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Salish Sea Walkers Will Rally All Weekend Long To Protect Shared Ecosystem With Canada

John Zilavy
Salish Sea, from Oyster Dome, south of Bellingham

Imagine walking for three days to make a statement about a cause you care for deeply. That’s what people joining the "Walk to Protect & Restore our Salish Sea" will do this weekend. 

Salish Sea is the name of the marine ecosystem that connects the U.S. and Canada, and includes Puget Sound.

C.J. Lewis is new to long-distance walking. But she’s ready to do about 15 miles this Sunday.

“It’s really exciting to me to be able to be, you know here, partially hosting some of these things that are what I believe in and what I live for,” she said.

Lewis is the administrator at Saltwater Unitarian Universalist Church in Des Moines, which is hosting a gathering for the walkers on Saturday night. She says her congregation is based on principles that align with all of the goals of the walk.

“The protection of the Salish Sea falls under our seventh principle which is respect for the interdependent web of all existence, of which we are part, which means we have a responsibility to be protectors of our environment,” she said.

The march was organized by Paul Wagner, a storyteller and flutist of the first nations Sanich people. He says he wants to see the Salish Sea become a sanctuary for all marine life.

“And so this walk is about connecting people from different parts of the world, about connecting us to the orca people and the salmon people and the tree people and the people of the water, all of the people that live in the Salish Sea. And for us to think about life, think about how our ancestors understood taking care of and not just to take,” Wagner said.  

The marchers want to stop the Salish Sea from becoming a throughway for fossil fuel exports.

Wagner says he recently did a similar walk in Canada, covering nearly 50 miles.

The start of this weekend’s event will take place at Myrtle Edwards park on Seattle’s waterfront.

The walkers will sleep in the Duwamish Longhouse Friday before reaching the Saltwater congregation in Des Moines on Saturday.

The action will end at the site of Puget Sound Energy’s proposed facility for liquefied natural gas in Tacoma, where they’re holding a third rally and feast on Sunday afternoon.

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