Under the Mountain Shadows by William D. Frank

Review by Phil Lamb, a local retired country lawyer of Yakima

Kay Kershaw. A local force of nature. An institution. Bright, energetic, articulate, fiercely independent.1907-1996. 

This is a biography of a girl growing up in the Upper Yakima Valley, as part of the Kershaw family. Working in the orchards, outdoorsy, learned to fly, Red Cross Nurse in World War II. Built and operated the Double K with her successive partners Pat Kane and Isabelle Lynn. The Double K was basically a dude ranch at Goose Prairie; no electricity, no phones.

W.D. Frank enjoyed unprecedented access to Kershaw and Gilbert family archives. He draws a background of national trends amongst which Kay grew up. Conservative Christian religion, the Ku Klux Klan and John Birch Society activity in Yakima County, and court decisions expanding personal privacy issues. A slim volume; 154 pages of main text, but backed by 49 pages of detailed chapter notes, bibliography, and index.

This is about local people, by an established local author with significant fruit ties. W.D. is brother to Larry, son of Herb (Yakima Fruit and Cold Storage). Fascinating glimpses into Kershaw and Gilbert family history, and their long association with another local, Supreme Court Justice Wm. O. Douglas. Douglas had a cabin next to the Double K

These women, denizens of Goose Prairie, became increasingly concerned with protecting the Cougar Lakes and adjacent lands from timber harvests and development. The “blister sisters”, as referred to by Naches Forest Service Office staff (they were very tart tongued), worked with Justice Douglas, Senator Scoop Jackson. Rep. Sid Morrison, and many others. The end result, after decades of letter writing, culminated in creation of the Wm. O. Douglas Wilderness, and expansion of White Pass Ski Area into a small portion of the Goat Rocks Wilderness (the Hogback).

The details of the political/legislative bickering are finely documented. Somewhat tedious to work through, but fascinating. Many references to the Cascadians, Chuck and Marion Hessey, Lex Maxwell, as well as Gilbert and Kershaw family members.

The book is privately published, and expensive. But, like Kamiakin by A.J. Splawn, is essential to tracking local history.