Illahee 12/12/17 Photos, Port Meeting, Huckleberries, Homeless Camps, Wetland Map, Timbers Edge II, Major Contributions Needed, Preserve Meeting, Tax Deductions & RMDs, Does the Preserve Need Financial Help?, RCO Visit, Preserve Meeting




Coyote Report.  “A pack of coyotes has been causing a massive evening opera outside our place for the last five days.  I am very careful not to let my dog outside alone.  You may want to put something in your updates warning pet owners to be on the alert.”

Wednesday Port Meeting.  Residents are encouraged to attend the Port of Illahee meetings which are held at the Port of Brownsville’s Annex (until the Illahee Store can be acquired).  On the agenda is the Port’s lawyer, Ken Bagwell, presenting actions needed to acquire the Illahee Store.  Also on the agenda is the possible changing of the meeting time (currently 5 pm) to allow more workers and commuters to attend.”


Huckleberries.  We came across someone eating huckleberries while walking their dog in the Illahee Preserve, as there were still berries like these in some areas.


Homeless Camps.  In spite of close monitoring, homeless camps keep showing up in the Preserve.  It doesn’t take long for an area to be trashed, requiring volunteers to clean up the garbage.  Five camps were recently found and posted with a notice to vacate, in this case by a deputy and Preserve Stewards.  They are given time to pack up and leave, but nearly always leave a big mess, like these in the photos. 






Wetland Map.  In past Updates mention was made of an ongoing 10 year wetland struggle.  The wetland was finally delineated this fall and a preliminary map prepared which shows a much larger wetland complex (over 2 acres) than the small less than half acre wetland that was presented during the first hearing in 2007, which is why the appeal was filed.   More on this in a later Update when the stream data is added.

Wetland Map 

Timbers Edge II.  A month ago emails/letters were requested from residents and Preserve users showing support for acquiring the Timbers Edge II property (the former Avery Homestead) for a southeast entrance to the Illahee Preserve.  Those letters of support appear to be efficacious as discussions are looking positive for a possible purchase.  Approximately $400,000 will still need to be raised with grants being a partial possibility, property trades, and community contributions.

Avery Parcels 

Major Contributions Needed.  Many give gifts this time of year and the Illahee Forest Preserve is a 501.c.3 non-profit established to support the Preserve.  Contributions can be made through the Kitsap Community Foundation to the Lost Continent/Timbers Edge Fund, P.O. Box 3670, Silverdale, WA 98383 or directly to the Illahee Forest Preserve, Jon Buesch, Treasurer, 6253 East Blvd, Bremerton, WA 98311.  


Tax Deductions & RMDs.  Gifts qualify for tax deductions to the amount allowed by law.  Also, for those over 70 who need to take Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) gifts can be given directly to non-profits so they aren’t taxed as income.  


Does the Preserve Need Financial Help?  The answer is YES!  Property purchases are very expensive, as are wetland battles involving lawyers and experts (reported to be nearly $20,000 this year alone).  The initial Timbers Edge purchase was $565,000 and the community contributed $130,000 in 2015.  A few faithful contributors are keeping the non-profit in the black, but more financial support is currently needed.  Acquisition progress is shown on the slide below.

Progress Slide 

RCO Visit.  A week ago the Preserve was visited by the state Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO) representative for Kitsap County.  The visit involved looking at the various properties around the Preserve that have been identified for a possible purchase.  The grant cycle is every two years with 2018 the next one and the Preserve will be applying for an acquisition grant for this cycle, using the earlier Timbers Edge purchase amount to meet the 50% grant match requirement.  

Illahee Map Labels Updated Sep 2017 8x11 (1) 

Preserve Meeting.  The Preserve Stewards meet monthly the third Tuesday of the month at 6:30 pm at the Kitsap Pavilion meeting room, which will be December 19th.  Everyone is welcome.  Find out how the Preserve Stewards are taking care of this amazing forested treasure located in our backyard.  If questions, respond to this email.


Jim Aho

Illahee 11/12/17 Photo Catch Up, First Snow Nov 2nd, Barking Sea Lions, Herring Slaughter, Seals Retreat, Book Station, Future Marine Park?

