Urban Wildlife Habitat projects fund close-to-home places to play and explore nature. As our urban areas are increasingly expanding and densifying, these grants protect important fish and wildlife habitat within five miles of densely populated areas, creating green refuges that help keep our ecosystems healthy and provide places to enjoy nature right in our backyards.
The Kitsap County Parks and Recreation Department will use this grant to buy 16.7 acres, currently threatened with development, to add to the 572-acre Illahee Preserve Heritage Park. The land is near Bremerton, in the most densely populated area of the county, and in the preserve’s envelope of targeted properties. The County will buy an approved development called Timbers Edge II, a voluntary land preservation agreement for a trail corridor connecting two sections of the preserve, and a planned commercial development called AllSecure Storage. With these purchases, the County hopes to conserve the last remaining forest, headwater wetlands, and streambanks in the area. The Illahee Preserve is a mature forest with shoreline habitat including deeply incised canyons that is so pristine and wild it has been called “the lost continent.” Conserving the land will save threatened wildlife habitat and a system of non-motorized trails, serviced by a trailhead and picnic shelter. Kitsap County will contribute $851,700 in a donation of property interest and a local grant.