Illahee Update 3/29/12 Lost Dog Returns, Illahee Preserve Items, Homeless & Brush Picking Reports, Wildlife Reports, Eagles Team Up on Grebe

Lost Dog Returns. In our last update we reported a lost dog from the Manette area that was last seen in Illahee (Rue Villa area).  The next morning we got word he had returned home (at 5:30 am) after being gone for 33 days.

Illahee Preserve Items. There are a number of items to report regarding the Illahee Preserve (one of Kitsap County’s Heritage Parks), primarily in the active use area where the trails are located.

Wildlife Meadow Project. There is an ongoing project in the Illahee Preserve to establish a meadow area for wildlife in the area known as Compass Circle.  The project was initiated as an Eagle Scout project by Nathan Clemens and his part of the plan is essentially complete.

Perimeter Trail Established. Nathan’s Boy Scout troop also helped establish a perimeter trail around the future meadow area, though after some of the alder trees at the edge of the meadow were removed, the trail needs to be modified in a couple of areas, which is currently on going.

New Trail Markers Coming. While the Wildlife Meadow Restoration project is proceeding, Leadership Kitsap is going to be installing trail markers at the intersections of all the trails (scheduled for April 14th), and will be developing maps to help trail users from getting lost.

Meadow Grass Seed Has Arrived. A number of months ago we asked if anyone was driving Interstate 5 through Oregon as we needed someone to pick up donated grass seed for the meadow project from the Horticulture Department’s Turf Grass Program at the Oregon State University.  We had several snow birds respond that they were able to help on their return to Illahee, but we didn’t need them as an Oregon resident delivered the seeds, and the Illahee Forest Preserve (the non-profit support corporation for the Preserve) will likely help with gas reimbursement.  This gift and the delivery of the seeds came about because of a Rotary networking contact.  Thanks again to the Rotary Club of East Bremerton for their partnership and continued support of the Preserve!

Meadow Ground Preparation Planned. The Rotary Club also volunteered to help with preparing the ground for the grass seed in the Compass Circle area.  This could be a challenging task as this area, like other areas in the Preserve, was a dumping place.  The other day we were helping with this project and found a buried box spring mattress frame.

Seed Planting Time. We found there is great concern as all the aspects this project need to complete soon as the meadow seeding needs to take place during the spring rainy season if the grass is going to be established before the summer dry season.

Wood Chips for the New Perimeter Trail. The call has gone out to tree companies to see if they are able to drop off wood chips at the Illahee Preserve entrance at the end of Petersville Road.  Based on past experience we don’t know when they will show up, as it depends on when and if the tree companies are working in our area.  The hope is that we will have them sooner rather than later to put on the new trails.

Work Time Frame? We have been told the hope is to have all this work complete in time for the Leadership Kitsap “Walk in the Park” celebration scheduled for May 5th.

Work Parties Planned. We have been told work parties may be needed for every weekend in the month of April to complete all the work necessary to get the Preserve ready for the May 5th date, and that there are currently work parties planned with the Washington Youth Academy, the Rotary Club, and the Illahee Forest Preserve for April 7th and 14th.  We will let everyone know more as the dates get closer.

Homeless Camp Report. We are happy to report that the other day only one of the original seven tents remain in the Preserve.  The word has been put out in the homeless community that camping is not allowed in the Preserve, and they are evidently policing themselves, except there is a considerable mess at one of the campsites that needs to be cleaned up.

Brush Picking Report. We are also happy to report that there have been no more incidents of brush picking in the Preserve after the report of 11 of them the other day.  We heard that the 11 brush pickers were told that they were being reported to the sheriff, and that later someone had a whistle and blew it, and that all 11 of them ran out of the Preserve, some with their bundles of salal, and others without.  Several stewardship members went back into the area where they had been working and said the whole area had been trashed, and for those who think it is okay for this activity to be tolerated, that they come and see the results of this illegal activity.

Wildlife Reports. Deer and bird reports.  There appear to be a number of small herds of deer roaming the area.  The picture above was from a walker who reported a group of at least 4 in a vacant lot next to the road.

Eagles Team Up on Grebe. The photo below was taken of a horned grebe that was taken by two eagles.  The first eagle was an immature one that tired the grebe out and left, and then almost immediately a second mature eagle came down and got the grebe.  Probably because of the grebes size and weight it brought it into shore, where it just ate some of its innards.  We have been told to not be two graphic in our descriptions or photos, so what you read and see are the less objectionable description and photos.

Updates On Website. All the past updates are on the website. We have been told of emails sent to us that we didn’t receive so you can also send a parallel copy to to make sure we will receive it.

Jim Aho