Photo Catch Up.  Wildlife photos are what most are looking for in these updates, so keep passing them on.

First Snow Nov 2nd.  We couldn’t help but notice someone got their Christmas decorations up before the first snow flakes fell on the evening of November 2nd.
Barking Sea Lions.  Those weren’t dogs barking in Illahee on Saturday, they were sea lions and could be heard as far away as Sunset, with many coming to the Illahee dock to witness more sea lions in one area than one would think possible.
Herring Slaughter.  It was a herring feast for these big guys as they appeared to have three schools of herring balled up by the dock on Saturday, with an estimated 8 -12 sea lions working on each group.  There were some posts on the Illahee Community Facebook page and with so many taking photos we should hopefully see some more.  Thanks to Megan for the following photos.
Seals Retreat.  When the sea lions are active the local seals, shown in these photos, usually retreat and watch from the sidelines.  The seal on the dock float is a regular.
Book Station.  This one is in Illahee North.
Future Marine Park?  This photo was taken from the former Deitch property rumored to targeted for a marine park if grant funding can be obtained by the Port of Illahee.
Jim Aho

Illahee 11/6/17 Developer Contributes $255,000, Commissioners Consider Preserve Expansion, Community Support Critical, 19 Responses Received, Please Help! Wed Port Meeting

Developer Contributes $255,000.  We earlier noted a “Bargain Price” on the Timbers Edge II develpment property at $870,000 (which is $255,000 under the appraisal received today of $1,125,000).  This amounts to a quarter million dollar contribution!  


Commissioners Consider Preserve Expansion.  County Commissioners are considering helping with this bargain purchase and are looking at possible options available to them and will discuss them at their Nov 13th meeting.  

Community Support Critical.  This is where community action is urgently needed.  Each commissioner district has county parks and the other two commissioners need to know the Illahee Preserve has the support of its nearby residents.  They are probably unaware of 2780 volunteer hours recorded this year and the $130,000 raised in 2015 to help with the Timber Edge Phase I purchase).  Our only communication to the community is via this and the previous email updates so feel free to pass them on to interested and concerned friends who will contact the commissioners to encourage their support. 


19 Responses Received.  Last Wed we heard 19 community responses had been received from the first email request, but we need to show more support for this purchase.  The Avery Homestead property is the only logical entrance to this part of the Illahee Preserve (see the 10/25/17 Illahee Update for more information).


Please Help!  Responses don’t need to be letters, and are better if they are short emails simply indicating support for the Timbers Edge II purchase.  The Commissioners’ email addresses are:

Commissioners (General):
Central Kitsap Commissioner Ed Wolfe’s email is:
South Kitsap Commissioner Charlotte Garrido’s email is:
North Kitsap Commissioner Rob Gelder’s email is:

Wed Port Meeting.  Just a reminder the Wednesday Port of Illahee’s monthly meeting is being held at the Port of Brownsville’s Annex building at 9756 Ogle Road, at 5 pm.


Illahee 10/31/17 Commissioner Letters, Avery House, Parks Deadline Extended, Daily Bait Balls, Street Work, Gas Work, Port Meeting Location Change, Port Election

Commissioner Letters.  Thank you for responding to the 10/25 Update with emails and letters requesting County Commissioner support for help with purchase of the Timbers Edge final 10.7 acres (the former Avery Homestead).

Help us get the word out to more as this is a critical property for the Illahee Preserve’s long range plan, as once it is gone it is gone.  Email Commissioners at:

Thanks to Steve for letting us share his response as an example of what is being sent.

Please seriously consider incorporating the Timbers Edge project into your budget process.  We have a unique opportunity to acquire this land for the betterment of the Illahee community as well as the greater Bremerton area as a pristine rural escape for our citizens.

The owner of the property is doing everything he can to make this property attainable by the county in an interest in it’s preservation.  And, he is doing this at great expense to himself.  This is an unbelievably generous gesture on his part.  We can’t afford to let it slip through our fingers.

I have personally contributed thousands of dollars in the past in an effort to secure these lands and would be thrilled with the county’s support in this endeavor.   I will be willing to contribute as far as I am able, if it will help ensure this acquisitions success.  PLEASE take advantage of this rare Golden Opportunity and include this funding in your budget – for the good of all.

