Dependence on a dock is our common experience. Only a century ago, steam boats swarmed Puget Sound like mosquitos carrying passengers grateful to embark and disembark on a dock — a dry, level surface. The remains of these dock piers dot island beaches, many barely rising above the sand. They are pilings creviced at the top, capturing tiny tide pools. They stretch out toward the deep and are disappearing with the passage of time.
The Tramp Harbor dock is Vashon’s first car ferry landing. Not only is it of historical importance, it is a unique, accessible, everyday recreational and scenic gem. The dock usage is not monitored by Park District clock hours, enrollment or reservations. It is enjoyed spontaneously by islanders not checking a schedule, but stopping to walk out over the water in reflection. The dock is a destination for kids’ camp outings or diving into bioluminescence on a late summer evening. As a child, I reeled up flounders to the deck of the dock and helped pull crab from a pot. It was the setting for many Vashon childhood memories and is an opportunity for many more.
Vashon had plenty of docks for adventure, to fish, to hang out on, to tie a kayak or create a diving platform. Most of these are gone, including, among others, the gravel pit docks and the Tahlequah and Cove docks. These docks were wild and quiet places that echoed into the past.
The Tramp Harbor dock is worth the effort to save it. It should not disappear because of our current challenges. While the marine shoreline may not support excessive docks and piers, maintaining one for all is invaluable. Very few communities have the opportunity and resource of a public dock. I urge others to voice whatever meaning the dock has for them and engage as they can to help keep the dock standing.
— Lisa Chambers