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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.





Island Celebrations

Island Celebrations

One of the new Trail Tales interpretive signs that will be installed this spring shares a bit of history about the "Island Celebrations" that Anacortes has held since the1890s. We thought we'd share with you a sneak preview of the sign, and offer some more about the wonderful old Marineers' Pageants held in the "30's and '40's:

Excerpt from new interpretive sign:

Since its days as an insular port city, Anacortes has loved a party.

When there were no roads to connect them, early settlers convened by boat for balls and midnight suppers.

In 1876, citizens honored the US Centennial with a 24 hour bash that lasted 'til dawn. Songs and patriotic orations were followed by games, dancing, and praise for the ladies' sumptuous food.

Today's waterfront festival harkens back to the Marineers'  Pageant that launched in 1937.  Touting its marine heritage, Anacortes hosted the multi-day festival with hydroplane and Indian canoe races, waterskiing, a pageant queen and grand parade.

Anacortes businesses and citizens held the summer pageant for 8 of the 12 years between 1937 and 1949 (missing 1942 – '46) and brought thousands of visitors to the city. The Anacortes Museum website reports: "Events during those years included Indian canoe races, a Mass Wedding at Causland Park in 1938, a "Cat-putter-outer Contest", pageant royalty, water events off the Marine Stadium (amphitheater) located on Cap Sante, and, of course, the parades. One parade was for children, and the other was for floats, marching bands, and other units."

GirlsThe festivities even captured the attention of Life Magazine in1948 as this article in the Anacortes American (Bulletin) reports:  "Representatives of LIFE Magazine in town for various pageant shots spent an hour Sunday morning at Causland Park taking pictures of the Queen and her Court in their formal attire in the beautiful Queen's Float."

Later they took pictures of the girls on the lawn of the Packard home on Cap Sante.

Last year some of the Trail Tales Volunteers visited the old amphitheater site for one of our meetings. We all have much in common with the earlier Anacortes residents who celebrated their lovely town and close association with the shoreline, waters and forests that we continue to enjoy today.

Perhaps you can join in some of the upcoming season of walks and events to share the history and the present through the Trail Tales program. Look for the new interpretive signs in June to learn more about the Island Celebrations of the past.

TT Docents at Cap Sante Ampi

All photos courtesy the Anacortes Museum

Top:  1947 Marineer's Pagent at Cap Sante Amphitheater

Middle: 1948 Marineer's Pageant royalty at home of Doris and Lyle Packard on east side of Cap Sante at the end of 5th Street. (demolished in 2012)

Bottom:  Trail Tales docents at Cap Sante Amphitheater in 2014

Padilla Bay Volunteer Program

Padilla Bay Volunteer Program

The new Padilla Bay Volunteer Program is off and running! New Volunteer Coordinator, Catherine Buchalski, has been busy meeting with Padilla Bay Reserve staff and funding partners to develop a framework for this volunteer consortium. Everyone is feeling very positive and excited about the future! To share that energy with you, the Padilla Bay Foundation is partnering with our fellow non-profit Friends of Skagit Beaches to host an open house from 1-3:30PM after the Friends' annual meeting on January 30. We will provide information about the new Padilla Bay Volunteer program, provide details about upcoming training events and volunteer opportunities in 2015, and get your input on what you hope to see happen over the next year. It will also be a unique opportunity to learn about and actively explore the Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. We'll have materials available for you to officially sign-up and register as a Padilla Bay Volunteer, and a door prize just for attending.

Mark Friday, January 30th on your calendars now - you won't want to miss this event! If you have any questions about the open house or the program, please contact Catherine via e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phone: 360.428.1559.

Trail Tales signs phase 2

Trail Tales signs phase 2

A second group of interpretive signs is currently in development and we are hoping to have them installed by the end of May 2015.  Betty Carteret and Jan Hersey are developing the text and images for the signs and working with the graphic design firm EDX Exhibit Designs in Seattle.  They are the same firm we worked with on the first group of signs and we will be using the same design templates (see photo).  The new interpretive walk will start at the southwest corner of the Marine Technology Center property near the intersection of 17th and Q in Anacortes.  The signs will follow Q Avenue then turn right to line the waterfront of the Cap Sante Marina before crossing to the Guemes Channel at the habitat restoration site completed last year by the Port of Anacortes at the old Wyman's Marina location.  Sign topics will include topics covering Anacortes History, the Anacortes Baywide Cleanup, protecting the bay through use of green technologies and design, and stories of our marine waterfront – past and present.  We hope to host a "grand opening" ribbon cutting and walking tour after the signs are installed.