Avery House.  Permission was given to share excerpts from another letter to the Commissioners that provides information on the Avery Homestead (the photo is what it looks like today).


Many years ago my husband and I moved to Illahee and bought an old summer cabin alongside Illahee Creek and downstream of the Avery Homestead/Timbers Edge.  We suddenly became owners of a 15 acre forest.  What possibly could a boy from Brooklyn and a girl raised in the Hawaiian Islands know what to do with a raging winter stream, a failing culvert, and a desire to step back in time and opt for a quiet life, enjoy the countryside and listen to the frogs chirping at night? 

Then one day we looked outside and the floodplain waters were engulfing our property and life changed forever.  We began to observe the nature around us, and the raging winter stream was a fish stream filled with little ones swimming all around.  Soon we learned those were steelhead, coho, cutthrout and chum salmon and we were hooked on nature and nurture.  Those quiet days were not in store for us. 

Illahee, as we learned, was steeped in rich history.  One day shortly after settling in this 120 year old fixer-upper house,we met the elder daughter of the Avery family who grew up in the old house still sitting on the Timbers Edge property. She told me of life on the Avery property and how her father did aqua culture and netted the fish they ate for dinner out of Illahee Creek, and how her property had been the hunting ground for the indigenous native tribes as evidenced by the artifacts she found in the garden in which they raised their vegetables and her constant finding of what she referred to as arrowheads used for hunting.  It was after these many stories from the old timers around here, that things began to make sense of Illahee’s past history.  With a state registered cultural site on the Mossano property on the shoreline,our place directly uphill with culturally modified trees and fire trees used for cooking by the native peoples,  things were getting very interesting.  Walking up a little further along the creek you come to the Avery Homestead/Timbers Edge parcel and the start of our interest in the early 90’s of banding together with an elderly neighbor, Audrey Boyer, to facilitate and acquire the 350 acre Illahee Preserve-now 545 acres, for the benefit of the citizens of Kitsap County.  The rest is history and this adventure with the love of nature and a strong desire by the county, parks, dedicated community groups, and developers, we come to where we are now.  The acquisition of the remaining ten acre Avery Homestead/Timbers Edge parcel is crucial to the preserve, for it opens up the ability to have a much needed south entrance  allows a historical property to remain,  provides the much needed wildlife and habitat protection for Illahee Creek, and offers a potential ridge trail system.

Parks Deadline Extended.  At the same time Commissioner letters are being sent, Parks is requesting residents tell them what you want for parks and has extended the deadline to Nov 10th.

Daily Bait Balls.  Lots of bait balls in Illahee waters feeding seals and sea lions; more bait around than we have seen in a long time.


Street Work.  This site off of Sunset is to prevent ground water from seeping through the asphalt and freezing in the winter by installing curtain drains under the roadway.  Thanks to KC Public Works for being proactive.


Gas Work.  More people in Illahee having natural gas brought to their homes.


Port Meeting Location Change.  Just a reminder that the Port of Illahee’s November 8th meeting will be meeting at the Port of Brownsville’s Annex (the former fire station) lower level at 5 pm.  The 2018 budget will be discussed and approved.

9756 Ogle Road

Street View

Port Election.  Please remember to vote by next Tuesday for the Port of Illahee commissioner of your choice.  The voters pamphlet has information on the candidates and it can be viewed at the county’s website (page 24):


Illahee 10/25/17 Urgent Action Needed, South Entrance, Patient Landowner, Bargain Price, Contact Commissioners, Copy Parks on Emails, Future Forested Central Park?

Illahee Preserve Expansion Opportunity: Urgent Action Needed.  Community help is urgently needed for the Illahee Preserve’s expansion plans, which are to acquire adjacent properties before they are developed.  Normally they concentrate on undevelopable parcels, but this situation is different. 




South Entrance.  A south entrance to the Preserve is needed and the Timbers Edge 45 lot project is the only logical location.  This is the site of the former Avery Homestead and provides a perfect south entrance to the Preserve.

