Tiny is­land in Ma­son County lake named after man who pro­tected it

The Olympian - - Local - BY LO­GAN STAN­LEY lstan­[email protected]­olympian.com

Since April 1955, when Bill Smith first ac­quired the tiny is­land in the mid­dle of Is­land Lake north of Shel­ton, the par­cel had no name. Now it does.

The is­land, which spans just a tenth of an acre and has been threat­ened by ero­sion, is now named Smith Is­land. The state Board of Nat­u­ral Re­sources ap­proved the pro­posal dur­ing a De­cem­ber monthly meet­ing.

Upon his death in De­cem­ber 2011, Smith do­nated the is­land to the Is­land Lake Foun­da­tion for con­tin­ued pub­lic use while the is­land was re­stored. Smith was a long-time res­i­dent of Ma­son County, where he worked as a lo­cal elec­tri­cal con­trac­tor.

The pro­posed name was put forth by Shel­ton res­i­dent and at­tor­ney Stephen White­house and was passed through by a State Com­mit­tee on Geo­graphic Names this past June. The Ma­son County Board of Com­mis­sion­ers was one of the pro­po­nents of the name change.

The Is­land Lake Foun­da­tion is a big name for a group of four Is­land Lake res­i­dents — Jef Con­klin, Jim Sawyer, Max Fol­som and White­house — who or­ga­nized to help pre­serve the is­land fol­low­ing the death of Smith.

“The is­land’s a great nat­u­ral re­source,” White­house said. “Kids grew up there. A lot of peo­ple have me­mories of it. We wanted it to be there for fu­ture com­mu­ni­ties to use.”

As Smith aged, he asked for the is­land to be named after him. State law re­quires a five-year wait pe­riod fol­low­ing death be­fore a place can be named for a per­son.

To honor Smith’s re­quest, the foun­da­tion was formed. White­house said con­tri­bu­tions, both money and re­sources, came in from area res­i­dents and or­ga­ni­za­tions over the five years to help keep the erod­ing is­land in­tact and cre­ate habi­tat.

Even Tay­lor Shell­fish Farms pitched in, do­nat­ing a barge that trans­ported gravel, logs and plants that were put around the is­land to re­place what had washed away.

Screen­shot from Google Maps

The small is­land, which spans a tenth of an acre and is just north of Shel­ton High School, is set to be named Smith Is­land after the man who pur­chased the land in 1955 and kept it from erod­ing un­til his death in 2011.

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