The Hammer

The Hammer, Vol. XL

On ungulates and onuses
October 19, 2022 at 5:00 a.m.

Executive Editor

Uncanny Ungulate Update: Nice to see one of our ace outdoor reporters this week address the issue of wildlife encounters, specifically mountain goats. Generally peaceful creatures, in The Hammer’s long experience visiting their haunts. Give them wide berth.

Too Bad That: The National Park Service, in a shameful act abetted by some lazy media folks, cast them as a menace following a literal one-in-a-million encounter with a hiker in Olympic National Park 12 years ago. 

One More on That: That incident was used to justify helicopter darting and moving large numbers of goats from the Olympics to the North Cascades. Your tax dollars at work, all because the goats, who were released by hunters and thus were not native to the Olympics, kept PhD-bearing fans of goat-food weeds, such as the Olympic milkvetch, awake at night.

OK, One More: Still waiting for the great helicopter-conducted Non-native Brown Slug Relocation Project over in the Olympics. Surely the slime-trail ranks up in the North Cascades could use some company. And imagine the collared-slug geotracking public grant opportunities for wildlife scientists at Western Washington University!

Speaking of Scary Wild Creatures: Are the Northern Giant Hornets, of honeybee-beheading fame, really toast, having been eradicated in local climes by the destruction of three active hives last summer? Seems almost too convenient. But stay tuned; our murder hornet antennae remain raised.

Splish, Splash: Interesting spat rising to the surface here with regard to turf wars over the old, inadequate Arne Hanna Aquatic Center. We’re watching this closely, but the obvious early take is that a growing community needs more and better swim spaces. Not news to regular dippers but something that should be on the civic to-do list. 

Yeah, We Know: That list keeps growing, and in the face of soaring property values and a regressive tax structure that heaps an onus on property taxes, prospects for such niceties in the short term are dim. Child care and early childhood education, in particular, are more pressing concerns. But emergencies are not a good excuse to ignore longer-term, non-emergency needs. 

Hey: Wasn't some plan to build a new pool part of a pitch made for use of the Port of Bellingham's waterfront property? Sorry, sore subject.

Weather, Or Not: It's supposed to FINALLY RAIN on Friday. We'll believe it when we dance around in it outside the office. (Feel free to join in.)

This Just In: Tragically, two sites in the middle of the Skagit Valley that were, remarkably, considered as sites for a new sprawling Western Washington airport complex (imagine: Denver International plopped among the snow geese) has not been chosen as a finalist. Was it something we said? Sure hope so. 

Never Fear: We're fairly sure they'll find someone else's valley to pave over. This one's full of valuable spuds.

The Hammer is swung on Wednesdays, or in cases of "beneficial rain."

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