Avery Parcels

Patient Landowner.  The landowner is very patient as the 2016 grant effort fell just below the cutoff line.  Statewide competition had projects scoring higher with more matching funds than the county’s 50% (the minimum required).  The grant scored higher than other county projects, but unfortunately missed the final cutoff.
Bargain Price.  What is amazing is the property owner is still a willing seller and is offering the property at the 2015 appraised value when 25.5 acres was purchased.  So why are they going with the old appraised value for the final 10.7 acres rather than the larger expected value of $1,100,000 or more?  
Answer.  The owner has stated that this property should be part of the Preserve and he wants to work with the county and the community (he contributed $150,000 toward the first purchase). 
Contact Commissioners.  We need to contact our Kitsap County Commissioners to ask them to include the Timbers Edge project in their budget (which can be funded by a trade of excess county property and/or conservation futures funds) and we can work with any differences as there are supporters who have previously helped. 
Send Email:  Commissioners need to know the level of community support and a short email to the addresses below is all that is needed.
Commissioners (General):
Central Kitsap Commissioner Ed Wolfe’s email is:
South Kitsap Commissioner Charlotte Garrido’s email is:
North Kitsap Commissioner Rob Gelder’s email is:
Copy Parks on Emails.  Please copy Parks on your emails as they are finishing collecting comments on what residents want for parks: 
Parks Comment Period Ends Oct 30.  Please get your comments in ASAP so they will be counted:
You can also mention your support of the 2018 Illahee Preserve plans on a Public Comment Form:
Future Forested Central Park?  The long term vision for the Preserve is for it to become a “Forested Central Park” which will require more acquisitions noted on the 2018 map.  Some of the prime properties on the map are not for sale at this time, but others have landowner agreements and will be considered for a grant in 2018.
Illahee Map Labels Updated Sep 2017 8x11 (1)
Jim Aho

Illahee 10/20/17 Photos, Work Party Report, Storm Cleanup, Falling Branch Injures Walker, Port Postings, Port Meeting Location Changed, Port Commissioner Election

Photos.  Chickens are frequently sighted in Illahee. The first sighting this fall of American wigeons was at the Illahee North detention pond.

Work Party Report.  How many showed up for the Preserve work party last Saturday?  There were 10 who worked a total of 44 hours and spread many loads of wood chips on the trails, including 4 who saw the sign below and joined the group.  The Preserve is maintained entirely by volunteers and while much of the trail work is done by the Washington Youth Academy cadets, we had lots of wood chips remaining that needed to get moved, and these people made it happen.  Thanks to this small but hard working group!
Storm Cleanup.  Three volunteers came out this afternoon (10/20) after the recent storms to clean up trees and branches that fell over trails.  Most happened to be big leaf maples braches, which along with alder and hemlock are the ones most likely needing to be cleaned up after a wind storm.  Thanks to John P. for the photos.
Falling Branch Injures Walker.  Shortly after the cleanup crew left a tree branch came down injuring a Preserve walker.  Wind is our biggest concern for those walking in the Preserve and for which we will cancel work parties.  Below is part of the report on what happened with names removed.

The gentlemen who was injured by a falling limb in the Illahee Preserve today has just called me.  He give me an update on what happened at the Silverdale Urgent Care where he was taken by a female dentist who came upon him bleeding and trying to find his glasses.

He had 11 stitches to close the deep head wounds and was so grateful for the help he received during this event from others.  He said that he was still shaken, will have stiches removed in a week before he goes to England for a visit.  He refused the expensive x-rays and any other medical tests so as not to run up a bill.  He is on Medicare and does not think the bill will be high, but may inquire if there might be any assistance from parks for help with his bill  if it is not covered by Medicare.

Incident happened at milepost 32.

