Take a virtual tour of P.O.’s Bay Street path

Reporter Chris Henry strapped on a GoPro and biked along Port Orchard’s waterfront to show the route of the Bay Street Pedestrian Path.

As you can see from the above video, the 1.5-mile-long route is mostly a plan at this point. There are two finished sections, but Chris had to join with vehicle traffic a few times and ride along a few narrow shoulder sections. Read more about her ride here.

The path has been in development for about five years. The completed route will run from the Annapolis ferry dock (where Chris starts her ride) to Port Orchard Marina Park. Recently, the state chipped in $3.5 million to help construct the east portion of the route.

Here’s Chris’ latest story on the path: Port Orchard’s Bay Path bridge work to start soon

BayStPathmap

Giant red squid washes up on Puget Sound beach

Two guys fishing for salmon north of Seattle came home with quite a fish tale. Make that a squid tale.

Brought in by the tide on Sunday morning was what might be a robust clubhooked squid. Dwellers of the deep, these real-life sea monsters rarely make their way into Puget Sound. When they do, they’re usually found dead like this one was. This may be due to the sound’s shallower depths, higher temperatures and lower salinity. Basically, the squids need it cold, dark and salty.

The squid, which was found on Shoreline’s Richmond Beach, was partially eaten and was missing at least one tentacle. It was just under 7 feet long and was estimated to be about 65 lbs.

For more about clubhooked squids, read this: thecephalopodpage.org/Mrobusta

Click below to see a few more squid photos from the Beam Reach school’s Facebook page

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Chinook salmon fishing ends early in North Kitsap

Fishing

Chinook salmon fishing along Kitsap’s north shore will close early this season.

State fishery managers expect the catch quota for Marine Area 9 to be met by the end of this weekend. Area 9 includes the waters off the north end of Kitsap, from the Hood Canal bridge to Kingston. See map (left).

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Starting Monday, fishing for coho and pink salmon will still be allowed but chinook must be released. The daily limit for the area will be two salmon plus two additional pink salmon.

State Dept. of Fish & Wildlife fishery manager Ryan Lothrop said anglers have done well in the area. Chinook fishing was set to close Aug. 15 but anglers have already caught about 80 percent of the catch quota.

As of today (July 23), anglers had caught an estimated 1,953 chinook in Marine Area 9. The catch quota for the area is 2,483.

Beginning Monday, anglers will be able to fish for salmon in the area south from the line between Foulweather Bluff and Olele Point, Lothrop said. This section of Marine Area 9 was closed during the chinook fishery. Anglers fishing in this section have the same daily limit for salmon as the rest of Marine Area 9.

Photo: Anglers cast off Point No Point on Kitsap’s north end. Tristan Baurick/Kitsap Sun

Pooping cyclist starts Idaho wildfire

idahofire

A cyclist trying to “leave no trace” sparked a wildfire that has burned more than 70 acres near Boise.

Firefighters say the cyclist made a pit stop in a ravine in the Boise foothills yesterday. After relieving himself, the cyclist lit his toilet paper on fire. An ember caught the wind and set a patch of dry grass ablaze.

“He thought he was doing the responsible thing by getting rid of the toilet paper but quickly realized the fire was out of his control,” Boise firefighters said in a statement.

An interagency firefighting organization issued a very earnest public advisory urging people to “bury human waste” and refrain from burning soiled toilet paper.

The cyclist confessed to the TP torching and apologized. He was cited, fined and may be held responsible for some of the Boise Fire Department’s costs once they are tallied.

Photo: Wildfire in Hulls Gulch Reserve near Boise, Idaho. Courtesy of the Boise Fire Department.

Report: State parks generate $1.4 billion per year

One of the many weddings held at Kitsap Memorial State Park. Courtesy of Washington State Parks
One of the many weddings held at Kitsap Memorial State Park. Courtesy of Washington State Parks

Washington State Parks visitors are pumping $1.4 billion into the economy each year. That’s according to a not-yet-released report assessing spending by state park visitors.

Park officials teased some of the report’s findings at Wednesday’s state parks commission meeting in Poulsbo.

The report also estimates that state parks support 13,000 jobs and generate about $200 million in federal, state and local tax revenue.

The report was prepared by Earth Economics – the same Tacoma-based firm that released a much bigger report early this year about the state’s outdoor recreation economy. That report found that outdoor recreation generates almost $22 billion per year.

“We wanted to know our share of that $22 billion,” said Peter Herzog, assistant director of Washington State Parks.

The spending is on everything from wedding bookings and camping fees to gas and food.

I’ll have a story about the report later this week.

