Illahee 2/23/18 Photos, Stewards Clear Trees, Kitsap Sun Story re County Park Stewards, Homeless Camp Cleanup, Almira Apartment Plans, Wildlife Snow Tracks


Stewards Clear Trees.  Again Illahee Preserve volunteers come through, and before the snow, clearing trees blocking trails in the Preserve.
Kitsap Sun Story re County Park Stewards.  The Kitsap Sun front page story on Thursday (2/22/18), linked below, shows the impact that volunteers, like those mentioned above, have around Kitsap County.   While the county has been acquiring new properties, Parks staffing has decreased, nessitating volunteers to step up and help, and they are doing so.  And with the help of the East Bremerton Rotary and the Washington Youth Academy, the Illahee Preserve is a leader in the number of volunteer hours recorded of the last few years.
Homeless Camp Cleanup.  We noticed cleanup equipment at the former homeless camp between Fred Meyers and the Illahee Preserve.
Almira Apartment Plans.  Below is one of the proposals for the low income Almira Apartment complex being planned for the property.  This proposal is a combination of 1, 2, and 3 bedroom apartments, totalling 93 units.
Wildlife Snow Tracks.  The beauty of snow is we can also see where the wildlife have been, like the deer tracks below.
Jim Aho

Illahee 2/20/18 Photos, WYA Work Party, Cold North Wind Downed Preserve Trees, Cleanup Planned for Tuesday, Illahee Forest Preserve Non-Profit Meets Tuesday

Photos.  Some, like Cliff who forwarded us these photos, had their snow shovels ready this past weekend.

WYA Work Party.  On Friday (2/16/18) a platoon of 53 Washington Youth Academy (WYA) cadets worked with Preserve Stewards and Rotary members moving wood chips to trails, moving logs and working on a new trail.  The work parties are coordinated by the East Bremerton Rotary Club.  
Cold North Wind Downed Preserve Trees.  Some big trees came down this weekend in the Preserve with a number of trails impacted.  Here are a few photos.
Cleanup Planned for Tuesday.  On Tuesday morning Illahee Stewards will begin work clearing the trails.  Last year roughly 3000 volunteer hours were recorded by the Parks Department for the Illahee Preserve for volunteers like the Stewards and the Washington Youth Academy work parties.  That is why the Kitsap County Parks Department Director, Jim Dunwiddie, is so appreciative of all the Stewardship groups, like the Preserve’s.  Without volunteer help it would be hard to keep Kitsap County’s parks maintained and open.
Illahee Forest Preserve Non-Profit Meets Tuesday.  If you want to see what the Illahee Preserve’s non-profit is doing to help, you are invited to attend its monthly meeting which is Tuesday (2/20/18) at 6:30 pm at the Kitsap Pavilion meeting room, at the southeast corner of the building.  The public is always invited.
Jim Aho

Illahee 2/4/18 Wrong Bird Identified — Black Turnstone not Surfbird, King Tides, Community Ditch Cleanup, Local Blossoms

Wrong Bird Identified – Black Turnstone not Surfbird .  I misidentified the shorebird in the last Illahee Update.  I was so happy to see what I thought was a Surfbird I didn’t closely examine its close cousin the Black Turnstone.  If that wasn’t bad enough I had a photo in a book that shows the two look alikes side by side, including an easy giveaway, the color of their feet.  The Black Turnstone is the bird on the right and has purple tinted colored feet.  A Surfbird has yellow feet.  Thanks to Chris for quickly catching my error.

King Tides.  We noticed the Black Turnstones when trying to capture the height of the first King Tide in January (1/5/18) by photographing the concrete stairway at the Port of Illahee dock to use as a reference point.  Without strong winds or extreme low pressure all the recent 13 foot plus tides have not seemed excessively high, and come up to the third step under the top landing. 
Community Ditch Cleanup.  When this ditch at the end of Hicks Ave got clogged the neighbors gathered this past Saturday morning and cleaned it out.  The water in now flowing freely down the ditch and into the culvert as can be seen from the last photo taken today.
Local Blossoms.  Mostly end of January photos of local plants.
Jim Aho

Illahee 2/3/18 Surfbirds, Global Heat Map Articles, Area Strava Maps, Preserve Trails, FM Homeless Camps, OC Speaker Report

Surfbirds.  This is a first for us, Surfbirds in Illahee.  They are normally found on rocky areas along the coast or the San Juans.  Some interesting information from the website


Surfbird: This species breeds in rocky mountain tundra habitats throughout much of Alaska and the western Yukon Territory. Outside of its breeding season, it can be found on rocky shores along most of the Pacific coast, from southeastern Alaska and British Columbia south to Tierra del Fuego in southern Chile.

