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The Maury Island Mine: The Commissioner of Public Lands Speaks

Construction of pilings for a new dock at the Maury Island gravel pit commences.
Construction of pilings for a new dock at the Maury Island gravel pit commences.


The battle over the Maury Island gravel mine continues! 
While I was paddling over there the other day I noticed that the barge and pile driver were gone, but there was still plenty of activity on shore.  
The good news is that the new Democratic Public Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark is going to do a full review of the decision by the previous Public Lands Commissioner (Republican Doug Sutherland) to lease the public tidelands to Glacier Northwest to allow them to build a dock that will transfer the gravel to barges for transport up the Sound. Even though Glacier Northwest stands to make millions from of this mine, former Public Lands Commissioner Doug Sutherland (R) leased the land to Glacier for an unbelievable price of $1500!  By the way, he had received $50,000 in campaign contributions from Glacier last year.

The following is the response from Peter Goldmark to a message that my friend Richard Lovering sent regarding the mine:

RE: Maury Island Tidelands Lease Midnight Politics 
Date: Tue, 24 Feb 2009 15:54:42 -0800 

February 24, 2009

Dear Mr. Lovering:

Thank you for your email expressing concern over the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) aquatic lands lease for Glacier Northwest on Maury Island. Like you, I also have concerns regarding how this dock will impact the long term sustainability of Puget Sound. Although this lease was signed under the former Commissioner of Public Lands, I and other Washingtonians expect due diligence. So, I have directed my staff to review the lease to ensure the lease is consistent with the long-term sustainability and health of Puget Sound. DNR is reviewing this lease for consistency with the Puget Sound partnership's Action Plan. I have also asked my staff to examine the lease rent amount. A corporation making millions of dollars from the gravel transported through an access point on state lands should be compensating the citizens of the state more than $1,500. In addition, under my administration, DNR will follow three guiding principles in its decision making: sustainably manage our natural resources, conduct our work in the public's interest with the public's knowledge, and ensure that sound and credible science guides all of our actions.

Please let me know if you have any further comments or questions.


Peter Goldmark,

Commissioner of Public Lands

-----Original Message-----

Sent: Friday, January 23, 2009 2:17 PM 
Subject: Maury Island Tidelands Lease Midnight Politics 
Dear Dr. Goldmark,

Finally you've arrived: congratulations on your new position, which I (with a great many others) helped you achieve. Now, on to an issue which greets you from your first official hour: Glacier Northwest and the Maury Island Tidelands lease.

Christine Gregoire has been ducking this issue from her first day in office. Her James Carville figure is the sister of Glacier's lawyer, which may or may not be relevant. In any event, our lady of the Clean Sound, Mme. Governor, has not seen fit to condemn or comment on the Glacier dock and prospective removal of 10% of Maury Island's landmass, leaving the whole mess to the tender mercies of your predecessor, M. Sutherland. We all know what he did, as he snuck away from office with his ill-gotten gains. I do not know what you can do now to prevent the destruction of habitat on Maury - or indeed if you're in sympathy with those who would protect the Maury Island tidelands and uplands; however, the south sound environmental community - Sierra Club, Audubon societies, and tree huggers of all descriptions - are looking on this as your emblematic move. Please don't disappoint us. There is little need for more gravel at this economic turn, the Taheiyo cement company of Tokyo is less in need of income than the Maury Island eagles, salmon, and orcas are in need of their environment. Please stop the dock.

Good luck in your new post; we'll all be watching to see how you handle this one.


Richard Lovering

Kayak Log Racing with Brian Schulz of Cape Falcon Kayak

Kayak Log Race with Cape Falcon Kayak from Baby Seal Films on Vimeo.

Last weekend Richard Lovering and I drove down to Nehalem, Oregon to attend a kayak log race hosted by Brian Schulz of Cape Falcon Kayak. The race was Brian’s clever way of getting a bunch of people to pull some very large logs 3.5 miles down the Nehalem river for him for nothing. Actually he offered a number of prizes, including either a skin−on−frame Greenland kayak or red plastic river boat (winner’s choice), a used copy of Harvey Golden’s book Kayaks of Greenland, model kayak frame, and a bottle of beer. 

Ricardo in a skin-on-frame Adirondack guide boat, built by Brian Schulz.
Richard in a skin-on-frame Adirondack guide boat, built by Brian Schulz.

