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Craig Goodwin
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If you've driven around town recently, you can attest to the fact that a whole lot of building is going on. And a big share of it is not part of the Ten Trails Master Planned Development. Where is the best place to find information about building activity in Black Diamond or anywhere else in King County? The Assessors Office of course. Gotta collect those taxes. Following is a map that I obtained from the Assessors Office showing where and how many building permits have been issued in Black Diamond over the last 12 months. In total, 197 permits were... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Black Diamond NOW
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The early 1900's were a time of great innovation in pacific northwest logging. Donkey engines and the use of spar trees paved the way for high lead logging methods and technology that revolutionized the industry. Logging railroads then extended the reach of timber harvesting deep into the remote Cascade foothills. But it would take some years before a suitable replacement for bucking logs in the woods using man powered crosscut saws could be found. The use of steam powered dragsaws was an early attempt. Image courtesy Washington Rural Heritage, LOGGMACH010, circa 1916 The above photo shows a man pulling on... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Black Diamond NOW
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Yes, there is such a thing as Ragfish that reside in the waters of the North Pacific. The following photo taken in 1927 by famed northwest photographer Asahel Curtis shows a fisherman posing with his "prize" catch of the day. y Photo courtesy Washington State Historical Society, 1943.42.51989, Asahel Curtis photographer, circa 1927 Those are egg sacks from this ragfish lying in a puddle on the dock. Not the prettiest catch you'll find, nor a delicacy to behold. The ragfish body is scale-less and limp and has a skeletal structure made up mostly of cartilage, giving it "flabby" muscles. Catching... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Black Diamond NOW
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What a great time of year it is right now. Leaves are turning brilliant shades of red, orange and yellow and falling from trees in bunches. There was a time growing up when I didn't appreciate all those leaves. It took time to rake them up into piles and haul them away to compost. Today, I have a much better appreciation for nature's magic and look forward to time in the mountains to experience the change of seasons. This weekend, I observed and learned something new - one of the better places to see brilliant colors in the forest now... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Black Diamond NOW
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On Tuesday, I headed out to Kanaskat-Palmer State Park hoping to see some fall colors along the shores of the Green River. What did I find - Chinook salmon spawning close to shore and some fall colors too. What a treat this was! These are the big guys that we seldom see spawning around these parts. I'm not sure which of these are the female and which the male, but they sure make a pair working their way up and down the spawning grounds and within about 20 feet from where I stood. More often than not, there were three... Continue reading
Posted Oct 8, 2019 at Black Diamond NOW
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King County recently posted updated water quality test results for Lake Sawyer taken through August 2019. Once again, one cautionary note - we need to focus on trends. As the historical data shows, sample results can bounce around from sample event to sample event but it takes a period of years for significant issues, either good or bad, to emerge. Lake water temperatures are a good case in point. We have test data that goes all the way back to 1993 and trends here couldn't be more clear. Unfortunately, lake water temperature is a variable over which we have least... Continue reading
Posted Oct 6, 2019 at Black Diamond NOW
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What do the towns of Orting, Covington, Lester and Buckley have in common? These towns all received their names via the Northern Pacific Railroad. Towns that sprang up along the railroad's path needed a name before a post office could be established. Because these towns were new, postal officials apparently looked for someone "in authority" that could speak for the town. Who better than a big wig from the railroad to provide/sanction the official town name. Covington, for example, is thought to have been named for the surveyor who established the route from Auburn to Kanaskat, generally known as the... Continue reading
Posted Oct 2, 2019 at Black Diamond NOW
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What would we do without trucks? Today, trucks move approximately 70% of all goods transported in the U.S. and 71% of the tonnage. Over 10.8 billion tons of freight were moved by truck in 2017 in an industry employing over 7.4 million people - 5.8% of all full time workers in the country. Now, go back to 1900 and before internal combustion engines were generally available. How were goods delivered? Railroads and shipping accounted for a bigger share, no doubt, but the economy still largely relied on horse drawn wagons. That is, unless you had a "steam wagon". Image courtesy... Continue reading
Posted Sep 30, 2019 at Black Diamond NOW
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What local area business can you think of that has now been operating here for over 100 years, doing the same thing today that they did when they first began (albeit on a smaller scale). They are known for being rock solid in their deliveries with a touch of artisan artistic beauty. If you guessed Walker Cut Stone Company in Wilkeson, you win the prize. Deposits of carved sandstone dating back to the ice age grace the shores of both the Green River and Carbon River basins, creating some of the deepest and most beautiful river gorges around and where... Continue reading
Posted Sep 24, 2019 at Black Diamond NOW
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Although bulk materials produced in the northwest during the late 1800's and early 1900's such as coal and lumber, relied principally on rail for transporting products to market, other region exports, such as fish and agricultural goods, required significantly more handling. And then there were all those imports to the region that people and local businesses relied on in daily life that came in through our ports. How did all this work? In short - wagons and horses and manpower. These early photos from the Port of Seattle tell a story. The image that follows shows the Northern Pacific freight... Continue reading
Posted Sep 23, 2019 at Black Diamond NOW
For wildlife, I use a Canon 7D DLSR with 300mm lens.
