Author: hansvillegreenway (Page 1 of 10)

October 2023

Trail Apples and Tire Ruts

                The Hansville Greenway, like most Kitsap County parks, is open to horseback and mountain bike riders as well as hikers, runners and dog-walkers. Anyone who has encountered a mountain of “trail apples” knows people ride horses on the Greenway. Trail apples is a classy term for horse poop.

                It’s fair to grumble when a pile of trail apples blocks some of the more narrow trails. No one wants to hike in someone’s bathroom. But consider this: horse manure is not considered hazardous or toxic. Birds and insects feast on the waste that provides valuable minerals for butterflies, moths and dragonflies.

                Unlike dog poop, horse droppings break down in about two weeks and don’t stink. American Trails, a national nonprofit that advances the development of high-quality trails and greenways for the benefit of people and communities, advises riders to leave horse droppings on trails where it will benefit nature while it decomposes. Only in parking areas should riders scatter horse manure or even take it home.

                Mountain bikers ride sparingly on the Hansville Greenway. USA Cycling, the national governing body for the sport of cycling, recognizes that sharing hiking and nature trails increases pressure on vulnerable environments.

                It reminds cyclists that it’s easier to harm a trail than to repair or restore it. With the start of fall and the rainy season, it’s important for cyclists to stay off muddy trails where deep ruts can form.

                The Hansville Greenway supports fragile ecosystems that riders can destroy by riding around puddles, skidding into trail sides and creating shortcuts. USA Cycling advises mountain bikers have fun on trails and leave no trace they were there—no trash, no ruts, no unsanctioned trails.

–Cynthia Taggart

September 2023

Wildlife Survival Depends on Good Manners

 In the deep heat of summer, the Hansville Greenway’s Great Hall trail is a shady outdoor paradise for my goldendoodle, Watson. The abundance of sword ferns intrigue him with, I’m certain, the scent of other dogs that choose to leave their wet imprints for him to find. Every now and then, a frog stirs the bushes on the edge of the trail and Watson tenses, as is his instinct. His leash enables me to stop him before he pounces.

The Greenway requires dogs to be leashed for a good reason. It’s a nature preserve brimming with wildlife trying to stay alive, mate, breed. The Greenway is their home and Watson and I are just visitors trying to mind our manners.

If we stick to the trails, as is required, we have less chance of crushing tadpoles, disturbing amphibians and their eggs or ruining the fragile homes of ground-nesting birds. It’s tempting to let Watson splash in Upper Hawk’s Pond off the Quiet Place platform, but the destruction he’d cause to the peaceful site is a strong deterrent. The ducks would never forgive us and the beavers might never leave their den again.

Some nature areas ban dogs for the stress they cause wildlife with their very presence. While Watson is cute to me, he’s a predator to small mammals, amphibians and birds. They hide in terror from him, much like small children (small mammals) scramble behind parents when unleashed dogs run at them. Remember when you were three and eye level with dogs? Scary.

I want the Greenway to continue to welcome Watson throughout his lifetime, so he visits only on a leash and we take his bagged poop with us when we leave. For more information, visit

Cynthia Taggart

August 2023

Volunteers Clear the Trails

Thanks neighbors! The Hansville Greenway is open for thorn-free hiking thanks to the hard work of people who use the trails—all volunteers.

Hikers, birders, runners, strollers, dog walkers, horse riders and more joined organized work parties with power trimmers, saws, clippers and loppers to cut back grasses and thorny blackberry branches, pull thistles and invasive weeds and clear trails of the berry shoots and vines that trip even the most observant hikers.

Throughout June and July the work never fully stopped. Berry bushes, ocean spray, elderberry, Oregon grape, Scot’s broom, stinging nettle and more grew so rapidly that they blocked trails to hikers who didn’t carry clippers along. No more was cut than was needed; bushes bursting with ripening berries are still plentiful.

