A $10,000 grant from REI funded three projects, including $6,000 for trail improvements in North Kitsap Heritage Park during October and a spring Scotch Broom pull competition. The funding for heavy equipment to help on the trails, allowed much more work to be completed by our trail volunteers. Water control improvements were made on over two miles of trail, including a portion of the popular Spine Line trail which used to have flooding problems. This will make rainy season hikes in the Heritage Park even more enjoyable! Many, many thanks to REI for the generous contribution that enabled us to get this work done.
There's plenty to celebrate and about 1200 acres of good news; progress towards acquisition of 535 acres and 1.5 miles of Port Gamble shoreline, the 366 acre North Kitsap Heritage Park expansion and approximately 180 acres of the Divide, plus adjacent conservation lands. Forterra, Great Peninsula Conservancy and Kitsap County have worked hard to secure grants to earn that good news. But that leaves a big gap to reach the goal of conserving 6690 acres. Unfortunately much of that gap is on NKTA's highest priority conservation project; saving the 3316 acres of the Port Gamble land and trails. Out of a $5 million state DOE appropriation we'd been told was for Port Gamble land acquisition, a heartbreaking small $500,000-770,000 is currently committed to the Port Gamble forested uplands. We're still working with DOE and hope to improve that, but the loss of those DOE funds is an enormous setback to Kitsap Forest and Bay conservation efforts.
We've learned there is extremely limited grant funding that could be used to preserve the forested watershed and trails around Port Gamble Bay. State grants focus on shoreline, wetlands and sensitive habitat, not forests. It's not known exactly how big the funding gap is for the Port Gamble uplands watershed, but it's likely that 2/3 to 3/4 of that land has no funding. NKTA supports the idea of exploring an array of options to reduce the costs of land acquisition. The following statement was unanimously supported at a KFB meeting:
In order to further the goal of preserving the 7,000 acres of the Kitsap Forest & Bay Project for the public forever, we encourage the KFBP Principals to explore the idea of allowing Pope Resources (or its successor) an additional timber harvest rotation to decrease land acquisition costs, while replanting a mix of native species and transitioning to a sustainably managed forest.
NKTA's goal is to preserve as much of the land and trails as open space for forever, and we're willing to accept compromises to leave that legacy for future generations.
As an all volunteer non-profit, NKTA prides itself on getting things done on a shoestring, but we've stretched that shoe string pretty darn tight! Recently we had two funding requests we really wanted to say yes to; more trail improvement projects and funding towards the Port Gamble Shoreline land acquisition. We're also working on the purchase of a major trail link. We simply don't have the funds for all the great projects we're working on.
This year has been full of accomplishments and great headlines:
Your donations help our volunteers build and maintain trails, support land conservation efforts, post trail signs, maintain our website, design and print maps and apply for grants. Memberships are crucial to what NKTA can accomplish and make a great holiday gift. Joining NKTA helps demonstrates the number of people who care about trails.
Want to learn more about NKTA? Read some of the 135 articles on our website.
The Marathon offers a variety of runs and benefits North Kitsap Trails Association. All NKTA proceeds will go to trails & efforts to save the Port Gamble Trails. You can choose between a full or half marathon, 10k, relay, kid's runs or you can run the marathon with your friends as a marathon relay team! Run, have lots of fun, get in shape and help NKTA create more trails. Learn more or register online.
Forterra has signed a purchase and sale agreement with Pope Resources to acquire 366 acres of forest land to add to the existing 448 acre North Kitsap Heritage Park. The park and trails have been built and maintained by volunteers and offer trails for walking, mountain biking or horseback riding. There are about 8.5 miles of trails in and near the park. Upon closing, Forterra will transfer ownership of the property to Kitsap County, protecting the 366 acres in perpetuity and expanding the park to 814 acres. "With terrific trails, eco-tourism, critical wildlife habitat and more, the North Kitsap Heritage Park is an invaluable resource," said Kitsap County Commissioner Rob Gelder. "Expansion of the park is a win-win for Kitsap County and our environment, as well as the realization of a long term community goal."
The Heritage Park parking lot is off of Miller Bay Road, north of Indianola Rd. The trails are well marked and maps are available on NKTA's website. The park is also accessible from Kitsap Way (park on east side), White Horse Golf Course (look for trail parking signs) and Norman Road (park near West Kingston Road).
