Kathy Young’s Letter to Skagit County Opposing Quarry Mine

Nov. 4, 2020, midnight

By Kathy A. Young
Marblemount, Washington

I don’t even know where to start but I have a feeling this will be the most important letter I will ever write.

I have been reading the comments from local citizens who oppose the Marblemount Mine Proposal. About the large trucks on our roads (one every 3 minutes??) the CO2 emissions from them, noise from thunderous blasting, rock crushers, diesel machinery and many large trucks, the air pollution, the water pollution and danger to our Wild and Scenic designated Skagit River, the obliteration of our wildlife habitat, even the information about Kiewit Infrastructure Co and the many workplace violations and environmental infractions they committed in Canada and California.

We are not a town. Marblemount is more like a village. We have a small volunteer fire department. It would put a severe strain on this service and the local people who might need them if they were called to the mine.

And regarding the danger of fire, our area gets drier every year and I live every day in summer and early fall with a nagging fear of forest fire. We often spend a few days breathing smoke from fires somewhere in the mountains. Even now after a dry winter it is dry enough to be a high fire danger. Mining operations and large trucks can spark fires easily.

My husband and I live in a modest cabin that he built from scratch using the trees he had to cut down, milling them with his homemade chainsaw mill. We worked stressful jobs at Island Hospital and for 14 years traveled up to Marblemount and worked on the place every weekend. We sacrificed expensive vacations and entertainment and drove older cars. Every penny went into our Dream Home to live in once we retired. Well, we moved up here permanently 3 years ago and I have embraced our little piece of Heaven down to my soul.

One of the most wonderful things about living here is the peace and quiet. When city dwellers come to visit you can just see some invisible power bathe them with peacefulness. I joke that the Spirit of the Trees reaches down inside of you and grabs ahold. Who knows? We see many escapees from cities coming up here with their hiking boots and bicycles. Maybe they feel it too.

I hardly listen to music anymore because I want to listen to the music of the forest. You can actually hear the sound of the moving air when a crow flies by. There are many different birds that all try to outcall each other. And you haven’t lived until you have heard the pounding of the Pileated Woodpecker that sounds like a guy with a jackhammer up in the trees. And the owls! We have the Barred Owl but also every once in a while I hear a Spotted Owl. And screaming cougars too. With so much development everywhere now, our area is like a precious jewel that should not be tarnished.

The proposed mine would be one-half mile from our home. It is obvious to me that the entire fabric of our lives here would be ripped to shreds. If we could bring ourselves to sell our Dream Home, the property value would be ridiculous.

We live a simple life. You have to when you live in the boonies. If I want thai food for dinner, I have to make it myself. If there’s no ice cream in the freezer, my husband has to do without or drive 20 miles one way. But this is our palace, we have built our nest here, and it is our place of worship. It provides us with mental health and a sense of being rewarded for obeying the rules, paying our taxes and working hard.

Thank you for your consideration,
Kathy Young