Volunteers also reconstructed an informal trail on private land from Tamarack Dr. in Shorewoods to the Greenway. Landowners had allowed hikers access to the trails for years, but new house construction this summer blocked the route. With the landowners’ permission, Greenway volunteers cut a path around the construction that merges with the old trail and continues to the Greenway. (Some of us are thrilled!)

With 10 miles of trails, the Hansville Greenway can always use volunteers. To join the fun and meet great people, visit and sign up.

One more thing: The campaign to connect Upper and Lower Hawk’s Ponds and expand the Greenway by 10 acres is moving forward. The Hansville Greenway Association and Great Peninsula Conservancy began tours of the property in July and will continue tours on Aug. 12 and Aug. 26.

Hourlong tours start at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. Participants meet at the Buck Lake parking lot. To participate, email with the time you prefer and number in your group.

For updates on the campaign and to donate to purchase the 10 acres, visit

Cynthia Taggart

July 2023

Pledges Could Protect Wildlife

The Hansville Greenway Association has six months to save 10 acres of scenic forest and wetlands adjacent to its trail system from possible development. All that’s needed is about $135,000 from generous donors and nature lovers.

The privately-owned parcel about a half-mile south of the Buck Lake Park includes portions of Lower and Upper Hawks’ Ponds, complete with active beavers and a vernal pool for frog and salamander breeding. Seven of the available acres are in a protected conservation easement, but three acres covered primarily with 50-year-old cedars are unprotected and open to logging and home construction.
Purchase of the parcel would provide an unobstructed wildlife corridor between the two sections of Hawks’ Ponds. Deer, bear, bobcats, cougars, beavers, otters, eagles and more visit the area.

The Greenway Association has kept watch for properties around the forested area with hopes to buffer the Greenway from development. The owners of the 10-acre parcel decided to sell and gave the Greenway Association first chance to buy at a reduced price through December 15. The total cost of $230,000 includes management of the fundraising and sale by the Great Peninsula Conservancy. Kitsap County will own the property and the Greenway Association will maintain it. To date, $95,000 has been raised through pledges. “The worst case, if we can’t raise the money, is losing an important wildlife corridor and habitat,” said Ken Shawcroft, a volunteer with the Greenway since its start in the 1990s. “That primary purpose of the Greenway is to serve as a nature preserve and wildlife sanctuary.”

Potential plans on the 10 acres include adding a trail linking it to the Greenway and two wildlife viewing platforms. To donate, visit

Cynthia Taggart

June 2023

Hansville Greenway Offers Nature’s Best

One of the first perks of Hansville I shared with my new neighbors a few years ago was the Greenway. I had discovered the nearby trail system when my dog was a pup. We’ve hiked somewhere on it nearly daily ever since.

                At first, following one trail section to another and not getting lost was thrill enough. Maps are available at most trailheads, although paper maps are gradually being phased out.

Then, the need to know what was growing on the sides of the well-maintained trails led to book purchases and, eventually, to the Greenway website. The website identified tiny flowers that pop out in mid May as starflowers, and no wonder—they look just like the stars teachers stick on students’ good papers. I learned to identify April’s trillium and blossoming red flowering currant, summer’s Oregon grape, salmonberry, sweet English daisies, and so much more.

Importantly, I learned that the ubiquitous green leaves with serrated edges I allowed to brush my skin, not knowing better, belonged to stinging nettle. The plant isn’t harmful but leaves a burning sensation that lasts for hours. In the burst of growth that spring brings, stinging nettle shoots to two or more feet tall, sprawls into trails and guiltlessly attacks unprotected skin.

Seven miles of trails, two ponds, a lake, wetlands and several viewing platforms introduced me to marsh wrens, song sparrows, red-winged blackbirds, deer, otters, frogs, salamanders. I learned the difference between Douglas fir trees and cedars and red alders.

