Green Ethics: Values, Hard Work

The Seattle Times
Saturday, November 15, 2008

SCA led volunteers repair storm damage at Mount Rainier National Park.

RACHEL FAIR / NPS
SCA volunteers work on the historic Ipsut Patrol Cabin, damaged by flooding in November 2006.

TWO milestones are timely reminders Washington’s treasured, verdant livability is no accident, but the product of dedication, care and hard work.

Washington Environmental Council celebrates 40 years of leadership in protecting the vistas and values held dear from the Columbia River to the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

The council helped shape and pass the Shoreline Management Act, the state Environmental Policy Act, the state Superfund Law and the state Growth Management Act. Together they protect the quality of air we breathe, the water we drink and the places we live, work and play.

On the ground, in courtrooms and in Olympia, the Washington Environmental Council has waged productive battles for Washington residents. Another role is honest broker, whether working out a compromise with the state Department of Natural Resources on harvest levels in state forests, or focusing the passions of disparate environmental groups into coherent — and successful — legislative agendas.

Harnessing enthusiasm and channeling talent is an extraordinary skill of the Student Conservation Association, which was honored this past spring by the Department of the Interior for its epic storm-recovery work at Mount Rainier National Park.

The SCA collaborated with the National Parks Conservation Association, Washington Trails Association, The Mountaineers and Washington’s National Park Fund to form a coalition and partnership with park professionals. Together they have completed a second and final season of repair after the devastating winds and floods of November 2006.

A drum roll would be appropriate because the park enjoyed the hands-on labor of 3,254 volunteers contributing 154,168 hours of heavy lifting and hard work repairing storm damage. Park management values the donated labor at more than $3 million.

Washington residents take great pride in the natural beauty that defines and enriches life in the Pacific Northwest. The state’s enduring legacy of environmental passion stirs people to action.

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company