A new viewing platform within Newberry Hill Heritage Park provides a clear view of an open-water wetland, where lots of water birds can be seen at this time of year.
That’s the word from Frank Stricklin, a member of the park’s stewardship group who helped build the platform. Frank told me that he has seen a variety of colorful ducks on the water, including bufflehead, hooded merganser and ring-necked ducks.
In the summer, the platform will provide a good place to watch swallows and bats flying low over the water at dusk.
Visible from the viewing platform, but somewhat shrouded in vegetation, is a large beaver dam that keeps the water backed up. Once, while Frank was working on the platform before dark, he spotted a pair of beavers swimming around.
Frank is president of the nonprofit Friends of Newberry Hill Heritage Park, which provides funding and volunteers to work on the trails and maintain the beautiful 1,100-acre forested park.
In addition to the volunteers, credit for the viewing platform should go to Silverdale Rotary Club and Kitsap County, which provided funding for materials, along with MTV Home Repair and Asbury Fuel, which offered materials and construction expertise, according to Frank.
The viewing platform is located at a popular vista along Wildlife Trail where the vegetation had been trampled by people trying to get a better view, Frank told me. The platform allows people to view the water without causing damage to the shoreline.
The easiest access to the site is from the Holly Gate along Seabeck Highway near Holly Road. Walk along the service road until it comes to a junction, then turn north. It’s about a mile of level walking from the gate to the viewing platform. A map is posted on the website of Friends of Newberry Hill Heritage Park.
Two other platforms are being planned for the wetland, one near the north end and one near the south end. The northernmost platform will be located on a small ridge, with views of Green and Gold mountains. The southernmost platform will be near the 135-foot-long beaver dam.
Frank, who was recently appointed to a full term on the Kitsap County Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, said volunteers are always needed to help improve this amazing parkland. For information, visit the Friends of NHHP website.