Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Tapping for Treasures

Tap Tap Tapper, acrylic 6"x6"  robin peterson

"What feasts await your woodpecker in the thick bark ridges of Kopachuck's old growth firs. I can almost hear his noisy banging and see the chips fly from his aggressive pecking."    Pat Lantz

Our goal for the exhibit at the Harbor History Museum is to present a fitting testament to the trees.  A committee will be in charge of selecting and hanging the best, most representative and diverse art works for the venue at hand.  We have experienced people to fill these roles and we are confidant that we will mount a beautiful show.  That said, we are also aware that some contributions may not be easily displayed and we are exploring ideas about how to let everyone have their say.  One idea is to assemble a catalog of creative works which would make a nice record of all our efforts.

As a start, I am soliciting digital images of works to share on this blog site.  The contributing artist will be credited if/when the image is used.  If you would like to be included in the blog, please email your image (jpg, no larger than 1 MB) to   and the following information; your name, title of the work(s) and this message; (copy and paste it into the email, then fill in your name)   I, (artist name)  grant Robin Peterson permission to post my work on the blog site. 
Images used on the blog are small (72 dpi) so there is little issue with plagiarism.  

Let us know if you are interested in a catalog, would you contribute?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

"Discover" Kopachuck Park

Closed for camping, Open for day use

I know everyone is anxious for show info. and the entry form.... we're working on it!  The Harbor History Museum is a busy place and as soon as we confirm dates and details we will post the entry form so keep checking in.  The easiest way to stay in touch is to become a "follower" and get new posts delivered right to your email. (see sidebar)  What I can tell you is that you have less than one month, so get out to the park soon.

Another item of interest to Kopachuck tree huggers is that while the park is open for day use, it now requires a user fee.  State parks no longer receive any state funding and in order to stay open we are going to have to pony up.  They are now selling a Discover Pass which gives you access to state parks, DNR and WDFW sites throughout the state.  It is $30 for the year or $10 per single visit (+dealer fees).  You can pick up a pass at the Gig Harbor Ace Hardware and at Big 5, near Costco, check the official site for more info. and locations,

Petra & Hannah give a shout out for Kopachuck Park!

"My name is Petra Lillie Lindner. I am 7 years old.
 And this is my painting '  Lovely  trees '.  My sister Hannah and I love the park, and the big old trees.
We hope there will always be beautiful trees, to enjoy, in the Kopachuck Park."

Monday, August 29, 2011

From the ground, up

Here is Margo Macdonald, co-organizer of the "Intertwined" show, taking in the trees and logging in some time with her sketchbook.   She's got a studio painting in the works now.  Let us see what inspires you about Kopachuck Park..... contributions to the blog may be emailed to   Images no larger than 1MB please.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Step to your right (brain) please

Lets get politics out of the way so we can all switch over to the right side of our brains.....

The decision concerning the trees in Kopachuck Park has been made by folks who have NOT taken their responsibility lightly...  They have educated themselves, consulted with experts in the field and made an agonizing decision with the best interests of the public and the park in mind.  This arts effort has nothing to do with that decision, nor is it in ANY way critical of it.  Our goal is to appreciate what we have while we have it and make the best of a difficult situation.  

If you would like additional information about the disease caused by Phellinus weirii a good reference is; "Laminated Root Rot in Western North America" by Walter G. Thies and Rona N. Sturrock, a USDA Forest Service Publication.  For more details about the Park Commission’s decision it's always best to consult the source rather than to spread un-verified information, please contact Peter Herzog, Stewardship Manager, WA State Parks and Recreation, 360-902-8652.   In case you're wondering, any money made from the sale of timber harvested from Kopachuck Park will go directly into park stewardship funding, with much of it already earmarked for replanting efforts at Kopachuck.

Towering Trees

A gentle fog shrouds the treetops in this photograph by Bryan Peterson, taken at Kopachuck Park on August 25th 2011.