The Greenway whipped my dog and me into great shape. We want to ensure that the Greenway is always there for us, so we volunteered to help. Volunteers maintain trails and monitor use. They keep trails navigable by trimming, repairing, removing fallen trees, reporting observations. Volunteer and join the fun! Visit the website above for volunteer opportunities.

Cynthia Taggart

May 2023

Hansville Greenway Offers a Chorus of Birds

                The white bark of a birch tree near the Hansville Greenway is mottled and studded with tiny holes, giving the impression the tree is diseased. Ken Shawcroft, a Greenway founder and avid birder, grins because he knows the culprit.

                “The red-breasted sapsucker makes holes in the tree so the sap comes out and they can lick it up,” he says on a cold April morning. The sapsuckers are in hiding, but robins are chirping and showing off their red breasts and mourning doves are whoo-whooing. The native garden near the Greenway’s start is an excellent spot to view birds. Even better, it’s a  great place to listen.

                “Birds are often too high or too fast to see them well,” Ken says. He presses an app on his phone that identifies the birds around him by their sounds. It identifies Pacific wrens on a trail off Otter Meadow and the high-pitched call of a brown creeper. The creepers creep up tree trunks feeding.

                At the Quiet Place on upper Hawk’s Pond, Ken needs no help spotting two ringed-neck ducks and a mallard to the enchanting music of the red-winged blackbird. Spotted towhees and tiny golden-crowned kinglets with a bright slash of yellow on their head sing in the cedars and red alders on the path to the lookout at Lower Hawks Pond.

                On a spring morning, Lower Hawks Pond entertains with a non-stop symphony of frogs and birds—marsh wrens that sound like a sewing machine, tree swallows, common yellowthroats that hardly seem common with their bright yellow necks, red-winged blackbirds, red-tailed hawks. Hooded mergansers flash their white hoods as they splash and bathe in the pond.

                Bird magic will continue and change on the Greenway as the days warm and lengthen. Treat yourself. offers daily sightings of birds by location. Merlin Bird ID by Cornell Lab is a free app that identifies birds by their sounds and provides photos and information.  

Cynthia Taggart

April 2023

Hansville Greenway Ponds Connection Project

A purchase and sale agreement is now in place for the acquisition of a key property connecting Upper and Lower Hawk’s Ponds.  The seller has agreed to sell the 10-acre parcel for inclusion in the Hansville Greenway for $213,000–$25,000 less than the appraised value.

Great Peninsula Conservancy is managing the fundraising process through its website at The goal is to raise $230,000 to cover the property, closing, and administrative costs.  You can make a pledge online at the web page, or print, fill out, and mail the pledge form. Initially only pledges of at least $1,000 will be accepted.  Actual donations will be collected this summer.  A total of $71,500 has been pledged to date.

This project is a rare opportunity to add mature forest and wetland acreage immediately adjacent to the existing Greenway.  More details on the project are at the website above.

Successful acquisition of this property will:

  • Add permanent and varied wildlife habitat to the Hansville Greenway
  • Provide a permanent unobstructed wildlife corridor between Upper and Lower Hawk’s Ponds
  • Prevent house construction on the property
  • Prevent the three acres of trees from ever being logged and
  • Provide a potential for future trails and wetland viewpoints.

Ken Shawcroft

March 2023

Restoring the Natural Habitat

                Dozens of people of all ages hiked in the rain to the Hansville Greenway’s newest 100 acres on Presidents’ Day to plant trees and affirm Nature’s wisdom.

                Kitsap County Parks Department donated 1,000 western red cedar, western hemlock, and western white pine seedlings to restore logged land that blackberries and Scotch broom had taken over.       

                Donations and a generous bequest enabled the Great Peninsula Conservancy to buy the 100 acres behind Driftwood Key and between The Ridge at Buck Lake and the existing Greenway a year ago. Since then, volunteers have cleared brush, carved trails and posted direction signs.

                The goal was to preserve the land and return it to the healthy forest it was before it was logged more than a decade ago. Native trees should encourage the return of other native plants and animals.

