The Olympia Harbor Patrol

harbor_patrolrecently joined the Port of Olympia Harbor Patrol. With three other men and one woman we became the recruit class Spring of 2016. The Harbor Patrol is directed by the Port of Olympia and it is an all-volunteer non-law enforcement organization dedicated to port security, marine search and rescue, and public safety and education. We have a 28 foot patrol boat and volunteers are trained carefully in all their functions. No previous knowledge or skill is required to serve on the Patrol. They will teach you! Volunteers must be at least eighteen years of age and pass a background check and a drug screening. 

Click here for more information about the Port of Olympia Harbor Patrol. Or click here to indicate your interest in volunteering for the Harbor Patrol. Safe boating!

by James Nugent.

Update: The Port is accepting applications for Harbor Patrol Volunteers through January 22, 2017, at 11:59 PM. Click here for more information.

Land Stewardship, The Second Phase of Conservation

Three Land Stewards

Land Stewards Mark Hendricks, Deanna Frost and Jack Sisco at Oakland Bay County Park.

Nothing is quite as sweet in the conservation world as completing that land deal to protect a special habitat for generations to come. Whether it’s finalizing a conservation easement or the outright purchase of a piece of critical shoreline, wetland or intact forest, the news is met with much celebration and sense of satisfaction – that more land is protected into the future.

But acquiring the land is just the first step in conservation. The next step is making good on the commitment to keep the land in as good condition – or better – than it was when protected.

Good habitat stewardship is key so the plants and animals that depend on that piece of natural world will continue to thrive. Good stewardship may include restoration, such as removing shoreline armoring and non-native invasive plants, or replanting an old field with native trees and shrubs to recreate a once-existing forest or wet meadow. Often, good stewardship includes visiting a site to ensure that agreed-upon easement conditions are being adhered to, checking for encroachments, or picking up trash.

Dedicated Volunteers Make it All Happen

Capitol Land Trust relies on dedicated members to ensure that our protected lands remain in good condition. As more of the protected sites we manage become open with trails and facilities for the public, it will take more work to ensure that sensitive habitats are maintained and the “human footprint” isn’t having a negative effect on them.

Land Steward at North Fork Goldsborough Creek Preserve

Land Steward Jacqueline Winter monitors North Fork Goldsborough Creek Preserve.

That is why we are always looking for volunteers willing to spend some time and energy to visit and monitor our sites as stewards or occasional workers; to ensure that we are keeping our commitment to landowners and our community to be good stewards of the lands we manage.

Can I become a Volunteer Land Steward?

Yes! We’d love your help.

At the center of Capitol Land Trust’s mission is the perpetual stewardship of the properties we have conserved – into the future. We visit even our more remote properties at least once a year to document their condition, check for dumping and trespassing, and visit with neighbors. For private properties on which CLT holds a conservation easement, we also meet with the landowner to be sure they are fulfilling the terms of the conservation easement.

Volunteer Land Stewards are key to our long-term success. They monitor sites, usually with a CLT staff member. During annual monitoring visits, Land Stewards observe, take notes and photographs, and may act as guides. After visits, they fill out monitoring report forms that help us create final monitoring reports.

Land Stewards who live near or travel to a CLT-conserved property provide a critical service throughout the year by alerting CLT to any problems. Depending on the needs of the property and the volunteer, a Land Steward also may add visits and do other activities (such as removing invasive plants or organizing a volunteer work party). We match volunteer stewards with a property that fits their interests and physical abilities and (if possible) is near where they live or travel.

Land Steward at Bayshore Preserve

Planting live stake cuttings at Bayshore Preserve. Photo by Bruce Livingston.

A Land Steward’s time commitment depends on the CLT property and the volunteer. An hour is needed prior to the monitoring visit to review the previous year’s report; part of a day is needed for the visit and an hour or so after to fill out the monitoring report form. Typically, new Land Stewards are trained during their first visit to their assigned property – or they may join a monitoring visit to another Land Steward’s property to observe the protocol.

The reward for being a Land Steward is that you get to visit unique and beautiful natural areas, farms, ranches, and timberlands – most not open to the public. You also know you are giving back to your community.

Call our office if you are interested in being a Land Steward and we will match you with a suitable property. Thank you to all of our current, and past, volunteer Land Stewards for your ongoing support towards our efforts to preserve natural and working lands in southwest Washington!

Reprinted with permission from Issue 62, Fall 2016, of the Capitol Land Trust News.

