Friday, September 7, 2007

From Small to Tiny

This has been a most interesting -- and stressful -- summer. When it began, my wife & I lived in Aberdeen (Grays Harbor County) and as it winds down we now live in South Bend (Pacific County). We've gone from a small city with most routine services to a little hamlet with few services.

For example, I've been to both grocery stores in the area -- one here in South Bend and the other in Raymond. Neither store carries ANY organic produce. None. Zilch. Nada. They also don't carry frozen yogurt nor fresh bagels -- not even at the progressive bakery in town.

There is no curbside recycling. In fact, there's very little emphasis on recycling at all. The two local recycling centers -- places with giant bins -- listed on the county website aren't there anymore. The two have been consolidated into one location that isn't even listed.

And the meager recycling available is nothing to write home about! There's no place to take greyboard nor mixed paper (i.e., junk mail).

Far worse than the above inconveniences, I've learned that the largest owner of property in Pacific County -- owning almost 80% of privately-held land -- is none other than the mighty Weyerhaeuser timber barons. They've spent the last century destroying the fragile Willapa basin!

This rural county is interesting as it has only 2 major highways (other than on the Long Beach spit) -- US 101 that skirts the northern and western edges and State Highway 6 that goes east to Chehalis. On a typical map, it looks like the vast majority of the county is undisturbed wilderness.

Aah, but general maps can be so deceiving!! It turns out that this county is carved up with roads -- logging roads. They cover hundreds of miles, winding hither to yonder. And what might we find near many of these such roads -- clearcuts!

Yes, the proverbial clearcut is alive and well here. It seems to be the preferred method for "harvesting" trees. There's one fresh clearcut that can be seen across the Willapa River from our little downtown area. It's hanging there on the side of a hill directly above the road that leads to Tokeland & North Cove. It's a landslide waiting to happen.

I'm sure I'll be reporting on a landslide there this winter when the rains return.


  1. Well Trey, if it'll be of any help, just be gracious that Wal-Mart or Home Depot isn't looking at South Bend or Raymond as a potential site. The vortex created by their presence will suck the life right out of your little hamlet - don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you got til its gone..

  2. Tim,
    I don't think we will ever need to worry about a big box store here. The population is too sparse to support one! This is one of the advantages of living small.


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