Category: Log Articles (Page 2 of 7)

Articles also found in the Hansville Log

November 2020

What Dennis Kommer can do in a few hours in the Hansville Greenway saves trail volunteers days of toil, tangles and thorns. It also saves two meadows that provide homes for voles, field mice and frogs and a pastoral view for people.

“There’s a lot more life living in the meadows than dragonflies,” says Howie O’Brien, who’s in charge of projects for the Greenway Association.

Dennis, who owns Dennis Kommer Excavating LLC, has volunteered for the past three years to mow down the blackberries and other invasive plants that threaten to overtake the 10-acre Otter Meadow located west of the Greenway entrance near the Hansville Community Center ballfield and the two-acre Bear Meadow located near the north end of Buck Lake.

Finding the ideal time to mow is tricky. Machines are too dangerous to run in the meadows during fire season and get stuck in the mud during the rainy season. Spring is the time for nesting. When Dennis is notified the time is right, he climbs onto his excavator with a flail mower and downs blackberry brambles, alder sprouts and thistles while he spares, with guidance, canary grass, Douglas spirea and clumps of Salmonberry. Without the mowing, the forest eventually would reclaim the former farmland.

The Trail Association uses self-propelled mowers for smaller jobs on the Greenway but rented a tractor for the meadows until Dennis volunteered.

 “We live here in Hansville,” says Beth Kommer, Dennis’s wife and partner. “Mowing the meadows is our way to give back.  It’s easy for us to do and we love to do it.”

By Cynthia Taggart

October 2020

Fall is here! The leaves are crisp and bright, crinkling underfoot.
But, once you go into the cover of forest
You’ll find it marvelously unchanged.
Fall is implied with some leaves on the ground
Yet ferns and the evergreens stand strong and tall
The scene remains a cascade of bright and dark greens.

The quality of air is the biggest indication of a shift;
It’s changed
Into rich, clear oxygenated breaths
Minty, almost
As the decomposing leaves add their surprisingly fresh, marvelous aroma.
(Strange how mother earth can make the decomposition of leaves smell so lovely)

The decomposition of leaves reminds me
That nothing is forever
We are born, we live rich lives, and then we fall back into the earth
And so, I am prompted to live each day fully.


Walking in the Greenway, I become aware of how lucky we are
To still have well-kempt forests and trails
That help transform toxic air into fresh air.
It took some time for the smoke to clear
But now that it has, I’m so grateful
To have cool air that fills and cleanses my lungs.

Today, I walked from Buck Lake to Lower Hawk’s Pond
It’s such a treat when you arrive to the brightness of the pond
To hear the beaver splashing,
Watch ducks flying in and out
And to listen to the sound of the frogs.

By Emily Cooper

September 2020

The Hansville Greenway is beautiful at this time of year. If you enter through Buck Lake Park, you may be greeted by barn swallows flying high and low, their iridescent blue backs glinting sunlight. They are hunting insects, acrobatically twisting and turning, riding small waves of wind that only they can detect. They often fly so low that you can see the whole top of their body in flight – something we humans rarely get to observe in birds.

As I watch them, it is hard to tell if they are doing these aerial tricks for the sole purpose to catch insects. I like to imagine they’re riding the waves as we would ride a rollercoaster; in part to catch food, but in part to have some good, old fashioned, exhilarating fun. What a beautiful flight pattern. One of nature’s many art forms.

To observe the art of Nature is different than observing art in a screen. It pulls us out of our head, out of our focused view. It surrounds us and embraces us. Something magical happens – focus moves from the head to the heart; senses heighten, one can feel a vibrancy that is not achievable in front of your computer screen.

The swallows seem to split their time between the meadows – Buck Lake Park, Lower Hawk’s Pond, Bear Meadow. I haven’t figured out the pattern yet. But if you catch them at any of their frequented locations, you will be rewarded by their beautiful twirling ups and downs, as you sit watching them, basked in the gentle Washington sun.

We also wanted to let everyone know that the logging operations have stopped for the year and all trails are now open.  A big thank you to all the volunteers that worked hard removing downed trees and brush to open the trails. 

