The Puyallup Historical Hatchery Foundation is here to stay. They recently had their kick off celebration on Thursday, August 9, 2012 which included: membership enrollment, committee creations, and a raffle drawing. Patty Carter, treasurer for the Puyallup Historical Hatchery Foundation, explained the story on how the hatchery is here to stay, “On May 18, 2012 we found out at the Commissioner’s Meeting in Olympia that our hatchery was going to be owned by Pacific Seafood’s Company effective June 1, 2012. Pacific Seafood’s would have a long-term lease, approximately 50 years, which in another words is a lifetime. They are a commercial entity and they are in business for profit. It would’ve changed the entire hatchery to becoming a commercial processing place. They probably would’ve fenced off the hatchery and there would be no more opportunities for kids to feed the fish. There would be an increase production by 5 times (this is what we heard) but not from commissioner. Think about it, they would be in it for the money; there would be no more education programs for schools. Schools use the hatchery a lot. I had no idea how much they use it. There would be no more hiking in there; there’s a lot of acreage; 20 acres to hike through basically community use would’ve been stopped.
We created a Facebook page and made flyers that night and sent them out to the Farmer’s Market, sent out emails, especially with legislative people’s names. It took wings of its own. We heard from Phil Anderson, director of Fish and Wildlife at the state level of this news.
On May 30, Pacific Seafood’s backed out because of the pressure that was coming from everyone. It was enormous! People I didn’t even know including sporting groups took over; it wasn’t just local I can’t even begin to tell you the representatives involved. Representative Hans Zeiger, Joyce Mc Donald, our Mayor , and entire City Council wrote compelling letters to the Commissioner’s to not have this happen.”
According to Patty, the Puyallup Historical Hatchery Foundation became a non-profit corporation on July 27, 2012. Their mission is to retain and improve the historic Puyallup Hatchery and promote watershed stewardship through education.
Patty discussed their current and upcoming projects: “We started gaining membership and getting donations the other night at our kick off celebration. We are getting the educational committee together right now and that’s very exciting. They will come up with the ideas, plans, and suggestions for what they see will coincide with our mission, which is good watershed stewardship. Tanya Irwin, spokesman at Washington State University (WSU), was even thinking about doing a research lab onsite. WSU is very happy to help. One or more of them will be part of the educational team as well as the Pierce County Watershed personnel which will also be on board with the educational committee. Teachers are so excited and bringing kids to the hatchery this year. Things are moving very fast I’ll tell you that.”
Patty shared what she thought about the whole situation with the Puyallup Fish Hatchery: “It was built in 1948 and has given to us millions of trout… to the whole community (King County, Pierce County, the Fairgrounds, Derby, and the fishermen.) It’s produced and produced, and now we can give back to the hatchery (the building, the grounds, the opportunity to create even more educational opportunities for kids and others to come and enjoy it). Issaquah’s Fish Hatchery did this 16 years ago. They work side by side with Fish and Wildlife and we intend to do that too.”
When asked what the best thing about the Puyallup Fish Hatchery was, Patty replied, “Its employees; the three people that work there. Wayne, one of the employees has been there 20 years. Our other two employees are: Doreen and Jason. They stop what they are doing for any parent or kid that wants to feed the fish, see the operation, and educate them. In my opinion, that’s dedication to your job. It’s a lot more than raising fish, it’s about the people.”
Patty discussed how the Puyallup Fish Hatchery was unique: “There’s nothing like it. There is no hatchery like this. And it is right downtown Puyallup, a walk from the Fair. Puyallup has so many things to be proud of; it’s such a unique town with Meeker Mansion, the Fairgrounds, and this hatchery that’s been kinda unnoticed. Now it’s gonna become new again. We’ll make it new again and enrich what’s already there with education mostly.”
Patty revealed an interesting fact about the hatchery: “We had a couple people that worked on the historic side and got with the Washington State Historian and the Puyallup Fish Hatchery will be listed on the Washington Historical registry in October. It will be the second hatchery in the state listed on this registry. Even the historians are very excited about this.”
Patty commented: “This is a living thing [the Puyallup Fish Hatchery] it’s like your family member down here and you’ve never visited them and here he is. I had no idea on May 9, 2012 when I visited the hatchery for the first time that I would be touched the way I was. I saw how productive they were and when I looked at the building, I thought that I could do something. Who would’ve known I would’ve started a non-profit? I graduated from Puyallup High School and moved to Puyallup when I was in 9th grade and never went to the hatchery before that. I was there because of Clark’s Creek issues. It just grabbed my heart and I thought man I can do something.”
When asked who she recommended visit the Puyallup Fish Hatchery, Patty replied, “Anybody can be there. It’s open to the public every day for tour or to feed the fish. There is a sign outside for their hours but, they are open seven days a week.”
For more information, please visit the Puyallup Historical Hatchery Foundation’s website: http://www.facebook.com/SOPFH. The “SOPFH” stands for “Save our Puyallup Fish Hatchery.” “We appreciate everybody that wants to get involved to contact us. We will need lots of volunteers and ideas. It belongs to the people of the state of Washington. Come and enjoy it; and help us make it better,” Patty concluded.
By: Carly Calabrese, staff for Tacoma.com