Journal of the San Juan Islands


Of feeding eagles & ruffled feathers | Letters

August 1, 2014 · 9:33 AM

Is it just me, or is anyone else wondering why eagle feeding, at the corner of Westcott and Roche Harbor Road, on Roche Harbor land, which has been going on for years, suddenly is a concern?

Personally, I don’t see much difference between a guy feeding eagles and people with wild bird feeders in their backyard. The issue here, is one of public safety.

Eagle feeding has become a tourist activity that attracts upwards of 20 people a day. They are out standing on a highway, with a 45 mph speed limit, pointing cameras toward the sky, oblivious to traffic, and an accident will happen. It’s just a matter of time.

Complicating this issue is that there is a curve to the south, and a blind hill to the north, on Roche Harbor Road, which makes seeing pedestrians scurrying across the road difficult.

Radical solutions might be posting signs that say, “Slow to 25 when eagles or tourists are present,” or painting a crosswalk at Westcott and putting “STOP” signs on RHR; however, the logical solutions would just be to find the guy another place to feed the birds, where people can view safely, or have him vary the feeding times so it ceases to be a predictable event.

Mike Buettell/Friday Harbor

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