Traffic, fish return to Glendale

This silver salmon was moving up Glendale Creek Monday on its way to spawn. - Matt Johnson
This silver salmon was moving up Glendale Creek Monday on its way to spawn.
— image credit: Matt Johnson

Glendale residents had to take the good with the bad last week.

Last Wednesday, silver and chum salmon began swimming up Glendale Creek, starting a spawning trek they can make on their own for the first time in decades. Two days later, the barricades on the long-closed Glendale Road came down and traffic started rolling through the waterside hamlet for the first time in almost five years.

Both occasions were the payoff on more than $1 million in state and federal money used to restore the salmon creek and rebuild Glendale Road after landslides devastated both in January 1997. But for the people of Glendale, who generally opposed reopening the road, the fish were the best part of an eventful week in the quiet community.

Glendale’s unofficial fish watcher, Thor Mohn, said the fish started to find their way up the creek on Wednesday. He and other local fishermen had been concerned the fish would not swim into the creek this year due to a log jam at its head. But after someone dug a trench around the jam, more than a half-dozen fish rushed into the stream.

Mohn said the crowd of chums and silvers is sparse compared to the 200-plus he and other fish lovers helped move upstream two years ago, when a steep culvert blocked their way. This year, he said, the fish are swimming and jumping easily up a re-engineered creek bed.

Fisherman Dave Anderson is also watching. He planted fish in ponds on his land on French Road, which is at the head of Glendale Creek. Obstacles to the fish include a big jump in one of the upper reaches of the stream bed and a metal culvert running under Glendale Road near its intersection with Holst Road.

“I’m real curious to see how far they make it,” he said.

Mohn and others were less pleased with the quiet opening of Glendale Road Wednesday. Repaired during the past two months, the road is one of only two ways out of Glendale.

Although scores of South Whidbey and Glendale residents petitioned and spoke out against reopening the road during the past three years, Island County Commissioner Mike Shelton maintained it must be open to traffic in case of a slide on Humphrey Road, which is the only other way into Glendale. Humphrey has collapsed a number of times in recent years and was last repaired only months prior to the slide on Glendale Road.

A lawsuit filed by the Friends of Glendale group opposing the opening of the road also came to a conclusion as the road opened. Group spokesman Don Miller said the group dropped the suit because members discovered it would be extremely expensive and probably would not force Island County to close the road.

Used as a route to the Clinton ferry dock by some, the traverse down Glendale Road is now restricted to 35 mph.

Fish fans should note the salmon spawning season in the Glendale Creek should last through mid-January

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