Category Archives: Parks and Recreation

New benches coming to Poulsbo waterfront

A map of where the new benches will be place. They are the blue rectangles.
A map of where the new benches will be place. They are the blue rectangles. Map courtesy of the city of Poulsbo.

There will be quite a few more spots to sit back, relax and enjoy the view at Poulsbo’s waterfront park next month.

The city is installing 10 new benches between the Austin-Kvelstad Pavilion and the parking lot. The metal benches will be similar to the blue benches at the park, although the new ones will be dark brown to match the pavilion, said Mary McCluskey, park director.

Workers plan to pour concrete Thursday, and all the benches will be done by the end of April.

Viking Fest, one of the city’s largest event, is in mid-May.

Poulsbo parks board gives bike track, softball field thumbs up for Little Valley Ball Field

Residents and supporters cram into the Poulsbo City Council chambers to hear proposals for what the Little Valley Ball Field should become.
Residents and supporters cram into the Poulsbo City Council chambers to hear proposals for what the Little Valley Ball Field should become.

Poulsbo’s park board will be recommending two of four proposals for Little Valley Ball Field — a bike track and softball field — to the City Council.

The board ranked the proposal after every organization presented Monday night at Poulsbo City Hall where a crowd of residents and supporters spilled out into the hallway.

“We certainly know this process works,” said Mary McCluskey, Parks and Recreation Department director. “That was the best part of it. Know what? We could do this again if we had another piece of property.”

Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance West Sound Chapter proposed a bike pump track, while the Diamond Dusters wanted a “home” softball field. North Kitsap Little League also wanted to leave the property as a ball field to use for practice, and Kitsap Children’s Musical Theater wanted a new facility for rehearsal space.

The board did not discuss why the bike track and softball field proposals were chosen over children’s theater or the little league field, although McCluskey said it was likely a combination of factors, such as timeline, cost, support and the organization’s need.

While five proposals had originally been submitted to the city, one — a solar park proposal — was withdrawn at the request of PIE Inc. owner Pedro Valverde, who told the city via email that partners for the $1 million project did not come through.

The children’s theater proposal also had changes announced at Monday’s presentations. The Kitsap Children’s Musical Theater decided to scale back plans for a $5 million performance and rehearsal center to a $3.9 million rehearsal only facility.

The project would take about five years to complete fundraising and construction.

After the board announced its recommendation, the neighbor who shares a driveway with the ball field spoke up about concerns with being able to leave and enter his property, along with preventing contamination to the shallow wells on his and his father’s property nearby.

Maurice “Gene” Foster, who has lived by the park for 55 years, told the board he did not want to favor any one proposal, although he wanted the board and the city to consider his comments.

“I really support the children of this community,” he said. “I built that field. I built that driveway. Every time we have asked the teams to keep the driveway vacant, I’ve had to weave around cars and ask people to move.”

Poulsbo City Council will consider the parks board recommendation, although council members will review all four proposals.

The final proposal must meet building code and environmental standards, McCluskey said.

You can read more details about the proposals in my previous story.

Long Lake taxing district map: where’s your property?

Here, as promised, is a map of proposed boundaries for a lake management district to pay for control of invasive weeds and toxic algae at Long Lake in South Kitsap.

I’ve written a couple of stories about this recently: One explaining the problem of the weeds and algae, which in the past have degraded the lake environment and spoiled its recreational potential. Today I wrote a follow-up on a public hearing set for April 18.

Treatment of the lake from 2006 through 2010 was paid for with a state Department of Ecology grant, but that source is no longer available.

Property owners on and near the lake later this year will get to vote on whether to assess themselves to pay for weed and algae control.

The cost for lakeshore properties would be $252 per year, under the current proposal. Properties with access to the lake would pay $144 per year; and properties in “close proximity” would pay $52 per year. The boundaries and the assessment amounts, along with pretty much everything else about the proposal, is subject to change. A lot depends on what the Kitsap County Board of Commissioners hears from lake area residents, and other people with an interest in the lake at the public hearing on April 28 (we’ll remind you when and where as the hearing gets closer).

In the meantime, if you have questions, visit the website of the group Citizens for Improving Long Lake, which initiated the process for the election. Or contact Eric Baker, Kitsap County special projects manager, at ebaker@co.kitsap.wa.us or (360) 337-4495.