  • The Surfbird is usually classified in a genus of its own, as Aphriza virgata, but recent data suggests it is very close genetically to the Red and Great Knots and should be included in Calidris genus. Indeed, the Great Knot looks similar to a larger, longer-billed, somewhat darker surfbird.
  • The USS Surfbird (AM-383) is one of 173 Auk Class minesweepers built during World War II for service in the United States Navy. She was eventually decommissioned and sold. Renamed the Helenka B, she was involved in the March 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill clean up.
  • They remain on the nest until the last moment, and then fly up in the intruding animal’s face, a defense mechanism used on humans as well.
  • A group of surfbirds are collectively known as a “board” and a “kahuna” of surfbirds.
Global Heat Map Articles.  This week all the local papers (Seattle Times, Tacoma News Tribune, & Kitsap Sun) covered the story of security concerns with troops using exercise trackers after Strava published the Global Heat Map.  Local runners and bike riders have been using Strava for years to track their activities so we checked the site out to see what was happening locally.  This first map shows Illahee and across to Bainbridge Island.
Strava IP-GLP
Area Strava Maps.  This next map focuses in on Illahee and shows both bicycle and running activity.  The website is:
Strava - Illahee
Preserve Trails.  This screen shot shows the program options with the Illahee Preserve on the right showing there are many using tracking devices as they run the trails.  If we tracked bicycle use the trails don’t light up as bright showing running is the predominate trail activity.  Strava is a free cell phone app, with a paid enhanced version available.
FM Homeless Camps.  Another Kitsap Sun article on Friday (2/2/18) shows the cleanup of the homeless camp across from the Illahee Preserve beginning.  We went through the camp site on Saturday and there was still lots of garbage and a few campers.  Below are a few photos showing the mess, which will hopefully be less after this weekend.  This is one reason homeless camping is not allowed in the Preserve.
OC Speaker Report.  It was good to see at least four Preserve volunteers attending the OC presentation by Amy Lawrence on Thursday, and to hear what students are learning about the natural resources we are blessed with in this area.
Jim Aho

Illahee 1/28/18 New Preserve Signs, New Trail, Friday’s Front Page Story, Saturday’s Front Page Story, Thursday OC Speaker

New Preserve Signs.  If you haven’t driven by the Preserve on Riddell or Almira recently this sign will be new to you.  Otherwise you likely noticed about 20 of them around the border of the Preserve.

New Trail.  About the same time we reported on a new trail being planned, it was opened up for those willing to traverse a rough trail.
Friday’s Front Page Story.  The reason for the signs and the new trail became evident when reading Friday’s Kitsap Sun front page story.  The camp they are clearing is directly across the road from the Illahee Preserve. 
Saturday’s Front Page Story.  And then on Saturday many Illahee waterfront residents saw what they have been aware of for years that Navy SEALs have been using local waters for excercises.  
Thursday OC Speaker.  This Thursday (2/1/18) the Olympic College Speaker Series begins with Amy Lawrence presenting “Environmental Learning Through Local Action.”  Sometimes Amy uses the Preserve for class outings.  Preserve stewards are planning on attending.
OC Feb Amy
Jim Aho

Illahee 1/25/18 Eurasian Wigeon, Illahee Preserve Trail Work, Illahee Store Cleanup Grant Ranks #16

Eurasian Wigeon.  How do we know the same flock of American wigeons come year after year?  We think is because we have seen one Eurasian wigeon every year for years in the local flock that frequents the Illahee waterfront.  We haven’t noticed its mate this year and we haven’t seen any offspring so we will keep watching for it and reporting on this unusual visitor until he stops coming.

Illahee Preserve Trail Work.  A new trail has been approved for the Illahee Preserve and the next week this group was seen working on it.  New trails in the Preserve go through an intensive review by everyone concerned to make sure they meet all the various established parameters, one of which is separation from other trails, and potential or future use, both of which were considered as the forested area between the Preserve and Fred Meyers is slated for clearing soon and the building of a multifamily housing units.  When the trail is ready the access areas will be opened and there will likely be a ribbon cutting as the trail is a half mile in length and will require a major effort to complete it.
Illahee Store Cleanup Grant Ranks #16.  We noticed the Port of Illahee scored #16 on the Pollution Liability Insurance Agency’s Loan & Grant program to clean up contaminated sites.  The Port approved a resolution that they would try and purchase the abandoned Illahee Store should they be approved for a grant.  10 million dollars was allocated this year, with up to one million per site, so while funds may not be available this year if every site put in for the maximum allowable, they would be next of the list the following year as the list is not reshuffled.  On the other hand, it is possible it could happen this year, if the 10 million makes it to #16.  Before anything can happen the Port would need to purchase the store at a likely sheriff’s sale, if and when it takes place.
PLIA Ranking List
Jim Aho

Illahee 1/4/18 Photos, Kitsap Sun Cougar Article, Illahee Facebook, Preserve Wood Chips, Port of Illahee Meeting Time Change, Friday Piano Concert

Photos.  The first photo is of a male Barrow’s Goldeneye that seems to prefer salt water in the winter.  It is primarily a Northwest duck that lives and has its nests in trees in Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia.  And as such its young must drop down from the nest when they are young.  So where does it get its name?  The following quote is from “Birds of Seattle and Puget Sound”:  “This northwestern duck bears the name of an Englishman who never visited the region.  Sir John Barrow was an early 19th-century explorer intent on finding a passage through the Arctic.  Although he never completed his lifelong mission, his name also graces a number of important Arctic landmarks.”

