Illahee 5/29/13 Paving Scheduled for Friday, Wildlife Photos, Illahee Preserve Windowing, Vanilla Leaf, Graffitti & Volunteers, Illahee Preserve Experiment. Resolution re Belden Property

Paving Scheduled for Friday.  The stormwater improvement project taking place between the Illahee North Pumping Station and the Illahee Dock is coming to a close.  On Wednesday they were grinding up the road to get ready for repaving on Friday (5/31/13).  Following that they will need to make some adjustments to the new catch basins and the project will be complete.  The first photo is near the intersection with Ocean View where a special drain feature is needed.  The other photos are of the work being done on Wednesday (5/29/13).

Wildlife Photos.  Just a photo of a couple of mallard ducks this time.
Illahee Preserve Windowing.  We received an email about a concern about a possible car prowling at the Illahee Preserve’s Almira parking lot, and other concerns, so we contacted the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Department and met with Sargent Jim White.  He suggested we clear out some of the brush between Almira and the parking lot to provide more visibility, which was done last Saturday, along with some more windowing of the larger trees and the spreading of some more wood chips (see the photo below).  Thanks to the Preserve’s maintenance crew who also cleared about 5 downed trees off the trails.
Vanilla Leaf.  The other day we were walking the new Hall of Cedars Loop Trail and noticed patches of Vanilla Leaf (Achlys triphylla).  Rather than note what we found in the internet about vanilla-leaf we decided to copy below two sections from Wikipedia.  We thought the last paragraph about it being used as an insect repellent especially interesting.

Achlys triphylla (Sm.) DC, known in western North America as vanillaleaf, is an erect perennial plant that sprouts from a creeping rhizome. Leaves are long-petioled and palmately divided into three leaflets. Flowers are small and lack sepals and petals, but instead have long showy white stamens that form single erect spikes.[1] The leaflets give a great hint to the identity the plant: bend back the middle leaflet and you have an upside-down set of moose antlers. Alternatively, bend back the two side leaflets and you have a goose or deer foot (hence the common name). In the Pacific Northwest,Achlys triphylla is ubiquitous in moist shady forests west of the Cascades at low to middle elevations from Vancouver island and southern British Columbia south to northern California.[2]

The plants are spaced widely on the rhizomes, but often overlap in large networks that result in carpets of Achlys that dominate the near-surface understory. Achlys seems to prefer moist soil, so at middle to higher elevations it is easier to find them along streambanks or well-shaded ravines

When dried properly, the plants are strongly aromatic and smell of vanilla. Besides serving as an excellent tent air freshener, Achlys was used by native tribes of at least southern British Columbia as an insect repellent. The dried leaves were hung in bunches in doorways to ward off flies and mosquitoes, and it’s not unheard of for naturalists to rub the dried or even fresh leaves on exposed skin when hiking the Olympics or Cascades during the summer mosquito season.

Graffitti & Volunteers.  We discovered another sign inside the Preserve that has been tagged with red paint, that will be tough to remove.  Thanks to another volunteer, Jason, who sanded the graffitti off the back of the kiosk at the Almira parking lot!  
Illahee Preserve Experiment.  We have often said the the Illahee Preserve is like an experiment of whether local community volunteers can plan, maintain and support a major park and preserve, and so far the experiment is working thanks to volunteers like the Illahee Preserve maintenance crew, Jason, the East Bremerton Rotary, the Illahee Community, the Washington Youth Academy, the Navy (with crews like the John C. Stennis), and others, along with support from the Park Department who are there to help when extra help is needed. 

Resolution re Belden Property.  In our last update we included pictures of a property at the end of Thompson Lane that should be of interest to the Illahee Preserve.  It turns out they were interested and adopted the following resolution on May 21, which we hope will be acted upon.

Illahee Preserve

Resolution Supporting the Purchase of the Belden Property

(5586 Thompson Lane NE, Bremerton, WA – Tax ID 362501-1-009-2003)


Whereas for over 23 years the local community fought for the acquisition of the DNR Illahee School Trust Lands, and

Whereas in 2001, with the support of County Commissioners and the State Legislature, the DNR lands were purchased by Kitsap County, and

Whereas following the purchase, a Stewardship Plan was prepared and was supported by the Parks and Recreation Staff and Board, and approved by the County Commissioners in July of 2003, and

Whereas the Stewardship Plan identified land parcels adjacent to the Illahee Preserve that should be acquired which included “Heart of the Park” properties (property that was platted before Washington became a state, and therefore not part of the DNR acquisition, but located in the center of the Preserve), and 

Whereas there are only three property owners of the “Heart of the Park” properties, and

Whereas on May 12, 2013 the land owner of one of the “Heart of the Park” properties sent an email to the County Commissioners and the Illahee Preserve that their property is available for purchase, and

Whereas this is a critical property in the center of the other properties and may represent a once in a lifetime opportunity for acquisition, and

Whereas the well on the property would support a future Environmental Education Interpretive Center, called out for in the Stewardship Plan, and

Whereas with the above benefits, and no known detriments, 

Be it resolved that the Illahee Preserve Stewardship Committee and the Illahee Forest Preserve (the non-profit support group for the Preserve) support and strongly recommend that Kitsap County purchase the Belden property for the Illahee Preserve.  

Reminder.  Illahee Updates are posted on the website where they are also archieved back to 2007.  They are also emailed to roughly 500 recipients by blind copy.  If you know of anyone who would like to receive the emailed copies please let us know.

Jim Aho