Kilmer, Heck call for consideration of bill to create first national heritage site on the West Coast

Representatives Derek Kilmer (WA-06) and Denny Heck (WA-10) called for the leaders of the House Committee on Natural Resources to consider their legislation to create a Maritime Heritage Area in Washington state. The members noted in the letter to Chairman Doc Hastings and Ranking Member Peter DeFazio the Maritime Heritage Act (H.R. 5038) was referred to the committee and should be moved forward.

“We are writing to request a hearing on H.R. 5038, the Maritime Heritage Area Act, which would establish a Maritime Heritage Area in Washington State,” the members wrote in the letter sent Tuesday. “This proposal is based on broad support from the state and local communities, and would mark the first national heritage site on the West Coast and the only one in the country focused on maritime history.”

The Maritime Heritage Act would cover most of Western Washington’s saltwater shoreline and help promote maritime-related tourism, economic development and maritime history as told through Washington state’s museums, historic ships, fishing culture and other activities.


See the map of the area here.


This would be the first National Heritage Area established in the Pacific Northwest. Congress has designated 49 National Heritage Areas nationwide to promote local economic growth and tourism, and preserve sites and landmarks with cultural and historical significance.


Heritage Area designations are eligible for federal grants, and can help draw contributions from state, local and private sources. Heritage Area designations also help coordinate marketing and tourism promotion, such as developing websites, putting up highway signs to advertise sites, sponsoring festivals, and publishing brochures and tour maps. Heritage Areas also can help with assisting in the operation of museums and visitor centers.


A recent economic impact study indicates National Heritage Areas contribute $12.9 billion annually to the national economy and support 148,000 jobs, according to the Park Service.


The legislation would create a heritage area that consists of lighthouses, historic vessels, parks, and other landmarks located within one-quarter mile of the shoreline in 13 counties, including Whatcom, Skagit, Snohomish, San Juan, Island, King, Pierce, Thurston, Mason, Kitsap, Jefferson, Clallam, and Grays Harbor counties. It also would include 19 Native American tribes, 32 cities and 30 port districts.


Local stakeholders pushed for the designation to attract visitors from around the country to learn more about the state’s maritime legacy.


National Heritage Areas are partnerships between the National Park Service, states, and local communities through which the Park Service supports local and state efforts to preserve natural resources and promote tourism. They are operated by local boards that are established by legislation. National Heritage areas are not part of the National Park System, which are lands that are federally-owned and managed. No federal regulations are imposed, and no private land is affected or acquired.


Kilmer and Heck introduced their bill in July and U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Patty Murray (D-WA) introduced companion legislation in the Senate.  Kilmer and Heck co-founded the Congressional Puget Sound Caucus last year to reflect their commitment to preserving the Puget Sound. The caucus is the only Congressional working group devoted exclusively to promoting Puget Sound cleanup efforts, and builds on the legacy left by former Congressman Norm Dicks, a longtime advocate for the health of the Puget Sound.


The full text of the letter follows.


Dear Chairman Hastings and Ranking Member DeFazio:

We are writing to request a hearing on H.R. 5038, the Maritime Heritage Area Act, which would establish a Maritime Heritage Area in Washington State. This proposal is based on broad support from the state and local communities, and would mark the first national heritage site on the West Coast and the only one in the country focused on maritime history.

The Puget Sound region is home to a remarkable maritime legacy dating back thousands of years to the canoe culture that long defined the tribal communities that lived on Washington state’s coast. Since the time of the first inhabitants of these lands, the region’s well-being has always been closely linked to the maritime economy.

The Maritime Heritage Area would consist of lighthouses, vessels, and other landmarks located within one-quarter mile of the shoreline in Whatcom, Skagit, Snohomish, San Juan, Island, King, Pierce, Thurston, Mason, Kitsap, Jefferson, Clallam, and Grays Harbor counties. Designating this area as a National Heritage Area would support ongoing efforts to recognize, preserve, and support education, recreation, and economic use of the region.