The Capitol Land Trust and Griffin Neighborhood Association created the Steamboat Conservation Partnership in order to conserve the natural areas that make the Eld and Totten Inlet watersheds so special. Click here to learn more about how you can support the efforts of this unique partnership. And click here to learn more about preserved habitat right here in the Griffin/Steamboat Peninsula area.

Steamboat Conservation Partnership Working to Preserve Our Natural Beauty

02colorfultreesFall is here and the autumn leaves are beautiful. Let’s make sure we keep the natural beauty of our area by supporting the Steamboat Conservation Partnership (SCP). The Partnership is an agreement with Capitol Land Trust where contributions are earmarked to help conserve sensitive areas within the watersheds of Eld and Totten Inlets. All contributions are tax exempt.

Capitol Land Trust uses these contributions to cover expenses in working with local property owners for the voluntary conservation of their environmentally sensitive and critical properties. Your contribution to the SCP ensures that your support is used to conserve habitat right here in the watersheds feeding the Eld and Totten inlets.

Click here to find more details about the SCP. And click here to learn more about areas already conserved in the “Steamboat Conservation Partnership Region”.

Contributions to the Steamboat Conservation Partnership may be mailed to the Capitol Land Trust with “SCP” in the check memo area.
Capitol Land TrustSteamboat Conservation Partnership logo
209 4th Ave E, Ste. 205
Olympia, WA 98501

Or click here to make a contribution online, through the Capitol Land Trust’s web site. Please remember to add, to the “Note” field on your online contribution, that the contribution is made for the SCP.

Thank you for your support of the Steamboat Conservation Partnership.

An Apple Affair Makes Annual Appearance This Sunday, October 23

applefest3This Sunday the folks from the old Madrona Grove Fruit Truck and the Building Earth Farm will lay out a variety of apples to sample and buy, at their annual Apple Affair. This year’s Apple Affair is at Rignall Hall, 8131 Urquhart Road NW, Olympia.

“We’ll be bringing in apple varieties from a number of small family farms throughout the Okanogan. Join us for a free apple tasting and community apple potluck dessert table, Olympic Mountain Ice Cream, coffee, tea and hot apple cider. Bring the whole family!”

An Apple Affair
Sunday, October 23
12 noon to 4 PM
Rignall Hall

From their web page, we read, “The event starts at noon and goes until 4pm in a flurry of activity that leaves the sample plates mostly empty by around 3:30, so come early for the tasting and stay for some apple treats and rub elbows with your neighbors.”

In the past, the apple inventory has been limited and they suggest you bring along a box or other container to carry some apples home with you.


Kayaking Mud Bay


Published in the "Steamboat Island Register". Pick up a copy at the Steamboat Coffee Shop and other local businesses.

One of the simple pleasures in life is kayaking on saltwater in the wilderness. Fortunately, just a couple miles south of the Steamboat Island exit, is just such a place. Mud Bay can be seen from Highway 101 and the Mud Bay Bridge.

I am often distracted by the wildlife when I am driving. It is safer to just stop, take your binoculars, and go for a walk near Buzz’s Tavern.

Mud Bay at Low Tide. Photo by Gale Hemmann, illustrating an article published June 2014, in ThurstonTalk.

Mud Bay at Low Tide. Photo by Gale Hemmann, illustrating an article published June 2014, in ThurstonTalk.

The best way to see the wildlife is to get on the water in a kayak. One can park the car and put the boat in the water at the Park and Ride, which is one block north of the Tavern.

I prefer to park on the side of the road near the Mud Bay Bridge. Then I put my ten-year-old $69 inflatable kayak in the water under the bridge. Put your boat in during the incoming tide. Be sure to get out of the mud flat before the water gets too low. People have died in other mud flats when they got stuck in the mud.

One of the perks of going into Mud Bay on a flood tide is that the water is warmed by the hot mud on a sunny day. The water temperature is great for swimming.

In the fall you can see salmon trying to get to Mclane Creek, and eagles plucking them from the sea. I saw a bear here five years ago! I have also seen raccoons and foxes working the shorelines along with numerous deer. It is like an episode of National Geographic except that it is all real time reality.

by James Nugent.


jamie_glasgow_lower_eldea61a327598cJames Nugent is a local author who has 96 e-books, 90 paperbacks, and 53 audio books available at

A recent book, Kayak at Dawn, is available from as a paperback and for the Kindle.

