North Kitsap Trails Association

Building Trails for Our Future

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What's with all the logging?

Actually, there are two answers to that question! First, the logging in the original 540 acre Heritage Park is called "restorative thinning" and it is meant to help turn the park from a tree farm to a natural forest. It is kind of like weeding your garden - pull out what you don't want to encourage what you do want! So, the County is thinning the trees to create a more natural forest by providing room and light for native plants, trees and wildlife. See the NKTA website for a more detailed explanation and pictures showing the difference between a natural forest and a tree farm.

The second answer explains logging you will see on the 1,355 acres acquired last December for $2.3 million. Unfortunately, that was the cost of the land without the trees. In order to make the purchase happen Pope Resources will be allowed to log the land one more time over the next 20 years. It seems counterintuitive that the land we just proudly added to the Park would be logged, but purchasing the trees would have cost several times as much. The Department of Ecology, which provided the funding for that purchase, agreed that this was the best long term approach to protecting the land and Port Gamble Bay. An important aspect to the purchase was an agreement that after logging each parcel, Pope Resources will replant the land with a variety of NW forest plants and trees, including things like salal, salmonberry, ferns, cedar, fir, maple, hemlock, etc. Just like the thinning above, this will create a healthier and sustainable natural forest, preferable to the "tree-farm forest" that spreads across much of the park property now.

Port Gamble Thinning

So, don't panic when you see logging happening in the parks - just know that it was planned for and in the long run it will benefit the forest and all of its users.