In April 2010, the Washington Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation completed and published the Feasibility Study for a Washington State National Maritime Heritage Area. The National Park Service reviewed the study and in June 2012, found that the proposal meets the interim National Heritage Area Feasibility Study Guidelines criteria.

The legislation has been solely referred to the House Natural Resources Committee. We respectfully request this legislation be the subject of a hearing.


Derek Kilmer                                                               Denny Heck
Member of Congress                                                  Member of Congress

Tsunami sirens to be tested as part of Great Washington ShakeOut

Tsunami Evacuation Route

The Pacific County All Hazard Alert Broadcast (AHAB) outdoor sirens will be tested as part of the Great Washington ShakeOut on Thursday, October 16, 2014, at 10:16 a.m. with the actual tsunami siren tone (a three minute wail). The siren tone will be preceded and followed by a verbal message. The AHAB sirens in Pacific County and the other outer Washington coastal counties are being activated to conduct a true “end-to-end” test of the entire tsunami warning system. The sirens recently installed in South Bend and Raymond will be included in this test.
This test will help familiarize residents with the sound made by the AHAB sirens during an actual tsunami warning. It will differ from the routine monthly testing that occurs on the first Monday of each month since it will broadcast an audible siren wail tone for the full three minute warning instead of a chime tone. In addition, the voice message will differ from the monthly test.
NOAA weather radios set to receive the required monthly test will also activate during this test.

Pacific County employees will also be participating in this important event, as a result the public may experience disruptions to normal customer service during the exercise.
Pacific County residents are encouraged to participate in the Great Washington ShakeOut by registering at and by conducting a personal drill such as Drop, Cover, and Hold or an evacuation walk.

Black Press buys Hawaii and Washington newspapers

The owner of Hawaii’s largest newspaper bought two daily publications on Hawaii’s Big Island and several newspapers in Washington state including the Daily World in Aberdeen this month.

Oahu Publications, which owns the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, said Wednesday it is buying West Hawaii Today and the Hawaii Tribune-Herald from Las Vegas-based Stephens Media.

The Garden Island newspaper on Kauai also is owned by Oahu Publications, which is a subsidiary of Black Press.

The purchase of The Daily World of Aberdeen, Washington, and three weeklies by another Black Press subsidiary closed Wednesday. The Hawaii sale closes Dec. 1.

The chain now owns nearly all the English-language daily newspapers in Hawaii, except for the Maui News. Rick O’Connor, CEO of Black Press, said he’s not involved in any discussions to buy that newspaper.

“I never rule anything out, but right now we’re focusing on taking the two daily newspapers and integrating them with our business,” O’Connor said in an interview.

Black Press plans to continue printing both Hawaii newspapers on the Big Island. There are no planned staffing changes in Hawaii right now, he said.

“It would be really premature to talk about anything like that, because we just announced the transaction, and we have two months to close,” O’Connor said.

The newspapers owned by Black Press have a collective daily circulation of about 300,000 after the sale, O’Connor said.

In Washington, Black Press is considering returning the Aberdeen newspaper to publication five days a week, instead of its current three-day publication schedule, O’Connor said.

“I don’t think cutting back editions of the paper is a way to bring back customers,” O’Connor said. “We found that in Kauai where we went from six days to seven days. Customers were really excited about that.”

Black Press now owns about 45 newspapers in Western Washington, O’Connor said.

Stephens Media and Black Press had co-owned the website, but Stephens sold its interest in the website as part of the deal. Financial terms were not disclosed.

“While we have appreciated the opportunity to serve these wonderful markets for a number of years, we concluded that they were no longer a strategic fit for Stephens Media,” said Ed Moss, Stephens Media CEO, in a statement.

O’Connor says Hawaii and Washington have been growth areas for the company. Both Hawaii papers will continue as dailies, he said.

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