By Emily A. Cooper

August 2020

The Sounds of Summer are here… 

In these uncertain times, taking a short hike in the Greenway can help us recharge and temporarily block out the daily challenges we are facing.  Just stepping onto the trail you begin to see the sights of the emerging brilliant green Douglas Fir tips and the pinkish-purple petals of the Salmonberry flowers.  Your mind begins to take in these sights as you navigate from meadow, to the edges of wetlands, to the forest.   Once inside, the smells of the cool dark forest floor begin to transform you into a more relaxed state.  At times you pass by a spot where the sunlight pierces the canopy and warms the surrounding air.  Deeper into the forest, you begin to hear the sounds of the birds singing in the tree canopy.  One of those birds, the Swainson’s Thrush, is very common in the Greenway and fills the forest with its upward-spiraling, flutelike song.  It is a bird that is often heard, but rarely seen.  It is smaller than a robin with a russet-colored back and speckled front, making it disappear when in the canopy or on the forest floor where it feeds on insects.  The Swainson’s Thrush has two distinctive sounds, the flutelike song and a sharp, high-pitched “drip….drip…drip” which seems to be coming from a branch within reach in one second and then two trees away in the next.  Often the sounds follow you as you continue down the trail, hoping to catch a fleeting glimpse.  Soon the “drip…drip…drip” sound is replaced with an amazingly beautiful song with trills and spirals that fills the forest with a concert and lets you know that Summer is here.    

So, next time you are in the Greenway, listen for the Swainson’s Thrush and try to see if you can catch a glimpse….

By Michael Szerlog

July 2020

The Hansville Greenway has played a key role in our Covid lock down survival plan. Most afternoons we head out with our dog to one of the trail entrances and surround ourselves with wilderness, birdsong, and calm for an hour or two. We have explored every trail in every direction. Logging has shortened some hikes, but we know trail volunteers will rebuild those portions soon after logging has stopped. 

We often stop at the Lower Hawks pond viewing platform and watch and listen to the Red Winged Blackbirds and other local birds. Sometimes we walk to the Quiet Place and look at the beaver dam and lily pads, or to Bear Meadow Vista for a view of Buck Lake and a mysterious tiny door to a tree home. We always return home refreshed and renewed.

We’re so lucky the Hansville Greenway Trails are close to our Driftwood Key house.  The trails are an amazing perk to the Hansville community.  For history, a map, and volunteering information, go to http://hansvillegreenway.org/the-hansville-greenway-association/ . Also, check out Hansville Greenway on Facebook.

By Tom & Cynthia Taggart

June 2020

By Ken Shawcroft

Birds are back. COVID-19 is starting to fade. Goldilocks let the three bears out. Loggers are almost done. And Summer arrives on June 20!

May was the big month for birds migrating through and nesting in the Hansville Greenway, and there may still be active nests in the tall grasses in the meadow in June. Please don’t let off leash dogs, or kids wander through the tall grass there.

We are extremely fortunate to have the Hansville Greenway so accessible to many of our Hansville homes in this time of “social distancing”.  Trail users have been great about stepping off the trail to let others pass to maintain safe distancing, and it looks like we will have to continue these practices through the summer.

There have been reports over the last month of a mother black bear and two cubs wandering from Cliffside to the southern end of the Greenway. By the way, the official name of the Greenway is Hansville Greenway and Wildlife Corridor.  Please share the trails and practice “social distancing” with the wildlife.

The primary reason for creating the Hansville Greenway in the early 1990s was to provide a natural space in the middle of the Hansville peninsula where residents could go to enjoy nature forever.  The 265, or so, acres of forest rescued by the Greenway will never be logged, but some Greenway trails cross recently logged timberlands to the south. Those trails will be restored by Hansville volunteers when the logging is completed and will remain part of the Greenway forever. Pope Resources anticipates finishing the logging by mid-July.

May 2020

Normally, every month one of of us in the Greenway Association writes an article. Well, for the month of May, the Greater Hansville Community Center has decided not to publish the Log, as all events have been cancelled due to social distancing concerns.

I suppose I’ll just add a little something that we in the Association have been discussing. The other day I heard that some mountain bikers were complaining that we were raking the trails and that exposed the bare ground so that when they rode the trails it caused the dirt to change to mud. There are a couple things wrong with this. First is that only rarely do we rake trails with the exception of Alder Wetlands which is a handicap-accessible trail that must remain smooth. Next, the small amount of organic matter on the trails (leaves and needles mostly) do not armor the trails. If bikers ride the trails in the rain, there will be mud!

Each steward is responsible for their own trail section. They usually kick branches off of the trail and report bigger jobs that they can’t handle. They cannot remove all “hazards.” None of us can. When you walk in the woods, you accept some responsibility for your own well-being. We will get rid of the larger debris on the trail. You can kick branches off in the event of a windstorm and that will help us. The remaining hazards include rocks, roots, erosion by hard rain, etc. So, please be careful and keep an eye on the trail when you walk.

