OLYMPIA, WA – The diesel-fueled incinerators that burned trash at Blake Island State Park and Tillicum Village for half a century are cool and silent – for good.
An agreement reached on Earth Day and signed recently commits Washington State Parks and Tillicum Village concessionaire partner Argosy Cruises to pursuing greener waste disposal options, keeping Puget Sound air cleaner and improving the unique park’s sustainability for the future.
Blake Island is a 475-acre marine and camping park located eight miles southwest of the Seattle waterfront. Blake Island became a state park in 1959. In March 2009, Argosy Cruises took over the popular Native American-themed restaurant, live theater and shopping destination at Tillicum Village from founders the Hewitt family, who first opened the concession in 1962. Argosy Cruises offers boat tours that culminate in the dinner and live theater on the island, which is accessible only by boat.
Several years ago, park staff instituted a “pack-it-in, pack-it-out” policy requiring park visitors to haul their rubbish with them when they leave, said Park Manager David Roe. The policy reduced the amount of refuse park staff had to burn in the incinerators, to only the trash generated by the park and concession operations. Recently, with the pack-it-in, pack-it-out policy still in place, park staff and Argosy began
collaborating on a new approach to solid waste disposal that allows the park to stop using the incinerators altogether. Now park staff separate their own waste into trash and recycling, which is hauled off-island regularly, along with massive amounts of garbage that washes up on the tide and is collected by volunteers during the park’s many successful beach cleanup events, Roe said.
For its part, Argosy hauls the concession’s recycling, compost and solid waste off-island daily and has adopted a number of other green practices at Tillicum Village. For example, the restaurant and catering teams who create Tillicum Village’s world-famous salmon bake feasts now use washable china and flatware as well as compostable products. Tillicum Village’s kitchen appliances have been replaced with energy-efficient models. Water efficiencies and conservation practices from the kitchen to landscaping reduce demand on the park’s limited water supply. Argosy also encourages employees to carpool and provides them with free mass transit passes to make their commute to work a little greener.
“Being sustainable involves a commitment to balance the economic, social and environmental impact of whatever we do,” said Maureen Black, Director of Marketing for Argosy Cruises and Tillicum Village. “We all live in a world with finite resources, and it is vital that we act in a sustainable way.”
Learn more about Blake Island State Park and the agency’s other efforts to restore the health of the Puget Sound on the web at www.parks.wa.gov. To learn more about Argosy’s tours and Indian-style salmon bake at Tillicum Village, visit www.tillicumvillage.com.
The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission thanks the public for supporting state parks. Donations made to State Parks through the vehicle license tab renewal program will keep state parks open in the 2009-2011 budget cycle, provided adequate revenues are collected. The Commission manages a diverse system of more than 100 state parks and recreation programs, including long-distance trails, boating safety and winter recreation. The 97-year-old park system will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2013.Research Campgrounds, Plan RV Safe Routes & Turn your phone into an RV GPS.
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