September 15, 1997
Saving the Salmon
As society works to save the pacific salmon many naysayers complain about the cost of the recovery efforts or what they perceive as infringements on their right to clear-cut, pave, subdivide or otherwise "improve" their property. Many, if not all, of these nattering nabobs of negativity concern's relate solely to their pocketbooks. One complaint we hear ad nauseam is that saving the salmon will cost jobs. Not so. If we have the courage and foresight to do what we know we mustwe will have a perpetually self renewing resource that will provide thousands of jobs in tourism, sport and commercial fishing and a host of relate industries.
Anyone who doubts the ability of the salmon to drive the economic engine of a region should remember the heyday of Westport when more than 100 charter boats served tens of thousands of sports anglers who in turn filled the restaurants and motels of the area spending millions of dollars on tourism in our state. Not only did healthy salmon runs create an era of prosperity in Westport, Illwaco, La Push, Neah Bay and a dozen other coastal communities, but they provided gourmet dining for fortunate anglers and low cost salmon at the supermarket.
We should gladly bear the relatively minor costs of the salmon restoration projects and the inconvenience to some property owners for the greater good of all of us and the generations to follow. Imagine Woodinville in another hundred year with barren streams, diked and "improved" so that a few greedy devlopers could make a short term profit. Our grandchildren will not think well of us if we let this magnificent public resource vanish simply because we were too greedy to do what we know is right.