My Memories of Harvey Manning
My Memories of Harvey Manning
by Barbara Johnson
(This piece was originally read at the 2019 IATC History program by David Kappler on behalf of Barbara Johnson)
I first met Harvey when our family moved to the Issaquah area. As I looked up and saw large forested areas on the hills, I assumed there must be trails up there. But how to find out?
About that time, there was an article in the local paper by Harvey proposing his plan to preserve the area. Now I knew Harvey by reputation. After all he wrote the Bible for hikers: “One Hundred Hikes in Western Washington”.
I called the paper and asked for a copy of the plan. “We don’t have the plan. You need to contact Harvey Manning.” What?! Speak to the Guru? Oh no, I don’t want to pester a celebrity!
The paper gave me his phone number (no email in the 70s) and I girded my loins and made the call. Forty-five minutes later, we finished our little chat. I think that was the shortest conversation we ever had!
When Harvey put out the call for a meeting to organize a club, I had a conflict so could not attend. Foolishly I said I would be willing to serve on the Board. Silly me. Since no one else volunteered, I was named as Vice-president. Never again did I volunteer in absentia.
After going on a few hikes led by Harvey, Dave Kappler, Tim O’Brien and others, Harvey “suggested” that I lead a hike. Now suggestions from Harvey were impossible to refuse. He thought a hike from Preston to Issaquah would be a good one. “Just read the description in my book,” he said. OK. I looked it up and it looked easy. We made it a family hike with our two young kids.
Well, the book description was out of date. The trail ended at the I-90 fence about halfway along the route.
After a bit of reconnoitering we just followed the road to High Point where the railroad grade began. We made it to Issaquah Creek. Oops, no way to cross it without wading. We found a spot to ford the creek and returned to our car. (We had taken the Metro to Preston.)
When we returned home, I called the Guru and a bit testily explained the conundrum. He did go out the next week and discovered the guidebook’s error. We managed to re-route the hike. Later on, a bridge was built to walk across the Creek.
Many of us early folk had to find routes and build trails. A lot of physical work but very important to get “Boots on the Trails”.
As Vice-president and a part-time worker, I had a lot of time to drive Harvey to meetings to lobby County officials. I drove as Harvey claimed he didn’t like to drive in the Big City although he had lived there and attended the UW. Really? The guy who wrote all those guide books couldn’t navigate the streets of Seattle? Oh, the irony.
After the Newcastle Plan was presented to the King County Council, there were the inevitable hearings. Three members of the Council whose districts overlapped the Newcastle area were the hearing sub-committee. Harvey and I as well as several other people with interests in the plan were present for most of the hearings. There was a lot of just sitting and listening.
At some point Harvey asked me to edit one of his letters to an official. I gasped! Edit his writing? He explained that every writer needed an editor. I nervously agreed to do so. Of course, Harvey’s letters were typewritten (no Microsoft Office then) on reused paper. His writings were famous for typing errors, arrows re-arranging phrases, all sorts of cross outs and additions in a scribbling hand, and so on. I learned that every writing needed a second pair of eyes. It was very helpful in my future jobs when writing brochures, lesson plans and texts for interpretive signs when I was a Park Ranger and for lesson plans as a science teacher for Pacific Science Center. And, of course, for IATC publicity and for a short time as Alpiner editor.
Most of us Founders wore several hats. I led hikes, did publicity, helped organize Return to Newcastle and Salmon Days activities, helped assembled the Alpiner together, edited Harvey’s letters to officials, etc. I was not alone. All of us did all of it together. The Alpiner was a “cut and paste” by hand affair. Each article was typed using different fonts types and sizes. No computer software to make it look professional. We’d all sit around the someone’s kitchen table and address and stamp the newsletter.
For major events, each of us took on many parts. Dave Kappler stored the Salmon Days booth at his home. Ralph and Peggy Owen put together the photos for Return to Newcastle. Dave also edited Harvey’s diatribes. Dave was the political person and he often had to rein in Harvey’s actions. Not an easy task.
I had to leave the Board for a while as I had a job with the City of Bellevue as a full-time Ranger and was not allowed to serve on the Board of a lobbying organization.
Once I was no longer working for the City, I returned to the Board as President.
I am the only woman to serve as IATC President; a fact that puzzles me. Why has no other woman stepped forward to serve as President? My hope is that day will come soon.
In 2005, my husband and I retired and moved to Sedro Woolley as we love the Skagit Valley. Both of us “flunked” retirement and found part-time jobs.
In a way of completing the circle, I became a Park Ranger at the North Cascades National Park. When the Superintendent found I was well-acquainted with Harvey, my credibility soared. He asked if I knew Harvey was very important in the Park formation. My first thought was “Are you kidding?” But tactfully I did not say that!
I have since retired from rangering. I still manage a hike or two in the North Cascades and the Magic Skagit. I thank Harvey for recruiting me and teaching me so much about being a political lobbyist and a naturalist.