Long Lake Management District Map by sunnews820

Kitsap likes its fundraisers outdoors, active

Bake sales are all well and good, but here in Kitsapland (and it’s safe to say the Northwest in general), we like to get double duty out of raising money for a worthy cause.

Upcoming are two events where you can get vigorous exercise in the fresh air while doing good. The first is the Jingle Bell Run, raising funds to combat juvenile arthritis, on Saturday in Port Orchard; the second on Dec. 14, is NewLife Kitsap’s Walk for Water, raising money to build wells in Africa, to be held on waterfronts in Port Orchard, Gig Harbor, Silverdale, Bainbridge Island and the Theler Wetlands in Belfair. Both require registration, and pre-registering is preferred. But you can jump on board with both events the morning of.

Both events raise awareness of of things most of us (I think it’s safe to say) take for granted.

Walk for Water
When it’s raining buckets here in the Northwest, like on July 4th, most of us probably don’t think, “Dang, I wish we had some more water around here.” Kitsap, which relies solely on rainfall to replenish its reservoirs and aquifers each year, has faced seasons where water conservation is encouraged. But we’re always able to turn on the tap for a drink of potable water or a bottle of water at the convenience store.

In contrast, many people in sub-Saharan Africa lack access to clean water. The average African walks 5 miles a day for water, according to people at New Life who are organizing the Walk for Water. The journey is dangerous and most of the water gathered is unclean, causing illness and sometimes death, especially among young children.

Walk in the Light, a charity supported by NewLife in the Walk for Water, collects money to build wells and bring other forms of water purification to towns in Burkina Faso. Last year, reporter Josh Farley wrote about the organization, founded by Tom and Katy Cornell, who are also involved with NewLife. The couple, while attending Northwestern University in Kirkland, got to know a man from Burkina Faso, and so learned about the needs of people there.

In 2012, 80 people took part in the first Walk for Water in Kitsap County, treking 2 1/2 miles along the Silverdale waterfront with empty five-gallon jugs and other containers.
Screen shot 2013-12-06 at 9.21.07 AM
They filled them and lugged them back, getting a taste of what people (most women and children) must do each day. Lack of a clean water source is not only inconvenient and unhealthy, it robs people of the time to work, get an education and have a life, as the saying goes here in the U.S. The event has been expanded this year to several waterfront locations.

When: December 14; registration a 9:30 a.m.; walk starts at 10 a.m.
Where: Gig Harbor waterfront; Bainbridge waterfront Park; Silverdale waterfront; Port Orchard Westbay Center; Theler Community Center.
What: The length of the walk is 5 miles. Each person will be given a 5-gallon container to carry on the walk or bring your own.
Cost: $20 registration fee to receive a T-shirt and five-gallon container (fee waived if you skip the T-shirt and bring your own container); recommended donation of $100 to walk. Online registration through Dec. 12.

Jingle Bell Run
I ran into Sheila Cline the other day at MoonDogs (when I was covering that outrageous tip the restaurant received). Cline was busy preparing for the third annual Jingle Bell Run, an event she has captained since 2011, in support of her daughter Kinsey, who has juvenile arthritis. The 5K run/walk is part ofPort Orchard’s Festival of Chimes & Lights.

The Jingle Bell run is the signature event of the Arthritis Foundation. To get the organization on board with allowing the run in Port Orchard, Cline had to guarantee a minimum level of participation. No worries there; the run has exceeded expectations each year, involving more than 1,000 runners (some real serious types) and raising more than $50,000 annually for the organization.

Kinsey Cline has struggled with arthritis since she was 8. Now 13, she’s having a good year and able to regularly attend John Sedgwick Junior High School. That wasn’t always so. Last year, she missed a lot of school and experienced a lot of discomfort. Now on a new medication regime, Kinsey’s arthritis is well controlled.

As those with the disease know, it’s an ongoing battle to stay mobile. Something those participating in this year’s run/walk might consider as they trot (or clip) along Bay Street and Beach Drive.

Kinsey was the honoree at the first Jingle Bell Run. This year’s honoree is Linda Banks of Port Orchard who was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis two years ago. Now 48, Banks was and is an athlete, and she finds that exercising and staying active helps reduce her arthritis symptoms.

