To the editor:
Two beloved nonprofit island gems, the Bloedel Reserve and the West Sound Wildlife Shelter, have been engaged in a very difficult conversation in recent months.
The wildlife shelter has leased a 5-acre plot from the Reserve for the last 17 years. But now, the reserve is working on a 25-year master plan and has decided that the shelter no longer fits in its long-term plan. The reserve’s board has indicated it may be willing to extend the lease to the shelter through 2021, but has turned down its request for a 25-year lease extension.
In recent years, the shelter has invested a significant amount of money into its wildlife recovery and care structures, and wanted a 25-year lease extension in order to make needed improvements to its hospital. Although the reserve is under no legal obligation to help the shelter, it is in keeping with the Prentice Bloedel’s deep appreciation of what nature can mean to us, and the need for conservation to protect that gift. “Man is not set apart from the rest of nature - he is just a member of that incredibly diverse population of the universe, a member that nature can do without, but who cannot do without nature,” said Prentice Bloedel.
The reserve’s master plan also contains elements that will likely increase visitation, which would negatively impact the entire Agate Point neighborhood.
Traffic safety is already an issue for residents of, and visitors to, the neighborhood. The only way to exit from the neighborhood is from the very congested and poorly controlled intersection at Agatewood and Highway 305. Both neighbors and visitors to the reserve will have to contend with additional traffic and increased danger if the reserve goes ahead with the long-term plan in its current form.
I urge the reserve’s board to listen to the concerns of the neighbors and supporters of both organizations, rather than simply make these changes without taking these points into account. Together, we can find solutions through discussion, creativity, generosity and goodwill.