Next stewards meeting is the 19th of December. Work party the 21st of December
Chipping Away All Day
Thanks to the hard work of your stewards, NHHP is now a little safer should fire strike our beautiful park. To prepare for our monthly work party, several stewards attended safety training on chipper operation earlier in the week. On October 16, a chipper was rented to mulch fire fuels. Work proceeded down Old Timber Trail. By noon, fire fuel gathered and stacked by the LDS Third Ward in September, was reduced to piles of saw dust. The stewards then moved on to the Children's Forest. Here more chipping was done. Finally they tackled a pile of brush on Fire Trail. It had been removed from the Holly Gate area by Arno Bergstrom, Kitsap County's Forester, and stream steward Bill Wasson on October 11, where they trimmed low hanging branches that blocked the view of oncoming traffic and made entering the highway a little sketchy. Arno also took care of the low hanging branches that had served as a restroom and a place for scofflaws to hide beer bottles and litter. Tim Miller, from the new Chico Creek park brought in his trailer to get chips for use at Chico Park during the salmon tours scheduled for November. The chips will be used to delineate trails for people who want to see the Chum salmon returning. Thanks to all stewards who helped with October's regular work party. It was an extra long day. All attendees slept well Saturday night, some of them with a little help from Alleve.
Mushroom Pickers Please NOTE
The forest areas within Kitsap County Parks host environments for mushrooms which are shared between humans and wildlife. Mushrooms are consumed by deer, bear, small mammals, and mollusks. Some rodents rely on mushrooms for a significant part of their food supply and are, in turn, primary prey for larger species such as owls, hawks and eagles. Preserving the diversity of mushrooms in our local forest ecosystems is essential to Kitsap County natural parks. To maintain a balance between humans and wildlife, the Parks Department will follow guidelines established by the US Forest Service for incidental removal of mushrooms for personal use. No permit is required for incidental removal of mushrooms to gather an amount for a meal. Daily limit for personal use is one gallon. Harvested chanterelle mushrooms must have a cap diameter of one inch or more. Gatherers are reminded to stay on trails and inner roadways as many are surrounded by sensitive ecosystems. There are just as many poisonous mushrooms as there are delicious species of mushrooms. Use caution when picking mushrooms. Use guidebooks and pamphlets for identification. Proper harvesting techniques provide the best possible recovery of mushrooms sites year after year. Mushrooms stems are to be cut at or above ground level, keeping the growing site as undisturbed as possible. Use only a knife or scissors to harvest mushrooms. Kitsap County does not permit commercial harvesting of any products in County Parks unless a County Park permit has been issued.
Word is Out
Recent articles in the Kitsap Sun have gotten the word out about Chantrelles in the park. As a result several hundred people have descended on the park in recent weeks. We don't know how many people picking is too many, but the amount of damage to off trail brush is significant this year. Stewards have been getting complaints from park neighbors asking us to stop trespassers. We have no authority to do this, and if you have trespassers, call the Kitsap County Sheriffs Office. A Washington Specialized Forest Products Permit must be obtained to harvest and transport more than 5 gallons of wild edible mushrooms in the State of Washington.
5 Inches of Rain, No worries
The volume of water flowing in Chico Creek increased by a factor of 10 after the weekend storms dropped over 5 inches of rain on the Central Kitsap area. None of that flow increase was the result of surface runoff leaving our park. Stewards checked staff/crest gauges on Monday 30 September and found no flow in the thalweg leaving the park at culvert 17/18. The soils and wetlands soaked it all up, and only Culvert 3 has flow and that is from the Seabeck Highway and will end up in the heritage wetland. Doing the math...1200 acres multiplied by .4375ft = 525 acre feet of water. That means a puddle 1 foot deep covering 525 acres. This does not include any rainfall in the upper Chico watershed outside the park, just what fell within the park. By Tuesday October 1st, water had worked it's way down to culvert 17 and 18 and the staff gauge indicated 10.5 inches
3RD Ward Returns
The Silverdale Latter Day Saints, 3rd Ward, showed up in force to help tackle fire fuel reduction in the N250. The 3rd Ward has helped us in the park for the past three years by giving us their "Day of Service". If you enjoy a walk or ride down Deer Fern trail, you can thank the 3rd Ward for the absence of Scotch Broom. They chose this project for the past two years, finishing it last year. This years volunteers reduced fire fuel in the North 250. This area has a lot of standing dead trees, and needs a lot of help. Last winter, KSS students in Environmental Science class helped stewards and friends establish a Shaded Fuel Break in this same area, and LDS volunteers improved the effectiveness of the fuel break area by reducing fuels for any fire approaching from the south. The Shaded Fuel Break approach allows us to leave ground cover for wildlife, as opposed to a Fire Break, which removes ALL fuel down to mineral earth. For more information on protecting our forests and your home from urban wildfires go to our Forest Management page and follow the link to WSU. There is still much to be done in this area to restore the forest health and habitat.
Built for the long haul by stewards and friends, funded by KC Parks and Silverdale Rotary, the first wildlife viewing platform is ready for inspection. Once the permit has been signed off by Kitsap DCD, the platform will be open for use. This is the first of three platforms on the long range plan, and the next one will be built on a high ridge overlooking the wetland near Bird Meadow. These platforms are more than just a place to view the beauty of nature, they double as a sustainable trail best practice "positive control point". It is designed to prevent damage to the shoreline by allowing people a close look at the wetland at a specified location. With everyone looking from the same location, damage to the sensitive shoreline vegetation is greatly reduced. This wetland is a Washington State Natural Heritage Site, and is further protected by an Urban Wildlife Easement held by the Washington State Recreation and Conservation office in Olympia. It is in the headwaters of Chico Creek and provides late summer flow for Wildcat, Lost and Chico Creek salmonids that must remain in the watershed for about 18 months prior to heading out to sea. It is an aquifer recharge area for the Kitsap Aquifer, and important habitat for many amphibians. It is an important winter rafting area for migrating waterfowl and a feeding ground for Bald Eagles and bats. There is a lot of life happening out there, so stop and take a quiet look.
Thanks to all who helped: Colen, Steve, Tom, Jessie, Cooper, Pat, Bill, Frank, Mike, Nancy, MTV Home Repair, KC Parks, Silverdale Rotary, Dori, Lori, and Ric, to name a few.
Footings for the boardwalk on Wildlife Trail were poured on the 23rd of May. Beams and decking arrived a week later, and installation of decking and western wing wall completed on the 14th of June. The eastern wing wall and bullrail was installed on the 28th of June. This boardwalk will protect the wetland below it, and permit patrons to use this trail year round, without threading around the wetland. The trail has been reopened and is ready for traffic. Thanks for your patience during construction. Funding for this project was by the Silverdale Rotary.
Noxious Weed Control
It took three years of pulling to get to this last big Scotch Broom. Two miles of trail covered with Scotch Broom is a lot. Don't worry, there is still plenty left to pull. This is only the first phase of the control plan. Now that the big ones are gone, stewards will be able to bring in power equipment to help control the millions of seedlings that will sprout now that sunlight can reach them. It might sound strange, but that is exactly what we want to happen. Since the seeds remain viable for about 60 years, we want them to all sprout now so we can till them under before they mature and produce new seeds. This approach allows us to control the weed without use of herbicides. Herbicides are much more efficient than our current approach, and without volunteers pulling we could never afford to control this weed mechanically. For before and after pictures navigate to the Noxious Weeds page.
For a new trail map with mileages. click on PARK MAP icon under Useful Links
The most important feature of this park is you, our volunteers and stewards.