Pat Neal

Sequim, WAPeninsula Daily News

PAT NEAL: A difficult question to answer

Tourists ask many questions about this land of ours. Is the weather always like this? How deep is the river? As a professional know-it-all, if I don’t have an answer, I’ll make something up. One day a tourist asked a question that was really tough to answer:. “Who owns the...
Clallam County, WAPeninsula Daily News

PAT NEAL: The news from NOAA

It was another tough week in the news. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration threatened further restrictions on salmon fishing from California north to the Canadian border. These new proposals are the result of NOAA conducting a risk assessment under the Endangered Species Act. They evaluated the impact of fisheries...
AgriculturePeninsula Daily News

PAT NEAL: Fun on the farm

Every year along about this time, I think about the good old days. That was back when the Olympic Peninsula lowlands were filled with farms. Children were considered farm machinery. There were many fine farm careers to choose from. I couldn’t wait get started. You could buck hay bales. There...
TravelPeninsula Daily News

PAT NEAL: Searching for solitude

Now that the tourists are here, it’s easy to see why we put a season on them in the first place. From the acidified ocean to the melting glaciers and the majestic rain forests in between, the Olympic Peninsula has seen an unprecedented invasion of tourists searching for solitude in a pristine wilderness — while waiting in line for ferries, burgers, ice cream and National Park entrances.
AgriculturePeninsula Daily News

PAT NEAL: The fate of the fish ducks

For some, the New Year begins on Jan. 1. Out on our rivers, the new year begins with the emergence of the baby salmon from the gravel they were planted in last fall. This is a cause for celebration. After a century of over-fishing, pollution, environmental destruction and government policies...
HobbiesPeninsula Daily News

PAT NEAL: A case of clam fever

I don’t know what made me say I was the fastest clam digger in the west. It must have been the COVID-induced cabin fever talking. Unfortunately, exchanging cabin fever for clam fever is a classic case of the cure being worse than the disease. For the first and possibly the...
Beauty & FashionPeninsula Daily News

PAT NEAL: Answering tourists’ questions

Springtime must be my favorite time of year on the Olympic Peninsula. When uncounted millions of birds fly north along our coast to their remote arctic nesting grounds. All of which signals the start of another migration to our shores, the American tourist. Don’t panic. Please remember but for the...
HobbiesPeninsula Daily News

PAT NEAL: Understanding our fishing regulations

“When does the river open?” The tourist angler asked after I told him the river was closed. He was standing knee-deep in trouble, casting away in a river closed to fishing. I informed him that every angler in Washington has the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an...
Port Angeles, WAPeninsula Daily News

PAT NEAL: An Earth Day review

How was your Earth Day? Many hoped it would lead to some progress in reducing the pollution of our planet’s air, water and soil. It was once thought that, by using science and technology, we could clean up the industrial mess we have made with our science and technology. Instead, this year’s biggest scientific achievement would be flying a helicopter on Mars while we ignored our own dying planet.
TrafficPeninsula Daily News

PAT NEAL: The Highway 101 blues

Thank you for reading this. Somebody must. Because when I mentioned in last week’s column that the Highway 101 bridge over the Hoh River was “the scariest bridge on the Olympic Peninsula,” the pushback was immediate. Competition for the scariest bridge on the Peninsula is intense, but the bridge over...
LifestylePeninsula Daily News

PAT NEAL: Olympic Peninsula driving guide

The signs of summer are all around. The roar of the lawn mower, the stench of burning charcoal and the seasonal spike in gasoline prices tell us vacation time will soon be here. All of which means an influx of the dreaded tourist traffic. Some are scurrying back to the...
Washington StatePeninsula Daily News

PAT NEAL: Requiem for a river

Spring is a time of hope on the river. The salmon eggs that survived the winter floods are getting ready to hatch when the weather gets warmer. The steelhead eggs are freshly laid in their beds, secure in the knowledge the floods of winter are over. The river has settled...
AnimalsPeninsula Daily News

PAT NEAL: The Orca Task Force

Last week we examined the tragic results of capturing the orca for captivity in theme parks and aquariums, where an estimated 164 captive orca died from pneumonia and septicemia. This number represents more than twice the number of Southern Resident Orca currently surviving in the wild. In 2018, Gov. Jay...
AnimalsPeninsula Daily News

PAT NEAL: A history of whaling continued

Last week, we reviewed the industrial slaughter that pushed our large whales to the brink of extinction. As whales became harder to find, their renderings were replaced by petroleum distillates. We shifted gears from industrial whaling to whaling for family entertainment. The orca became the target species. The orca, also...
EnvironmentPeninsula Daily News

PAT NEAL: A fouled future for nature

Thank you for reading this. After reading about my ill-fated clam dig at Discovery Bay, where the clams and oysters were all dead, people sent stories about mysterious die-offs of sea life in Discovery Bay with documents and pictures of sick or dying crab, fish, birds and sea mammals that paint a picture of an environmental disaster paved with good intentions.
SciencePeninsula Daily News

PAT NEAL: A poisonous past

What started as a simple quest to dig a bucket of clams was not as simple as it seemed. There were no clams. Usually, when the tide is out in Discovery Bay, the clams are squirting like mini lawn sprinklers, but no, they were all dead. The oysters were dead. Their shells had mysterious holes in them. A carpet of dead oyster shells with a sickly rust-colored coating covered the beach.
Vancouver, WAPeninsula Daily News

PAT NEAL: A history of pandemics

IN LAST WEEK’S episode, we were discovering Discovery Bay, a favorite scenic waterway known for its beauty ever since Captain Vancouver anchored up in 1792. At the time, Britain claimed the vast area we call the Pacific Northwest along with Spain, Russia and America. The Russians went broke, Spain lost...
SciencePeninsula Daily News

PAT NEAL: Discovering Discovery Bay

IT WAS GOING to be one of those days. With the razor clam season shut down, the blackmouth salmon season shut down and the steelhead fishing restricted to where you can only keep imaginary hatchery fish, seafood harvesting on the Olympic Peninsula has been limited. Then the first daylight low...
EnvironmentPeninsula Daily News

PAT NEAL: A short history of hurricanes

IT WAS A dark and stormy night. The wind roared through the timber like a freight train. I thought it would rip the roof off the shack, but it didn’t. Eventually the morning came. The crows woke up and flew around in crazy circles like they were glad to be alive, and so was I.
Food & DrinksPeninsula Daily News

PAT NEAL: Digging the Ozette potato

POTATOES MUST BE my favorite thing to dig, next to clams, but clam season is closed so I’m digging potatoes. I know what you’re thinking, people are supposed to dig potatoes in the fall when the vines ripen and die down. But what if you’re too busy fishing? Then you dig potatoes in the winter.