But inaction by State government, either deliberate or not, is resulting in the loss of some of the best viewpoints in the State, mainly because of the growth or encroachment of trees. A bit of judicious pruning could fix the situation in a few hours, something advocated in this blog. Let me give you a few examples.
Historically one of the grandest view of our region, and perhaps the best in the State, has been found at the top of Mount Constitution on Orcas Island (see map).
A stone tower built on the summit by the WPA during the 1930s used to provide a stunning 360° view, with the lofty height of the Olympics, Vancouver Island, Mount Baker and the Cascades, the islands of the San Juans, and Puget Sound surrounding the lucky visitors. One of the great views of the world.
Unfortunately, the trees around the summit have been left to grow and the views to the south, west, and north have been lost or severely degraded. To appreciate the loss, here is an information sign on the top of the summit structure, showing the vast and impressive scene to be enjoyed (at least several decades before). The problem: you can't see any of it today because the trees have grown up.
Or perhaps you have enjoyed the hike to the top of West Tiger 3 near Issaquah, one of the most popular hikes in the State and only 30 minutes from Seattle (see map). The view from the top used to be amazing, with the entire Sound laid out below you.
But, again, trees have been allowed to grow, wiping out nearly the entire view (see below)
Or what about Chuckanut Drive, south of Bellingham? It WAS the most beautiful coastal drive in the State with amazing views of the San Juan Islands (see map).
You guessed it. Trees have been allowed to grow, blocking the stunning views.
Now I could give you many more examples, but you get the point. One of the reasons that folks love living in Washington State and why tourists like to visit are our amazing views of the water and mountains. But we are losing many of our most precious viewpoints because the State seems to have a policy of letting trees grow, even if such growth is robbing us of some of the most uplifting and inspirational views.
Is there a policy not to protect views? To always let trees grow? Is ANYONE in State government responsible for ensuring that views are maintained? I love trees as much as anyone, but views are important and it would be a shame if future generations are robbed of the views that many of us have valued and savored over the years. Let's do something about it. And if you know some other good examples, please leave a comment or email me.