Kitsap Sun Cougar Article.  Great to see the Illahee area cougar stories made the front page of the Kitsap Sun on 1/2/18 which collaborated the sightings reported on the Illahee Facebook site.
couger sun article
Illahee Facebook.  The Illahee Facebook page has been a great addition to connecting the community with timely and emerging events, from cougar sightings to auto accidents to chickens in the road (posted earlier today).  Thanks to Steve and Connie for starting it!
Preserve Wood Chips.  Time goes by quickly and last year’s left over wood chips were deteriorating in their piles so they were distributed around the Almira parking lot.  New chips have arrived and are ready for this year’s work parties.  Rumor has it a new trail is being planned that will be a great addition to the great existing trail system in the Preserve.
Port of Illahee Meeting Time Change.  A new meeting time of 6:30 pm was approved at the December Port meeting, necessitating another change to their sign which should be up soon.
Friday Piano Concert.  Thanks to Susan for letting us know about this concert on Friday (1/5/18).
piano concert
Jim Aho

Illahee 12/29/17 Photos, Preserve 2018 Plans, Community Leading Efforts, Donations and Grant Support Required, RMD Donations Received, New Tax Law Impact on Donations, CPA Advice – Donate in 2017, Other Reported Donations, Questions?

Photos.  Thanks to Cliff for this photo taken two weeks ago (12/13/17) from his back yard near Illahee State Park.  A similar photo was on the front page of the Kitsap Sun (12/15/17) with the caption “A fallstreak hole, also known as a hole punch cloud, appeared over East Bremerton on Wednesday afternoon.  The cloud formation can occur when water droplets in certain clouds freeze suddenly and fall, leaving a hole.”

Another front page article ( in today’s CK Reporter (12/29/17) was about Zachary Darner who with his family walks in the Illahee Preserve nearly daily.  Thanks to Zachary for his toy donation successes!
Zachary Darner
Preserve 2018 Plans.  This map shows the ambitious plans for the Preserve this upcoming year.
Illahee Map Labels Updated Sep 2017 8x11 (1)
Community Leading Efforts.  These are local community efforts with help and support from the Kitsap County Commissioners and the Parks Department.
Donations and Grant Support Required.  Donations are required in addition to grants as state RCO grants require 50% matches, which is why the Illahee Forest Preserve non-profit is asking for financial support.  With the Timbers Edge II project failing to obtain a RCO grant in 2017, Kitsap County is reportedly looking to provide half of the $870,000 purchase price through the Conservation Futures account to help secure the purchase.
RMD Donations Received.  This past week two Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) checks for $950 and $1,000 were received to help, with hopefully more coming in.
New Tax Law Impact on Donations.  The new tax law that goes into effect in 2018 will lower tax rates and doubles the standard deduction amount to $24,000 (up from $12,700) which means there will be less of a tax incentive to donate in 2018.
CPA Advice – Donate in 2017.  We checked with a CPA who concurred it will be best for most to donate anticipated 2018 donations in 2017.  That means they need to either be post marked by 12/31/17 if mailed, or delivered by 12/31/17.
Other Reported Donations.  The Illahee Forest Preserve (IFP) treasurer noted in addition to the RMDs a $500 donation came in this week.  And this afternoon a call was received by a donor who noted his company would double his gift of $400 that he wants to give through the Kitsap Community Foundation.  His gift would then turn into $800 for the IFP.  And later another donation of $4,000 was reported coming in on Saturday.  Thanks to all those who have caught the vision!
Questions?  We have been asked to provide the above financial information and realize that not everyone is able to help.  But for those who want to help, now is the time if your tax situation warrants.  Respond to this email if you would like more information or information on how to get checks in before the end of 2017.
Jim Aho

Illahee 12/26/17 Photos, Preserve Birthday Party, Cougar Report, Homeless Camp by Keller House, Power Line Fire Smell, Power Line Dumping, Donation Request

Photos.  If you have some good snow scenes we will include them in our next Update.

_DSC1576 (1)
Preserve Birthday Party.  Where 7 year old Brenden wanted to have his special day.

