David and Paul on the beautiful bench made for the Dog Woods entry meadow by John Hoenselaar

Paul Beaudet and David Wertheimer

Paul Beaudet and David Wertheimer

Photo and narrative provided by David Wertheimer

 

Paul Beaudet and David Wertheimer have been island residents since 1998 when they visited Guemes after reading Valerie Easton's article "The Secret Gardens of Guemes" in the Seattle Times. Paul and David purchased a home at Kelly's Point where they spent nearly every weekend since, commuting back to Seattle for work on weekdays.  With David's retirement in 2019 and a shift to remote work during the pandemic, they now consider Guemes their permanent year-round home.

 

Paul is the Executive Director of the Wilburforce Foundation, which works to protect and preserve North American wildlands.  David retired after 13 years at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where he served in various roles on the Pacific Northwest team and as Director of Community & Civic Engagement.  Both have been actively involved in island organizations over the years.  Paul served on the Community Center board for 7 years, David served on the board of Friends of Guemes Island, is an occasional speaker at the Guemes Island Church, and both have been involved in various land conservation campaigns, including the efforts to save Guemes Mountain and to permanently protect Kelly's Point.  David has also stepped in to serve as a Commissioner for the Guemes Island Fire Department after the tragic and untimely death of Frank Crawford.

 

A few notes on Dog Woods:  After years of walking past the wooded parcels on West Shore Road on a regular basis, Paul and David decided in 2020 to acquire 120 acres of woodlands, portions of which had, in the past, been heavily logged.  The land is designated as forest land.  They call the property "Dog Woods," both to honor the Samish history of the island as a place where this First Nation community raised their unique Woolly Dogs, and to celebrate the dogs that populate and enjoy the island today.  Paul and David are working with local naturalists Peter Dunwiddie and Samantha ("Sam") Martin to learn more about the unique features of the Dog Woods environment, and to determine the best ways to nurture the forest lands and restore its full health. Their primary goals in the years ahead are to remove invasive weeds, restore and enhance the native plants, and maintain a trail network to welcome community access.  In time, they plan to donate the land to Skagit Land Trust.  (For additional information, see:  https://guemesisland.info/dog-woods-trail/)

 

David and Paul planting paper birches at Dog Woods, a restoration forest (ARF!)

Photo Credit: Mary Lascelles

 

Dog Woods is truly becoming a community effort.  There are numerous community members involved with Dog Woods that we'd like to acknowledge.  These individuals include, (in no specific order):

  • Jimmie and Lu Lemieux (who are building the Dog Woods trail network)
  • Rick Petrick
  • John Hoenselaar
  • Sam Barr and Eric Licata
  • Manuel, Lynette, Ioanna, Elia and Aiden Mattke
  • Jim, Joanne and Lisa Cieko
  • Dyvon Havens and Jep Burdock
  • Rebecca and Bud Ullman
  • Terri and Joe Gaffney
  • Barbara and Randy Schnabel
  • Jeff Hale and Mary Parker-Hale
  • Robert Olson
  • Marc Beaudet

Be Water Wise

Be Water Wise

 

The Guemes Island Planning Advisory Committee (GIPAC) has for years been the champion of water issues on Guemes Island. A new brochure is now available that contains valuable information about water conservation and the Guemes aquifer. Brochures will be available in the Guemes Ferry terminal on the Anacortes side or you can view the brochure here. To obtain the water conservation cards referred to in the brochure, please contact Patty Rose at pattyrose.pr@gmail.com.

 

In 1997, the Environmental Protection Agency designated Guemes Island as being served by a sole source aquifer. This means that Guemes aquifers are the main source of potable water; they are recharged only by rainwater. Recharging an aquifer is a gradual process that takes many years. During the wet season, with its overabundance of rain, plants and trees soak up water for nourishment. Some of the excess water sinks into the aquifer and some runs into the sea.

 

Groundwater studies have shown that the water in the island aquifers “floats” on seawater. Excessive pumping from island wells causes the boundary between fresh and saltwater to rise. This can cause seawater intrusion into wells and renders the water unsafe to drink. Failed wells have already impacted more than 64 households on Guemes Island, causing residents to find sometimes very expensive alternatives for potable drinking water.

 

During the dry season, we are tempted to increase water usage by watering lawns, washing cars and boats, and entertaining visitors who are not familiar with the need to conserve water. Conserving water year-round will help protect our groundwater.

 

GIPAC reminds islanders of the many ways to conserve and use water wisely. Whether you are watering your garden, remodeling or building a house, or hosting guests or renters, there are simple tips for saving water.

 

Be a good neighbor. “Be an islander … conserve water.”