Tag Archives: Banner Forest

Mountain Bikers Disappointed in Cancellation of Banner Stewardship Meeting

If you were planning to attend the meeting of the Banner Forest Stewardship Committee Meeting on Monday, scratch that item off your calendar.

The meeting has been canceled, said Lori Raymaker, park stewardship coordinator, because “we don’t have any updates.”

Work on trails was halted in May, to give the county time to assess whether some of the new trails built by mountain bikers should stay. The county also wanted to allow for a review of the Banner Forest master plan, drafted in 2002.

Since then stewardship meetings, held every other month, have been well attended by mountain bikers and others with an interest in the park.

South Kitsap Commissioner Charlotte Garrido is leading the formation a Banner Forest Watch Group to review the master plan. The 12 volunteer slots will be filled by people representing the range of interests of park users. These include environmental education, flora, forestry, hiking, biking, equestrian, neighbors, wildlife, wetlands, photography, land conservation and recreation. One member of the Kitsap County Parks and Recreation Advisory Board also will be part of the group.

Garrido on Friday said she’s been delayed in selecting from among the applicants, because the county’s board of commissioners has been conducting budget review meetings with each department for the past two weeks, commanding the board’s attention.

Garrido was a member of the group that drafted the original Banner Forest master plan, and uses the park frequently herself. She said it’s high time to revisit the master plan. It’s also important, she said, that the watch group represent the diverse interests of those who use the park.

The stewardship committee has been meeting and doing work on the park for the past nine years. Garrido appreciates the efforts of park stewards, many of whom are mountain bikers. But, she said, it’s important that work they do adheres to parks department standards for safety and fits with the overall vision for the park.

K.C. Butler, who enjoys trail running and mountain biking, is frustrated by the moratorium on work, including trail maintenance, at the park. Two work parties have been canceled in recent months.

Butler understands the master plan needs to be updated, and he knows some of the trails that have been built will not be permitted to stay. But he, and others, would like to be able to keep open the main trails that not only bikers but hikers and joggers use. Keeping “sight lines” open is important for everyone’s safety, he said.

“We’re not talking about creating anything new,” he said. “We just want to maintain what’s there.”

In Butler’s observation, the diverse users of the park get along well, most of the time. Others he’s talked to, besides mountain bikers, have expressed impatience with the moratorium.

“There’s kind of a huge community of trail users out there. They’re not all mountain bikers,” he said. “It’s kind of a close knit community out there.”

Banner Forest: Folks Needed to Keep an Eye on the Woods

Kitsap County is forming a Banner Forest watch group to monitor Banner Forest and help implement the Banner Forest Master Plan.
The county purchased the 635-acre Banner Forest from Washington Department of Natural Resources in 2000. The 2002 master plan included recommended steps to preserve the forest’s ecosystems while accommodating recreational uses.
The county is reassessing the plan, partially in light of conflict among users earlier this year.
South Kitsap Commissioner Charlotte Garrido is seeking applications from citizens willing to work with County Park staff to assure that the forest is sustained into the future. The watch group will be made up of people interested in environmental education, flora, forestry, hiking, biking, equestrian activities, wildlife, wetlands, photography, land conservancy and recreation. The group also will include residents living in the vicinity of Banner Forest.
Obtain an application and position description from Jan Koske, Kitsap County Volunteer Services Coordinator at (360) 337-4650 or jkoske@co.kitsap.wa.us. Complete an application online at www.kitsapgov.com/volunteer/frmbrdapp.htm. Applications should be submitted by 5 p.m. Aug. 23.

Banner Forest Update

Captain Underpants of Kitsap Mountain Biking has been squashing rumors that Banner Forest county park is being shut down. ”

“The rumors that have been circulating are false and VERY unofficial,” the captain says.

He then shares a letter from the Kitsap County Parks Department about what has transpired since county officials decided to take a closer look at what was going on in the park.

Below, I have pasted a copy of the letter from Lori Raymaker, which was also sent to me. Next Banner work party is Saturday. Next stewardship meeting is 7 p.m. Aug. 2 at the Long Lake Community Center.

Heeere’s Lori:

“Dear Banner Forest Advocate,

It has been a few weeks since we met to discuss the trail development in Banner Forest. As we continue moving forward, we would like to keep you informed of the initial steps that we have taken or anticipate having completed in the next few weeks.

· Parks Department and Great Peninsula Conservancy (GPC) staff has reconfirmed the 139 acre conservation easement boundary.

