>Preserve Activities – 12/5/10

>Trail Signs Up.  It was quit a work party on Sunday (12/5/10) in the Illahee Preserve as Justin McAlister’s Eagle Scout Project & Scout Troop installed trail signs throughout the Preserve.  Thanks to Justin and all those scouts and parents that came to help!  The Illahee Preserve is a proof and confirmation that volunteers such as those making trail signs, can plan, maintain, and support a major county park.  Our filmmaker, Shelly Solomon, and official Illahee photographer, John Lind, were there covering the event and there will be other photos coming.  We have attached several photos that we took of the event.

New  Brochure & Boxes Installed.  This is a good time to mention that the trail map brochure is being updated and hopefully will soon be available to put in the new brochure boxes that Justin’s project installed just under the Park’s Department rule’s sign.  Thanks to the architectural firm of Rice, Fergus, Miller for their continued support of the Preserve by preparing the initial brochure and now updating it.  Note that the brochure was updated after Justin’s project began and so we have some new trail names and one completely new trail that Justin will be considering adding to his project, kind of a Phase 2 project if he can get the materials and find the time.

Trails Being Used.  When we are at the Preserve we are amazed at how many people are using it, from walking their dogs (the biggest percentage) to walking, jogging, biking, and horseback riding (see item below). 

Mini 4-Wheeler.  Every now and then we run across those using motorized vehicles in the Preserve, which is illegal.  We came across the smallest 4 wheeler (battery powered) we have ever seen with three youngsters on it (see photo).  They had come some distance by going down alleys to get to the Preserve, but while they were enjoying their ride up and down the trails, we had to tell them that motorized vehicles are not allowed in the Preserve, and they left.  They were very nice and polite kids.

Horses.  While motorized vehicles are not allowed, horses are, and there were two horses using the Preserve trails on Sunday (see photo).  There has been some discussion amongst the Stewardship Committee that with the increasing use of the Preserve by those walking, biking, and jogging; that horse back riding might not be appropriate at some point.  Those are the kind of issues discussed at Stewardship Committee meetings, which are open to the public, so if you have issues or would like to attend, please let us know and we will pass the info on.

Jim Aho 

>Are Horses Allowed in the Preserve? – 12/6/10

>Problems In Previous Update (12/5/10).  The previous update had a comment regarding horses in the Illahee Preserve, along with a picture of two horses that were in the Preserve on Sunday.  The comment read as follows:

Horses.  While motorized vehicles are not allowed, horses are, and there were two horses using the Preserve trails on Sunday (see photo).  There has been some discussion amongst the Stewardship Committee that with the increasing use of the Preserve by those walking, biking, and jogging; that horse back riding might not be appropriate at some point.  Those are the kind of issues discussed at Stewardship Committee meetings, which are open to the public, so if you have issues or would like to attend, please let us know and we will pass the info on.

Early Morning Phone Calls.  The morning after putting out the Update with the above statement on horses, I received calls and comments from members of the Illahee Stewardship Committee, including my own daughter, that according to the approved Stewardship Plan for the Illahee Preserve, horses are not allowed.  I checked the Plan and they are correct per Section IV.b.4.iii (page 24) which states: “The following uses are deemed not to be appropriate: (a) Camping, (b) Horses, (c) Motorized vehicles, (d) Paintball.”  I was informed that if I am going to report on policy issues, such as horses being allowed, my comments need to be approved by the Stewardship Committee, so as a ‘sort of reporter’ I had to eat some humble pie today.

Park Signs Say Otherwise.  The problem is that the Parks Department signs that surround the Preserve (there are 5 of them), each mention horses in several places and state that they, like hikers and bicyclists, are to stay on designated trails.  The exact statement is under the Trails heading and reads as follows:  HIKERS, BICYCLISTS AND HORSES MUST STAY ON DESIGNATED TRAILS.  We have attached a photo of the sign for those who would like to see all the rules.  

Previous Discussions with the Parks Dept.  Evidently there has been previous discussions on this topic and the reported response from the Parks Department has been there are no designated ‘equestrian trails’ in the Preserve.  This doesn’t make sense to us since we don’t designate between other types of trails such as bicycle and pedestrian trails in the Preserve.

Confusion on the Rules.  Some on the Stewardship Committee admit to this being confusing and especially to those horse owners who currently use the Preserve.  We agree that it is confusing  and think the Parks Department’s signs and regulations should match the Stewardship Plan.

Parks Department Notified.  We were told the Parks Department has been notified and they are aware of the issue and are looking into it again. 