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How expensive will it be for Pacific Coast Coal Company (PCCC) to complete restoration of the John Henry coal mine? How about $6,381,806. Based on Reclamation Bond records from 2018, that's what it will cost PCCC and that is the amount of the collateral bond backed by an Irrevocable Letter of Credit that they must maintain to ensure that mine reclamation be completed. Completed by when is a whole another matter. It's one thing to arrange with a bank for a letter of credit, likely backed by a lien on real estate holdings of PCCC, but actual restoration requires cash... Continue reading
Posted Sep 19, 2019 at Black Diamond NOW
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Which engines used for transportation pack the most punch - steam power, internal combustion or electric power? I always thought that steam engines had the most muscle but apparently not so, particularly when weight is considered. Electric powered engines on a pound per pound basis win the prize hands down. Following is a photo dating back to 1920 showing an electric powered locomotive on your left pitted against a Mallet steam engine on the right. Guess who won. Image courtesy White River Valley Museum, PO-00538, Asahel Curtis photographer, circa 1920 The electric powered locomotive won the pushing contest hands down.... Continue reading
Posted Sep 19, 2019 at Black Diamond NOW
No, Lawson Hill Estates is not physically impacted by reclamation of the John Henry surface mine. Lawson Hill is the site of an old subsurface coal mine and site of one of the largest explosions/loss of life in our local history.
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One reason that plans by Pacific Coast Coal Company (PCCC) to reopen mining at the John Henry No. 1 Mine has generated such a high level of local community angst and opposition is its location. It's not like surface mining of coal in the hinterlands of Wyoming. Here, you have residential development located literally right next door to the mine. This dramatically compounds the adverse impacts of noise and traffic that come with mining. And safety too. As previously reported, the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) is now conducting mine inspections on a monthly basis. Among the... Continue reading
Posted Sep 16, 2019 at Black Diamond NOW
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In 1906, Washington State had 1,253 automobiles registered here. By 1910, the number had grown to 9,311 and by 1915, there were over 46,000 vehicles licensed in the state. But there was a problem or two or three. Roads were terrible, cars and trucks of the time were less than reliable and drivers were not particularly skilled. The result was plenty of accidents and vehicle breakdowns. Alas, time to bring in a team of horses. According to Wikipedia, an enterprising fellow in Tennessee saw the light ($$$$) and began making the first motorized tow trucks in 1916. I'm not sure... Continue reading
Posted Sep 13, 2019 at Black Diamond NOW
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What does a baby Great Horned Owl look like when it first ventures out of the nest? It looks like it had a rough night! Taken from a very long distance but managed to get focused on this one's eyes. These two youngsters were moving about very carefully in the crotch of a tree at the Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually Wildlife Refuge. Both had what looked like a feather "crust" still clinging to them around their head area. Lots of growing up yet to do for these two. Fierce predators. Because most owls are nocturnal and silent hunters of the... Continue reading
Posted Sep 11, 2019 at Black Diamond NOW
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Tired of herding ornery oxen across bumpy skid roads to drag logs to a sawmill, but not enough money in your pocket to build a logging railroad? Such was the challenge faced by early settlers in the Green and White River valleys and on up into the Covington/Maple Valley area. Some of the timber was just too big and had to be left standing or dynamited and burned to clear land for farming. Faced with these and other apparently insurmountable problems, our forebears always seemed to find an answer. Here's a local logging railroad on the cheap. Image courtesy White... Continue reading
