Wednesday, December 2, 2020
Dec. 2, 2020

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In Our View: Cheers & Jeers: Progress clears path for public use of local lands

The Columbian
Published:

Cheers: To the cleanup of Camp Bonneville. The former military site in east Clark County is close to being ready for recreational use — nearly two decades after the start of cleanup efforts. The 3,840-acre property is expected to be turned into a regional park, adding to the area’s bounty of outdoor opportunities.

It has been a laborious endeavor to convert the area for public use. Troops trained there from 1909 to 1995, leaving behind explosives and hazardous waste when the military turned the property over to Clark County and agreed to pay for cleanup. “Originally, the Army thought we would be done with this cleanup in one to two years,” one official said. “That was 18 years ago.” About 950 acres of timberland have been thinned, netting $2.5 million in revenue. The project appears nearly ready to provide a win-win for the county and its residents.

Jeers: To a coronavirus uptick. Washington this week passed the 100,000 mark in COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began in March, and Clark County continues to show a gradual increase in the rate of infections. More than 2,200 deaths in the state have been connected to the virus.

Washington continues to have infection and death rates that are lower than most states, but the persistent virus is preventing schools and businesses from fully reopening. We again encourage residents to wear masks when in public and to frequently wash their hands. As Gov. Jay Inslee said, “Every choice you make right now matters.”

Cheers: To Dollie and Ed’s Park. The Vancouver City Council has agreed to a name for a future park in Northwest Vancouver. Dollie and Ed Lynch, longtime philanthropists in the area, had donated a 9.5-acre plot of land for the park, which officials planned to name Lynch Neighborhood Park. Some community members objected because of the connotation of “Lynch” and its connection to racial violence and intimidation in American history.

While that connotation had nothing to do with Dollie and Ed Lynch, the complaints were understandable. In addition to honoring the late couple by naming the park for them, city officials should include a plaque describing their remarkable generosity. While the park will not have Lynch in its name, Dollie and Ed’s impact on the region should never be forgotten.

Jeers: To “murder hornets.” Actually, they’re just hornets, Asian hornets to be exact. But they are scary, and they get their name from an ability to wipe out entire colonies of honeybees. Officials recently discovered the first Washington nest of the hornets, who arrived in the region sometime in the past year.

The nest is scheduled to be destroyed today, which probably is worthy of a cheer. But the threat of the 2-inch-long hornets certainly deserves a jeer. Honeybees are essential to Washington’s fruit industry because they pollinate crops such as raspberries and blueberries; the arrival of the hornets is an existential threat to that industry.

Cheers: To Fort Vancouver. The reconstructed fort, one of Vancouver’s signature attractions, has reopened for the first time during the coronavirus era. The park — open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday — will be limited to 25 percent capacity, and cloth masks and social distancing are required. Nearby Pearson Air Museum also has reopened.

The fort and the museum tell essential parts of Vancouver’s history and are must-see attractions for local residents entertaining out-of-town guests.

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