[Tweeters] Monroe Prison Ponds?

johntubbs at comcast.net johntubbs at comcast.net
Mon May 6 14:25:15 PDT 2013

Hi folks,

I would like to amplify on Ann Marie's post.  This is an issue that is something that we in the birding community need really to watch and police ourselves about.  I was at a dinner the other night and was introduced to a British couple who were here to visit family.  The topic of birders came up and the couple noted with some disdain that twitchers in the UK (much more numerous than here) have caused major traffic jams and other significant issues that have negatively impacted their reputation in the UK.  With the increasing popularity of our sport here, it is something we need to watch and manage carefully.

I know Al Erickson personally, and he is a remarkable and highly accomplished individual.  He is a retired UW professor (probably in his late 70's now, possibly older, but still very active and in excellent shape) who taught ornithology and is incredibly knowledgeable and caring about birds.  The land on the far side of the prison farm pond (opposite side from the dairy buildings and the concrete pull-off pad) are owned by Al and his family .  He leases the rest of the land around the lake from the tribe that now owns the dairy farm.  When the state shut down the prison farm, it languished for a few years and was eventually purchased by the tribe (I think the Tulalips, but I can't remember for sure ).  The tribe has reinstituted farming on the property and as such is concerned about use of the land, and trespassing.  Al has a vested interest in protecting the land all around the pond, both in order to protect the birds, but also to maintain good relations with the tribe and keep his access to the land for his waterfowl hunting club.  The tribe essentially relies on him and his vested interest in access to help them monitor and  police the property.

Al obviously identifies with and is supportive of birders and what we are doing there, but has to be careful to meet his agreements with the tribe.  If people start traipsing all over the property, there most likely will be unpleasant consequences.  The concrete pulloff accommodates multiple cars, and affords a wonderful view of the whole pond, especially with a scope, so there is no reason to leave it.  Be thankful it is there, stay on it, and there will be no problems most likely.

As an aside, Al's house has a territorial view of  the valley from the ridge on the east side of Hwy. 203 and he has a scope set up to monitor activities around the pond.  This was done to curb some illegal hunting activities that were occurring in the past, and for Al to monitor his own club members to make sure everyone utilizes  the resource appropriately. 

Al (and the tribe) are people we REALLY want and need to be on our side when it comes to birding, so please conduct yourselves  accordingly.

John Tubbs

Snoqualmie, WA

johntubbs at comcast.net

----- Original Message -----

From: "Ann Marie Wood" <annmariewood at comcast.net>
To: "Tweeters" <tweeters at u.washington.edu>
Sent: Monday, May 6, 2013 10:11:18 AM
Subject: [Tweeters] Monroe Prison Ponds?

Hi Tweeters:

Yesterday, while scoping out the ponds with a couple of local photographers, we were approached by Al Erickson, the current owner of the hunting club and farm.  He was very nice but clearly concerned about the increased use of the area, particularly now during nesting season, and asked us to remain on the concrete parking pad.  

When Al said something about posting the area I apologized, thanked him for granting access to us, and told him I would pass on his request. This is a great spot and I'd hate to lose access.

If anyone relocates the Ross's Goose please let me know!

Ann Marie Wood
Mountlake Terrace,WA
annmariewood at comcast.net

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