Park officials will be sure to send the report to the state’s elected leaders. The Legislature has been chipping away at tax-supported funding for state parks for years. To fill the gap, state parks instituted the Discover Pass, raised fees and took a more “entrepreneurial” approach to park management.

Showing state parks’ big dividends could sway some leaders to invest more in the park system, Herzog said.

“This is more fodder to help our cause,” he said.

State parks leaders coming to Kitsap

Poulsbo City Hall
Poulsbo City Hall

In a rare visit to Kitsap, the Washington State Parks Commission will hold its regular meeting at Poulsbo City Hall next week.

The two-day meeting marks the first time in seven years the commission has met in Kitsap. The commission holds seven meetings at locations across the state each year.

The Poulsbo meeting’s agenda on Wednesday includes reports on climate change, forest stewardship, the state budget’s funding for state parks and an inter-agency workplan for the Discover Pass. On Thursday, the commission is set to make decisions on selling a 31-acre Squaxin Island property to the Squaxin Tribe and a management plan for the newly-acquired Fudge Point property on Harstine Island in Mason County. The public is invited to comment on state park issues starting at 9:35 a.m. on Thursday.

On Friday morning, the commission will tour Manchester and Blake Island state parks in South Kitsap.

The commission’s last Kitsap meeting was in Silverdale in 2008.

Last year, the commission met in Chehalis, Winthrop, Bellingham, Illwaco, Spokane and twice in Olympia. Its meetings in 2015 have been in Olympia, DuPont and Cle Elum. After Poulsbo, they’ll meet in Spokane, Stevenson and Gold Bar.

“These meetings are in different placed to give (the commission) a chance to talk with local elected officials and let the public come and listen,” parks spokeswoman Virginia Painter said.

Former state park on Squaxin Island
Former state park on Squaxin Island

The most significant decision set for the Poulsbo meeting is the Squaxin Island property sale. Formerly known as Squaxin Island State Park, the waterfront property was denied permission for public access over tribe-owned tidelands in 1993. The move isolated the property and forced its closure.

State parks estimates that the property’s sale would generate about $45,000. The money could only be used only to acquire new parklands.

The Fudge Point plan is aimed at balancing recreational uses and environmental preservation on the 114-acre property. The property has not yet been designated a state park. The plan calls for the development of 20 acres for parking, bathrooms, campsites and other recreational uses. About 10 acres, including a lagoon and stream mouth, would be protected for wildlife.

Wednesday’s workshop is from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday’s regular meeting is from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. A full agenda is available here.

Illahee Preserve will expand

Aho

I would not have bet that the backers of Illahee Preserve would raise more than $30,000 over the last four days.

When I called Jim Aho yesterday to check on the fundraising, I expected to hear a dejected, deflated voice.

“We made it!” Jim blurted before I could say why I called.

Amazingly, Jim and and the other members of Illahee Forest Preserve managed to turn a lagging fundraising effort into a powerhouse, almost overnight. Yesterday was their deadline for fundraising, and by the morning, Aho had $7,000 more than the $30,000 needed to fill the gap on the 25-acre purchase. By the afternoon, more pledges and donations had streamed in, putting the overflow at close to $20,000.

Any money raised beyond the purchase of the 25 acres will go toward buying the entire Timbers Edge property, which totals 36 acres.

For more, read the story in today’s Kitsap Sun.

Photo: Jim Aho stands near Illahee Creek ravine on Monday. Meegan M. Reid/Kitsap Sun

Illahee Preserve’s long shot pays off

Photo: IllaheePreserve.org
Photo: IllaheePreserve.org

A last-minute change to the state’s capital budget is making Illahee Preserve Heritage Park’s expansion look like a dream that might come true.

Budget-makers grabbed $300,000 out of the Puget Sound Acquisition and Restoration program and put it toward the purchase of 25 acres adjacent to the Bremerton-area preserve. The appropriation happened in the final stage of capital budget negotiations, long after most spending measures were locked in. The budget was signed by the Gov. Jay Inslee early this week.

Credit goes to Rep. Sherry Appleton (D-Poulsbo) for snagging the $300,000. About two weeks ago, she received an email from Illahee Forest Preserve board member Irwin Krigsman.

“He asked for help and said they needed money,” Appleton said. “The capital budget wasn’t done, so I went to the budget chairman – and he’s a very big preservationist – and then the money showed up there.”

The House budget chairman is Hans Dunshee, a Snohomish County Democrat. His campaign site bills him as a “gentle green giant.”

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Advocates for the preserve’s expansion now have to come up with just under $30,000 before July 6. Yep, that’s in just four days.

