Red Cedar Zen Community is hosting an action meeting and meditation hike to save Blanchard Mountain from impending logging.
For the last decade Oyster Dome has been one of the sites of RCZC’s annual series of outdoor rituals of interconnection with our local landscape and home. The area has been the subject of over a decade of negotiation to save the 1,600 acre “core area” of the mountain from logging.
When: 10am on Saturday, Feb. 25th.
Where: The Samish Overlook (hang glider launch area). Take the Alger I-5 exit #240; go west about a quarter mile and take a left on to Barrel Springs road; go about ¾ mile and take a right on to Blanchard Hill rd.; go about 1.5 miles and take a left; go about two miles to the Samish Overlook.
Registration: Please RSVP using the registration system so we know whom to expect and where you will be meeting us.
Meeting: RCZC member Bob Rose, an original member of the Blanchard Forest Strategies Group that worked out the original agreement, will give an introduction to the current situation about saving Blanchard Mountain.
Hike: Bob Penny, RCZC Wilderness Programs Coordinator, will give an introduction to meditation hiking. We will hike in silence the loop up to Oyster Dome and down past Lilly Lake, back to the starting point. On Oyster Dome we will have lunch and perform a Zen chanting ritual of Lovingkindness. The hike is approximately four miles with several hundred feet of elevation gain. Dress for the trail and for the weather. Bring lunch and at least two liters of water.
Carpooling: Those interested in carpooling can meet at 9am at the Red Cedar Dharma Hall at 1021 N. Forest St. in Bellingham.
For those unable to hike: Just coming to the Samish Overlook for the meeting is well worth the drive even if you are unable to hike. The view is amazing!
Blanchard Mountain is threatened by imminent logging. Blanchard Mountain, including Lily and Lizard Lakes and Oyster Dome, is one of the Northwest Washington’s most popular local hiking destinations, featuring specular views of the San Juan Islands.
But a comprehensive agreement entered into by all stake holders is under threat of unraveling. Only about half the necessary funds have been appropriated by the state legislature to complete the agreement. Time is running out and awareness must be raised and concerns must be made known. A solution must be arrived at during this legislative session or else logging will begin in the core area this summer.
Action you can take to help save Blanchard Mountain
The most critical action is to let our voices be heard. Contacting your government officials is the critical action that needs to happen to save Blanchard Mountain. This is a numbers game at this point – officials need to hear our voices. Calls are easy to make and effective. Emails are even more effective. Please include support for the points outlined below and also personal experiences of what the mountain means to you. It is critical that our concern for Blanchard Mountain be known beyond NW Washington. This is a place of great beauty and importance to the region and the state as a whole, the only place where the Cascade foothills reaches the salt water of the Salish Sea. The representatives of the 40th district – Representatives Jeff Morris, and Kristine Lytton, and Senator Kevin Rankin - are fully on board in doing everything they can to save Blanchard Mountain. All stake holders, including the logging industry, want to save the mountain. The dividing line between the 40th and 42nd districts is between north and south Bellingham.
These points should be emphasized in your communications to your representatives:
- - Support for Representative Morris and Lytton’s proposals to a) change the name of Blanchard Forest to the Harriet Spanel Memorial Forest, b) appropriate the necessary $7.7 million from the Capital Budget to complete the Blanchard Forest Strategies Group agreement, and c) support for their alternate plan of including Blanchard Mountain in the State Trust Lands Transfer Program.
- - Appreciation for the work of Representatives Jeff Morris, Kristine Lytton, and Senator Kevin Ranker in their efforts to save Blanchard Mountain.
- - Encouragement to representatives of the 42nd district, Vincent Buys, Luanne Van Werven, and Doug Erickson to support the work of their colleagues Morris, Lytton, and Ranker of the 40th district to create a solid block of NW Washington representatives working to save Blanchard Mountain. Emphasize that loggers will retain their jobs AND recreational income will be preserved because replacement land will be purchased under this agreement.
- - Special encouragement to Doug Erickson to assist with enabling the success of this win-win negotiated solution, agreed to by all stakeholders, to protect a vital recreational venue of great value to constituents of his district, in keeping with his new federal role in the EPA.
- - Support for a change in the rules, currently under consideration in the legislature, to adjust the way the Capital Budget can be used to free up more money for the protection of Blanchard Mountain as well as many other critical capital expenditures.
- - Encouragement to the chairperson of the Capital Budget Committee to fully fund the $7.7 million necessary to fulfill the Blanchard Forest Strategies Group agreement.
Contact Information: links lead to email forms.
Representative Jeff Morris https://app.leg.wa.gov/pbc/memberEmail/40/2 (360) 786-7970 D – 40th
Representative Kristine Lytton https://app.leg.wa.gov/pbc/memberEmail/40/1 (360) 786-7800 D – 40th
Representative Vincent Buys https://app.leg.wa.gov/pbc/memberEmail/42/2 (360) 786-7854 R – 42nd
Rep. Luanne Van Werven https://app.leg.wa.gov/pbc/memberEmail/42/1 (360) 786-7980 R – 42nd
Senator Kevin Ranker https://app.leg.wa.gov/pbc/memberEmail/40/0 (360) 786-7678 D – 40th
Senator Doug Erickson https://app.leg.wa.gov/pbc/memberEmail/42/0 (360) 786-7682 R – 42nd
Rep. Steve Tharinger, Chair House Capital Budget Committee https://app.leg.wa.gov/pbc/memberEmail/24/2 (360) 786-7904 D – 24th
Also: Encourage people you know in other legislative districts to also contact their representatives. This has to go out beyond our region. Sometimes we can actually help educate other reps and staff who are less familiar with the issue.