Illahee 12/30/12 The Year Past, 2012 Highlights, The Year Ahead, 2013 Projections, Illahee Creek, Illahee Creek Watershed, Illahee Preserve, Off-Leash Dog Park, Timbers Edge, Sequel Film, Shoreline Restoration, Port of Illahee, Illahee Community Group, Rest Place

The Year Past.  We have been asked about the accomplishments in Illahee and with the Illahee Preserve this past year and decided to take the time to list some of what we remember.  We were surprised and happy to see what has been accomplished.

Eleven 2012 Highlights.  These are some of the highlights of completed and started projects.

1.  Illahee Film debuts with showings in Canada, Bremerton, Olympia, and Port Townsend
2.  Leadership Kitsap group picks the Illahee Preserve as its team project and completes trail intersection markers, maps, future plans, and celebration event.
3.  Illahee Preserve and Rain Garden signage and frames designed, printed, fabricated, and installed.
4.  Eagle Scout candidate Eliot Orando completes kiosk & establishes new walkway area.
5.  Community, Rotary, Navy, Washington Youth Academy, and CK Super Saturday volunteer work parties support Preserve projects.
6.  KC Remand results in Increased Urban Restricted and small section of Rural zoning within Illahee.
7.  Compass Circle Meadow Restoration Project completes with enlarging and grading of the meadow area and planting of grass.
8.  Ground preparation, placement of 100 yards of fill, and volunteer grading begins for future picnic shelter.
9.  Illahee Creek culvert monitored regularly as flood plain continues to rise and culvert fills.
10.  Wildlife monitored by community members with photos and reports posted on website and emailed to approximately 500 recipients.
11.  New website,, established for the Illahee Preserve.

The Year Ahead.  We were also asked about what we think will happen in 2013 with the culvert, Timbers Edge, the Illahee Store, the flag pole controversy, and a discussion we had about an off-leash dog park near the Preserve.

2013 Projections.  These are our projections, and ours alone.  If you disagree or have other projections we would be glad to present them.

Illahee Creek?  The lower flood plain has raised significantly since 2007 from the heavy sediment loads carried downstream by storm surges.  This has also resulted in the filling of the culvert under Illahee Road.  We think it is just a matter of time before we have more major storms and the culvert becomes blocked.  This would backup the water until it flows over Illahee Road, at its low point north of the culvert, eventually washing the roadway out and closing down that section of Illahee Road.  This would be a situation similar to what happened when Illahee Road was washed out at Gilberton Creek.  We project the washout to occur toward the end of 2013.

Illahee Creek Watershed?  We anticipate some great things to happen in the north part of the watershed with the county’s recent grant from the Department of Ecology to help control the storm surges that bring the heavy sediment loads downstream.  This is what is needed no matter what happens to the culvert.   

Illahee Preserve?  The Illahee Preserve usage continues to increase and the partnerships such as that with the Rotary Club of East Bremerton continue to increase.  Volunteers and community support are the key to this Heritage Park being open and maintained.   

Future Off-Leash Dog Park?  We recently discussed with a dog owner, and user of county and city off-leash dog parks, about an area adjacent to the Preserve that would be ideal for an off-leash dog park who noted one was needed in the East Bremerton area, and wondered if there couldn’t be a partnership with the City of Bremerton and the county to work collaboratively to obtain a grant to purchase the property.  We liked the idea and decided it was worth mentioning, though realizing this could be controversial, and likely will not happen in 2013.

Illahee Preserve Acquisitions?  Grant funding for Preserve acquisitions come in two year cycles and soon it will be time to try again to purchase or obtain conservation easements for adjacent riparian and forested areas next to the Preserve.  Future acquisitions are noted in the Preserve’s Stewardship Plan and will require consensus with Parks and the County Commissioners if grants are to be submitted.  We think 2013 will be the time for the Illahee Preserve acquisition grants to move forward.

Timbers Edge Development?  It is difficult to know which way this approved development will go with another trustee sale scheduled for January 11, 2013.  The Illahee Forest Preserve group would like to see the 4.54 acres that were the subject of a trustee sale in December 2012 become part of the Preserve.   As we understand it, lawyers delayed discussions regarding the possibility of obtaining the 4.54 acres until after the January 11th trustee sale.  This has left the community wondering whether the high density Timbers Edge development will move forward bringing major changes and sewers to the area of the original plat of Illahee.  

Our Thoughts re TE?   We think investors will purchase the remaining properties on January 11th but will quickly realize bringing sewers over or under Illahee Creek is especially problematic such that they will opt for septic systems instead of sewers (which will result in a decrease the density of the development).  We hope the investors or the property owner, depending on who ends up with the west parcel, will work with the community to purchase the 4.54 acrea for the Preserve, which has been previously identified by the Department of Fish and Wildlife as a primary wildlife corridor.

Sequel Film?  Because the filmmaker was not able to include all the footage and important subjects in the Illahee film completed in 2011/2012, a sequel film in 2013 was planned.  With much of the filming completed and with the grant work scheduled for 2013, we think the sequel film could begin in 2013 to cover the grant work and finish in 2014.  This will likely require community funding to proceed and will likely be funded by a partnership between the two Illahee non-profits; the Illahee Forest Preserve and the Illahee Community Group.

Shoreline Restoration?  The Shoreline Master Program Update will complete in 2013 and already some Illahee residents are wondering if shoreline restoration projects could be completed along our shorelines.  We think this could happen if a restoration project can be identified that would be acceptable to shoreline residents and government officials, other than the removal of protective bulkheads.

Port of Illahee Projects?  We think the Port of Illahee made a great decision when they acquired the former Deitch residence next to the community dock, and that they are now in a good position to plan for the future of the area.  We think they will move ahead with the Master Plan they have contemplated for about a year and that it will include a plan regarding what to do with the flag pole and whether they want to eventually obtain the Illahee Store.  

Illahee Community Group?  This group seemed to us to be somewhat dormant in 2012, possibly because the Community Plan had completed and there have been few conflicts to excite the community.  We think there are enough issues important to the community now so we expect to see the group become more involved in 2013, and especially if the Port Master Plan calls for obtaining the Illahee Store, as the building would be a great place for a Community Center. 

Rest Place/Preserve Walkway?  The east side of Illahee Preserve abuts the roughly one half mile impassable roadway section of Rest Place.  This is an area where the community could establish a more inviting walking path by removing the invasive plant species and providing some signage.  Some nearby residents are proposing this and the Illahee Forest Preserve group is supportive, but requires the county and adjacent residents to approve the plan.  We thing this is a great opportunity to make some improvements along the road right-of-way that has become overgrown and we think this will be accepted by the Rest Place residents and supported by the greater Illahee community, who will likely have to do the cleanup work to make it happen.  We give this project a 50/50 chance of happening in 2013.

Other Projections for 2013?  Let us know if you have other projections for the Illahee Preserve and/or the Illahee Community.

Jim Aho