Lummi Island collectively breathed a sigh of relief when the Whatcom County announced a new deal with the Lummi Tribe to use the Gooseberry Point dock for possibly another fifty years.
Why were we concerned? From late October to February we were faced with the possibility of a threat to the status quo, a change so dramatic that it would have altered life as we know it. We were concerned about transportation and supply, about medical care, about mainland activities, about real estate values and long term mobility. We were concerned about being cut off from the larger world.
The Whatcom Chief is literally our lifeboat. The idea that it could suddenly disappear seems not to have occurred to some people. Realistically, it is a tenuous connection, reliant on the financial health of the County, the willingness of County officials to support it, the motivation of the Tribe to host it and the physical condition of the boat itself. As far as I can tell from reading the excellent material on the Lummi Ferry Forum site by Jim Dickinson, there is no back up vessel for the ferry. If the Chief were to go down from maintenance or for any other conceivable reason we would be right back where we have been for the last three months faced with the harsh fact that Lummi Island is…well…an island.