Port Postings.  The Port of Illahee kiosk is used for posting the Port’s annual preliminary budget, and this year the Port’s Comprehesive Plan was approved and the changes suggested by the community are noted on the posted version.  The preliminary budget and approved Comp Plan can be viewed at the Port of Illahee’s website:
Port Meeting Location Changed.  With six Illahee residents requesting handicap access to Port meetings it was time to find a new meeting space.  During the warmer weather the Port meetings were held outside of the abandoned Illahee Store, but with winter coming that was no longer an option.  Thankfully the Port of Brownsville has agreed to let the Port use the lower level of its Annex for its monthly meetings, which is the former fire station at 9756 NE Ogle Road. 
Port Commissioner Election.  There are two commissioner positions open this year. One is a 6 year position that was filed for by John Burton, who is unopposed and will be one of the new commissioners.  The second position is for a 4 year unexpired term that was filed for by Jon Buesch and Mike Mantzke, and so they are on the ballot.  The following was copied from the election website and is what is also found in the recently mailed voters’ pamphlet:
Jim Aho

Illahee 10/10/17 Photos, Audubon Speaker Thursday, Preserve Work Party Saturday, Illahee Runners at GC, Illahee Salmon Pens Battle, Illahee Wetlands Battle

Photos. Some recent photos.

Audubon Speaker Thursday.  Great speaker on a most interesting topic, meets 10/12/17 from 7-9 pm at Poulsbo Library.
Subirdia 10-12-17
Preserve Work Party Saturday.  We need help on Saturday to spread the rest of the wood chips on trails and some other less strenuous tasks.  The work party is at the Almira parking lot from 8-12 noon or whatever time inbetween that works best for you.  We have the wheelbarrows and the tools.
Illahee Runners at GC.  We have only featured two runners over the years in our Updates and recently found out they were part of a local running group of ladies who ran the Rim to Rim trail at the Grand Canyon this weekend, which is 47 miles — in one day.  
Illahee Salmon Pens Battle.  With all the salmon pen news in the media few know that commercial salmon pens were proposed in Illahee in 1985 when aquaculture interest was at its highest and was being promoted at all levels of government, including the governor.
Project Initially Approved.  Kitsap County officials approved permit #452 in December 1985 to put a fish rearing pen business in front of a private residence about a quarter mile north of the Illahee community dock.
Community Expressed Concerns.  Needless to say many of the neighboring residents and others were opposed to the commercial fish pens in their community for a number of reasons, navigation, lights, fish processing, and others.
ICBC Non-profit Corporation Established.  Concerned residents decided they needed to organize and the Illahee Community Betterment Committee (ICBC) was formed in 1986.
County Rescinds Permit.  “At the 2nd hearing in May ’86, after considerable review of both permits, the Kitsap County commissioner’s reversed themselves and denied Mr. Lassiter’s permit …”
Applicant Appeals to Shorelines Hearing Board (SHB).  At that point the applicant appealed to the State Shorelines Hearings Board (SHB).
ICBC Hires John Merkel.  With the great interest in aquaculture at the time many felt that the county would not prevail at the hearing (like other counties who had their denials overturned by the SHB) so the ICBC, after discussions found they needed to retain council, and hired John Merkel, a noted Seattle attorney.
Expert Witnesses.  Mr. Merkel helped with finding and retaining expert witnesses from the University of Washington, who said among other things that the Illahee area does not have the necessary tidal currents to flush away fish droppings.
Right Lawyer Prevails.  It was felt that Mr. Merkel’s reputation, knowledge and skills were what caused the SHB to have the permits remanded back to Kitsap County, where they were then denied.
Lessons Learned.  Some of us learned some important lessons from this battle.  
Lesson #1.  Make sure you have the science right.
Lesson #2.  It will cost you significant time and money, so be ready to sacrifice both as not everyone will/can help.
Lesson #3.  You need the best attorney you can find, which isn’t always easy and it can be costly.
Lesson #4.  You may need to help the county in the process, both with the science and the legal issues.
Illahee Wetlands Battle.  We are currently going through a similar battle with wetlands in the Preserve and it is interesting to see how these lessons are still applicable some 31 years later.  More on that in another Update.
Wetland 017
Jim Aho

Illahee 10/9/17 Port Meeting Wednesday, Port Comp Plan, Picnic Shelter Dedicated, WYA Work Party Report, Preserve Community Work Party Saturday, Interest in 1986 Illahee Salmon Pen Fight?

