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Friends Notes

Keep up to date with news from Friends of Skagit Beaches

Films with Friends 2015 film series

Films with Friends 2015 film series

Get there early for a seat at this popular film series! Friends of Skagit Beaches and Trail Tales are again offering four feature-length, environmental-themed documentaries at its Friday film nights.  On October 9th we'll watch the documentary "Just Eat It" and on October 23rd we will have the special privilege of having the Samish Indian Nation share their documentary, “The Maiden of Deception Pass – Guardian of her Samish People.”

On November 6th we will watch the documentary "Easy Like Water" and on November 20th host Coastal Volunteer Partnership will show the film "Mission Blue". Prior to each showing, a short, student-made documentary will debut on topics of local interest and attendees will have an opportunity to meet the talented local filmmakers.  Doors open at 6:30pm and the program starts at 7pm at the Northwest Educational Service District 189 building,1601 R Avenue, Anacortes. Films with Friends is free and open to all ages.

Visit the Friends of Skagit Beaches events calendar for all film listings. 

Trail Tales Receives Third WA DOE Grant

Trail Tales Receives Third WA DOE Grant

Friends of Skagit Beaches again has been honored with a third grant from the Washington Department of Ecology Public Participation Grant program to support the department’s cleanup and restoration of the Anacortes shoreline.

Since receiving its first grant in July 2011, FOSB has offered four years of public outreach and education events, including dozens of interpretive walks along Anacortes’ Tommy Thompson Trail, 33 interpretive signs, films, lectures, and a website chock full of information about the history, cultures, ecology, and environmental restoration work in Skagit County. The third grant, just received, enables Trail Tales education and outreach to continue in the upcoming two-year grant period with shoreline interpretive programs.

Trail Tales education and outreach will continue in the upcoming two-year grant period with shoreline interpretive programs, support of talented young filmmakers documenting local stories, and development of online media. In addition, the focus is being expanded in partnership with the Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and integrating with the new Coastal Volunteer Partnership at Padilla Bay.

Are you a researcher, leader, closet naturalist, or dynamite cookie baker? There are many rewarding ways to get involved as a volunteer with the Trail Tales program. Imagine yourself leading or assisting with interpretive programs, walks, and special programs; developing content for the website; or helping organize, staff, or promote events. To find your niche, contact Betty Carteret at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (360) 299-8553.

Trail Tales Stories

Trail Tales Stories

Anacortes has a rich and well-documented history, from the Anacortes Museum annotated photo library and historic files to topical books and recorded interviews. We’re proud to have Trail Tales interpretive signs and docent-led walks take their place among these rich resources, honoring the past while making it easily accessible to the public.

Over the past year, Friends President Betty Carteret and writer Jan Hersey of Biz Point Communications, with help from Anacortes Museum Education Curator Bret Lunsford, spent some six months crafting the 16 new interpretive signs unveiled this spring and summer. Bootlegged liquor, glacial erratics, intrepid swimmers . . . as the Trail Tales editorial team developed the interpretive sign copy and identified interpretive walks topics, we learned many fascinating stories from a wide range of sources.

Juggling chronological, factual, and cultural information with strict space limitations required difficult decisions about what to include and what, regrettably, to leave out. Now, however, through this and subsequent newsletters and updates to the Trail Tales website, we’ll be sharing many more of the stories left “on the cutting room floor.” One of the topics that begged to be examined was the connection of Anacortes’ people to their shoreline. Ultimately, we illustrated this through a focus on the city’s history of crabbing, which you can read at the Trail Tales website “To Market and Table” page.

Following is a wonderful quote that didn’t make the original cut, illustrating that today’s thriving farmers market indeed has deep roots in the community. It’s excerpted from the museum’s extensive oral history interviews that Bret is now expanding and making more accessible to the public.