Artist Cooperative Locavore Mercantile Grand Opening October 15 and 16

locavoreA few weeks back, area residents on Nextdoor saw a post from local resident Beth Mathews. The message, with the subject line “Seeking local artisans and artists,” described Mathews’ plans to open a pop-up shop in Steamboat Square. Her call immediately attracted the attention of both artisans and shoppers. Just a few days before, Mathews had created a web site for the new store, a cooperative called “Locavore Mercantile.” This online activity is now resulting in a retail store located just next to the Subway sandwich shop. Locavore Mercantile represents an exciting way for local artists to connect with local shoppers this upcoming holiday season.

Locavore Mercantile Grand Opening
October 15 and 16
6541 Sexton Dr NW, Olympia, WA 98502

We got together for an online chat with Beth Mathews.

Where’d you get the idea for Locavore Mercantile?

I make hypoallergenic jewelry and non-comedogenic skincare, and have been selling my products locally and online for about 6 years. I’ve had the fortune of participating in galleries, farmers markets, and one pop-up shop last December. I recently quit my part-time “real” job in order to focus on my own business. After carting goods around from market to market this summer, I wanted to be a little more stationary for the fall. The holiday season is an important sales season for artisans and artists, so it’s a great time to have temporary retail space. At this time of year many people are looking for gifts that are special, and artists and artisans are trying to fill those needs through their online sales or at craft shows. I knew I could not fill a shop alone, so I called on artist friends and put a call out for interested local artisans to join.

How’s the recruiting of artisans coming along?

We have an amazingly talented group of people in this shop. Many are local to the community or Olympia, and some are from as far away as Portland and Seattle. My goal was to bring in a range of products, from artwork that will last generations, to products you can use in your everyday life. When I started recruiting I wasn’t sure how the response would go, but I am proud of the work on display at Locavore Mercantile.

I’m adding more artists and artisans to our website page this week (slowly), as well as announcing them on Facebook.

Earlier today, Mathews posted a preliminary list of the artists that constitute the Locavore Mercantile “Departments”. Click here to catch up on the news.

Why set up shop here, on the Steamboat Peninsula?

I’ve been considering retail space in Olympia, but I live on the peninsula, so when I heard this location was open I figured why not be ultra-local? I personally don’t like making more trips into town than I need to, so I figured locals might like to shop locally. It’s turned out that, because of the cooperative aspect of the shop, this has been a great place to network with other local businesses.

Everyone at Locavore is a seasoned artisan. Our community has a lot of talented people! Many of the artisans are Etsy sellers, have online stores, sell at galleries throughout the northwest, and frequent art and holiday shows.

What would need to happen, for Locavore Mercantile to stick around past the holidays?

We need the community to shop at Locavore Mercantile! And we also need the time to form a democracy. As a pop-up, everything is happening lightning fast. With a large group of people, it’s hard to come to important decisions quickly. So for the pop-up, I took the lead and a leap of faith that we could assemble a one-of-a-kind shop in only a few weeks. We’ve done that. So our next steps are to see how the community responds to the shop, and we’ll start talking about what structure we’d like this to take in the future.

What is a pop-up shop?

Pop-up shops are temporary retail spaces, designed to excite interest in a company. In this case, over 20 local artisans are coming together to offer their products for sale in their community. Many of us sell online, or in shops in nearby towns, but Locavore Mercantile provides an opportunity to sell directly to our neighbors. It’s a unique assortment of art and goods that will not be found anywhere else in the world.

The list of artists and products lined up for Locavore Mercantile is impressive and growing. Home goods and stationary, pottery, cosmetics, fashion and accessories, puppets and books for children, photography and other fine art are already confirmed. “The shop is hosting a wide variety of goods made in the northwest, including handmade textiles, soap, cosmetics, jewelry, condiments, pottery, art, cards, and gift wrap.” Visit the web site for Locavore Mercantile for more details and don’t forget to mark your calendar for the grand opening weekend of October 15 and 16.

Check out Beth Mathews’ Kickstarter campaign, for Dirty Hippie Deodorant, an “organic wholesome natural deodorant made with essential oils, and packaged in eco-friendly packaging.”

Sovereign Cellars Wine Tasting This Weekend


Sovereign Cellars, our award-winning local winery, is announcing its Fall Wine Tasting, this upcoming weekend. “All of our wines have received gold & double gold awards this year,” says vintner Dennis Gross. “Come visit with friends and enjoy great wine and tasty hor d’oeuvres.”

Sovereign Cellars Wine Tasting
Saturday and Sunday, September 24 and 25
1 PM to 5 PM each day
7408 Manzanita Dr. NW, Olympia 98502

For those of you in the Sovereign Cellars wine club, this would be a great time to pick up your wines.

