Not giving up on Japanese Gulch
After reading Phil Wrobel’s inspiring Guest View in the Mukilteo Beacon last Wednesday [“Gulch levy is a bargain,” page 4, Nov. 7], I felt compelled to write my own view.
As a teacher/coach at Everett’s Cascade High School, my athletes and I have been running in Japanese Gulch for more than 25 years. Some of you may have seen us. We are known as the “Gulch Runners.”
Throughout the years, we have run every forested path. We’ve seen Japanese Gulch cycle through the seasons – watched eagles circling above an Autumn-colored canopy, deer nuzzling snow for a morsel of food, rabbits scurrying beneath budding foliage, and owls perching on summer mornings in the limbs of old-growth timber.
I have stood with my athletes atop Japanese Gulch and watched from its peek-a-boo view as the sun set beyond the lighthouse, Possession Sound and Whidbey Island. The lessons of Japanese Gulch have been numerous, and, glancing at the faces of the kids who shared this experience, life impacting.
I’ve had kids come back and tell me they pursued degrees in forestry, biology, environmental studies, etc. based on their experiences in the gulch. And, we didn’t need to drive to the Mount Baker National Forest. Nature is right here in our backyard!
Proposition 1, Save Japanese Gulch, was a “win-win” for this community. Besides being a unique part of our geography and history, Japanese Gulch is viewed as one of the top recreational areas by hikers, bikers and runners in the state of Washington. The benefit for us is these people from outside this community bring needed revenue to our hotels, restaurants and retail outlets.
To say I was simply disappointed when I awoke the morning after the elections and learned Prop. 1 failed would be understatement. Then, as the day progressed, I started thinking…
I encourage kids to look for the positive (you know, “the glass is half full”)… Hmmm… Let’s see… 58 percent of this community supported Prop. 1 and it needed 60 percent to pass.
Wow! That’s pretty awesome for a first-time measure! Maybe there is hope!
When my athletes experience setbacks, I encourage them to learn from the experience, put it behind them, and move positively forward.
On that same note, I do not begrudge those who didn’t support Prop. 1 their opinion. After all, that’s one of our many rights as Americans.
Instead, I would say this to those individuals who either didn’t support Prop. 1, or didn’t turn out to vote: Help us find a way to save this unique area. Japanese Gulch has something to offer everyone, young and old – mind, body and spirit.
Though it’s natural to feel frustrated and disappointed after setbacks, quitting shouldn’t be one’s first inclination. Many of us have been working for years to save the gulch.
As for me, I’m not giving up. Instead, I’m simply going to apply the only secret I’ve ever known to dealing with setbacks – I’m going to roll up my sleeves and go back to work trying to save Japanese Gulch.
Would you care to join us?
Steve Bertrand is a Mukilteo resident, member of Japanese Gulch Group and was a supporter of the Save the Gulch Campaign, in favor of passing Prop. 1.