July 6 is when the process for closing on the property, known as Timbers Edge, must begin, according to an agreement struck with the property’s owner. Raising $30,000 in less than a week won’t be easy, but it’s not impossible, said Jim Aho, an Illahee Forest Preserve board member.

“Thirty-thousand dollars is much more do-able compared $300,000,” he said. “Now we’re going to go out and start beating the bushes.”

Pledges keep coming in, but they remain small.

“Some are $25, and some are $100,” he said. “Last night we got one for $150, and hopefully we’ll be seeing some for $500.”

For more information or to make a pledge, visit thelostcontinent.org

State budget puts $3.1 million into Kitsap outdoor projects

Waterman Pier. Tristan Baurick/Kitsap Sun
Waterman Pier. Tristan Baurick/Kitsap Sun

The state capital budget is out, and there’s plenty of money coming to Kitsap to help build trails, save a pier, improve parks and establish the West Sound’s first mountain bike park.

Here’s the rundown of Kitsap projects awarded funding through the Washington Wildlife & Recreation Program:

Sound to Olympics Trail: $740,500
Kitsap County will use this money to help build what will eventually be a 24-mile paved trail from the Kingston ferry terminal to the Hood Canal bridge.

Waterman Pier: $575,000
This grant covers about half the money needed to replace a 90-year-old pier owned by the Port of Waterman near Port Orchard. With failing pilings and rotting decking, the pier’s been closed for about a month.

Port Gamble Ride Park: $500,000
Kitsap County and the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance’s West Sound chapter are teaming up to build a mountain bike park on a 200-acre property south of Port Gamble. The county will buy the property, estimated at $1 million, from Pope Resources and Evergreen will build the jumps, drops and other features.

Bainbridge Waterfront Park: $500,000
The city of Bainbridge Island will use this grant to expand the park’s dock and improve its boat launch.

Kingston park improvements: $400,000
The Port of Kingston plans to develop a small property near the ferry terminal into a park.

McCormick Village Park: $311,000
The city of Port Orchard will use this money to design and develop a 30-acre park off Old Clifton Road. The park will have a 1-mile loop trail, playground and wetland boardwalk.

Port Orchard’s Bay Street Trail: $105,750
This money will allow the city of Port Orchard to extend a 1.5-mile pedestrian and cycling trail along the city’s waterfront.

I’ll have more in a story I’m working on for the weekend.

Fundraising falling short for Illahee Preserve expansion

LostContinent

The campaign to expand Illahee Preserve Heritage Park is running out of time.

Unless about $330,000 is raised in less than two weeks, a coveted woodland on the preserve’s east edge will become a housing development.

“We’ve gotten a few $10,000 checks but most of it is $2,500, $1,000, $100, $20,” said Jim Aho, one of the preserve’s biggest advocates. “It hasn’t been enough.”

Aho and others have long hoped to preserve the 36-acre property, known as Timbers Edge, and add it to the 440-acre preserve.

IllaheePreserveMap

They had pinned their hopes on a $300,000 grant from the Birkenfeld Trust, but their request was recently turned down.

“That threw us for a loop,” Aho said.

There’s a slim hope that Kitsap’s representatives in Olympia can finagle about $300,000 in last-minute state funds. It’s a long shot, but it’s the only shot they have.

“If the state doesn’t come through, we’re going to fail,” Aho said.

The full price is $1.7 million, but the owner, a Gig Harbor resident, has agreed to cut $500,000 from the price if the property is used for conservation. The fundraising campaign has zeroed in on 25 of the 36 acres as a first phase, but even that more-modest goal is looking unreachable.

Aho and the other members of the preserve’s stewardship group have sought corporate sponsors and even solicited donations from millionaires with local connections.

Some fundraising campaign ideas have fallen flat. They started calling the property “The Lost Continent,” and created a logo and slick website around the name, but Aho admits it led to some head scratching.

“We thought that was really catchy but it has been confusing to some people,” Aho said. “When, instead, we say we’re saving a forest and salmon stream, people say “yeah, yeah, I’m interested in that!”

Problem is, most of their most enthusiastic backers are young adults who lack the money to make big donations.

Aho sought advice from a local fundraising campaign manager. Her advice: Go to Bainbridge Island. That’s where the money is.

Aho didn’t think islanders would care much for a forest on the outskirts of Bremerton, but he targeted some mailings to the parts of south Bainbridge that have views of the preserve’s hills. To his surprise, an islander responded with a $10,000 pledge.

He’s pretty sure he’s seen the extent of Bainbridge’s support. His last push for donations is focused on East Bremerton and Illahee neighborhoods.

“Now we’re even going door to door,” he said.

To learn more about the preserve and its planned expansion, head over here.

Top photo: illaheecommunity.com