On May 12th the Great Peninsula Conservancy kicks off a crowd-funding campaign to raise an additional $25,000 to complete the purchase of 270 acres of the Grovers Creek Preserve. Donating to the campaign completes two major goals - preservation of a valuable wetland and securing an east-west path for the Sound to Olympics Trail.
Here's what your membership dollars, donations & time helped NKTA get done in 2014:
|February: Potholes the size of lakes!|
Check out the newly improved trailhead at Kitsap County's Port Gamble Forest Heritage Park along SR 104. Kitsap County Parks, NKTA volunteers and a mix of County, NKTA, and REI grant funds are all being put to good use for some loooong overdue maintenance at the trailhead parking area. The old parking area has been cleaned up, re-graded and graveled. Coming soon to trailhead near you: a new fence and a trailhead kiosk. Our new gorgeous park is starting to look gorgeous when you arrive!
Pope Resources will be doing some timber thinning starting probably in March and running throughout the end of the year. They'll do a combination of pre-commercial thinning (cutting really small trees & leaving them in the forest - approximately 375 acres) and commercial thinning (thinning medium trees that have some harvest value - approximately 500 acres). There will be rotating trail closures where they'll be doing the work. Just like when the lettuce in your garden is too close together and you pull up the skinny ones to give the others room to grow, a timber farm does the same thing but their crop is bigger and takes 40 years, not 4 months to grow!
Here's a map of what's planned, if you click on it you can see more detail. The exact dates of trail and trail head closures aren't known yet but we'll have updates on our website and Pope Resources will have the most current information, including when specific trails and trailheads will be closed and when they are reopened on their website.
Most of the work is in the south half of the trails, so if you arrive at your favorite trailhead and it's closed, head north to another open trailhead and explore some north end trails. Maps are at every trailhead, so take one with you if you're exploring new territory. Trail access will continue to be permitted in areas not subject to active harvesting operations.
The timber crews are scheduling their work around all of the trail events, so those will proceed as planned. And the Uplands Trailhead and the new County Shoreline Park trailhead will remain open the whole time. The trailheads at Stottelmeyer and Port Gamble Road will have some total closures, and there will be rotating trail closures in the area south of the Shoreline Park and "Downhell".
Remember, 86% of the Port Gamble trails are owned by Pope Resources and we're guests on their private tree farm. If the sign says trail closed, it really means it, for your safety and those of their contractors. The work is expected to be finished by the end of 2015, so don't worry, your favorite trail will be open again soon. Please stay safe and stay out of their way!
If you care about trails and love the Port Gamble trails like we do, please come help spruce up the trail heads. On Saturday morning, February 21 NKTA is teaming up with our partners Kitsap County Parks, EMBA-West Sound and Great Peninsula Conservancy for one big Port Gamble trail head cleanup day. We'll meet at the Uplands parking area (closest to Port Gamble) at 8:30 and from there spread out to the different trail heads. Unfortunately, over the years people have dumped garbage at the trailheads, and there's even been a lost bike helmet or two. Yes, we'll be picking up garbage but we promise it will be fun, and afterwards we'll have a BBQ and celebrate the good work we've done. We'll mostly be near the roads (so probably not great for little kids), bagging and loading stuff right onto the trucks to be hauled away. Bring your leather gloves and your old clothes. The rest of us will bring the garbage bags, the trucks and the food!
Also, we need your help keeping an eye on the trail heads. If you see someone dumping garbage or driving doughnuts in a parking area, please call the police. We all want our trailheads clean and safe, so let's team up. Just like on the ferries, if you "See something, Say something!"
A place that will awe you! The next piece in the Kitsap Forest and Bay puzzle, will be Great Peninsula Conservancy's acquisition of the 270-acre Grovers Creek Preserve. This special place has been hidden from view, protected by a matrix of wetlands. It has trees so big and flowers so small, it simply takes your breath away. And it's in the middle of the entire Kitsap Forest and Bay Project. Saving Grovers Creek Preserve will connect wildlife habitat, forestlands and trails. The Sound to Olympics trail will skirt the wetland and is planned to connect North Kitsap Heritage Park, Kingston and Indianola to the Port Gamble trails. Public grants and private donations totaling $1.775 million have been raised, but $325,000 more will be needed by May 2015.