If you find a hazard, please report it to us. We will respond as quickly as possible–but we are volunteers and many times have other stuff to do. But we care very much about the Greenway and want you to have a great experience out there enjoying nature!

April 2020

From the Greenway Trails Group

February in the Greenway, as compiled from trail reports submitted by our volunteers:

“Quiet Place was nice and cleared off today.” “Walked to Lower Hawk’s Pond and took a few minutes to check the huge beaver hut, growing higher, it seems.”  “Saw ring-necked ducks, mallards, hooded merganser, marsh wrens, Pacific wrens, red-tailed hawk, ravens.” 

February projects in the Greenway, as compiled from projects reports:

“Many thanks to all the volunteers that appeared today and cleared downed trees, cleaned muck out of several small culverts, cleared two drainages, cleared downed limbs and holly. We ganged up on the large culvert as you enter Otter Meadow, pulled a chimney brush through it, and removed a huge plug of mud.” “The three trees leaning across the trail between posts 14 and 15 were removed by a crew, and a culvert was replaced under the Alder Wetlands trail.”

Happy and thankful news received recently:

The Greenway was awarded $1,000 from the Suquamish Tribal Foundation to cover busing costs to allow for the continuation of the annual Hansville Greenway/North Kitsap School District Elementary School Outdoor Environmental Education Program that has been held for many years. We greatly appreciate this contribution.

The next Greenway meeting is scheduled for April 2, 2020 at 6 p.m. at GHCC. 

If you want to know who reported these snippets of information, and when, and be privy to even more such juicy content, or want to learn about our Outdoor Education Program, please come to our meetings!

March 2020

Logging and the Greenway Trails

Over the last year Olympic Resource Management (aka Pope Resources) has been conducting logging operations on their land in Kitsap County. Although it would be really nice to have the land remain forested, they are a timber management company and this is what they do.

You may know that some of the Greenway trails are on land owned by Kitsap County. Others are on easements granted by Pope Resources. Most of these easements grant a right to use the land for a trail. They do not exclude the land from logging. The exception is the easement we have along the north edge of Pope Resources’ land from Hansville Road to Lower Hawks Pond. The county holds a conservation easement here—in effect preserving the trees.

How do we cope? Once the logging is finished, the Greenway trail crew will go into the logged units and re-establish the trail along the easement that Pope Resources granted to us. No, it will not look pretty at first, but within a year all sorts of plants will grow. Many of them will provide forage and cover for wildlife. The logged area will be replanted with trees and those will gradually grow into a new forest.

To see how this process works, one only has to look at the logged area along Hansville Road south of the Gliding Eagle Market. That land looked the same as the clearcuts near Hansville look now. Since the trees grow at a rate of 3 to 4 feet a year, it won’t be long until we see quite a change.

So be patient. The trails will be open again as soon as the logging is finished. As always, check our website for trail closure information: www.hansvillegreenway.org.

February 2020

Trails: the pathways to the heart of the Greenway!

After the land to become the Hansville Greenway and Wildlife corridor was purchased, then it was time to provide the public with access to the heart of the forest through a network of trails.   By providing access to the woods, people would have the opportunity to explore and learn about the natural world while connecting with and refreshing the soul.  This next step in the development of the Greenway would be a win-win step.

Nature wins through protection from development, and people win through the opportunity to commune with nature, learn about life in the forest, and gain a deeper appreciation about the human connection with the natural world.  The remaining hurdle to establishing the system of trails in this win-win project would be to obtain the resources, financial and hands-on, to bring it to life.

Building the trails would require tools and hands-on work to complete.  Purchasing tools required a monetary source, which was provided by some enthusiastic locals to the tune of $30,000.  Additionally, Kitsap County donated $12,000 to support the trail system project.  This money provided the procurement of a DR field and brush mower, an assortment of hand tools, a shed to store them in, signs, benches, bridges, and administrative costs.  With implements at the ready, it was time to recruit volunteers to do the real work of building the trails.

With tools in hand, a dedicated and eager group of volunteers contributed more than 5000 hours to identify, establish and build the network of trails crisscrossing the forest, which provides access to the natural world and beauty of the Greenway. 

The next regularly scheduled meeting commences at 6 PM at the GHCC on February 06, 2020.

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