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Alexander M.

English 101

Dear Sehome Hill Arboretum Board of Governors,

Throughout the past few months as a new student at WWU, I have become thoroughly enamored
with the Sehome Hill Arboretum. Through my experience, I have found that the watchtower on
top of the hill in particular excels at providing the serene and peaceful experience that many seek
within the arboretum. Of course, the view of Bellingham Bay is a large contributing factor to the
appeal of the tower as a place of serenity, but its effectiveness at fulfilling this purpose lies
deeper than that. Uninhabited nature as a whole has a way of bringing people together and
enhancing interpersonal communication beyond methods of which most people are familiar. In
Paul Heilkers On Genres as Ways of Being, it is described that people will change the way
that they go about acting and thinking in order to adapt with different genres, in this case a genre
of environment or scenario. As the genre of uninhabited nature has been largely lost and
unexplored to inhabitants of the modern world, there is little sense of pre-defined expectations or
criteria which must be fulfilled within the genre, and the genre is therefore largely unknown. I
feel that as a result of this freedom, people are naturally inclined to exist in the genre in a way
that they sincerely wish to exist in all things but cannot due to constraints set by their established
sense of genre within communities of practice and their pre-conceived sense of self. In
maintaining the watchtower, subtle effects take place that develop not only a relaxing experience

in the woods with a great view, but a sense of community for all of the visitors to unite under, a
community based on the way that people adapt to the arboretums genre. Without exaggeration,
this tower promotes the growth of everyones vision of an ideal harmonic utopia.
If the tower is effective in fulfilling its purpose, then this environment can be allowed to
take shape for all individuals that truly desire societal prosperity, but this is largely dependent
upon the way that the arboretum as a whole is maintained. As it currently stands, the arboretums
solitude disposition serves as a remarkable breeding ground for illegal and otherwise immoral
activity of many types, mostly revolving around principles of the use and trade of illicit
substances as well as public indecency. These actions are not a new occurrence within the
arboretum either, as many local prospective patrons, especially University students, actively keep
away from the place since the possibility of an uncomfortable encounter with this illegal activity
is a very real concern. While the handling of these issues may lie outside the regular jurisdiction
of the board, I believe that it is a responsibility within your power as to take preventative
measures against the unchecked continuation of these socially inhibiting actions. Frankly, the
reason that it is so easy for these offenders to waltz into the arboretum and perform illegal acts is
that there is little to no regular enforcement of park regulations. The regulations are listed clearly
in several locations within the park, but without the threat of being caught and suffering
meaningful penalty, these regulations may as well not exist for those intending to encroach upon
them. In continuing to allow regular irreverence towards arboretum policy as well as the law, one
of Bellinghams most historically celebrated locations is falling victim to the will of rogue
terrorists. If left unchecked, levels of irreverence will naturally increase, causing the arboretums
negative reputation to spread across increasingly larger demographics, ultimately leading to a
decline of tourism in the Bellingham area. The spread of this knowledge may also serve to

increase its efficacy to inexorable proportions, compromising the safety of the surrounding area,
especially WWU. In the event of this occurrence, all sense of tranquility to be found within the
arboretum will naturally be replaced and our beloved arboretum as it stands today will fall into
an irrecoverable state of tyranny.
In order to put a stop to hooliganism within the arboretum, there must be a change in the
enforcement policies regarding violation of park regulations, specifically that the arboretum is
meant to close at dusk, which is a time that many hooligans extort for the purposes of carrying
out their nefarious deeds. I would advocate for initiating a dedicated nightly patrol of the
arboretum, perhaps as an extension of the nightly route already made by WWUs campus police,
in order to weed out any people that frequent the dark woods as a hub for their vulgar and illegal
activity. It would be imperative that the existence of this patrol be made common knowledge so
that perpetrators have something tangible to fear and perhaps cause them to think twice about
tainting the arboretums sanctity. Alongside this, the spread of knowledge regarding recent
developments in the arboretum should be handled chiefly through notices posted on the trail map
signs that also conveniently list the expectations set upon all patrons, just to let people know that
active maintenance is taking effect. Also, the signs vague terminology of park hours as being
six to dusk should be changed to align with the given closing time on the arboretums website,
six to ten, so that there is little excuse for ignorant misinterpretation of park policy.
While it would certainly cost the city a little money in order to implement these changes,
it is insignificant compared to the assured safety of the average arboretum patron and possibly
even the prevention of a potential violent gang uprising hosted within the arboretum. In taking
these measures, not only is safety assured but the arboretums reputation as a peaceful sanctuary
will gradually be restored once the thugs are driven off. However, surely it is better for this

criminal activity to be an occurrence contained by the arboretum rather than out on the streets,
right? Well the issue with criminal activity is that its planning is discreet by nature, and will
likely need to be expunged from multiple discreet locations in order to prevent it coming to
fruition in areas where it will have a larger public impact. In purging hooligans from the
arboretum, it is effectively taking a step towards keeping them off the streets, as opposed to
pushing them out onto it. Criminal groups seldom make public appearances until they have
become strong enough to stand their ground against local authorities. They cannot become strong
enough if they do not have the resources and secrecy required to construct a foundation, and
removing the arboretum from their list of resources would be to delay the emergence of crime on
the streets by a significant margin.
As may be becoming more and more apparent with each day spent pondering my
suggested implementation of criminal policy, a reasonable solution is quite an urgent matter. As
time passes, new criminals are joining the ranks of those that have set a standard of societal
disregard upon the hill, steadily forming an intricate underground network so large that police
forces alone cannot possibly hope to contain it. Ultimately, its not an unreasonable assumption
to make. Illegal meetings of the types that are happening right now around a central hub are at
the roots of gangs and mobs. As I perceive the arboretums purpose to be vastly different from
one of meeting the needs of gangsters, and Im sure the board would agree, the arboretums
purpose cannot continue to be allowed as one of dubious intent, for this would be to ignore an
uncomfortable and largely relevant silence that deconstructs every ideal that the arboretum
should stand to uphold. The implementation of these changes will not only ensure a brighter
future for the arboretum, but it will work as another policy that aims to forge a consistently safe
environment within the City of Bellingham as a whole.

Works Cited:
"Sehome Hill Arboretum." Sehome Hill Arboretum. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Nov. 2015.
Heilker, Paul. "On Genres As Ways of Being." Writing on the Edge Spring 21.2 (2011): 19-31.