"Grovers Creek Preserve is a magical place of big trees, bears and beavers that reminds us of the Kitsap Peninsula of long ago," commented Sandra Staples-Bortner, Executive Director of Great Peninsula Conservancy. "We are delighted to be working with the many project partners to save this land for all time."
Grovers Creek Preserve is literally across Miller Bay road from the recently expanded 800-acre North Kitsap Heritage Park. This is hoped to be the third acquisition in the Kitsap Forest and Bay Project, a community-driven initiative to protect thousands of acres of forests, wetlands and shoreline for public access and wildlife habitat, and to secure miles of trails connecting to a cross-state trail system.
"It's a case where the whole will be greater than the sum of the parts," said Kitsap County Commissioner Rob Gelder. "Our investments will enhance our economy, ensure our quality of life and protect the habitat we all value."
November 1, was a huge day for REI supported stewardship projects in North Kitsap. Three great projects in one busy, busy, busy day!
Kingston Village Green volunteers built a new trail by the Kingston Green, over one hundred volunteers helped remove invasive species and plant trees on the Port Gamble shoreline, and Brett Knutson and his busy crew of volunteers built a new trail in Raab Park in Poulsbo. Raab Park is one of the most active parks in Poulsbo but hasn't had a walking route at the main entry--mom's with toddlers and strollers have had to walk in the road. Brett planned the new trail as part of his Eagle Scout Project. He organized volunteers, recruited donations and along with his family pulled off the entire construction in one big day of work. Good for Brett-we're glad he chose NKTA and REI to partner with on his great Eagle Scout project. REI funded the materials and donated those cool T shirts!
And tools, tools, tools! To support volunteer stewardship trail projects, REI has provided funds for an array tools! NKTA teamed up with our partners at the NK Heritage Park, EMBA West Sound and even Poulsbo's Fish Park volunteers to come up with a "most wanted" list. So 2015 should be a busy year to put all those great tools to work building and maintaining trails. We can't wait to get those shiny new tools nice and dirty!
The folks at Slippery Pig Brewery sure know how to make fundraising fun! Dave and Shawna Lambert, the owners, have long supported our local trails. Dave had dreamed of creating a "Men of Slippery Pig" calendar (seriously) and he and his friends made it happen. We were delighted when they announced they'd donate the proceeds to NKTA! The calendar was unveiled at special release party Nov. 16th, and they sold out! More calendars have been printed and are available for $20 at the Slippery Pig Brewery, next to Mora ice cream in downtown Poulsbo. The calendar is only mildly inappropriate, but extremely funny! It features friends of Dave's, not male models but regular guys. We'd like to thank Dave, Shawna and the brave Men of the Slippery Pig, who posed in the calendar!
2015 will be a crucial year to secure land in the Port Gamble Uplands Block. We are working hard to save the remaining 3300 acres of open space and trails in Port Gamble as well additional land in the Kitsap Forest and Bay Project. NKTA is also working on the purchase of a major regional trail link, to connect the Port Gamble Trails to NK Heritage Park, Kingston, Suquamish and Indianola.
NKTA has been fortunate to obtain generous project sponsorships. This year REI even funded tools to help our volunteers. But even an all volunteer non-profit where everyone works for free, has operating expenses; like our website, insurance & government filing fees. Trail projects on private property (like Millie's and most Port Gamble trails) are also tough to find Project sponsorship funds for. Next year, it's especially crucial to have non-project specific funds available to follow through on our plans to purchase a key trail link. NKTA operates on a shoestring budget, so any donation helps! Please help us in achieving these very important projects!
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We've had some huge victories to celebrate in 2014!
There is even more to do in 2015. Some of NKTA's 2015 work will include: