Opinion

Of preservation and reclamation

Preservation and reclamation.

That could be the mantra on the south side of

Eagle Harbor, where islanders are working toward public acquisition of the former Wyckoff creosote plant, and the creation of a new Joel Pritchard and a Japanese American internment memorial. Fresh and hopeful chapters are envisioned for an area with a blighted environmental and cultural past.

We see a similar (and somewhat akin) renaissance under way at Camp Yeomalt east of Winslow, where architects and community members have begun the process of replacing a failing scout cabin that’s long on fond memories for many islanders, but too long in the tooth for continued use.

It’s been two years since the site’s reclamation began, as park officials in spring 2001 renamed the three-acre property “Camp Yeomalt.” In so doing, they freed the land from its longtime association with Major M.J. Hopkins, a 1930s scout leader who prominently opposed the return of the island’s Japanese American citizens after World War II internment. Now comes the possibility of a new community hall there – and, thankfully, preservation of the old cabin’s rough-hewn logs through some sort of adaptive reuse – through a general plan that has earned the endorsement of park officials and neighbors. All that stands in the way of a fine new facility is the formidable sum of $500,000.

One could argue that the last thing Bainbridge needs these days is another good cause – what with high-dollar drives already under way for public school funding, a museum move, and Pritchard Park itself, beyond the ongoing needs of our

various social service agencies. But anyone with an interest in scouting or local history ought to acquaint themselves with the excellent Camp Yeomalt project as it unfolds.

We have the chance to reinvest in one of the island’s oldest parks, coupling reclamation with historic preservation for future users. It’s a special opportunity.

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***Rolling on

A doff of the helmet to the several dozen bicyclists who

completed last Saturday’s Ride Around Winslow.

Keyed toward advocacy for non-motorized issues, the second annual event spoke less of possibilities than of recent successes – including new trails and pedestrian islands, a forthcoming bike lane on Ericksen Avenue, and the highly popular “Bike Barn” for commuters at the Winslow ferry terminal.

In that spirit (and with the recent turn toward fine spring weather), we would remind readers that next Friday, May 16, is “Car-Less on Bainbridge Day.” Squeaky Wheels will offer goodies for those who bike to work or school on that day, while for the non-rider, passes good for a free ride on Kitsap Transit are available around town.

The event kicks off Bainbridge Island Wellness Month,

sponsored by Squeaky Wheels, the Senior Center and our fair city. Scheduled in upcoming weeks are speaking appearances on May 28-29 by author Rob Sweetgall, who could lay claim to the title of America’s foremost pedestrian – he’s walked across the nation seven times. (A candidate for sneaker endorsements if ever there was.) A Wellness Walk and Fair at City Hall on June 14 rounds out the events.

Keep an eye on your local newspaper and www.squeakywheels.org for more details.

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