Jim Aho 

>Amazing News – 8/18/10

>Kitsap County to Acquire Rolling Hills Golf Course.  We received a call on Thursday afternoon that a press release was being prepared to announce that the owners of Rolling Hills Golf Course, Don Rasmussen and Kerma Peterson, had reached an agreement with Kitsap County in which the County would acquire the golf course subject to some very amazing conditions.  We think the Kitsap Sun reporter Brynn Grimmly did an excellent job of describing all the details, which will appear in Thursday’s Kitsap Sun.  We have attached the press release from the county and have provided the link to Thursday’s article:   Rolling Hills Transfer Seen as Win-Win for Kitsap County, Charity


Our Response.  This was something that was a dream for many from the time the county purchased the DNR land in 2001.  In 2003 the Illahee Preserve Stewardship Plan was issued that suggested the county consider a future purchase of the golf course to ensure it remained a golf course.  In 2006 there was a push to have the golf course zoned for housing at 5-9 homes per acre, which would accommodate nearly a 1000 homes.  The Illahee community fought that zoning proposal, and because of that fight the commissioners reversed the planner’s request and it went back to an urban reserve zone, which is one home for 10 acres.  Around the same time, the owners wanted to sell the golf course to the county, but negotiations fell through.  Subsequently, other approaches were looked at including a Centennial Clean Water grant obtained by the Port of Illahee from the Department of Ecology, which found the sediment pollution of Puget Sound was primarily from the area north of the golf course, but that likely golf course property would be needed for detention facilities.  It was thought the watershed study documenting the sedimentation problem would help justify a possible purchase of the golf course.  Subsequently the Port of Illahee looked at grant opportunities to purchase the golf course, but found there was little grant money available.  In other words we were coming up against road blocks in every direction we turned.  And so when we got the call we ecstatic and almost speech less that the golf course agreement had been forged.  Much thanks goes to Don Rasmussen and Kerma Peterson for their generosity, and to Josh Brown for finding a way for it to happen.

Jim Aho

>Miscellaneous Items – 4/20/10


Short Nesting Time for Local Canada Goose.  Four days and two eggs was all a local Canada Goose had for her nesting effort before some animal, probably a raccoon or possum, found her nest.  We heard the commotion at 2 am and in the morning found the two broken egg shells on the grass the next morning, along with a sad looking female goose.

Young Eagle Thinks Twice About Taking on One of the Geese.  A few days after the above event a young bald eagle started to swoop down on one of the Canada Geese, and only backed off when the goose flared its wings.  We have watched eagles attach Canada geese before but they are usually just a lone goose on the beach. 

Deer Reports.  When their raspberry bed looked like a bunch of sticks sticking up out of the ground, one resident put up a new 7′ high fence around the area.  He said three deer were visiting the bed every night until they had decimated nearly all the raspberries.  A neighbor tried to shoo the deer away and found them reluctant to leave the area.  So far the netting has worked and they said they found the netting at Lowes for $12 something and it was 7′ by 100′ which is reported to be a good price.  

Rainy Day for Rain Garden Mulching.  There were 6 brave souls who weeded and mulched two of the Illahee Preserve Almira parking lot rain garden plots on Saturday, April 17th.  It was suggested that a week day after-work evening be scheduled for finishing the mulching as many have their Saturdays already booked.

Red Elderberry Being Pulled Up.  We have has several people concerned that someone is going through the Preserve pulling out Red Elderberry plants.  These are good native plants and we are wondering if someone might be thinking they are invasive species, as there doesn’t seem to be any other explanation for their actions.  If you see anyone pulling these plants out, please let us know by calling 479-1049.

Brush Pickers.  There have been reports that there are brush pickers in the Preserve recently and specifically the last two days.  This is illegal activity and they need to be reported by calling 911 or by calling us at 479-1049.  

Rogue Trail Makers.  We have also heard that there are rogue trails being cut through the Preserve.  Any new trail needs to be approved by the Stewardship Committee and the Parks Department.  There are no new trails being established at this time.  If you see someone cutting a trail, please call the Park’s Department or 479-1049.

Illahee Preserve Stewardship Meeting Tonight (4/20/10).  The Illahee Preserve Stewardship Committee meets the third Tuesday of each Month at the Port of Illahee office at 5560 Ocean View Boulevard, between 6:30 and 8:00 pm, and anyone is welcome to attend.  For more information call 479-1049 or 792-6934.

Gutter System?  We have been asked by someone who is considering having a gutter system installed, if there are any happy residents out there who have a recommendation.  Let us know and we will pass the information on.

Jim Aho

>Report on Recent Meetings – 4/17/08

>We have been asked to provide timely reports of the meetings we announce in the Illahee Community Updates.

KCDEM Meeting (4/15/08) at the Norm Dicks Government Center

KCDEM is the abbreviation for the Kitsap County Department of Emergency Management. The meeting followed a nearly 3 hour Kitsap Transit board meeting. These meeting were high level meetings attended by the County Commissioners and the mayors, or their representatives, from cities within the county. The KCDEM meeting was also attended by Christine Rolfes and a representative from Derek Kilmer’s office, and possibly others of importance who we were unaware of.

Phyllis Mann and her staff gave a detailed one hour presentation of their response to the December 3rd storm, which was impressive. At the end of presentation they gave an opportunity for state representatives and the public to comment. State Representative Christine Rolfes inquired about the culvert work on Illahee Road. Public comments were received from one of the Gilberton residents and from two of the Illahee residents in attendance. (Note that this was the first time that public comments were taken at this type of briefing.) To sum up their comments they were upset about the washout at Gilberton Creek and the filling up of the Illahee Creek culvert and wanted some answers as to why these failures occurred. The only press person we saw there was Paul Balcerak from the CK Reporter so there may be a report of the meeting later.