A member of the Kitsap Tri-Babes, Banks has participated in many triathlons, and on her birthday in 2012, Banks completed an Ironman triathlon in Cour d’Alene, swimming in the choppy 58 degree lake, bicycling, and then running. Doctor’s have advised against her running for the time being, but Banks will participate by walking the 5K on Saturday.

A costume contest is at 12:30 p.m.; kids’ 1K at 1 p.m.,; 5K at 1:30 p.m.
Where: Port Orchard City Hall, 216 Prospect Street, Port Orchard
When: Dec. 7, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Cost: Free – $30

See options for Manchester’s “Stormwater Park” Tuesday

Kitsap County public works officials on Tuesday will present design options for a public park, to be located on county property with a new stormwater treatment plant.
The plant, to be built in 2014 and 2015, will add high-capacity stormwater treatment for the Manchester area and create a new community commons at the intersection of Colchester Drive and Main Street.
“Hearing from people about their needs and preferences for community amenities will help us to move to the next phase of project design,” said Chris May, Kitsap County Surface and Stormwater Management Program Manager. “The county is interested in designing features that will enhance the community and support the area’s stormwater treatment needs.”
For more information, visit http://www.kitsapgov.com/sswm/Manchester_SW_Retrofit.htm.
The meeting is 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Manchester Library. I’ll see you there.

Chris Henry, South Kitsap reporter

PO police pull crab pots

Last week we heard from Jim Griffis who sent us this picture of Port Orchard Police Department’s patrol boat, with officers on deck pulling crab pots.
crabs
Griffis said the officers appeared to be taking photographs of the crabs and gear. He found it “very unusual” since the state Department of Fish & Wildlife has jurisdiction over crabbing regulations.

True, but the police help out as they are needed, according to Chief Geoffrey Marti. The city of Port Orchard has binding agreements with a number of different agencies, including Fish & Wildlife to assist with enforcement. Part of the reason is that grant money used to purchase the boat requires inter-agency cooperation with other jurisdictions.

One such agreement ensures help on the water from Port Orchard to the city of Bremerton, which does not have its own patrol boat. Fish & Wildlife has boats, but wildlife officers can’t be everywhere. Neither can Port Orchard officers, but if they see something illegal, they’re not going to turn a blind eye, Cmdr. Dale Schuster said.

“We’re not going to walk away from a violation that’s right in front of us.” Schuster said.

Schuster said the crabbing enforcement documented by Griffis happened on July 16 (a Tuesday) in Yukon Harbor, according to POPD records. Crabbing in this area is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays (as in all of area 10 covering the Seattle/Bremerton region). Other regulations apply. The catch is limited to male crabs of a minimum size (depending on the variety). Gear must meet DFW specifications, and the catch must be recorded.

According to Schuster three illegal pots were pulled; two belonged to the same person. The third belonged to another person.

So the next time you see a law enforcement marine patrol boat checking out crab pots, you can be assured they’re not after a seafood dinner.

With skatepark open, a word on helmets

South Kitsap Skatepark opened today, after six years of planning and nearly eight months of construction. Immediately the place was filled with jubilent skateboarders and trick bike riders, according to Kitsap Sun reporter Brynn Grimley, who passed the park on her way home earlier.

Tomorrow (Saturday) there will be a grand opening celebration.

As work on the park was under way in January, I heard from James Gates, a local resident concerned with personal safety. More than one member of Gates’ family has had head injuries related to skateboarding.

“I am in favor of a park, but not in favor of accidents that are preventable,” Gates said.

The county, which owns the skatepark at South Kitsap Regional Park, does not require helmets. Signs are posted recommending use of helmets and knee pads. Those signs confer “recreational immunity” on the county from anyone who would sue over injuries from use of the skatepark, according to Ric Catron, the county’s parks project manager.

Catron is from Oregon, where helmets are required by law for bike riders and skateboarders under 16. Earlier this year a bill, now dead, proposed to raise the age to 18.

Catron was surprised by Washington’s lack of a similar helmet law. In Oregon, where Catron also worked in parks development, violators could be fined, heftily. Some jurisdictions confiscated skateboards from those who neglected the law.

