Community fundraising campaign reaches goal to preserve timber rights in Port Gamble park
When Kitsap County acquired Port Gamble Forest Heritage Park in 2017, the community raised funds to acquire the land, but could did not raise enough money for the timber rights on most of this “Upland Forest.” Rayonier, Inc. thus retained the right to harvest trees one time through 2042 and has so far harvested about 650 acres under the terms of the original agreement.
To preserve some of the remaining trees Forterra, in partnership with Our Forest Fund, the original Kitsap Forest & Bay Coalition, and Kitsap County launched a campaign on August 15 to
to acquire up to 756 acres of mature timber from Rayonier, Inc. The campaign targeted critical forest areas around valuable wetland habitat, older mature forest, existing trails, and the envisioned Sound-to-Olympics Trail. Despite having only 11 weeks the campaign succeeded in raising the almost $4 million needed from county, state, and anonymous donor. The amount includes some $500,000 required from community donors in local match. As of November 15, the campaign has closed on two of three transactions, transferring 687 acres of mature forest stands to Kitsap County. Phase three on the remaining 69 acres of timber rights will close by December 15.
Securing these forest stands through the purchase of timber rights assures that mature forests will exist in the near-term at these important locations. Nearly 450 donors and dozens of volunteers are to credit for the success of this campaign. "Clearly people place a high priority on conserving forests as crucial to wildlife habitat, quality of life, and mitigating the climate crisis."
Give Back Day Event
Nov. 2022 workparty
Port Gamble Forest Heritage Park
Rotary continues PGFHP Bluff Trail Imprvements
After adding benches at several overlooks they got together and iproved the parking lot for their work clearing back brush and installing benches at three scenic locations along the Port Gamble Forest Heritage Park's "Bluff Trail". As the name suggests, this trail provides a scenic and relatively flat pedestrian only trail overlooking Gamble Bay. This is now one of the nost assessable family oriented hikes is the Park.
All-terrain wheelchairs available to borrow
Parks, trails, and beaches are now more accessible with all-terrain
Wheelchairs. The Kitsap County Accessible Communities Advisory Committee is excited to announce a partnership with Bainbridge Island Parks and Recreation District to provide two Hippocampe All-Terrain Wheelchairs to borrow at no charge with a small refundable damage deposit. The chairs can be transported to other areas of the county. For more information or to reserve a chair, visit the Bainbridge Island Parks Gearbank at https://biparks.org/gearbank/
Landscapes of Change EPISODE 3: Port Gamble Forest Heritage Park
Pacific Horticulture has just published a 15-minute video with photos and movie clips of Port Gamble Forest Heritage Park with commentary by community leaders. The history through which these 3,500 acres were conserved by visionary community fundraising is highlighted. And the amazing ecological restoration opportunity for habitat and compatible human use is featured.
Go to the video with this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yWPl_xtbrwA&t=0s
North STO Feasibility Study Update
In the last newsletter we reported that the County Public Works Department had published an RFP (request for proposals) for a planning and engineering study to select a preferred route for the North STO Segment connecting Kingston and Port Gamble. That contract has now been approved by the County commissioners and is expected to take 12-18 months to complete. This makes the 3rd and final STO Port Gamble to Kingston routing study.
Speaking of the STO
The Sound to Olympics Trail was featured this February’s Leafline newsletter. Leafline is a regional organization dedicated to connecting the trails network across the Central Puget Sound to provide equitable access, health benefits and recreational
opportunities for all.
The picture above shows NKTA board Members Linda Berry-Maraist and Doug Maraist holding new STO Wayfaring signs. Although the STO is a long way from complete NKTA has been putting the wayfaring signs up where possible to raise community awareness about the future route.
Go to http://leaflinetrails.org/ for more information on Leafline
100 Acres Acquired to Expand the Hansville Greenway!
GPC's newest acquisition, outlined here in orange, adds 100 acres to the Greenway, which is owned by Kitsap County Parks and maintained by the Hansville Greenway Association.
Port Gamble Forest
Heritage Park Logging
You will see logging in areas of the PGFHP marked in red; please stay off closed trails
during that operation.
*** New Board Members Needed ***
NKTA fulfills several functions in carrying out it’s mission to improve non-motorized transportation in Kitsap County. Our most visible role is to plan and organize trail improvement projects. However, that is only the tip of the iceberg. Our most important functions entail advocating for regional non-motorized transportation routes like the Sound to Olympics Trail. Examples include liaising with like-minded organizations like the Heritage Park stewards and monitoring local government agencies to ensure that they include non-motorized transportation in their long-range plans.
Only 11 or NKTA’s 14 board positions are currently filled to accomplish these tasks. If you have an interest in promoting trails in our community, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or talk to a board member. The main requirements are a love of trails and a willingness to help expand them throughout North Kitsap.
Kitsap County partnered with the Leafline Trails Coalition, in partnership with King, Pierce and Snohomish counties, and other trail advocates, to connect nearly 450 miles of trails throughout the central Puget Sound region, including the Sound to Olympic Trail. Kitsap County Commissioner Rob Gelder said that. “Being a part of the Leafline Trails Coalition is a fantastic opportunity to partner with neighboring counties to expand awareness of non-motorized commuter routes, improve public health and increase accessibility to our natural resources.”
Public Facilities District Grant
Last fall the Kitap Public Facilities District awarded $1,697,556 to Kitsap County for Port Gamble Forest Heritage Park Projects: development of a comprehensive Park master plan, construction a mountain bike ride park, design and permitting of the Sound to Olympics Trail and installing parking, bathrooms and other amenities. Work is progressing despite the Covid-19 quarantines.
An STO Construction Grant
Earlier steps in developing the Sound to Olympics trail are start to show results. In 2018 the County completed a feasibility study for the STO route through the Port Gamble Forest Heritage Park and last fall the Public Facilities District grant provided some funding for STO design work. With that foundation in place Kitsap County recently
obtained a nearly $2 million in federal grant towards construction of a northern portion of that trail within the Park. Design and permitting is expected to get underway in 2022.
REI Grant for Trails
REI has provided us with a $7,500 grant for trail improvements. Projects will include completing the trail overlooking Gamble Bay and adding safety railing, benches and a sign commemorating the area's history. Also included is work on upland trails in the Port Gamble Heritage Park and signage along the intended Sound to Olympic Trail route.