Illahee Community Planning Meeting (4/15/08) at the Sylvan Way Library
(This is an unofficial report of the meeting. The official report will be issued by the county.)

This was the 5th meeting in a series of 9 scheduled public process meetings to review the draft Illahee Community Plan prepared by the community. The meeting was to go over the “environmental elements if the Illahee Plan” followed by a Low Impact Development presentation. It was an interesting meeting in that not everyone’s expectations were met. Some appreciated the environmental process overview provided by the county experts. Others were expecting them to cover specific items in the Illahee Plan. The Low Impact Development presentation was great, but some had hoped there would be more information on the storm water issues in Illahee. An important suggestion by one of the presenters was to make sure the community plan covers all the issues the community is concerned about as those items then must be considered when decisions are made by the county. At the end of the meeting Katrina Knutson suggested we consider a 3 hour meeting on April 28 to finish up the environmental issues along with completing the Chapter 3 zoning issues. We will need to wait on the county to see what their plans are for our next meeting.

Illahee Preserve Stewardship Meeting (4/16/08) at the Park’s Dept Fairgrounds Office

Guests at this meeting were Chip Faver, Dori Leckner, and Martha Droge from the Park’s Department. Martha is the newly hired Parks Planner who will be the lead person in charge of the new parking lot for the Illahee Preserve at Almira and Fuson. The group went over the parking lot design and the process needed to complete the work this year. Other issue of interest is the near completion of brochure verbiage to be given to the architectural firm of Rice, Fergus, Miller who are preparing the brochure which will include a trail map. There have been reports of brush pickers in the Preserve, which is an illegal activity. If you encounter any brush picking in the Preserve, please let the authorities and the Stewardship committee members know. Official minutes of the Stewardship Committee meetings are posted on the illaheecommunity.com website when they are approved.

We hope this brief report of these meetings is helpful.

Jim Aho

>1-5-08 Illahee Preserve Awards Banquet

>This is a report on the Illahee Preserve’s annual awards banquet (potluck) held Friday evening (1/4/08).

The group recognized:
• Dori Leckner of the Kitsap County Parks Department for her excellent support, quick responses, and dedication to the Illahee Preserve, a Kitsap County Heritage Park.
• Judith and Irwin Krigsman for essentially sharing Illahee Creek with the community and for all their activities in support of the Preserve, Illahee Creek, and the community.
• Port of Illahee Commissioners, Dennis Sheeran, George Schaefer, & Don Deitch for their continued support of the Preserve.
• Illahee Preserve Stewardship Committee Chairman, Dale Boyle, Vic Ulsh & Eugene Brennen for their collective effort as chairpersons, along with their individual and extensive contributions to the Preserve such as trail work and coordination with the East Bremerton Rotary Club.
• Audrey Boyer for faithfully publishing articles about the Preserve in the Illahee Community Newsletters.
• Cynthia Brakstad, the IFP treasurer, for not only handling the finances, but also for preparing the income tax returns.
• Jim Trainer for his donation of 285 tree saplings for ripaian planting and for all the things he does for the community.
• Jim Aho for his work with the Preserve and the Preserve’s support group, the Illahee Forest Preserve (IFP).
• All the volunteers who helped in 2007 with trails, invasive plant control, tree planting, water quality monitoring, etc.
• The Preserve’s financial supporters for contributing to the very significant expenses in 2007.
• The newly reorganized Illahee Community Club (ICC) for their community involvement and for preparing to help with Preserve issues.
• The Illahee Forest Preserve (IFP) 501.c.3 corporation, described as a mighty and effective organization in 2007, for the following successes:
1. The Coastal Protection Grant that purchased the Jessica Williams property.
2. The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Grant that did water quality checks for almost 2 years, removed invasive English Ivy along Illahee Creek, planted tree saplings along the creek corridor, and funded an assessment of the creek and the reservoir.
3. The hiring of an attorney to help protect the Preserve’s wetland buffers.
4. The hiring of the best wetland expert available to survey the wetland areas.
5. For providing material and financial support for the Illahee Preserve, which helps keep our taxes lower.

The group previewed: a new video presentation narrated by Jim Trainer entitled “Forest Trails and Critter Tales” that will be distributed soon locally. Portions were filmed within the Illahee Preserve and Illahee.

The Illahee Preserve’s goals for 2008 include:
• Completion of a parking lot and primary Preserve entrance at Almira and Fuson.
• Kiosks and Illahee Preserve trail maps..
• Updating the Stewardship Plan.
• Progress with the golf course.
• Success with grants for targeted properties.
• Success with grants for salmon restoration projects..
• Success with construction grants to start working on Illahee Creek sedimentation problems.
• Success with protecting the Illahee Preserve wetlands.

We thank the Illahee Preserve Stewardship Committee, and their support organization, the Illahee Forest Preserve, for their work in 2007, and wish them another successful year in 2008.

Dennis Sheeran & Jim Aho .