My purpose there was to serve as a videographer and safety boater, so Ricardo and I actually didn’t pull any logs. Brian equipped us with his expertly-crafted skin−on−frame Adirondack guideboat, which worked perfectly as a stable platform for photography. For its size the guideboat is amazingly lightweight, maybe a little over 40 pounds. It has an incredible capacity for gear. We sat on the ends with a crate between us filled with extra tow ropes and a bilge pump.  We also had a chainsaw, and my personal bag with my cameras, extra clothes, shoes and snacks.
That boat can really move! The only thing I didn’t like was how Brian had fixed the oars to the oarlocks, which kept them from popping out but prevented you from rotating them along the long axis to angle the blades. 

Skin-on-frame Adirondack guide boat, built by Brian Schulz, at the Nehalem boat launch.
Skin-on-frame Adirondack guide boat, built by Brian Schulz at the Nehalem boat launch.

You couldn’t have asked for better weather for an event like this: a little frosty in the morning but dry and sunny with a perfectly clear sky. We had over a dozen people pulling 7 very large logs. I didn’t really get a sense of how big the logs were until the end when Brian had them roped together at the dock at the Nehalem public boat launch. The plan is that Brian and Mark Whitaker are going to somehow pull them out of the water and then process them using Mark’s portable sawmill.

Mark Whitaker, securing the logs together at the Nehalem boat ramp.
Mark Whitaker, securing the logs together at the Nehalem boat ramp.

I wish we had had more time to spend down there. Richard and I were drooling over Brian’s awesome workshop (the big red barn you see in the beginning of the video) and all the tools, stacks of wood, a few steam−bent kayak coamings, and completed kayak frames he had lying around. Brian says he can knock out a frame for an experimental prototype kayak in a day. He will find out quickly how it paddles with a Saran Wrap test, then tosses it onto the pile of other old frames when he's done.

The Kalakala

While paddling in Hylebos Waterway this morning I ran across what looked like the rotting hulk of an old spaceship.  It was the Kalakala, an historic and unique Washington State ferry constructed in an art deco style that operated in the Puget Sound between 1935 and 1967. She's in pretty bad shape. Recently she was threatened with destruction for her scrap metal. It is not clear to me whether the Kalakala Alliance Foundation is still able to continue the restoration or not.



PRESS RELEASE: Maligiaq will be in Pacific Northwest in April 2009

Granite Falls, WA, February 1, 2009 -- 7 Seas Video Productions and The Skin Boat School are excited to announce the April 2009 visit by Maligiaq Padilla, seven-time Greenland National Kayaking Champion. During April 2009. Maligiaq will be conducting a ‘Greenland Skin on Frame Qayaq Design and Construction’ seminar. Maligiaq will give 2 sessions on the principles and techniques he was taught in Greenland, in addition to the design characteristics he looks for in his training/competition qayaq.

Maligiaq and Corey Freedman (SkinBoat School) will conduct classes together to prepare for the filming of the classes planned for August 2009. Tom Sharp ( 7 Seas Video Productions), will create a 2-hour documentary of the August building classes for DVD distribution and broadcast release of the video documentary series, "Greenland Qayaq Construction, with Maligiaq."

Maligiaq came to the USA in 1998 (with John Heath) as a Ambassador of Greenland Qayaqing and has become the most influential person in the Greenland Qayaq Community worldwide. Maligiaq won the Greenland National Kayaking Championship in 1998 at the age of 16. In addition, Maligiaq has won 7 of the last 10 Championships. In 2005, he was involved in the Arctic Peoples' Symposium at the Smithsonian in Washington DC where he built a Greenland Qayaq that is now in the Smithsonian's Collection.

Maligiaq has been traveling and teaching around the world for the past 10 years and returned to the USA in the summer of 2008. We are very fortunate to him for 30 days in April and in August for build classes, filming the Qayaq building sessions, and the Rolling and Stokes technique sessions in August through George Gronseth and the Kayak Academy in Issaquah, WA. (

For more information on Building Classes see April enrollment for the class starting on April 17th or the classes in August (documentary filming sessions) are now open. Build sessions will be held about 8 miles east of the Arlington, WA, exit off I-5 near Silvana WA. Heated indoor workshop space for icky weather and lovely outdoor space across the driveway at the shop for nice weather. (Directions and specifics available with enrollment.) Building Classes are $1700.00, all materials and tools supplied, plus lunch during class, (Deli/Pizza).

August Dates are available for Rolling, Strokes and Ropes Techniques through

Class sessions and personal appearance events are in the works, so stay tuned. This is a great opportunity to have fun and learn with a Qayaqman from Greenland.


Tom Sharp , President, 7 Seas Video