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Kayakers on the Lower Duwamish Superfund Site

Kayakers on the Lower Duwamish Superfund Site
Kayaker on the Duwamish Waterway

Kayaker on the Duwamish Waterway

As a Puget Sound, greater Seattle area resident, I pass by and work near several stretches of the lower Duwamish River. It is the primary river that empties into Elliot Bay, on which Seattle stands. It meanders northward into Seattle, separating its western portion from the main city.

Historically and prehistorically, it played important roles in the numerous cultures that inhabited the landscape. It provided food, other sustenance and mobility to residents and visitors. As technology advanced, larger ships entered the area, dumping ballast and various nefarious substances into its waters. Commercial and political powers channelized and partially filled the river during the turn of the twentieth century. As part of that process, they constructed an island (Harbor Island) at its mouth. The stream transformed from a pristine, sustenance provider and enormous estuary to a major industrial area. This huge industrial complex provides employment, and manufacture and transfer of goods throughout the world.

The industrial area also transformed a 5.5 mile stretch of the Lower Duwamish River into a toxin-rich area: The Lower Duwamish Waterway Superfund Site.

Along with the industrial areas, two neighborhoods flank the site: Georgetown and South Park. Seattle-area residents can’t resist water however. Every time work or personal interests bring me to South Park (the neighborhood has some incredible Italian and Mexican restaurants, and, I hear, others), I see kayakers on the river, right next to smoke stacks billowing black smoke. You have to find your serenity where you can, I guess.

A later post (July 9, 2011) discusses the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition, including its kayaking tours. It includes links to various recreational, environmental, and educational information involving the waterway:

Duwamish Waterway Posts

South Park Bridge Graffiti

Other Seattle Area Superfund Site Posts

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Kayakers on the Lower Duwamish Superfund Site by Shari Maria Silverman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

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