Recently, I was visiting our property along the East Fork of the Lewis River, clearing up the paths down to the river. It’s in a remote part of the county, but occasionally you hear the normal sounds of civilization – cars on the road and planes overhead. Yet, while sitting along the bank and listening to the waterfall nearby, nature won out. The sounds of civilization dissolved into the background.
Water has a natural, meditative effect on us — the sight and sound of moving water helps put us in a relaxed, reflective mode that seems to ameliorate any disruptions around us. This is one of the many reasons waterfront properties are at a premium – there is a built-in asset that many homes don’t have. Some buyers want easy access to boating and active watersports. Others want a peaceful place for quiet reflection. Either way, we are drawn to water.
We are fortunate to live in an area where there are many diverse bodies of water – lakes, streams, and rivers that are still in their natural state. Protection of these waterways is the focus of the state Shoreline Protection Act, passed by the legislature in 1971. It places strict limitations on any activity that could have “adverse effects” on aquatic natural resources – land, water, and marine life. Development of any designated shoreline properties comes with tight regulations, setbacks, and mitigation requirements.
This can cause frustration for anyone trying to build or expand a house along a natural waterway (previous structures are grandfathered in). Jumping through regulatory hoops is no one’s idea of a fun activity, but once you understand the guidelines, the ultimate purpose of preservation is a worthy goal. Especially if it preserves a natural environment where everyday distractions dissolve into the background of nature’s resonance.
Take a few seconds to enjoy the relaxing sounds of nature.