Images of Kitsap County
Public Communications (MS-11)
614 Division Street, Port Orchard, WA
Phone: 360.337.4598
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: June 19, 2015
Contact: Steven Starlund, Planner, Parks Department
Phone: 360.337.5350 or sstarlun@co.kitsap.wa.us
No: NR15-062

Public comment sought on Pt. Gamble Forest Heritage Park management plan and classification system

(Port Orchard, WA)  As guardian of the natural, cultural and historic resources of Kitsap County Parks, the Kitsap County Parks Department is creating a system that sets stewardship guiding principles and management objectives to address a myriad of issues and interests. Public comment is now being accepted on the draft Port Gamble Forest Heritage Park Resource Stewardship & Public Access Management Plan that will serve as the model and provide structure for similar plans created for other county parks.

County parks provide not only recreational opportunities and amenities but also assets such as native forests, wetlands, fish-bearing streams, shoreline and shellfish. Having a thorough understanding of the inherent resources then assessing landscape areas that best support the varied user interests will help strike a balance of conservation and public use.

The draft of the Resource Stewardship and Public Access Plan for the Port Gamble Forest Heritage Park includes a new landscape classification system that once fully developed, may be used throughout county parks. The classification system is a management approach that recognizes outstanding and sensitive resource areas and outlines those landscape areas where various recreational activities are considered compatible. Classifications identify specific conservation and recreation areas which may restrict or encourage development of amenities.

“We are very fortunate that we are afforded the resources and time to identify the resources and characteristics of this newly obtained public property,” said Jim Dunwiddie, director of the Kitsap County Parks Department. “The classification of parkland will allow for more thoughtful and consistent planning and development across all our county parks and provide guidance for planners, stewardship groups and recreationalists.”

Park Planner Steven Starlund has been working with a steering committee made up of representatives from local trail, conservation and recreational organizations and businesses, the Port Gamble S’Klallam and Suquamish tribes and others, to create the draft plan. The committee is also working with parks stewards in the Port Gamble Forest Heritage Park to improve trailhead parking and beach access, remove debris and invasive vegetation, and install signage, using funding provided by a Washington Department of Ecology grant. The 535-acre park, known as the “shoreline block” acquired in February 2014 as part of the Kitsap Forest & Bay Project, includes forested uplands and saltwater shoreline.

In addition to the management plan and landscape classification system, other documents created for the park include a conceptual site plan and land-use map.

All documents are available at the Kitsap County Parks Department website: http://www.kitsapgov.com/parks/Parks/Pages/heritageparks/port_gamble.htm .

Comments may be submitted to parks@co.kitsap.wa.us. For more information, contact Parks Planner Steve Starlund at 360.337.53350 or sstarlun@co.kitsap.wa.us.

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Last Updated:  June 22, 2015