Sanctuary managers hope new center educates, helps local economy

Peninsula News Network


Port Angeles, WA - Managers of the Olympic Coast Marine Sanctuary say a new “discovery center” now open in Port Angeles will help educate visitors, and help the economy by encouraging people to come back to the Peninsula.

A good sized crowd was hand Saturday to mark the first decade of the Sanctuary, and to dedicate the new Olympic Coast Discovery Center, a state-of-the-art visitors center designed to educate, and inform people about the resources just off the coast. The opening got a special welcome from members of the various bands of the Klallam tribe.

The Olympic Coast Marine Sanctuary is turning out to be a treasure trove of biodiversity for marine researchers, with many unexpected discoveries over the past decade. But during the ceremony, Sanctuary Supervisor Carol Bernthal said the center will give the public a better understanding of what is being protected.

6th District Congressman Norm Dicks was joined on stage by former Governor Mike Lowry who also played a key role in getting the sanctuary designation. Both had been on hand with former Commerce Secretary Ron Brown at Kalaloch in 1993 to celebrate the designation, just months before Brown was killed in a place crash.

Dicks told the crowd of his hopes of having the sanctuary be a Mecca for deep sea research with new, remote control underwater vehicles now being built.

After the official ribbon cutting, with Dicks slicing through a hand woven cedar strand donated by the Makah tribe, Lowry reflected on the 20 years of hard work to get the sanctuary designated, and the many who played a key role in it’s establishment. He said it was a true bi-partisan accomplishment.

CoastFest a big hit in PA

CoastFest didn’t end with the opening of the center. Sanctuary managers arranged for an entire day of concerts and other events on the waterfront.

One of the big draws was the tall ship Lady Washington, which was open for tours all day alongside the city pier.

Hundreds took advantage of the opportunity to see the ship, which was featured in the Pirates of the Caribbean movie last summer. We even spotted a pirate boarding party, although they were walking the plank instead of swing aboard on ropes.

Actually, the pirates turned out to be the Bud Bay Bucaneers over from Victoria. They performed an impromptu performance on the stern of the Lady Washington right in front of our PNN camera. It was a real treat, and a perfect backdrop that saw people celebrating the sanctuary, getting in touch with marine life at the Art Fiero Marine Lab and generally enjoying the waterfront.



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