The headstone of legendary Northwest conservationist Billy Frank Jr. is engraved with an admonition. The words are quintessential Billy, and they are decidedly frank. And they ring even truer today than they did before the Nisqually Tribe leader died two years ago.
“We are at a crossroads and we are running out of time.”
A zealous advocate for Northwest salmon runs, Frank viewed their decline as a harbinger of the death of the Puget Sound ecosystem as a whole. The Sound shelters more than 200 fish species, in addition to scores of seabirds and marine mammals, and it ranks among the two largest estuaries in the U.S. (Chesapeake Bay is larger by landmass and shoreline, but Puget Sound is larger by volume because it plunges to depths of 930 feet.)