Illahee Community Update 7-25-11 Brush Picking Articles, Garden Tour, Fishing

Last Tuesday’s Stewardship Meeting Decision.  At last Tuesday’s meeting of the Illahee Preserve Stewardship Committee the group decided it did not want any brush picking going on in the Preserve.  Illegal brush picking had been stopped in one area of the Preserve and it was felt it could be stopped in the active use areas this next season.  If not the subject could be revisited.

Results on the Front Page on Wednesday.  And so when the Kitsap Sun carried the news as the lead article the next morning on the front page, many were surprised at how well the article covered the story and especially how timely it was since the decision wasn’t made until 8 pm that evening.  It is hard to keep up with the Kitsap Sun reporters when it comes to covering Illahee news.  The link to the article is:
And Covered Again on Sunday.  The lead editorial on the Opinion page on Sunday again covered the Illahee brush picking topic along with a Frank Shier’s cartoon, that we probably can’t include due to copy rights laws.  We copied the article since some of you have said you don’t like to click on the links:
Kitsap County officials made a good call in allowing volunteer stewardship groups to decide if commercial brush picking should be allowed in the county park lands they work to maintain and protect.That’s particularly true in the Illahee Preserve, where for years volunteers have fought a continual battle with illegal brush pickers, among others. The sprawling, 380-acre park is located between Riddell and McWilliams roads, near residential and commercial areas with high population densities. Due largely to that easy access, the site has a history of use for large-scale trash dumping, encampments by homeless people and illegal brush picking.It’s been a long, hard campaign for Illahee Preserve volunteers and supporters — first by gaining legal protections for the property, and then by cleaning up and restoring the forestlands, building trails and trying to ensure that misuse of the preserve doesn’t continue.Because of that, members of the stewardship committee were concerned — putting it mildly — when they received notice from the county that officials were allowing commercial brush picking in the Illahee Preserve. Kitsap County has a long-standing contract with Raymond Evergreens to pick salal, huckleberry and other greenery from county park lands, and when the contract was updated earlier this year, the Preserve was added to the list.A clear distinction must be made between the low-impact, environmentally friendly picking done by Raymond’s trained crews, as opposed to illegal brush pickers who can do real harm to forestlands.As Illahee steward Jim Aho said, referring to Raymond’s workers, “They do it right, which is good because we’ve never seen anybody do it right in Illahee.”There’s also the fact that in areas opened up to licensed commercial brush picking, illegal brush picking greatly diminishes or disappears entirely.Regardless, the stewardship committee voted against allowing commercial brush picking in the Preserve.That decision is acceptable to county officials, who say they won’t force commercial brush picking on county lands where a dedicated stewardship group opposes it.We applaud the county for its sensitive and responsible handling of this issue, and for the double layer of environmental care that comes with it. That is, to be authorized to pick brush commercial, a firm must not only satisfy the county’s requirements, but also those of the volunteer stewards who put their hands and hearts into maintaining the public forestlands we cherish.
Garden Tours.  We have been asked about whether there would be any Illahee garden tours this summer.  Some of those who were considering were hesitant at the time because the deer were eating most everything.  
August 20th Date?  We did find two who were still interested and were wondering if the afternoon on Saturday August 20th might be a good date, since Illahee Day was being planned for the morning with a lunch at the Port facilities.  We will be checking with the other gardeners who had expressed that they might be willing, again assuming the deer have left their gardens alone.
Charter Boat Fishing in Illahee.  Last week we noticed a charter boat fishing the area between Illahee State Park and the Illahee community Dock.  We aren’t sure if they caught anything, but it is encouraging to see them fishing the area.
Crab Fishing at the Docks?  We heard the crab fishing has been good at the two Illahee docks and would like to have someone report along with some photos.
Website Status Report.  We heard the website is still down.  We have been offered a server to host the Illaheecommunity website but evidently the operating system on the server is not compatible with the new website software, and they are now looking for work-arounds.   We will keep you posted on the progress and we should also note there are residents who have volunteered to help with website hosting costs if funding is needed.
Your Concerns?  Let us know your concerns since we need prodding at times.  It was an email asking about the garden tours that go that one on track again.
Jim Aho