                Volunteers showed up in sturdy rainboots ready to plant on land recently cleared of invasive plants. GPC brought digging tools and gloves to share and snacks for the hard workers. People dug through a carpet of cut blackberry branches to reach the dirt below, then dug down further so the roots on the seedlings could stretch out.

                The seedlings were planted 12 feet apart and 12 feet from any other trees in the area. The volunteers were so focused on their work that they filled the designated sites with seedlings within two hours. Plenty of unplanted seedlings remained, though, for another planting on another day when more space is cleared.

                “This was so great,” said Anya Rutherford, a 15-year-old volunteer who planted 10 seedlings. “I love working in the outdoors and helping the Earth. I hope I can do it again.”

Cynthia Taggart

February 2023

When the rain pounds on the pavement in front of my house all day I know the best place to walk my dog, Watson: the Hansville Greenway. Not just any trail. We head to the Ponderosa entrance where the trees are tall and provide some cover.

We hike through the Trillium Loop (left at 7 on the map) to the Great Hall (left at 6) and usually turn right at 5 and head to the Quiet Place where we can watch the raindrops splash on Upper Hawk’s Pond. We often return on the other half of the Trillium Loop (straight at 6, right at 10, left at 7) and marvel at how dry we stayed.

When Watson and I want a good workout—usually on dry days—we warm up through the Alder Wetlands, off Twin Spits Road, gasp up Cora to where the trail picks up at 25 and follow it over the bridge and past two switchbacks to Bear Meadow (8). The trail continues downhill and uphill to the Briar Patch, then connects with trails in several directions.

Another favorite workout trail is off Thors Road to the 90 stairs leading down to the beach at Point No Point. Going down is great and heading back is a test of your muscles and respiratory system. At the other end of Thors Road is the Chatham Trail, which offers a steady workout of steep hills and some of the best mud of the Greenway. We rarely see anyone else on this trail.

Speaking of mud, the new trails off Benchmark easily vie for first place. Good boots turn the challenge of a growing pond between 41 and 42 into fun but watch out for thorny blackberry vines on the sides. Oh, to be 10 years old on these trails!

Cynthia Taggart

January 2023

Knowing Where You Are

For most Hansville Greenway hikers, dogwalkers, mountain bikers and horseback riders, one well-packed and trimmed trail leads into another. Ask just about anyone what trail they hiked and they’ll describe it: near a lake or a pond, under a good tree cover, bordered by blackberry thickets, steep hills and nearby cars, lots of uprooted trees.

But surprise! Most of those Greenway areas have real names. You can invite your friends to hike Hawk’s Hole Trail with you or pick summer blackberries in the Briar Patch. Be the first to spot springtime trillium in the Trillium Loop. Watch for bears in Bear Meadow or just feast your eyes on Buck Lake through the trees, since bear sightings on the Greenway are rare. The word is that the meadow actually got its name from several piles of bear scat seen when the trail was being constructed!

Probably the best known trail name is the Great Hall, the wide trail that connects the north and south sections of the Greenway. It’s accessible only from other trails, is flat and offers hikers benches and signposts with directions and distances to exits and other trails. This trail is a bit different from the others, as it was constructed on a railroad grade left over from the 1920’s when the area was logged.

Probably the least known name on the Greenway is the Fackler Forest, which covers the winding woodsy trail from Hawk’s Hole Creek to the turnoffs to Lower Hawk’s Pond and the Trillium Loop.

Ken Shawcroft, one of the Greenway’s founders and still a hearty volunteer, says Rick Fackler was a Kitsap County Parks planner who helped on the big grant that enabled the development of the Greenway trails.

“He was one of the nicest people I ever worked with,” Ken says. “He was a super advocate for the Greenway.”

Check out the Greenway map for the name of your favorite area. Just click on the “Visitor Information” menu item and go down to “Greenway Names and Trail Signposts”.

Cynthia Taggart

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