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Friends Notes

Keep up to date with news from Friends of Skagit Beaches

Trail Tales: Repair and Clean Up

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A helping hand with our volunteers

erica pickett and parks rec helperIn 2013, Friends of Skagit Beaches’ Trail Tales project worked with the City of Anacortes Parks & Recreation Department to install the first group of interpretive signs along the Tommy Thompson Trail between 34th Street and March Point. Over the years, several signs were vandalized and other damaged by seagulls dropping shells along the causeway and trestle.

Last year, Project Lead Betty Carteret received funds from the 2018 Anacortes Lodging Tax fund to replace several signs with the most damage. Working with the sign manufacturer, IZone Imaging, it was determined that this group of signs had a manufacturing defect that was contributing to early deterioration. IZone offered to replace all the signs in that group at no cost under warranty. Friends didn’t have to spend a dime to get 15 new signs to replace the old signs along the trail.

We really appreciate the outstanding customer service offered by IZone Imaging

On March 8th with support from Anacortes Parks & Recreation staff, a group of 8 volunteers removed the old signs, cleaned the aluminum support frames, and installed 15 new signs. Thank you to all who helped get the job done!

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The interpretive signs tell the storying of the history of Anacortes’ working waterfront; the ecology of the shoreline and watershed; activities that led to shoreline pollution; and the Anacortes Baywide Cleanup project that has restored the shoreline along Fidalgo Bay. The signs are popular stopping points along the trail and are visited by many residents, tourists, and visitors staying at the Fidalgo Bay Resort. You can pick up a map brochure guiding you to see the interpretive signs at the Anacortes Visitors Center, Cap Sante Marina Office, or the Anacortes Library.

Learn more about our Trail Tales interpretive signs here 

You can attend an update on the Baywide Cleanup project (the Custom Plywood Mill site) on March 25th @ 11 am at the Anacortes Library.

With the weather improving and Spring on its way, grab your trail map and head out for a Journey of Discovery along the Tommy Thompson trail. If you’d like more information about the interpretive trail, you can contact Betty Carteret at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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The Fascinating Enchantress

By Regan Weeks

Do you remember the mighty 120-foot derelict tug, the Enchantress, that sunk in the mud off of the east end of 34th St in the early 2000s? Here is her lurid tale!


Rick Carnes, of Sedro Woolley, owned the Enchantress and several other tugs. Carnes appeared to be a fast talker and scammed a number of folks (some say everyone he met) – boat towing companies, skippers, engineers, dock owners, and at last, a boat buyer.

On the same day in June 2000, Carnes towed the Enchantress and brought the Ronnie S under her own power to Anacortes. The Enchantress was moored in Fidalgo Bay to the burnt pilings of the Custom Plywood Mill; the Ronnie S was tied to Curtis Wharf for a while, then moved to Shannon Point Seafood, owned by Samsung.Apparently the Ronnie S began taking on water pretty soon after mooring. Carnes made himself scarce in Anacortes; both tugs were essentially abandoned.

Carnes was part of an even bigger scam with another tug in Everett. He convinced Rick Taylor of Hamilton to sell his house and use part of the money to finance Carnes’ Everett tug. By September 2001, Carnes owed Taylor $60,000 and perhaps by that time, Taylor understood what kind of man Carnes was. On September7, 2001, Taylor shot Carnes dead outside his home. Taylor then killed himself in the woods near Day Creek.

See, that’s the lurid part.

Now, consider what happens next:

  • Eventually the Coast Guard had to remove the fuel and hazardous waste off both boats at a cost of $142,000. It was a difficult prospect with the owner dead and the estate in probate.
  • Samsung was eventually forced to take legal control of the Ronnie S (inadequately moored at their dock) and pay to have it demolished. After asbestos was found onboard, the cost was estimated at the time to be about $40,000.
  • There was no state law (yet) to address derelict boats. The Enchantress was one of many reasons that Rep. Phil Rockefeller, D-Bainbridge, offered legislation to address the snarls that usually stalled the removal of derelicts. Thanks to him and our legislature, the Department of Natural Resources Derelict Vessel Removal Program was enacted in 2002.
  • In 2008 the state proposed to remove the Enchantress from Fidalgo Bay as a part of the Puget Sound Initiative cleanup of the Custom Plywood Mill site cleanup (video link, CPM), part of the Department of Ecology Toxics Cleanup Program’s Anacortes Baywide Cleanup (video link, ABC). The tug was well sunk in the mud by that time. Treated wood, asbestos, lead, PCBs, and mercury were all cited as concerns, as well as the safety issue of the boat rotting and breaking apart.

Over the years, Anacortesians had come to love the Enchantress. Bill Mitchell, our wonderful town muralist, and many others wanted to keep her - whether that meant for her to stay put or move her elsewhere - and started a petition, looking for grants to address the associated high costs. Unfortunately, while the Enchantress was once a beautiful 1940s Miki-class US Army tug, she was used and altered during her long life (she was known as the Leslie Foss for many years) and therefore could not be considered for historic status. Other of her Miki sisters were at the time better preserved.

Preserving the Enchantress at the end of her life was too difficult and expensive, and she was removed before the start of the Baywide cleanup. However, if you want to see a small part of the Enchantress, look up in the loft of the Port’s Transit Shed. Her nameplate is still there.

 

Sources: old Anacortes American articles, one The Olympian article (2/9/2002)

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