Friday Afternoon Club: A Walk in the (Banner) ParkMay 14th, 2010 by Chris Henry
I can’t believe I’ve lived in South Kitsap since 1979 but never set foot in Banner Forest Heritage Park until yesterday.
I spent about two hours tromping around the park for a story to run tomorrow. In short the Kitsap County Parks and Recreation department has recently fielded a flurry of complaints symptomatic of tension between mountain bikers and other park users, especially horseback riders.
The flap has prompted parks officials to revisit the Banner Forest Management Plan (find it here Banner Forest Management Plan), drawn up in 2002. They will do an inventory of trails to make sure wetlands and other environmentally sensitive areas aren’t being degraded, and to ensure that man-made jumps and other obstacles don’t pose too big of a liability to the county.
The county is also looking for additional members for its Banner stewardship committee. The committee will meet at 7 p.m. June 7 at the South Kitsap Fire & Rescue station at 300 Tremont Street. The public is welcome.
Parks director Jim Dunwiddie hopes better communication with park users will foster improved relations among disgruntled users, and he hopes more people will volunteer to help keep the park safe and clean.
“It’s better to point a rake or shovel at the ground than point fingers at each other,” Dunwiddie said. “We’re going to pass out the words to ‘Kumbaya,’ too.”
On my walk in the park, I saw a number of people enjoying a variety of activities: biking, horseback riding, jogging, hiking and a couple little kids throwing rocks into the bushes. With 635 acres, it would seem like there’s plenty of room for everyone. There’s also the possibility of getting lost. So if you decide to visit Banner Forest this weekend, you may want to bring along this handy map (below) that was on the Kitsap County Parks and Recreation department website.
If you live in a different area of the county, you can find a park near you on the website.
Happy trails to you until we meet again.
Banner Map 0510