Thursday, January 30, 2014

9 Curious Notes on the History of Lake Padden

1. There is a man who walks around the lake with a notebook full of the bones of poems. He has memorized all of the bones. As he walks, he recites them all back to himself, watching for omissions, slips, substitutions, failures. The memorized bones of these poems are like thousands of canaries singing in the depths of his mind. At that moment his memory begins to fail, each of the canaries will suddenly stop singing and die. Then, he knows, there will be nothing left to do but get out of his mind as quickly as possible.

2. "March 6, 1880: Michael Padden, residing a few miles from Whatcom, was on Saturday, the sixth, shot dead by a little son of Thomas Clark, at the instance of the boy's mother.

The circumstances of the tragic affair are briefly reported to be about as follows: The Paddens and Clarks, being close neighbors quarreled over the ownership of a small tract of land, which each claimed was within their lines. To settle the matter the land was surveyed not long ago; at the instance of either or both parties we believe was decided to belong to Padden, but the Clarks still lay claim to it.

On Saturday Mr. Padden with his father-in-law Connelly, went out to fence in the tract in dispute. Mr. Clark being away from home to work at the Seattle Coal Mine, Mrs. Clark, accompanied by her little boy, aged about 10 years, with a loaded shotgun, went out to expostulate with and warn of Padden who would not desist. Hot words followed, and Mrs. Clark requested her son to shoot, which he did, killing Padden instantly.

The boy and his mother are under arrest to appear at the next term of court at La Connor. Mr. Padden, the victim of this tragedy, has long been a resident of the Sound. At one time he was foreman of the B. B. coal mine and more recently connected with the Talbot mine at Seattle, and after the collapse of that mine, in which he was part owner some three years ago, he returned to his homestead near Whatcom with his family, where he resided up to the time of his death." - Padden Family Notes

3. The Lake reminds him another Lake, the one where he was raised. There was a man who lived at the Lake who taught him how to catch fish. He also taught him how to wait with full attention. And he also taught him how to clean the fish, to separate the meat from the bones.

4. "Michael PADDEN was born in Ireland about 1840, the son of Michael and Mary (CARBIN) PADDEN. Michael died 8 Mar 1880 in Fairhaven, Whatcom, W. T. and was buried in Lake View Cemetery in Seattle, WA; shot and killed by a neighbor during an argument over a fence line. He came to Happy Valley in 1870 and filed on his homestead 22 Nov 1873. He discovered the lake which is known as Lake Padden. Michael married Anna CONNELLY 2 Nov 1877 in Bellingham, WA. She was born 4 Dec 1857 in Ireland and died August 30, 1926 in Bellingham, WA. She was the daughter of Edward Michael CONNELLY and Bridget DOLLY and is buried in Bay View Cemetery, Bellingham, WA. Michael's father, Michael PADDEN, Sr. and three brothers, Thomas, James, and Dominic, came out from Pennsylvania in the latter part of 1866. They took a sailing vessel from Philadelphia to Panama, crossed the isthmus and took another sailing ship to San Francisco, CA, then to Portland, OR and later to Vancouver, WA, where Michael PADDEN acquired 160 acres of land. They had heard out in Pennsylvania that coal had been discovered in the Washington Territory so they headed West." Michael Padden Family

5. One day, I am sure, the man will just keep walking. Already, he forgets where he is, how far he has gone, where he started and where he was going to end. He walks around and around, stopping now and then to check his memory against the notebook. Standing there in the middle of the path, eyes closed, remembering it all correctly. Closing the book, closing his eyes. The rain falls from the trees. Fragments of Shakespeare thread through the leaves.

6. "Lake Padden is located east of Interstate 5 on the south side of Bellingham, Washington. The outflow of the lake drains into Padden Creek and is controlled by a small concrete dam. Development within the watershed mcludes a golf course and dog park on the eastern edge of the lake, a swimming beach and park on the north, a boat launch, three public docks, and residential development in the northern watershed. There are no nearshore homes. Recreation on the lake includes walking, hiking, swimming, and fishing for annually stocked rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) and fry plants of lokanee (O. nerka) and cutthroat trout (O. clarkii) (WDFW Fish Program, 2008). Residents have expressed concern about possible deterioration of the lake's water quality and intense algal blooms in the fall.

The bedrock of the Lake Padden basin is made of massive sandstone with interbedded conglomerate and siltstone (Huntting, et al., 1961). The soils are a mixture of loam and silt loam on rough mountainous land with moderate to steep slopes (Poulson and Flannery, 1953).

Water input into Lake Padden is a combination of direct precipitation, surface water runoff via tributaries and unconfined flow, and groundwater seepage. Three unnamed intermittent tributaries drain the eastern watershed, these tributaries are normally dry during summer months. Surface water from the northwestern portion of the watershed have largely been diverted through a culvert to Padden Creek. During high runoff events, overflows from this system enter the lake through a submerged pipe at the northwest corner of the lake."  - Lake Padden Water Quality Monitoring Project June–December 2011 Final Report PDF

7. There a few faint paths that lead off the main trails. He often stops before them. They seem to lead nowhere. A fallen tree. The stump, a broken column, fragments of a temple. He shakes his head. Angry. Frustrated at the traces left of his sad education. He stares in the direction of the pathless path. Wills himself to not be haunted by the ghosts of columns or temples. As he stands there, he realizes the boots he found in the storeroom, the almost new boots that fit so well, that one of them must have a hole in its sole. He walks on, singing this bit of nonsense under his breath.

8. "A decline in the available water supply in Lake Whatcom as a result of climate change impacts would require that Bellingham residents reduce their water usage. Water quantity, however, will not be the only issue facing the citizens of Bellingham as water quality will also continue to be an issue of concern. There is already heavy development and human usage along the west and north sides of Lake Whatcom. As of 2007, the population of the Lake Whatcom watershed was roughly 15,000 people or 6,500 homes. In 1998, Lake Whatcom water quality failed to meet state dissolved oxygen standards and was placed on Washington’s 303(d) list of polluted waters. In addition to the lake failing to meet dissolved oxygen standards due to phosphorus loading, 11 of Lake Whatcom’s tributary streams failed to meet state water quality standards for fecal coliform bacteria. In response to this listing, a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) study was completed by DOE to determine the amount of phosphorus and fecal coliform reduction needed to return the lake to acceptable water quality standards. Currently there are 91 water bodies in Whatcom County on the 303(d) list as impaired. The pollutant of highest concern in both Whatcom County’s freshwater and marine ecosystems is fecal coliform bacteria." - Forest and Water Climate Adaptation: A Plan for Whatcom County, WA PDF

9. Everyone that passes him seems so bright and shining and full of colors and loud sound. He just wants to become quieter and unnoticable, a pile of leaves, a cluster of roots, a pile of wet bones beneath the ferns.

Map of Lake Padden and Trails PDF

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