Port Meeting Wednesday.  The Port of Illahee’s regular monthly meeting is Wednesday 10/11/17 at 5 pm.  If the weather is nice the meeting may be outside at the former Illahee Food store.  If not there, the meeting will be held at its usual location, but with two parking spots being available at the lower level (which is considered marginally ADA accessible because of the need to drive down and back up the dock access road).

store 016
Port Comp Plan.  The Port’s September meeting included an opportunity for the community to review the 2018 Comprehensive Plan and comment on it.  The Commissioner’s have left the opportunity to comment on it until the October 11th meeting at which time they will act on it.  
Port Goals
Picnic Shelter Dedicated.  The Rotary Club of East Bremerton dedicated their new Shelter on 9/28 with a run down of the history of the Preserve, comments by Bremerton Mayor Patty Lent, and a review of future acquisition plans for the Preserve.  The photo below is when guests started to arrive.
WYA Work Party Report.  With the threat of rain on Friday 9/29 the Washington Youth Academy work party started late, but was able to get much of the desired work completed. The thrust of the work was to move tree debris from nearby trees that threatened the new shelter, and to cover the trails with wood chips before the winter rains.  Left were a bunch of wood chips for a community work party.  Thanks to John P. for the photos.
Preserve Community Work Party Saturday.  Wood chips remain to get the Preserve trail system ready for winter so the Park Stewards are looking for community help this coming Saturday (10/14) from 8 am to 1 pm. Wheelbarrows and hand tools have been accumulated and stored in a GoMini container that will be staged in the Almira parking lot.  Show up when you can and as long as you are available.   Questions?  Call 360-479-1049.
Interest in 1986 Illahee Salmon Pen Fight?  We borrowed an old file from 1986 when Illahee successfully fought off efforts to put salmon pens out in front of Illahee to commercially raise salmon.  There are current concerns following the accidental release of pen raised Atlantic salmon in the San Juan’s this summer as we have salmon pens in Rich Passage.  If not for a few interested Illahee residents, some of those pens might have been right here in Illahee.  Let us know if you want to hear the rest of that story.
Jim Aho

Illahee 9/28/17 Rotary Shelter Dedication Today

ROTARY SHELTER DEDICATION TODAY.   Illahee residents are invited to the dedication today (Thursday) at 5:30 pm of the new Rotary picnic shelter at the Illahee Preserve’s Almira entrance.


SHORT MEET & GREET CEREMONY.  Come and meet the members of the East Bremerton Rotary Club who have adopted the Preserve and provide it with some amazing gifts and volunteer support, along with Kitsap County officials and Bremerton’s Mayor Patty Lent.


Jim Aho

Illahee 9/25/17 Illahee Wetland Makes Front Page, Hidden Wetland Complex, Tire Rims Found, Rotary Shelter Dedication Thursday, WYA Work Party Friday, Parks Open House Oct 3

Illahee Wetlands Make Front Page.  Some amazing wetlands make the front page of the Kitsap Sun for the third time in 10 years.  Again we are impressed with the Sun as you read the linked story:

Hidden Wetland Complex.  Thick brush has hidden this wetland complex of some of the most beautiful skunk cabbages for years from the average Preserve user.  Neither the streams running through it or the wetlands show up on any county maps.  The only reference to it that we have found is in Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reports of it being “wet”, and is the reason it was never sold to be commercially developed like the other property along State Route 303.   
Wetland 017
Tire Rims Found.  The only sign of human activity were some tire rims that were possibly being stolen from the former Eastside Auto Wrecking yard.  They likely got bogged down in the thick brush and boot eating mud and decided to leave them there.  We need to get a photo of them next time we are in the area, and before the fall rains begin.
Rotary Shelter Dedication Thursday.  The new picnic shelter installed by the East Bremerton Rotary Club will be dedicated at 5:30 pm on Thursday (9/28) by the Rotary, KC Commissioner Ed Wolfe, Bremerton Mayor Patty Lent, and KC Sheriff Gary Simpson.
WYA Work Party Friday.  Then on Friday Washington Youth Academy (WYA) cadets will man wheel barrows and other tools to get the Preserve ready for the winter with chips on the trails and many other tasks.
2015-2-15 Misc 001
Parks Open House Oct 3.  Another important date is the following Tuesday (10/3) where you can express you ideas of what you’d like to see in our parks at an Open House Forum at the Eagles Nest building at the Fairgrounds from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm.
Jim Aho