Gates thinks South Kitsap Skatepark Association, a major donor to the skatepark, should take the lead in educating young skateboarders about the importance of helmets, and, Gates said, they should lead by example. Mike VanDenBergh one of the SKSPSA’s leaders said he always wears a helmet and has his children, Ethan, 13, and Sophie, 11, do so as well.

At the event Saturday, professional skateboarders will be giving tips. It will be interesting to see if safety is emphasized in their lessons.

Parents, do you make your children wear helmets? Do you wear them yourself?

Speaking of BMX bikes …

Earlier this week, we ran a story about a state grant Kitsap County Parks and Recreation hopes to get for some of the work on a planned state-of-the art outdoor skateboard facility at South Kitsap Regional Park.

Formal plans call for a BMX bike track adjacent but not connected to the skatepark. But informally, BMX riders have for decades been enjoying their sport on a warren of trails with do-it-yourself jumps in the wooded part of the 200-acre park.

According to 32-year-old Chris Marin of Port Orchard, default spokesman for the loosely affiliated BXM community in South Kitsap, the group is self-policing. Older riders and parents step in to dismantle jumps that show just a little too much industry. The unspoken rule is that jumps must be passable for younger riders and others who may not wish to defy gravity.

A circular race track built in the early 1980s was removed some years ago.

The course is well-used, Marin said. On any given weekday, 30 to 50 riders trickle through. On weekends, 60 to 80 riders is typical, he estimates. Most are teenage guys, but some are older. Marin said he’d like to see more girls out there riding the jumps.

The county checks in on the property periodically, with an eye to its own “risk management.” In March, Marin got a call about a water heater being used to support one of the features. According to Parks and Recreation Director Jim Dunwiddie, some of the jumps were getting “close to 10 feet tall.”

“There was some concern there would be major injuries if the jump building continues,” Dunwiddie said.

The county is holding back for now on harsh enforcement. They gave the riders time to remedy the situation.

Marin orchestrated removal of the water heater, and a couple of weeks ago, when Dunwiddie went out with the official who evaluates the county’s liability, the offending jumps had been removed or lowered. Dunwiddie passed out his business cards to a few riders who were there and invited them to spread the word that he’s looking for others, beside Marin, who might take on more formal stewardship of the area. As of Monday, he had not heard from anyone.

Marin said publicity over the water heater helped, in that a few parents and other adults have stepped up offering to help keep the track safe and clean. As for plans for a more formal track closer to the road, Marin said, more or less, if it’s not broken, don’t fix it. Unlike the South Kitsap Skatepark Association, which has raised more than $100,000 toward a public skatepark, BMX’ers can operate on a shoestring, Marin said. He believes BMX’ers would be perfectly content to continue as they have for an estimated four decades.

“We don’t want anything. All we need is space, and we can do the work ourselves,” Marin said. “If we could stay where we are, we could be there for the next 40 years.”

Marin would like to see the county give permission for the race track to be rebuilt. Those who installed it even ran water and power out to the area, so he believes it could be done for minimal expense.

Anyone with an interest in the BMX track at South Kitsap Regional park can call Dunwiddie at (360) 337-5350 or volunteer/stewardship coordinator Lori Raymaker at (360) 337-5372 or parks superintendent Dori Leckner at (360) 337-5362.

Bainbridge resident who established Birkenfeld trust was a “frugal” teacher

Today I wrote about the South Kitsap Skatepark Association receiving $75,000 for its planned facility at South Kitsap Regional Park. The grant came from the C. Keith Birkenfeld Memorial Trust managed by The Seattle Foundation.

Birkenfeld is frequently mentioned in the Kitsap Sun. A Bremerton High School graduate, Birkenfeld was a teacher and later administrator in the Bellevue School District. He lived on Bainbridge Island most of his life and was active in community organizations.

His will provided $14 million to establish a trust that would inspire other donations. To date the trust has distributed $3.9 million in funds, mostly to organizations benefiting Kitsap County residents. According to spokeswoman Claire Bishop, Birkenfeld, a single man, was frugal and invested his money with care, and so amassed a substantial nest egg in his 66 years.

