Up the Beach — August down time at the beach

Well, here it is August already. Vacation time is just about over. This week is sort of slack time for the beachers. It isn’t time for school clothes shopping, not time for the mad rush of Labor Day tourists, not even time yet to think of fall hunting and fishing.

A half-century ago

Actually, it is not much different than 1966 on the North Beach.

North Beach Realty at Ocean City knew it was time vacationers thought about buying a beach place and they had just the ticket—a two-bedroom home, nicely kept, on a large lot in a beautiful setting. It was for sale at $6,500. Eat your heart out. There isn’t even a small lot for sale today at that price.

The news reported the County Commissioners were discussing why we had so many drownings on the beach. The local folks were sniffing over that one. Heck, they had been telling the commissioners for years that educational signing was needed about rip currents. The sand pounders also grumbled about their own efforts at hand-painted warning signs that all too often were being used for campfire fuel.

But on a happier note, the Firemen’s Street Dance at Pacific Beach raised $250 for fire equipment. The annual event that closed down the entire street into town brought out quite a crowd. So large, in fact, the State Patrol and the County Sheriff’s Department had patrol cars on duty. According to the reports, “The streets looked like Chicago,” with all ages dancing to local musicians’ efforts.

Mr. and Mrs. Maidenfern, the new owners of the Moclips Motel, had repainted the totem pole that Joe Hillaire carved for Don Smith two or three years previously.

Local artists were displaying their work in an outdoor show in Aberdeen between Wishkah and Heron on Broadway. The Parisian theme was carried out in all the stalls, there was live music and the event even featured can-can dancers and floral arrangements up and down the street. Uldene Burgon was in charge of the entire event and her daughter, Venell Gober, painted children’s portraits “on the spot.”

Summer or not, the proposed Taholah Highway to Queets was of huge interest. State Department of Transportation Director Charles Prohl, state legislators Eric Anderson and Jack Burch, District 3 engineer Ralph Kerslak, John Erak, a candidate for County School superintendent at the time, Leo Keeney, George Trambitis and Lorene Matson were meeting together to see what, when and how the road could be built.

The Ocean Crest Resort had a new addition; a sauna bath with 90-degree heat, with humidity between 10 and 12 for the dry steam bath. It was such a hit that the Beachwood Resort began building one.

A new fast food place, A &J In &Out in Ocean City was now open next to the LaBranch Grocery. Just down 101, Jim Malvern at the Ocean City Bowl was offering three lines for $1.05 until 6 p.m., seven days a week. After 6 p.m. The price went up to 45 cents a line. There was pool and shuffleboard, too.

The newest place in Ocean Shores at the time, the Matys brothers’ Ocean Shores Inn, was open seven days a week with dancing and entertainment every night except Sunday.

Not everyone was out being entertained. A. Look, the attendant at the Pacific Beach Dump, was so doggone mad, he put an ad in the paper reporting that two boys with rifles in the creek on the dump grounds were all shooting in different directions.

He warned, “Anymore of this wild shooting, I will turn the shooters over to the sheriff.” And to top it all off, some sleaze ball was stealing gas right out of the one ambulance that served the entire beach.

Back to the present

This week though, there are different things to think about. Ocean Shores has two albino fawns, while up on the Rez, there’s a little guy who looks like a miniature Appaloosa. Apparently its mom is missing and the folks around Taholah are looking out for the little fella.

Beautiful blooms

The Pearly Everlasting (Anaphalis margaritacea) is blooming along Highway 101 from Humptulips to the South Shore Road. For those who pick it and want to preserve it, hang it upside down to dry for winter bouquets. Now is the prime picking time, even though it will bloom from now to September.

Sad day in the woods

Humptulips brings to mind a side effect of the forest company giants closing their lands to the public. For old local folks whose great grand pappy cut timber for the Polson Company, whose grand pappy cut for Rayonier, whose dad cut for ITT Rayonier, they can’t help wondering if the Promised Land Rayonier Park at Humptulips will be going the way the Tumbling Rapids Rayonier Park at Sappho went this week—logged off.

Since the Peninsula has always ben more of a one-big community for timber folks, it has been quite a shock to see the fishing holes at Tumbling Rapids right out in the open.

The Beachers speculate it was a decision, like the forest closure decision, made by the bean counters back east. Those folks just don’t ‘get it’ that four and five generations of folks have been raised on the timber lands that have served as their grocery store for berries, mushrooms, and game.

It’s land that has served to pass along family heritage of the woods, of the skills of fishing and hunting, of family picnics. It has been their place to go out and contemplate God in peace and quiet —a place to get away from “summer folks.” It’s been a place to teach kids the respect and joys of nature and a place for the teenagers to make some bucks for school clothes by picking ferns, salal, and other minor forest products.

It was a place to show off the skills and the attitude towards hard work that is the loggers’ heritage. A place to be thankful for being and living in a rural area. A place to learn to survive when timber was not the king of the hill, but for timber’s loyal workers and their families to hang on until times got better and a job was available when times got better.

Nope. Bean counters think maximize the profits. Heritage is not their problem nor concern. It is a sad day in the woods for beach folks.

DNR burn ban

For those who have areas of the woods they can get to, remember the Department of Natural Resources has extended the burn ban through September 30 to lands west of the Cascades. It includes all forestlands under DNR protection, including private property. It does not include federally owned lands. DNR has seen 265 fires on their lands this season, most attributed to human causes.

Campfire restrictions

Recreational fires in approved fire pits within designated state, county, municipal or other campgrounds, gas or propane barbeque grills are allowed. Charcoal briquettes are not allowed. If your fire escapes you, you will be responsible for paying for suppression of that fire as required by Chapter 76.04 RCW.

Thistle &goldfinches

Now that a variety of thistles are blooming, it is a good time to keep your eyes out for the American goldfinches. They will be feeding on the seeds in order to feed their young ones. If you put out feeders, stock them with thistle seeds or small, black sunflower seeds. The seed heads’ soft, silky down is used for nesting material in the spring.

The male shows off its bright yellow and has a black cap and black wings with white wing-bars. The females are rather dull yellow in plumage and have dark wings with pale wing-bars, but they are a brighter color than the sparrows and finches, so that makes them an easy bird to spot. Best of all, they don’t leave on vacation, but instead, hang around the beach until after school time arrives.

Perhaps this odd week of August is just a good time to hang out and do some hometown tourist stuff up and down the beach. Please, just stay out of the old dump. The Sheriffs’ Office deputies are too busy to be called out for local folks’ can plinkin’ this time of year.


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