put an end to this once and for all.
— The Maury Island Blockaders: Islanders Aleythea Dolstad, Nan Draper, Ben Fulton, Morgan Guion, Daniel Haag, Cosmo Harrigan, Logan Price, Charlie Rogers and Swaneagle Tremblay.