The next time you ride a Washington State ferry, look for the Whale Trail signs to learn about the marine mammals you might see.

NEWS RELEASE

October 18, 2011

Contact: Donna Sandstrom, The Whale Trail, 206.933.0206
Marta Coursey, Washington State Ferries, 206.515.3918

IDENTIFY MARINE MAMMALS USING NEW WHALE TRAIL SIGNS ON STATE FERRIES

Just in time for Fall when orcas travel into Puget Sound, Washington State Ferries and The Whale Trail have partnered to provide ferry passengers with onboard guides to identifying Puget Sound marine mammals.

Travelers can use two signs on each ferry vessel and one in each ferry terminal to familiarize themselves with marine mammals living in Puget Sound and help identify animals during transits.

“Our Southern Resident orcas are endangered. Ferries are perfect places to observe them and our many other marine mammals,” said Donna Sandstrom, executive director of The Whale Trail. “Our orcas depend on the health of the entire Puget Sound. Having these signs on the ferries is a good way to let folks know they use the entire region.”

The signs provide descriptions of orcas, gray whales, Dall’s porpoise, harbor seals and California sea lions and explain the habitat needs for the animals. The signs are the first generation of Whale Trail signs to feature a “QR” code that allow linking via mobile devices to The Whale Trail’s web site.

“Washington State Ferries is happy to be a partner with The Whale Trail on this important project,” said Washington State Ferries’ communication director Marta Coursey. “The educational signs displayed in our terminals and aboard our ferries are an added value to our customers.”

“This is an excellent example of the kind of partnership it takes to recover our endangered Southern Resident orca population,” said Lynne Barre of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “The Whale Trail implements actions from the Recovery Plan that includes raising awareness and inspiring appreciation and stewardship of whales and our marine environment.”

“The Whale Trail is profoundly grateful to all our partners, especially Chuck Gibilisco and Mike O’Malley at the Department of Fish and Wildlife for printing the signs, and to the The Seattle Aquarium for donating the graphic design services,” said Sandstrom.

The Whale Trail is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to inspiring appreciation and stewardship of whales and our marine environment by establishing a network of viewing sites along the whales’ trails through Puget Sound and the coastal waters of the Pacific Northwest.

The Whale Trail has established 20 sites in Puget Sound, the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Washington coast, with many more to come.

The Whale Trail’s partners include Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary, People For Puget Sound, Seattle Aquarium, Washington State Ferries, and The Whale Museum.