State grant bridges final funding gap for North Kitsap park expansion
NORTH KITSAP — A ‘missing piece’ of the North Kitsap parkland puzzle is nearly in place thanks to a state grant awarded to Kitsap County this month.
The county was awarded $392,000 from the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program to bridge what could be the last major bit of funding needed to expand North Kitsap Heritage Park by 360 acres.
“This is the missing piece we’ve been trying to get for quite a few years,” said Kitsap County parks director Jim Dunwiddie.
The acquisition would swell the 443-acre park to just over 800 acres.
The 360 acres are owned by Pope Resources, which has managed the property as timberland for several decades. Dominated by Douglas firs, the property includes a beaver pond and trails that were installed by volunteers with Pope’s permission.
Expanding the park is a key facet of the Kitsap Forest and Bay project, which aims to preserve nearly 7,000 acres across North Kitsap, from Port Gamble to Kingston.
North Kitsap Trails Association President Linda Berry-Maraist said the property is “at a crossroad” of several trails that link Indianola, Kington and other populated areas.
“Given the hazards of roads like Miller Bay, it is extremely valuable to provide off-road trail links for people of all ages,” she said.
Read the complete story at the Kitsap Sun.