Besides the skatepark association, other recipients of major awards in 2011 are:

Bainbridge Land Trust, a $250,000 grant toward the purchase of Hilltop, a 31-acre parcel connecting two sections of the 541-acre Grand Forest on Bainbridge Island; www.bi-landtrust.org.

Seabeck Christian Conference Center, a $150,000 contribution to the Seabeck Centennial Campaign to re-build guest houses and to install an outdoor amphitheater; www.seabeck.org.

Hope in Christ/Coffee Oasis, a $125,000 grant to purchase and convert a building into a teen shelter in Bremerton; www.thecoffeeoasis.com.

SK Skatepark Association, a $75,000 grant to cap off fundraising for a world-class skate park in Port Orchard; www.skskatepark.com.

Other Kitsap County projects will receive pre-development funding to assist with planning new large projects with Kitsap County-wide impact. Another $33,000 set-aside from the trust each year finances the Humanitarian of the Year Award, administered by the Bainbridge Community Foundation.

Extreme shrimping

Thus endeth another shrimping season on Hood Canal. And what a season it was. Shrimpers had wind, rain, hail, sun, plenty of big, juicy spot shrimp, and a bonus day courtesy of the demigods at the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife.

And the extreme shrimper award of the year goes to… Jerome Tramill of Vaughn, who lives by the creed, “The heck with fingers … save the pots.”

Unlike the opening day of shrimping, yesterday, the last day of the spot shrimp season, was mild and gorgeous. This according to editor David Nelson, who took the day off to go shrimping (he works Saturday). David got his limit and has promised us a free lunch tomorrow – yes there is such a thing. Please be gumbo, please be gumbo.

The opening day of shrimping season was, weather-wise, a whole ‘nother kettle of fish. Tramill and his wife Alma are seasoned shrimpers not apt to let a little wind and rain stop them. But that first Saturday in May was, in Tramill’s words, “a pretty tough day on the water. The wind kicked up. We decided to pull up and get the heck out of there.”

Tramill started the motor on his electric pot puller, and the machinery cranked against the drift and the tide. The boat was pitching around, and Tramill found himself off balance. Then “in the blink of an eye” he found his hand tangled in the line, the puller grinding on. He shut the motor down and had to cut the line to free his mangled fingers. From the angle of his little finger, he was pretty sure it was broken. “It turned out to be worse than broken,” said Tramill, who ended up losing half of his pinkie in the accident.

His other digits weren’t in such good shape either. Blood gushed from his hand, dripping on the deck. Holding the severed line with his uninjured left hand, he wrapped the right with a T-shirt. Then he considered the pot.

It wasn’t just about the shrimp, but the darn thing cost a pretty penny. “I decided, rather than throw 100 bucks away, I’d pull it in. That was a killer,” Tramill said.

I personally can attest how tough it is to pull pots by hand, even with two good hands. My experience includes all of 15 minutes, helping haul pots while on assignment for the story, “Shrimp Abundant on Hood Canal This Year.” I had to lean my whole body into each tug, and even wearing gloves, my palms and fingers stung when I and my kind host, the owner of the gear, wrestled the pot over the side of the boat.

Tramill tugged and hauled and grunted with the effort for what seemed like an eternity, his wife — by his description — keeping up an increasingly shrill volley of expletives. When at last he hoisted the pot into the boat, it had all of about 15 shrimp inside. Tramill speculates most of the little buggers probably escaped because his injury prevented him from hauling the pot in smoothly.

He eyed the line to the second pot, but pain and his wife’s common sense prevailed. With Alma at the wheel, they headed against the wind, toward shore. Tramill credits his wife with navigating the boat through some of the nastiest chop he’s ever seen. It took them about an hour to reach the boat launch at Twanoh State Park, where they were met by EMTs from Mason County Fire District, station 2.

“When they pulled into the dock, there was a good amount of blood in the entire boat,” said firefighter EMT Brian Johnson, who noted the extreme weather. “It was rough out there. It was gangbusters,” he said.

Tramill, on the other hand, was remarkably calm. “He was in really good spirits and more concerned about his shrimp than anything else,” Johnson said.

A buddy showed up to take care of Tramill’s boat and equipment. According to Johnson, Tramill, as he was being loaded into the ambulance, exhorted the buddy to “get those things on ice.”