Illahee Update 10/14/11 Illahee Preserve, Leadership Kitsap Presentation, Energy Audit, Burglary Responses

Illahee Preserve.  We have been asked if anything has been going on at the Illahee Preserve since nothing has been mentioned recently.  It is time to catch up on this unique area that remains unknown to so many in the area.

444 Acre Forest.  If you add up all the parcels that make up the Preserve it amounts to 444 acres, not including internal right-of-ways, which would increase the number some.  And if you add the 107 acre Rolling Hills Golf Course that was gifted to Kitsap County, to the 444 acres you have 551 acres.  That makes it more than 7 times the size of the more well known Illahee State Park, that is 75 acres.
 
Getting the Word Out?  Some of the issues with a new park is getting the word out about this relatively unknown Preserve at the same time it is being established, planned, and developed as a premier nature preserve and park.  The Preserve has had a presence at the Kitsap County Fair and other events in order to help others in the county know about its existence.  It is rumored that the Rotary is looking at paying for and installing a sign along State Route 303, where it borders the Preserve.
 
Leadership Kitsap Project.  The Illahee Preserve folks and Kitsap County Parks were notified recently that one of the Leadership Kitsap groups were interested in helping the Illahee Preserve by selecting them for their group project.  After looking at the Preserve and talking with individuals they came up with a list of proposed projects they felt would be helpful and will be presenting them at an Illahee Preserve Stewardship meeting on Tuesday, 10/18/11.
 
Leadership Kitsap.  Leadership Kitsap is a leadership training organization supported by many of the public and private organizations in the county where they send their leaders to get more training, which has them to break up into groups and complete projects.  Over the years these groups have accomplished some amazing work in and for the community.
 
The Tuesday Presentation.  The Leadership Kitsap group has given the Stewardship group an outline of what they want to present on Tuesday.  In conversation with some of the Stewardship group members they are extremely happy with the list and are anxious to hear more.  The outline of what they are presenting is:

 

The primary purpose of this project is to increase community awareness of and access to the 400 plus acres of preserved community land in Illahee, Washington.    

1.       Create a conceptual site plan for the main entrance of the park, to include areas for future restroom, gazebo/picnic area, and playground area.  Site plan will be developed based on input and approval from all Community Partners.

2.       Create new brochure, including logo, for the preserve.  This will include conducting a GPS map of the current trails to develop a more accurate and user-friendly presentation for the brochure.

3.       Develop sustainable fundraising plan for preserve improvements that incorporates customized pavers, online donations, and other, low effort methods.

4.       Build trail markers at the 5 main entrances of the park, and along intersections and trails where needed.  These trail markers will be on posts (not trees).

5.       Project group and community partners to hold a “work day” to install trail markers. 

6.       Finalize with a Community Awareness and Access Event at the Preserves.  

Preserve Users and Community Members Invited.  The Stewardship group would like to invite Preserve users and supporters, along with Community members, to hear the presentation, since the Preserve represents ~25% of Illahee and if you add the golf course, ~33%.  The presentation is at the Port of Illahee meeting room at 5560 Ocean View Blvd, and starts at 6:30 pm on Tuesday (10/18/11).
 
Other Preserve Items.  The Rotary Club of East Bremerton has adopted the Illahee Preserve and periodically we attend their work parties.  We did so recently when two of their members went out at 7 am to clear downed trees on the trails.  We were wondering about why they were calling out numbers everytime they removed a tree and found out they have been keeping track of how many trees they have cleared since Thanksgiving last year.  When they finished they said they have now cleared 88 trees and expect they will be at 100 by the time Thanksgiving rolls around this year.  
Restoration Area Sign.  One of the first places they stopped was to check on a trail closure they worked on with the Washington Youth Academy.  Some of us tried to close the trail earlier with just the sign, that was eventually pulled out and ignored.  You can see from the logs around the sign that it will likely not be ignored.  You can also see that at 7 am these days, it is almost dark out.
Dumping Continues.  We took some photos the other day showing that dumping of trash continues to be a problem.  We regularly have an unknown roofing contractor who dumps shingles in the Preserve, and someday hope to have a camera system to catch him.  The other photo shows a Safeway grocery cart and a clothing from an abandoned campsite that was hauled out to the Petersville entrance.
Energy Audit.  We received a photo from a recent recipient of an energy audit that was part Re-Energize Kitsap (that is funded using stimulus money).  They said it was a thorough evaluation and the attached photo showed that areas around their electrical outlets were not well insulated and and represented a cold spot as shown by the blue color.  They said the cost was $650, but that the stimulus dollars paid for $450 of it.  Their house didn’t have any major problems and the auditor replaced 39 incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescents, which evidently his family was not happy about.
Burglary Responses.  We did receive a few more responses regarding burglaries.  One reminded us that there is a difference between a burglary and a robbery. Another was a call where they said a couple in dark clothing came to their house late at night over a week ago (about the same time as the another reported incident) and seemed surprised when someone answered the door.  They said they were looking for someone named Smith.  Another was a response about the good that the Oxford House does, and that they didn’t think they were the problem.
Jim Aho