Submitted by Noel S. Williams, Lakewood
It seems the bureaucrats in adjacent South Sound jurisdictions are not implementing the social distancing guidelines consistently. Consider the contrast between Sunnyside Park on the waterfront in Steilacoom, and Chambers Creek Canyon trail just around the corner. Here’s what I don’t get: Sunnyside, with more open space, is closed to visitors; conversely, Chambers Creek Canyon trail narrows to about 2 feet wide, yet remains open.
Sunnyside is not bad, but somewhat average for waterfront parks. It is definitely not special enough to justify gouging non-Steilacoom residents with parking fees. Yet, several years ago, that’s exactly what the pompous bureaucrats foisted upon out-of-towners. Now, other than to expose their highfalutin dispositions, the exorbitant fee is irrelevant – the park is closed in respect of social distancing guidelines.
There’s a ripple effect as many more folks looking to for respite are crowding other areas; some head a mile down the road towards University Place where equally pleasant scenery rewards those looking to commune with nature. Indeed, along Chambers Bay the bird watching is magnificent from several of the pull outs that allow free parking; it promotes mindfulness, and beats a Calmness app any day of the week. But with pretentious Sunnyside closed I’ve noticed that more people are enjoying the crowded Chambers Creek Canyon trail, which is au gratis, though I do think the haughty Steilacoom residents (excepting military) should pay.
For the sake of a unified front against the insidious COVID-19 invasion, either Sunnyside should open or Chambers Canyon Creek trail should close. I fervently favor the former, less the fee — sure, Sunnyside has a pavilion thing and children’s play area, but those spots are easily cordoned off with a little non-bureaucratic imagination. Many people just want to get out for a beach constitutional with family, including their equally antsy four-legged furry members.
If adjacent jurisdictions were on the same page, perhaps Chambers Creek Canyon trail would restrict access, especially to Steilacoom residents who stick it to interlopers who dare traipse into their territory. After all, as hikers make it up the first hill from the Chambers Bay entrance there is no humanly possible way to adhere to the six-foot separation rule without diving into prickly brush when someone approaches. And that happens too often as fellow hikers look for alternatives thanks to Steilacoom’s closures.
Even many supermarkets are now implementing one-way aisles, but traffic is two-way on this narrow trail – widthwise, two or three could fit into the average store aisle. In some segments where the trail is being extended the width is probably less than 2 feet – abiding by the social distancing proclamations would require tumbling down a steep embankment on one side, or scaling a steep cliff on the other.
It’s inspirational to see Americans pulling together as we combat this invisible enemy. The essential workers – healthcare, store clerks, truckers, and first responders — are a wonder, and put the petty bureaucrats to shame. I wonder if they even have a clue about their ill-advised and inconsistent park policies. I also wonder if Steilacoom’s money-grubbing, out-of-touch town elders will waive the Sunnyside parking fee when visitors return. By Noel S. WilliamsPrint This Post