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.
On May 29 in front of a crowd of over 1800 at the Forterra annual breakfast at the Seattle Convention Center, Pope Resources and Forterra signed a Purchase and Sale agreement on over 500 acres and 1.5 miles of Port Gamble shoreline property. Retired Congressman Norm Dicks, characterized the signing as "one of the outstanding achievements in recent days for the environment in our state."
"This agreement is the first stroke in making an audacious vision a reality. It is a great credit to the many elected leaders, tribes, agency staff, community stakeholders and the landowner who are acting to ensure a positive legacy for the future." said Michelle Connor, Forterra Executive Vice President. "The hard part now is for people to understand that this is a whole connected system that won't thrive unless we protect the forest land behind it."
Surrounded by local leaders including Congressman Kilmer, former Congressman Dicks, North Kitsap Commissioner Gelder and Tribal Chairmen Jeromy Sullivan and Leonard Forsman, Martha Konsgaard hailed "the first acquisition in the Kitsap Forest and Bay Project as a milestone in the larger project, which forms the beginning of a response to this ongoing challenge of our time."
Photo source Forterra.org, © Danny Nolan Photography
"The Kitsap Forest and Bay Project is a win for the environment and our community. We look forward to continuing to work together to achieve great outcomes for the remaining forest lands" siad Jon Rose, President of Olympic Property Group. (The Kitsap Forest and Bay Project includes close to 7,000 acres)
The shoreline land acquisition is scheduled to close later this summer but is dependent on state grants and the state budget still in play during this extended legislative session. NKTA supported those shoreline grant applications by preparing a conceptual Port Gamble Shoreline Trail Proposal available here.
On June 11th the North Kitsap Trails Association celebrated the opening of Millie's Trail with Millie Dove Muller and her extended family on Millie's 97th birthday. Millie and North Kitsap Commissioner Rob Gelder, cut the ribbon for this new trail providing public trail access across Millie's private property to the nearly 60 miles of trails on Pope Resources Port Gamble land. Though in a wheel chair herself, Millie says, "I just want people to enjoy my land."
The Poulsbo Historical Society, family and NKTA partnered to create historic signage telling the special history of the six generations of family that have been part of Big Valley history since Millie's grandparents settled on the farm after the Klondike Gold Rush. Millie's mother hiked over Chilkoot Pass into the Yukon with her family at the age of 4! Millie's own words and family photos tell her story of growing up on the farm & the forest trails nearly a century ago.
An IMBA team from Colorado and Oregon spent four days in North Kitsap teaching local volunteers and trail leaders both "Better living through trails", and helpful construction techniques for how to build sustainable trails that minimize environmental impacts, trail maintenance and user conflicts. The all day hands on workshop on the Port Gamble Trails filled w/ 50 attendees, before we could even advertise it! Thanks to Brian Kilpatrick of Ride Kitsap! for organizing the event, the IMBA team and Peninsula Subaru in Bremerton who both sponsored the Trail Crew's visit and gave a generous donation to NKTA. Subaru even offers discounts to ongoing IMBA members through their VIP program.
Ride Kitsap has a great Facebook site with fun photos and is an ongoing resource for mountain cyclists who want to "share trail love" by getting involved in Kitsap trail construction projects.
The fun and successful weekend was capped by a National Trails Day party celebrating the Port Gamble Trails at the Slippery Pig Brewery in Poulsbo. Several hundred people attended and an array of raffle prizes including a Novarra bike by REI were donated by REI, MSR, Thermarest, Bicycle Works, Classic Cycle, Bainbridge Cycle, RAX , Silverdale Cycle and Barn with a View. It was a perfect chance to sample the best of our local craft beer including kegs donated by Valholl, Sound, Hood Canal and Der Blokken Breweries. Over $4,000 was raised for NKTA--so many thanks to IMBA, Ride Kitsap, Brian Kilpatrick, Peninsula Subaru, REI and all the sponsors and donors that helped make the weekend such a success!
REI is coming to Kitsap and even before their Silverdale store opens in October, is already a great community partner! REI has granted $10,000 for projects in NK Heritage Park--the first of our three projects was a May 4th competitive noxious weed pull with high school students. Forty five Kingston High students competed for cash prizes for their school organizations by racing to remove Scotch Broom from NK Heritage Park. Monster piles of the noxious weeds provided a great work out for football team as they faced off against the debate team, Honor Society and the ambitious Junior Class. Thanks to REI for providing the inspiration, prizes and pizza, Dana Coggon and Lori Raymaker from Kitsap County, and all the students and volunteers who made this fun event happen. Coming projects are trail improvements in the park and a new trail map.
NKTA teamed up with Great Peninsula Conservancy to apply for a Birkenfeld grant to obtain land and funds for a trail corridor across the Divide, creating a trail link between the NK Heritage Park almost to the Port Gamble Block. We'll hear the outcome in June. GPC has been a great partner, leading local efforts of an array of partners supporting the Kitsap Forest and Bay conservation efforts. Their spring dinner is coming up May 9 at Kiana Lodge in North Kitsap. Follow this link for more.
Kitsap Forest and Bay (KFBP) conservation efforts have been in the news a lot lately. Several deadlines are approaching; both the March 28 2013 deadline for the option to conserve all 7,000 acres, and the State deadline on the Dept. of Ecology's (DOE) shoreline acquisition funds. The DOE issued a March 22 press release announcing an agreement with Pope Resources on the Port Gamble Bay cleanup. This clarifies that $2 million has been allocated to the Port Gamble shoreline acquisition and Pope Resources has agreed to $17 million to cleanup of Port Gamble Bay. The final disposition of the remaining $5 million will be the subject of future discussions. So we have $2 million dollars in good news, but not full resolution on the DOE funding.
Pope Resources/OPG has a long history of being wonderful community partners, allowing public trail access on their lands for decades. We're grateful for the work that has gone into finding a positive outcome for the community and Port Gamble Bay. We also want to thank Congressman Kilmer, Senator Rolfes and Representatives Hansen and Appleton for their efforts.
In other KFBP news, a U. S. Fish and Wildlife grant for $1 million towards the shoreline acquisition was announced in late January. Much of the KFBP grant efforts depend on how the State Legislature funds the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program (WWRP) this year. Grants to expand North Kitsap Heritage Park, the shoreline acquisition and the Divide, all depend on WWRP grants. If the complex combination of all grant finding efforts fall into place, $12-15 million towards land acquisition could be available. We're hoping for good news.
But even if all of those efforts are successful, much of the land that is most used for trails is without funding sources. The KFBP coalition has considered tough choices to further the goal of preserving as much land as possible, including some continued timber harvest. In late January, the coalition unanimously adopted the following resolution.
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.