The recently conserved west shoreline of Port Gamble Bay. Photo – Don Willott
Strong Partnerships at Work in Washington
More than a decade of efforts on the Kitsap Peninsula in Washington have been recently paying off. In 2014, Forterra, as part of the Kitsap Forest and Bay Project, helped facilitate the purchase of 535 acres of lowland forest, including 1.5 miles of shoreline of very high conservation value. The land is now conserved as part of the county’s Port Gamble Forest Heritage Park.
Today, there are more than 1,000 acres of forest and shoreline in public ownership in the area and the community is taking part in shaping the management and restoration plans for the properties. Federal, state, tribal and local funds were all used for these projects, showcasing the broad support for protecting the lands for public use, cultural heritage, sustainable timber management, trail corridors and wildlife habitat.
Forest and Shorelands Benefit Multiple Species
With 236 miles of shoreline, Kitsap County is surrounded almost entirely by saltwater. The area is visited by at least 200 species of birds and supports more than a hundred nesting species. Marine birds are abundant from November through March, with over-wintering loons, grebes and cormorants readily seen along the shores. Waterfowl are also plentiful in the winter months, including wigeons, scoters, mergansers and goldeneyes.
The next planned acquisition is the 3,000 acre Port Gamble Forest. It is one of the largest lowland forests in the Hood Canal watershed. The property lies uphill from the Fort Gamble Forest Heritage Park, providing ecological continuity from the hills to the marine ecosystem below. The landscape supports a rich and productive nursery for endangered and threatened salmon species and forage fish, provides habitat for resident and migratory waterbirds and landbirds, and supports the food chain for marine mammals throughout Port Gamble, Hood Canal, and Central Puget Sound watersheds.
Key partners in the Kitsap Forest and Bay Project include Forterra, the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe, the Suquamish Tribe, Great Peninsula Conservancy, the State of Washington and a broad coalition of community members and organizations. To learn more about the project, and the Community Campaign to raise additional private funds to purchase the Port Gamble Forest, visit SavePG.org.
Thank you to Forterra for contributing to this story.
Hikers marvel at the understory of Telegraph Trail along the shoreline of the new Port Gamble Forest Heritage Park.
Photo – Hillary Wilson.