Laminated root rot is not a new or unusual disease, it is a relatively common affliction of Douglas fir and Western hemlock trees in our area. It is just one path of natural progression in an aging grove, but it is particularly devastating at Kopachuck Park due to the number of trees involved, the severity of their infection and the location.  Standing dead trees are a natural and integral part of an old growth ecosystem (ask the pileated woodpeckers).  Without being judgmental, the truth is that we as a society have little tolerance for the inherent risk they present and small stands in urban areas must be managed.  The fungus may persist in roots for 50 years or more and spreads via root connections, so one management plan is to plant more resistant species, which is what they plan to do here.  With careful tree removal, minimal damage to the understory and replanting, in a few years newcomers won't understand our angst.  Which is good, but also why it's important to remind them that there are possibilities beyond the limits of what they see when a forest is allowed to grow to maturity.  Maybe to agree that remaining old growth forests are a legacy worth saving?  We are the final witnesses to this relatively mature forest and we're doing this because we believe that our observations are worth documenting and sharing.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Whose Trees?

Felled by the filamentous,
light as fluff, taking giants to their knees.

Whose trees are these?

Is it owl who's feather drifted down this long elevator of bark,
squirrel, chasing chipmunk from a cache of cones?
Is it woodpecker, tap, tap, tapping softened flesh,
or raven, croak, croak, croaking from the swaying tip tops?
Is it deer, not bothered by giant bodies, prone on her path?
or is it the child who never knew that trees once grew…. into giants?

Tell me, whose trees are these? 
                                                        robin peterson

(you don't need to be good.... just inspired to post here :)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Response from painter Chris Bronstad

"As I was painting, I was treated to the beautiful shifting light and the shrill calls of piliated woodpeckers in the upper story; amazing. I got a close look at where this fir had snapped and saw what I believe to be an example of this root rot.  I got a nice two sittings on the painting and enough info (pics and memory) to finish it. I took lots of other photos, but plan to go back again to paint other subjects.  The immanent loss is difficult to imagine, but bringing like-minded people together to try and capture in may forms the essence of these trees and this forest is amazing and worth while."

An idea takes form...

Clearly there is a connection between the human soul and (especially) the centenarian trees that share our world.  Thank you for helping us explore that intertwining as we prepare a requiem for the trees and dedicate it to the future... ours and the generations to follow.  

This project started with Pat Lantz, Washington State Parks Commissioner, in response to the decision to cut trees afflicted with laminated root rot that pose a danger to life and property.  Unfortunately, the disease is pervasive, with no remedy, so many of the oldest fir and hemlock are slated for removal before the trees fall on their own. Outreach to the arts community is one way to respond positively to the heartbreak created by such a loss.  So here we are, a disparate gathering of tree huggers, looking for catharsis and bearing witness to the magnificence of trees.  

On August 24th uncounted artists gathered at the park to draw, paint, photograph and talk about the project.  Besides the catharsis of the creative process, there is also an opportunity to share our work with the community.  Harbor History Museum has graciously offered to accommodate us in a lobby show with an evening reception on September 30, 2011.  

Robin Peterson & Margo Macdonald are spearheading the organization of this quickly developing project.  We hope that, besides visual artists, poets and writers, schoolchildren and park lovers will respond to our call.  The goal is to bear witness to what is here now, but will soon be only a memory.  We want the children to know that we did our best to protect their legacy, even when hard choices had to be made.  We want their children to know what a centuries old tree looks like, feels like, smells like... how it resonated so strongly with our souls.  Dramatic?  maybe, but it's their trees and although the Kopachuck Park will be replanted so that a healthy forest will once again grow there,  we know that those towering giants will never return.

 If you'd like to be involved or want more information, follow along on this blog or contact us at   The project is evolving as we speak and the timeline is short, so let us know how you want to contribute.  There are many ways to help, whether you produce a tangible art project or not, this is truly a grass roots event without official sponsorship.  

Cathartically,  Robin, Pat and Margo