"In the early days the Indians would come up in their canoes, to where the Depot is now, and they would have baskets of clams they dug, baskets of berries they picked and they would want to trade them either for pots and pans or clothes, most. So they would leave the baskets and all. I got very interested in the baskets as I grew up. We had them all over the house. Mother used them of course. I was very fascinated how they were made and the way they were constructed. That’s the reason why I collected baskets, not because I knew they would be valuable someday. There were six houses down there. In fact, that is where I was born. The Great Northern bought that area and were going to put in a new depot; they’d move the houses, so people had to move out." - Mary Babarovich Luvera, interview courtesy Anacortes Museum


Painting by Jennifer Bowman, on display at Anacortes Maritime Heritage Center

New Trail Tales Interpretive Signs Coming June 2015

New Trail Tales Interpretive Signs Coming June 2015

Friends of Skagit Beaches is working with the Port of Anacortes and City of Anacortes to install sixteen new interpretive signs between 17th Street and Guemes Channel. Join us on June 13th at the Seafarers' Memorial Park for a sign dedication ceremony and walking tour to see the new signs. Trail Tales docents will be available at the new signs to share stories about the topics portrayed in the signs. Join us for a guided tour, or you can pick up the new trail map and do your own self-guided walking tour. The Marine Technology Center will also be hosting an open house from 10:30 to noon as part of the event.

The new interpretive signs start on the sidewalk along Q Avenue in front of the Marine Technology Center, winds through the marina, and then jump to Guemes Channel. But on your way to Guemes Channel don't forget to stop at the Museum's interpretive signs by the W.T. Preston Snagboat and the Depot on R Avenue just north of the marina.

Have you wondered how these signs come about? Well it doesn't happen overnight. In fact, it takes about a year start to finish. A small group of individuals put in a lot of time and dedication to make it happen. Here's how it works . ..

June 2014 - The sign development process started when Betty Carteret (Friends of Skagit Beaches), Jan Hersey (Biz Point Communications), and Bret Lunsford (Anacortes Museum) walked the trail route and decided on the list of sixteen topics to be developed into sign panels. Betty then met with our partners from the Port of Anacortes and City of Anacortes to present the proposed signs, as well as the Department of Ecology, the agency funding the Trail Tales grant to reach agreement to proceed.

July 2014 – The signs are grouped into Discovery Points and the team gets down to work researching the sign topics, developing the story-line and sign text, and selecting images for the signs.

October 2014 - EDX Exhibits, an interpretive design firm in Seattle, was contracted to move the text and images into the graphic design templates that were developed by EDX for the original signs on the Tommy Thompson Trail. Becky Alexander, a talented EDX graphic designer, worked with Betty and Jan for seven months to perfect the text, images, and design for each Discovery Point.

April 2015 – The design team completed final reviews of design files for all 16 panels. Production-ready files are prepared to go to the sign manufacturer. The order for sixteen sign bases is placed and fabrication begins.

May 2015 - The manufacturer, IZone Imaging in Temple, Texas, begins the manufacturing of high-pressure laminate sign panels. High-pressure laminate is the industry standard material for interpretive signs that is used by the National Park Service. The manufacturing process is similar to making a Formica countertop or laminate flooring.

June 2015 – One year after the first idea list of sign topics was drafted, the new interpretive sign panels are delivered and ready to install on the trail – just in the nick of time for our ribbon cutting ceremony. It's been a long time coming – but we think you'll appreciate the final product.

Finally, we produced a new brochure and trail map that will be available at numerous locations around town including the Visitors Information Center, library, and Park & Recreation office. The brochure and the map will also be posted on the Friends of Skagit Beaches website and will be available at the June 13th dedication ceremony for the new interpretive trail section.

Can't get out to the trail? Art Shotwell Web Design is in the process of recreating the sign stories and images on the Trail Tales website hosted by the Friends of Skagit Beaches website. Just click on the Trail Tales logo to take an online tour of the signs. See you on the trail!

New Interpretive Signs and Discovery Stations

New Interpretive Signs and Discovery Stations

This spring, Trail Tales will be installing an additional 16 interpretive signs, along the Anacortes waterfront, adding to the discovery stations that were completed in 2013 along the Tommy Thompson Trail between 34thStreet and March Point. The new sign panels are currently in the manufacturing phase and will be installed in April and May from 17th Street and Q Streets to Guemes Channel. Above is a "sneak preview" of one of the panels - this one will be at the new discovery station near Seafarers' Memorial.

Save the date for the dedication and ribbon cutting of the new interpretive panels on June 13th at Cap Sante Seafarers' Memorial Park. The dedication event will celebrate with Trail Tales partners, the Port of Anacortes, the Marine Technology Center and others who have supported and shared the sign project. Trail Tales volunteers will be providing guided walks to the new stations and on hand at the new discovery points to share more of Anacortes' history and restoration of the waterfront with the community.

If you have enjoyed the first 16 interpretive signs along the trail and would like to learn more about the topics they cover, please explore the Trail Tales website where you can see each sign and expand on any of the topics for more information and links.