· Parks Department staff is in the process of securing the services necessary for the wetland delineation which fall within the conservation easement.

· Beginning this week (July 12th) additional signs will be posted along the easement boundary to better identify the area for park users.

· As the first part of the trail assessment (priority given to conservation area) the 139 acre tract has been divided into evaluation areas. Parks Department will begin the assessment in the area above Echoes Trail (northwest), then below Echoes Trail (southwest), followed by the area between Tunnel Vision and Banner Slough (east).

· We anticipate that the assessment, recommendations, and identification of the next steps to be taken will be presented during the October Stewardship meeting.

· Since the County had never approved the construction of jumps and other obstacles, the objects are being removed. If the installation of the objects is deemed appropriate and acceptable, the design and installation of obstacles will be done so with the approval of the County Risk Manager and Parks Department.

· As we perform our trail assessments, a Steering Committee will be selected to help review the original Master Plan, evaluate planning/use guidelines, and participate in discussions for the appropriate uses of the trails and the trail system.

Saturday, July 17th is the next scheduled work day for the Banner Forest stewardship group. With our spring rain and the warm weather, some of the trails are becoming closed in. For user safety and comfort, the Parks Department will work with the group to clear the following trails: Golden Gate, San Francisco, Oakland, Capitulate, Sidewinder, and then a trail or two in the Greek Row area. If you are interested in helping with this project, meet at the Banner Rd. parking area at 10:00am on Saturday July 17th. We will divide into groups and tackle as many of these trails as possible. Due to limited parking, please carpool

If there are other trails that you feel need to be evaluated for clearing, please contact Lori Raymaker at 337-5372.

Reminder: The next Banner Forest stewardship group meeting will be on Monday, Aug. 2nd at 7:00 pm at the Long Lake Community Center.

Hope to see as many of you as possible on Saturday for our work party.

Lori Raymaker
Park Stewardship Coordinator
Kitsap County Parks
614 Division St., MS-1
Port Orchard, WA 98366
(360) 337-5372”

Banner Forest (and map): The Conversation Continues

(Map below post)

I attended a meeting of the Banner Forest Stewardship Committee Tuesday. No new developments since I wrote about friction among some users of the park over what are perceived to be conflicting uses.

Kitsap County Parks and Recreation Departmentparks director Jim Dunwiddie told the crowd of more than 70, is maintaining the halt on any trail building until the county can do a complete trails assessment. Complaints about excessive trail building led parks officials to that decision. Conversely those who build the trails, mostly mountain bike groups, complain that some horseback riders travel the trails when they are too soft, chewing up the earth and creating hazards.

Dunwiddie said his department will focus particularly on the 139 acres managed by the Great Peninsula Conservancy. Kate Kuhlman of the conservancy told the crowd that the forest is “a bowl” with the wetland — a rare “bog and fen” wetland at the bottom, likely recharging an aquifer. Kuhlman also mentioned the wildlife supported by the area deeded in perpetuity to the conservancy’s care.

Dunwiddie said trails in the conservancy acreage have “exceeded the capacity” of the area. Kuhlman said the possibility of bikes or horses on some trails in the conservancy acreage is not off the table, but for now officials will try to enforce a strictly foot-traffic-only rule that’s been in place for years. Dunwiddie said it’s important to come up with a comprehensive trails plan as part of a re-tooling of the park master plan.

Dunwiddie would prefer not to have to segregate users, but there’s the possibility some trails could be closed for some uses, at least at certain times of the year. All that’s yet to be seen, and the county isn’t going to be able to provide any quick answers, due to lack of staffing, he said.

Dunwiddie was glad to see so many people there who care about the park. “We need your eyes and ears. We need you to help make this happen,” he said.

In the past, commissioners appointed people to the stewardship committee, but now anyone who shows up to meetings or work parties is deputized, Dunwiddie said. Lori Raymaker, stewardship coordinator, said people with various skills and interests are needed, fro, those willing to do trail maintenance to folks who can take notes at meetings or, in the future, work on fund-raisers.

Jerry Whitlow, a horseback rider, said he’s tried to sign up for the stewardship committee before but was never called back. Others reported similar experiences. Dunwiddie, with his wry humor, said, “Well, there’s a new sheriff in town.”

The next Stewardship meeting is Aug. 2 at the Long Lake Community Center.

To volunteer or find out more about the stewardship committee, call Lori Raymaker at (360) 337-5372

View Banner Rd SE in a larger map