Posted Sep 10, 2019 at Black Diamond NOW
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On April 18, 2018, the Pacific Coast Coal Company (PCCC), based in Seattle, received approval from the Department of Interior, Office of Surface Mining (OSMRE), to proceed ahead with surface mining at the John Henry No. 1 mine site located just north of town. The Washington State Department of Ecology then issued an administrative extension to PCCC's existing NPDES permit, clearing the way for mine reopening. So what's happened over the last 16 months? NO MINING - After providing notification to all the adjacent residences and property owners of intent to proceed with mining and blasting and with promises that... Continue reading
Posted Sep 7, 2019 at Black Diamond NOW
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As first generation logging trucks began to replace horse drawn carts, it took a while for load limit restrictions to catch on. After all, horse drawn carts didn't have any safety restrictions or load limits. Who needed them? According to ruraltech.org, the first known use of a truck in logging operations in Washington took place in 1913 in Covington - just down the road from us. On Kent-Kangley maybe? However, I would take this claim with a grain of salt since other sources point to logging truck use by 1909 or earlier. In 1915, the Gerlinger Motor Car Company of... Continue reading
Posted Sep 6, 2019 at Black Diamond NOW
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One of the most versatile pieces of equipment ever "invented" here in the northwest are Donkey Engines. They burned wood, which was in abundant supply, and produced an amazing amount of brute force steam power needed in the logging business. Their power could drag the largest logs over hill and dale, lift them high in the air to the top of the tallest spar poles like they were little more than toothpicks and sort, load and unload the longest of log trains. But I had never thought of donkey engines as floating. Following is a photo taken in the early... Continue reading
Posted Sep 5, 2019 at Black Diamond NOW
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The first sawmill in the Covington area was the Suise Creek Lumber Company organized in 1899. The mill was built by Alexander Turnbull, a Scottish immigrant, who first lived and worked in Black Diamond where he was listed as a machinist - certainly the right skills for building a sawmill. Though the mill had access to water from Soos Creek for creating a mill pond, it did not, at least initially, have access to rail. Located right where Soos Creek crosses Kent Kangley road, the mill did have access to the road for transporting cut lumber down into the Kent... Continue reading
Posted Sep 4, 2019 at Black Diamond NOW
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Current Northwest Wildlife favorites include: Tommy Talon Bully Boy Gone Fishing Kokanee for Dinner Bomber Talons Out Sweetie Here He Comes Shorty On Patrol Price List: Greeting Cards $4 each, 3 for $10 8 x 12 Matted Prints $25 13 x 19 Print $25 Call or email for quotes on other sizes, canvas prints and metal prints craig.goodwin99@gmail.com Continue reading
Posted Aug 29, 2019 at Black Diamond NOW
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Current Northwest Scenes favorites include: Plummer Peak Tarn Reflections Milky Way over Sunrise and Mount Rainier Full Moon Rising Tipsoo Sunset Tipsoo Moring Reflections A Star is Born at Shi Shi Sunset at Bench Lake Tipsoo Sunset as Winter Arrives Moonlit Night Snowmelt Reflections Price List: Greeting Cards $4 each, 3 for $10 8 x 12 Matted Prints $25 13 x 19 Print $25 Call or email for quotes on other sizes, canvas prints and metal prints craig.goodwin99@gmail.com Continue reading
Posted Aug 29, 2019 at Black Diamond NOW
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Current Black Diamond Scenes favorites include: Lake Sawyer Sunrise Lake Sawyer Mountain Reflections Winter Wonderland Time to Get Up Time for Bed Evening Calm Morning Magic Price List: Greeting Cards $4 each, 3 for $10 8 x 12 Matted Prints $25 13 x 19 Print $25 Call or email for quotes on other sizes, canvas prints and metal prints craig.goodwin99@gmail.com Continue reading
Posted Aug 29, 2019 at Black Diamond NOW