This is a terrific opportunity to taste and buy some fabulous wines produced right here on the Steamboat Peninsula.

Click here to read some of what we’ve written about Sovereign Cellars. Or click the image above to visit their web site.

Thurston County Unveils Emergency Alert System


Click to sign up for AlertSense notifications

Thurston County Emergency Management now makes available to all residents a system to send emergency alerts via text message, email, pager, or voice mail (in extreme cases), based on your preferences. “It is important that we collect this contact information because many households no longer utilize traditional land-based telephone lines,” reads one web page describing the system’s function.

This new notification capability – called the “AlertSense Notification System” – joins several other means available for the County to help keep the public apprised of hazardous conditions in our area.

Emergency Alert System (EAS) alerts are broadcast on television, radio and NOAA weather radios. The alerts begin with a loud audible beep followed by specific instructions. You are also probably aware of AMBER alerts you can already receive through a smartphone. River flood notifications are available for public sign up, too. The new AlertSense system will help to provide localized information to you, using your preferred method(s) of contact.

The [AlertSense] system is intended to be used for emergency alerts, as well as non-emergency incidents that may have significant impacts to residents. Emergency Alerts could be related to specific hazards that require some kind of action be taken such as evacuation, shelter in place, boil water orders, etc. Non-emergency alerts could include significant transportation problems with prolonged impacts or significant ongoing police or fire activity. This list is not meant to be all inclusive, and demonstrates that this system will not be used for routine information. In addition to receiving information on your wireless device, you may also receive notification on your land telephone line (if you have one) depending on the type of incident or event.

Click here to learn more about the different means by which you can receive information about hazardous conditions in the area and how you can sign up for AlertSense.

Don’t forget this Saturday’s Emergency Preparedness Expo, at the Rochester Middle School.

Emergency Preparedness Expo
Saturday, September 17
10 AM – 3 PM
Rochester Middle School
9937 US Hwy 12, Rochester

For more information about the Expo, contact Vivian Eason, Thurston County Emergency Management, at 360-867-2825 or

September is National Preparedness Month. There are easy steps you can take to help your family weather an emergency. And there are important steps you can take to help you and your neighbors make it through a disaster. Click here to learn more.

Thurston County To Install Shoulder Rumble Strips on Steamboat Island Road

This fall, Thurston County Public Works will be installing shoulder rumble strips, weather permitting, along portions of Steamboat Island Road. "While we work to make your community safer," a recent announcement reads, "construction activity and minor delays will occur."

Postcards have been mailed to residents near where this work will take place.

If you have any questions, contact Brandon Hicks at (360) 867-2358 or click this link to visit the web site of Thurston County Public Works.

Click the images below, to see larger versions of them.



Life at the End of the Powerline

Downed Powerlines

Click the image for Puget Sound Energy's "downed power lines" web page.

Part of the charm of living on the Steamboat Island Peninsula is that it only takes 20 minutes to drive from the City to the wilderness. It means a lot to most people to throw your window open at night and listen to the oyster boats or the wind. I am in awe of the way eagles soar over our peninsula.

However, in the middle of cold and violent storms sometimes the lights go out. It can be out for less than an hour or up to 5 days or more! What should a homeowner do?

#1 Relax.

#2 Get, your flashlight with fresh batteries.

#3 Light your candles or oil lamp.

#4 Tune to any of these FM stations: KGY 95.3, KAYO 96.9, or KAOS 89.3. KGY, in particular, has a good backup generator.

#5 Bundle up with a loved one and read a book.

If it turns out that the outage was not caused by a drunk driver hitting a pole on Mud Bay drive, get emotionally prepared for life off the grid for a while.

Consider the following:

  • Fire up your generator a few hours in the evening if you need a little heat from your electric fireplace.
  • Use a couple cups of your 50 gallons of emergency water supply for a sponge bath if you smell.
  • Cook a meal or 3 on your propane BBQ.
  • Dig into your no-cook food for a snack.
  • Stay warm and healthy and go to work tomorrow if the roads are passable.
  • If you are trapped, read a couple good books and huddle up with someone you love.

by James Nugent


James Nugent is a local author and has 96 e-books, 90 paperbacks and 53 audio books on For more information about survival, find Eight Things You Need to Survive by James Nugent.

September is National Preparedness Month. Visit our preparedness web page, for tips on how to prepare your family and your neighbors.