This is the second purchase and sale agreement signed as part of the Kitsap Forest & Bay Project, the effort to conserve 6,700 acres of north Kitsap forestland and 1.5 miles of shoreline near Port Gamble Bay. Forterra signed an agreement for the purchase of the 564 acre Port Gamble Shoreline Block in May. Still remaining are the 3,316 acre Port Gamble Upland Block, 664 acres Divide Block and 1784 acres south of Hansville.
Preserving the popular Port Gamble trails and uplands is a top priority of NKTA and at this point there are not the funds to do so. Forterra has until the end of the year to sign purchase and sale agreements on those blocks, and until March to close on the acquisitions.
REI has already begun giving back to our local community and they haven't even opened! REI donated $10,000 to NKTA for North Kitsap Heritage Park projects and we're putting it to work on an array of trail projects this fall. The Grand opening celebration in Silverdale will have a free continental breakfast and special prizes for the first 200 visitors on the mornings of Oct. 4, 5 and 6th. Learn more.
We encourage you to attend the WSDOT Open house this Wednesday 8/21/13 5-7 p.m. to call for facilities which are at least as safe as the existing condition. We believe the current design of a double lane roundabout proposed by WSDOT for the SR 305/ Suquamish Way intersection by the casino would put cyclists, pedestrians and transit users at greater risk. US Dept. of Transportation studies show double lane roundabouts increase hazards for cyclists.* This intersection has 21,000 cars a day, is a primary cycling route with no alternatives, a transit connection and pedestrian connection for Suquamish.
NKTA has wonderfully effective volunteers, here are some 2012 accomplishments:
Kitsap Forest and Bay Conservation efforts: NKTA wrote the "Port Gamble Shoreline Trail Plan" to support the successful grant applications that will conserve over 500 acres & 1.5 miles of shoreline. NKTA proposed and funded the first printings of the "Save the Land and Trails!", Port Gamble trail map brochure. Now on its' 5th printing, close to 25,000 have been handed out! NKTA spearheaded the effort to fund & install 17 different Trail map signs on the Port Gamble Trails. (Thanks to Pope Resources, NW TrailRiders & Back Country Horsemen.)
Kitsap Forest and Bay Project: NKTA continues to be active in efforts to conserve almost 7,000 acres of land and trails. NKTA partnered with the Great Peninsula Conservancy to submit a grant proposal for a 2 mile long trail corridor across the Divide, to link the NK Heritage Park on Miller Bay Road to Port Gamble-Suquamish Road near the Port Gamble Trails. Finding a route to avoid most wetlands was quite the challenge that took many tries and sucked off many intrepid explorers' boots! Our application wasn't funded, but the efforts of 39 volunteers who worked on the Birkenfeld Heritage Trail proposal, will be put to good use. We're exploring other options and looking for new grant opportunities. Already over $500,000 has been lined up toward conserving a portion of the unique Divide wetlands. NKTA volunteers have now danced down streets in eight local parades to publicize the KFBP land conservation opportunity. Last year we dressed as a 20' octopus and a flying thunderbird, but this year we went as a forest of crazy trees; all while handing out thousands of "Save the Land and Trails " brochures.
Environmental Stewardship: NKTA volunteers built a "Beaver Deceiver" on OPG's property adjacent to the NK Heritage Park. This keeps beavers from damming the culvert, stops flood damage to the road and trail and keeps beavers from being trapped. Evan Stoll and volunteers tackled this project in January! NKTA's REI grant funded a Scotch Broom removal competition where Kingston High School clubs competed for cash prizes.
Trail Projects: NK Heritage Park Steward volunteers completed the Boundary boardwalk, are planning parking improvements and working on array of trail projects using REI grant funds. Community members are already enjoying Millie's Trail, connecting Big Valley Road to the Port Gamble Trails. This special trail was dedicated to Millie Dove Muller on her 97th birthday, with her extended family celebrating as she cut the ribbon. NKTA partnered w/ the Poulsbo Historical Society to showcase the Dove family history of six generations on Big Valley.
Ride Kitsap is still celebrating becoming the brand new West Sound chapter of Evergreen Mountain Bike Association. Come join this spirited crew for Biketoberfest Saturday 9/28, on the Port Gamble Uplands trails from 10-5. Biketoberfest will have a poker ride, kids events, sausage stand, bike demos, a beer garden and over $1,000 in raffle prizes. Learn more.