Thurston County Connection Newsletter
Thurston County Connection
Thurston County Connection
September, 2012
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It’s Back to School Time!

Little Red School House Benefits Local Families

County Celebrates Judge Casey Retirement

Making Paddle to Squaxin a Great and Green Success

Second Hand Safari Coming Up Again

Join the Discussion on Plastic Bags.

“Out with Logic, On With Lunacy!”

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 Making Paddle to Squaxin a Great and Green Success

County staff assists with landmark event

Imagine what a pristine beach might look like after a gathering of about 2,000 people. If you conjure up a trashed-out shoreline, think again.

“There was practically zero litter,” says Thurston County Parks Manager Kerry Hibdon, describing the post-gathering scene at the county’s Burfoot Park on Sunday, July 29. That’s the historic day when 98 traditional canoes paddled by tribal members from around the Pacific Northwest and elsewhere landed at the Port of Olympia, the final destination of the Paddle to Squaxin 2012 journey.

Burfoot Park was the last stop and staging area before the ceremonial arrival in Olympia for the flotilla of canoes, some coming from as far away as Bella Coola in British Columbia and Quinault on the Olympic Peninsula. Hibdon and his staff provided restrooms and water for the paddlers and their support teams, and shuttled elders and others from the road to the beach.

Meanwhile, Brian Stafki with the county’s Solid Waste Division provided recycling and trash collection assistance to event planners. He worked with the Squaxin Green Team and the Nisqually Green Team during the past two months on planning and training volunteers to reduce event waste. Solid Waste staff lent the Squaxin and Nisqually tribes equipment for collecting recycling for events at their sites.

"This was the most impressive planning effort for a ‘green’ event I‘ve ever seen. They planned to divert almost all their waste. They even gave green gifts including reusable water bottles and soap. I look forward to sharing the lessons we learned with other tribes," says Brian Stafki.

Colleen Minion with Solid Waste also provided recycling and waste-prevention education to tribal youth during the week of protocol and ceremony on Squaxin Island following the Olympia landing.

“I was impressed on several counts,” says Hibdon of the event. “First, the sheer number of people who gathered was impressive. I was also impressed by the range of ages—from elders to little children. Finally, I was impressed with the stewardship the tribes displayed. As the canoes departed, the children were organized to police the entire site.”

Thanks to the following county staff and volunteers who helped make the day a success.

Kerry Hibdon
Brian Stafki
Colleen Minion
Dalton Johnson
Jeremy Darby
Jake McGowen
Jordan Coleman
Ben Smith

By Keith Eisner

One of the recycling stations at Burfoot Park. One of the recycling stations at Burfoot Park.