Yay! New Toilets!

Funny what turns you on when you volunteer on an island. We are all so excited about the construction this winter of two new composting toilet buildings on Patos Island. As they will be replacing outhouse which are rumoured to be 40+ years old we couldn’t be happier.

The Washington State Park crew sent us this picture of the new unit which will be close to the beach camping. The other unit will be closer to the lighthouse; just as you leave the woods for the open lighthouse point.

Composting toilet on Patos Island

Composting toilet on Patos Island

Thanks to Washington State Parks and the BLM for making commitment to Patos island and her visitors.

Captain January

Last night we watched the delightful Shirley Temple movie “Captain January” which came out in 1935.

http://www.imdb.com/media/rm1108516608/tt0027421?ref_=tt_ov_i

I had forgotten that Shirley (“Star”) lives in a lighthouse with the Old Keeper who rescued her from a shipwreck. Unlike our Patos Lighthouse, which was not built to be lived in, (the Keeper’s Quarters were separate), Star and Captain January abide in a cosy little cottage with the lighthouse tower above. One of the first scenes in the movie has Star running into town to buy brass cleaner to polish the Fresnel lens and she ends up doing a dance, of course, with an incredibly young Buddy Ebson.

One items of special note for me was that toward the end of the movie, a telegram announces that the lighthouse will have an automated light installed and that the Keeper will no longer be employed to run the light. I think they give him two weeks notice! When the crew comes to take apart the Fresnel Light, they hold a part to the Captain and call it “old junk”. Unfortunately, this scene was not really fiction as over the years, when lighthouses were decommissioned, lighthouse fittings, including the priceless Fresnel lenses, ended up in junk piles and auctions all over the United States.

We believe our own Patos Fresnel Lens had such a fate, as it is now in private hands in Oregon. Lime Kiln lighthouse has no idea where their lens ended up or if it even still exists.

Patos Lighthouse Fresnel lens, 1958

Patos Lighthouse Fresnel lens, 1958

So by all means, watch the wonderful movie Captain January and ponder what happens when we fail to recognise what future generations will think if we don’t value the things we have now  and consider them for posterity.

A National Monument Designation, Perhaps?

Our beautiful lighthouse from the air

Our beautiful lighthouse from the air

With Interior Secretary Salazar’s retirement from his post in the next month or so, we have been hoping for his legacy to include designation of the BLM properties in the San Juan Islands (yes, this includes ‘our” Patos Island) as a National Monument.

Islanders for a National Conservation Area gather in 2012

Islanders for a National Conservation Area gather in 2012

For years we have been hoping for long term protection of these lands, and for months now we have been crossing our eyes, ears, and thumbs that our dream would soon become a reality. Now we have a second chance if Secretary Salazar does not act before he leaves office. It looks like President Obama will be nominating REI (Recreational Equipment Incorporated) CEO, Sally Jewell, to be the incoming Secretary of the Interior. From what I have read,  Sally Jewell is the ultimate outdoor woman and advocate for conservation of public lands.

BLM Ranger Nick Teague shows a map of BLM Lands in San Juan County

BLM Ranger Nick Teague shows a map of BLM Lands in San Juan County

REI is a legendary outdoor company in the Pacific Northwest. The company is based in Washington State and is member owned. Here are the details: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/REI

At this point we are not giving up on Secretary Salazar, but it is nice to also see the future looking so promising as well!

Read the story here: http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-02-06/sally-jewell-obamas-interior-pick-has-something-for-everybody