Cougar Report.  The Illahee Community Facebook page posted a cougar sighting a few days ago.  We copied some recent postings for those not on Facebook.
Cougar Sighting Location
Homeless Camp by Keller House.  Between Fred Meyers and the Illahee Preserve there is a major homeless camp on Kitsap Housing Authority property.  Word on the street says once a housing project is approved on the property, the camp will be cleaned up and it is expected they will be looking to relocate to the Preserve.  Preserve Stewards are hopeful a solution will be found before that happens.  The photo below is a small abandoned camp site found on Saturday.
Power Line Fire Smell.  The smell from the power line fire earlier this year is pervasive over a large area and at times as far away as Sunset. 
Power Line Dumping.  Since the fire there are several dump sites that were discovered along the power line roadway.
Donation Request.  We found a new donation request posting on the kiosk at the Preserve’s Almira parking lot.  Looks like something from the last Update.
Jim Aho

Illahee 12/12/17 Photos, Port Meeting, Huckleberries, Homeless Camps, Wetland Map, Timbers Edge II, Major Contributions Needed, Preserve Meeting, Tax Deductions & RMDs, Does the Preserve Need Financial Help?, RCO Visit, Preserve Meeting




Coyote Report.  “A pack of coyotes has been causing a massive evening opera outside our place for the last five days.  I am very careful not to let my dog outside alone.  You may want to put something in your updates warning pet owners to be on the alert.”

Wednesday Port Meeting.  Residents are encouraged to attend the Port of Illahee meetings which are held at the Port of Brownsville’s Annex (until the Illahee Store can be acquired).  On the agenda is the Port’s lawyer, Ken Bagwell, presenting actions needed to acquire the Illahee Store.  Also on the agenda is the possible changing of the meeting time (currently 5 pm) to allow more workers and commuters to attend.”


Huckleberries.  We came across someone eating huckleberries while walking their dog in the Illahee Preserve, as there were still berries like these in some areas.


Homeless Camps.  In spite of close monitoring, homeless camps keep showing up in the Preserve.  It doesn’t take long for an area to be trashed, requiring volunteers to clean up the garbage.  Five camps were recently found and posted with a notice to vacate, in this case by a deputy and Preserve Stewards.  They are given time to pack up and leave, but nearly always leave a big mess, like these in the photos. 






Wetland Map.  In past Updates mention was made of an ongoing 10 year wetland struggle.  The wetland was finally delineated this fall and a preliminary map prepared which shows a much larger wetland complex (over 2 acres) than the small less than half acre wetland that was presented during the first hearing in 2007, which is why the appeal was filed.   More on this in a later Update when the stream data is added.

Wetland Map 

Timbers Edge II.  A month ago emails/letters were requested from residents and Preserve users showing support for acquiring the Timbers Edge II property (the former Avery Homestead) for a southeast entrance to the Illahee Preserve.  Those letters of support appear to be efficacious as discussions are looking positive for a possible purchase.  Approximately $400,000 will still need to be raised with grants being a partial possibility, property trades, and community contributions.

Avery Parcels 

Major Contributions Needed.  Many give gifts this time of year and the Illahee Forest Preserve is a 501.c.3 non-profit established to support the Preserve.  Contributions can be made through the Kitsap Community Foundation to the Lost Continent/Timbers Edge Fund, P.O. Box 3670, Silverdale, WA 98383 or directly to the Illahee Forest Preserve, Jon Buesch, Treasurer, 6253 East Blvd, Bremerton, WA 98311.  


Tax Deductions & RMDs.  Gifts qualify for tax deductions to the amount allowed by law.  Also, for those over 70 who need to take Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) gifts can be given directly to non-profits so they aren’t taxed as income.  


Does the Preserve Need Financial Help?  The answer is YES!  Property purchases are very expensive, as are wetland battles involving lawyers and experts (reported to be nearly $20,000 this year alone).  The initial Timbers Edge purchase was $565,000 and the community contributed $130,000 in 2015.  A few faithful contributors are keeping the non-profit in the black, but more financial support is currently needed.  Acquisition progress is shown on the slide below.

Progress Slide 

RCO Visit.  A week ago the Preserve was visited by the state Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO) representative for Kitsap County.  The visit involved looking at the various properties around the Preserve that have been identified for a possible purchase.  The grant cycle is every two years with 2018 the next one and the Preserve will be applying for an acquisition grant for this cycle, using the earlier Timbers Edge purchase amount to meet the 50% grant match requirement.  

Illahee Map Labels Updated Sep 2017 8x11 (1) 

Preserve Meeting.  The Preserve Stewards meet monthly the third Tuesday of the month at 6:30 pm at the Kitsap Pavilion meeting room, which will be December 19th.  Everyone is welcome.  Find out how the Preserve Stewards are taking care of this amazing forested treasure located in our backyard.  If questions, respond to this email.


Jim Aho