Organized by the Kitsap Community Foundation, this is an opportunity to leverage your donation to NKTA by increasing it with a match from both the Great Give sponsors, and increasing it again with a match from the organizers of this year's Lumberjack Endurance Run. If you give to NKTA on May 6, all these generous sponsors will pile on behind you and help us out even more. It's easy, it's online and it helps the trails a LOT! Look for more details in our next newsletter.
The first of the Kitsap Forest and Bay land acquisitions closed on February 12 and our County is the proud owner of 535 acres of forestland and 1.5 miles of Port Gamble shoreline, extending 1/2 mile across the highway and protected for the public FOREVER! But this is just the beginning - the first phase and 535 acre milestone of our visionary 6,700 acre Kitsap Forest & Bay conservation Project!
"This acquisition has been years in the making and is the beginning of a series of great things to come in 2014. We are lining up funding to protect additional lands from Kingston to Port Gamble as part of this preservation effort."
Kitsap County Commissioner Rob Gelder
AND yes, NKTA and many of you were a big part of this success, both with the years of community effort and in the last minute crowd funding campaign.
"This purchase is a prize that has been earned through nearly a decade of dedicated efforts by the local community."
Jon Rose, President, Olympic Property Group (Pope Resources)
"The many community partners involved in the Kitsap Forest & Bay Coalition have dedicated countless hours to help achieve this historic land purchase - handing out trail maps, speaking to community groups and marching in parades, and when it came down to the wire, the Coalition raised over $10,000 in three days to fill the final funding gap."
Great Peninsula Conservancy and Coalition Chair
In just 48 hours, our community exceeded the goal for online donations. Through the support of Poulsbo Marathon organizers, NKTA contributed $2,500, and a generous donation from the Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe put the project over the top. Thanks to Forterra, Great Peninsula Conservancy and Kitsap County for their tireless work, and for obtaining the grants through the WA state WWRP grant program, WA DOE, and the National Coastal Wetlands Program which made this possible.
With that accomplished, we'll continue right on working to purchase the land and trails in the Port Gamble Forest, North Kitsap Heritage Park Expansion, Divide Forest, and Hansville Forest. We still have over 6,000 more acres to save.
Great news for outdoor enthusiasts! The coalition known as the Kitsap Peninsula Water Trail Alliance recently received a National Park Service grant for the development and management program for the water trail . It's no secret that the Kitsap peninsula is surrounded by water, 371 miles of shoreline to be exact!
According to Dennis Oost, Kitsap's Trail Planner, the nine month grant provides technical expertise to develop a sustainable water trails management program that is consistent across jurisdictions. Sue Abbott from the National Park service helped NKTA with the NK String of Pearls Trail Plan and brings her expertise to Kitsap efforts again!
The Kitsap Peninsula Water Trails attracts recreation users from around the U.S. and provides significant economic benefit to Kitsap County. Patricia Graf-Hoke, Executive Director of Visit Kitsap Peninsula, and John Kuntz, owner of Olympic Outdoor Center, NKTA board member and creator of the water trail vision, are co-partners with Kitsap County on the water trails management program. They founded the Kitsap Peninsula Water Trails Alliance which includes representatives from local municipalities, tribes, government agencies, associations and business that will provide input on the project.
The Kitsap Peninsula Water Trails has applied to have the water trails designated part of the National Park Water Trails system. The Kitsap Peninsula Water Trail was recently added to the Washington State Water Trails and is now part of the 2000 mile Cascadia Marine Trail. Obtaining National Park Water Trails designation, would make the Kitsap Peninsula Water Trails the second largest National Park Water Trail in the United States and second water trail west of the Mississippi. This could help increase the visibility and popularity of our region as a water trails tourism destination and help local businesses.
NKTA is part of a dedicated coalition of partners working on a visionary effort, the Kitsap Forest & Bay Project, to conserve 6,700 acres of forestland and 1.5 miles of shoreline surrounding Port Gamble Bay. The community has a tremendous opportunity to conserve the land for all time, preserving the rich ecosystems and the recreational appeal of its trails.
We've raised nearly $4.6 million to purchase the first 535 acres of forest and beach on Port Gamble Bay. Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe has generously pledged a significant amount of money to this purchase.
At 535 acres, the Shoreline property contains extensive forestland, wetlands, 1.5 miles of Port Gamble Bay's untrammeled shoreline and extends a half mile inland to include popular trails. This remarkable property will be protected forever as a saltwater park - owned and maintained by Kitsap County. Protected for all time, the park will provide a place for families to explore on foot, bike or kayak. YOUR help is needed TODAY to raise $8,000 by February 3!
Due to Kitsap Forest & Bay Project's immense size, the coalition is tackling land acquisition in five blocks/phases. With your help, we will complete the first phase of the project with the conservation of the Port Gamble Bay Shoreline block. When that's accomplished, we'll continue right on to purchase the land and trails in the Port Gamble Forest, North Kitsap Heritage Park Expansion, Divide Forest and Hansville Forest.
We need YOUR help to raise $8,000 by February 3! Any funds raised beyond our immediate need for the shoreline will help purchase additional land in the Port Gamble forest.
Saving our SPECIAL places: Port Gamble Bay has been at the cultural heart of local tribes for eons -enriching tribal traditions that continue to this day. Port Gamble Bay's forests and bay draw thousands of outdoor recreationists annually - strengthening the local economy and promoting healthy lifestyles. Port Gamble Bay supports fish and wildlife that are critical to a healthy Puget Sound.
Why YOU can make a difference: Just $8,000 separates us from the reality of conserving 535 acres and 1.5 miles of Port Gamble Bay shoreline forever! By helping us raise just $8,000, you can be part of conserving not just this beautiful piece of the world, but also all the wonderful outdoor fun it supports. Please make your donation today!
Kitsap Forest & Bay Coalition: Our dedicated coalition represents an unprecedented partnership between state, local, tribal, environmental, and recreational organizations including: Kitsap County, Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe, Suquamish Tribe, Forterra, Great Peninsula Conservancy, Kitsap Audubon Society, North Kitsap Trails Association, Kitsap Economic Development Alliance, Visit Kitsap Peninsula, local and state agencies, and community members. We have been working for years to secure a vibrant future for these 6,700 acres on the Kitsap Peninsula.
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.