Page 1


Island Scene

Cuddly, cute, but most likely not abandoned

Ferry Home Companion

Get back to where you once belonged; Abbey Road Live!

page 9

Columnist Howard Schonberger pens a holiday tribute to the heroes that walk among us page 7

page 11


The 75¢ Wednesday, July 3, 2013 Vol. 106 Issue 27

of the San Juan Islands

Clash over CAO: Take 2

Sixgill emerges from the deep By Scott Rasmussen Journal editor

By Steve Wehrly Journal reporter

The San Juan County Critical Areas Ordinances took a beating during three days of hearings before the state Growth Management Hearings Board on June 23, 24 and 25. Adding insult to injury, the beating took place in the council’s chambers, where eight months ago the county council ended almost a decade of labor when it passed the massive update to the county land-use regulations. At no time during three days of hearings on critical areas ordinances did anybody suggest that the contentious litigation would be decided when the Growth Management Hearings Board issues its verdict, expected in September. GMBH panel chairman William Roehl set the tone early. Within a few minutes of calling the hearings to order, Roehl reminded the petitioners’ attorneys (Sandy Mackie, for the Common Sense Alliance and P.J. Taggares Co.; Kyle Loring, for the Friends of the San Juans) that they must overcome a presumption of validity and prove the county action was “clearly erroneous in light of the goals and requirements of ” the state Growth Management Act. That “presumption of validity,” relied upon by Assistant See Clashpage 4

Contributed photo / Sharalyn Lehman

PhChildren gather around and ponder the sight of the sixgill shark that washed up on the beach of Argyle Lagoon , June 26.

Teachable moments come along all the time for scientists conducting summer classes at University of Washington’s Friday Harbor Labs. But few like this. The Labs biological preserve at San Juan Island’s Argyle Lagoon became a makeshift laboratory on the afternoon of June 26, after a call came in that a 12-foot-long sixgill shark had washed up on the beach. Students and instructors bundled up a batch of scientific equipment and exited the marine facility en masse, according to biologist Adam Summers, a shark specialist and associate director of the Labs comparative biomechanics department. “This was beyond a rare opportunity,” he said. “It’s just a very big animal to have washed up on the beach in this area, and one that had just died.” Jenny Atkinson can’t recall a single incident of a sixgill stranding on a beach in the San Juans during her tenure as director of the Friday Harbor Whale Museum, which operates the local Marine Mammal Stranding Network. “I’ve heard of one or two tied-off

Feds greenlight plan for road fix

Persistent erosion threatens the stability of the bluff below Cattle Point Road, at the south end of San Juan Island.

By Scott Rasmussen Journal editor

Over and up about 300 feet. That’s how far a section of Cattle Point Road will be moved uphill at the south end of San Juan Island, along the west-facing slope of Mount Finlayson, to prevent it from falling into the sea. After nine years of study and review, the National Parks Service, Federal Highway Administration and Western Federal Lands Highway Division last week announced that each has approved its own “Record of Decision” in which Alternative B of the Cattle Point

on a dock,” she said, “but never one that’s washed up on a beach.” Sixgills, also known as cow sharks, are deep-water creatures, at home in the outer ocean at depths as great as 3,000 feet. The name reflects its distinctive feature, as all other sharks have five gills. Slow-moving yet deadly, they prey on large fish and other sharks by methodically sidling up next to an intended target and then attacking with an enormous burst of speed. Lopez Island’s Gene Helfman, professor emeritus at the University of Georgia’s Odum School of Ecology, said that because sixgills live at such great depths not a lot is known about their behaviors. However, he said the prevailing theory is that females venture into shallow and protected inland waters of Puget Sound to give birth. Helfman noted that a 14-footlong female sixgill was carrying 80 embryos, or “pups”, as they’re called,

Contributed photo / NPS

realignment project is selected as the course of action in safeguarding the road from ongoing erosion. “The realignment of Cattle Point Road will preserve road access through San Juan Island National Historical Park to Cape San Juan, and to the light house and picnic areas at Cattle Point,” said San Juan Island National Historical Park Superintendent Lee See Greenlight, page 5

2011 Special Award; Second Place: General Excellence from the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association

See Deep, page 4

Fantastic 4th Pig is prepared, how about you? Find a schedule of holiday events in last week’s Journal, or at

Journal of the San Juans, July 03, 2013  
Journal of the San Juans, July 03, 2013  

July 03, 2013 edition of the Journal of the San Juans