Friends Notes

Port of Anacortes History: William McCracken

Port of Anacortes History: William McCracken
W McCracken 2

By Trail Tales Docent Peyton Kane

The vibrant Port of Anacortes is the result of many years of effort, and many people with foresight, vision, drive and connections.  Here is a picture of one of them (courtesy Anacortes American):  William F. McCracken, Jr. who served on the first board of commissioners of Port of Anacortes from 1926 to 1929.  

William McCracken was born in 1892, and lived in Anacortes from early childhood.  His father, of the same name, owned and operated the Eureka Saloon at the northwest corner of 4th Street and Commercial Avenue, and the family lived in the home behind the saloon, (now occupied by the graphic arts firm, How It Works).  In 1929 the wooden structure that housed the Eureka Saloon burned down, and William, Jr. built a new brick building on the site, which currently holds the Rock Fish Grill.  

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WA Aquatic Reserves - Marine Treasures in Our Own Backyard

WA Aquatic Reserves - Marine Treasures in Our Own Backyard
WA DNR Reserves Map

Right here in Skagit County we have some amazing aquatic habitats that are so important that they've been designated as two of seven Washington State Aquatic Reserves. I'm talking about our own Fidalgo Bay – right here in Anacortes and Cypress Island just west of here. Over the past two years, Trail Tales has been working closely with the DNR's Aquatic Reserves program to highlight the unique marine habitats in Fidalgo Bay as part of our interpretive programs. In 2013, we worked closely with DNR staff who provided two interpretive signs highlighting the Fidalgo Bay reserve, which have been installed along with the Trail Tales signs developed under funding from the WA Dept. of Ecology.

This is a great example of the benefits that Trail Tales has realized by partnering with other organizations to educate our community and visitors about the importance of protecting our marine and shoreline ecosystems. DNR's Aquatic Reserves program has new management that we will be working with in the coming year to help spread the word in our community about these unique reserves. Roberta Davenport is the new Aquatic Reserves Program Manager responsible for all seven reserves, which includes: Skagit County: Fidalgo Bay and Cypress Island, Whatcom County: Cherry Point, Island County/Whidbey Island: Smith & Minor Islands, King County: Maury Island, Jefferson/Clallam County borders: Protection Island, and Near Olympia: Nisqually Reach. You can download a larger copy of the reserves map below at DNR's website (click here).

These reserves are special places and each has a Citizen's Stewardship Committee that is working with DNR to protect these areas. Are you interested in getting involved with the Fidalgo Bay Aquatic Reserve Committee? Contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we'll put you in touch with the right people. So next time you're out on the trail or driving by Fidalgo Bay you might look out with a new sense of wonder that we have such a unique and important marine treasure right here in our own backyard.

FOSB 2014 Tide Calendars Available

FOSB 2014 Tide Calendars Available
Time and tide wait for no man . . . it's time to get your 2014 Friends Tide Calendar

Planning to walk on the beach, to take your boat out on a day cruise, or wondering when the next low tide is to visit your favorite tide pool? Our new Guemes Channel tide calendar is just what you need to check out the upcoming tides and plan your adventures. Help support Friends by purchasing one or more tide calendars for you and your friends. This 12-month calendar includes fun facts and detailed tide charts in a monthly calendar style. Contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call (360) 293-7003 to order your calendars today while our supply lasts.

Calendars are $3 each or 2 for 5$.

Ecology seeks comments on Anacortes cleanup project

Ecology seeks comments on Anacortes cleanup project
Ecology wants public input on Port's cleanup of the Old Shell Tank Farm.Posted by Betty Carteret; contact at  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Original photo courtesy of Anacortes Museum.

Download Fact sheet at https://fortress.wa.gov/ecy/gsp/DocViewer.ashx?did=23952.

The Port of Anacortes and WA Dept. of Ecology have developed cleanup planning documents related to the Old Shell Tank Farm located between 13th and 14th Street on Q Avenue (behind McDonald's).  The Port of Anacortes is also inviting comments on their State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) Checklist and Determination of Non-Significance for this project.

Click links for the Port's SEPA Checklist and Determination of Non-significance

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Science and Monitoring of Fidalgo Bay

Science and Monitoring of Fidalgo Bay

By Trail Tales Volunteer Coordinator Nancy Olsen

“It takes a village” to restore and protect the Salish Sea and our Skagit shorelines.  The Trail Tales program is part of that village for sure, engaging citizens in enjoyable learning activities. But education and outreach must be based on solid science, and monitoring data integrated in the science is important to successful conservation and restoration efforts as well.  So, in order to continually update the Trail Tales volunteers with accurate information (and because I am a science-biology nut, anyway!) I shared in the October workshop with many of the teams involved in science and monitoring projects in Fidalgo Bay.  Organized by the Skagit Marine Resources Committee and Northwest Straits Foundation staff, the 4-hour workshop held at the Fidalgo Bay RV Park had three main objectives:

Clarify who is actively monitoring Fidalgo Bay and what questions are being answered;Understand what questions remain to be answered about the health of the nearshore* in Fidalgo Bay; andIdentify how those questions could be answered in order to assist the process of determining the focus for future monitoring work.

This sharing is really vital to the forward progress we make in individual programs and collectively!  I came away with new information, clarity and direction and I believe the scientists and committee leads did also. Here are a few of my “take-homes” from the meeting that will become integrated with Trail Tales trainings, programs and presentations:

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