KFBP is the effort by a large coalition to conserve close to 7,000 acres of land and 1.8 miles of shoreline stretching from Port Gamble to Kingston. There is six months left before the 2013 deadline.
Work accomplished: Coalition staff at Forterra (formerly Cascade Land Conservancy), the Great Peninsula Conservancy and Kitsap County have applied for six grants; three on the Port Gamble shoreline, two for the North Kitsap Heritage Park Expansion and one for the "Divide". Outreach committee volunteers have worked hard to get the word out that the 7,000 acres of land and over 60 miles trails are at risk of being lost. They've marched in four parades with a 20' Octopus and flying thunderbird, publicized the project at 20 events, spoken to 15 community and business groups, distributed close to 5,000 brochures (featuring a Port Gamble trail map) and posted fliers throughout north Kitsap. Their parade entry was on the front page of the Kitsap Sun. The North Kitsap Herald has published a series of articles on the KFBP trails, titled "Trail Mix". If you haven't already, check out the KFBP website, sign up as a supporter and follow the project on Facebook or Twitter.
Good news: We just heard good news on the grants to expand North Kitsap Heritage Park! A $400,000 grant from the U.S. Forest Service's Community Forest program (one of 10 grants nationwide) puts Kitsap County closer to its goal of expanding the Park by 380 acres. The county was previously awarded $100,000 in state Salmon Recovery Funding and, another request for $392,000 under the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program has been ranked #2 in its category. Funding will be decided by the State Legislature early in 2013. An appraisal is in process but a previous County appraisal on the Heritage Park Expansion property was $1.4 million, so we're optimistic that the park will be expanded. The Park was opened and is maintained by volunteers.
Though nothing is finalized, we are also optimistic about the acquisition of the 1.8 miles of Port Gamble shoreline. If Pope Resources and the Dept. of Ecology come to agreement on the cleanup of the bay, the state has pledged $7 million toward land acquisition funding. The S'Klallam tribe will share a portion Federal mitigation funds which could provide up to $3 million for acquisition. It addition, three shoreline grants have been applied for.
Clear challenges and next steps: There have been no grant sources identified for 70-80 % of the 7,000 acres (Port Gamble uplands and trails, Hansville block or most of the Divide.) This includes the great majority of the Pope Resources land with trails that are used by the community. Discussions are continuing about methods to lower the acquisition costs of the property; including timber deeds (allowing the land to continue being logged), conservation easements and other compromises.
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