Category: Log Articles (Page 1 of 10)

Articles also found in the Hansville Log

February 2024

Getting to Know the Greenway

                My puppy Watson’s first walk on the Hansville Greenway involved a series of out-and-backs, turn-arounds and repeat pees on trail markers we’d passed multiple times. I wasn’t familiar with the trails but had found an entrance on Hood Canal Road. My mistake was turning on side trails without a map. I wore Watson out.

                Five years later, Watson and I hike the Greenway nearly every day, know the trails inside out and like to spread the joy of being in Nature. If you’re unfamiliar with the Greenway, here’s how to get started.

                For a two-mile, mostly flat hike, park at the Hansville Community Center, 6778 Buck Lake Rd. NE. The Greenway’s start is left across the field past the native plant garden. Maps and poop bags are available there.

                Follow the trail to signpost 0 and veer to the right through the Welcome Wood, home to robins, red-breasted sapsuckers and a short bridge. Watch for roots in the tree-shaded area.

At signpost 1, turn left toward Otter Meadow, then turn right at signpost 2. The meadow can be wet and muddy, but it’s short. Stay on the trail to signpost 3 where you’ll turn left onto the Great Hall.

Towering cedars, pines and alders will shade you from 3 to signpost 10 (and further). Side trails will tempt you, but we’ll cover those another time. Note the giant tree stumps along the way with holes in them where loggers stood on planks to cut a century ago.

Turn right at signpost 10, then veer right at signpost 7. You’re on the Trillium Loop, which blossoms in early spring. This trail will lead you back to the Great Hall, a left turn at signpost 6.

Retrace your steps and you’ve hiked about two miles. One number is missing in the signpost sequence. Can you figure out which one?

Cynthia Taggart

January 2024

Happy Greenway New Year

The Hansville Greenway has a gift for you this new year: suggested resolutions.

For those who have never set foot on a Greenway trail, resolve to make 2024 your hiking year. You don’t need much more than walking shoes most seasons, although boots are nice during the wet and muddy winter months. Maps are available at most trailheads. The easiest access to the trails is from the Hansville Community Center, where plenty of parking is available.

Resolve to take your dog with you on a leash and a poop bag in your pocket. Your dog will love the red alders and cedars, Oregon grape and thimbleberry bushes, dead logs and mushrooms. Wear something with a pocket so you can pack out your dog’s full poop bag; there’s only one poop can on the Greenway. Resolve to find it!

Challenge yourself to pick up any trash you find and toss small branches on the trail to the side. Resolve to report the big impediments—fallen trees, damaged boardwalks—to info@hansvillegreenway.org. Greenway volunteers regularly organize work parties to clear the trails, repair damages and cut back weeds, blackberry bushes, Scotch broom and more. Resolve to thank a volunteer or join a work party that fits your schedule.

The Greenway offers so many opportunities to learn about Nature and wildlife. Promise yourself this year to learn to identify red-winged blackbirds or downy woodpeckers or any of a thousand birds by sight or sound. The free Merlin Bird ID app–https://merlin.allaboutbirds.org/–is wonderfully helpful and fun.

Finally, share your favorite Greenway hikes with friends and family. Pledge to take your kids to see the trillium in spring and ducks on the ponds in summer. The Hansville Greenway offers Nature at its best. Resolve to take advantage of it.

Cynthia Taggart

December 2023

Volunteer of the Year

               

Art Ellison can’t sit still and no one is complaining. In fact, Art’s need to stay busy has earned him Kitsap County Parks and Recreation’s 2023 Volunteer of the Year award mostly for his unstoppable work to maintain, improve and spread the word about the Hansville Greenway.

                “I was surprised by the award,” Art says. He received the honor at the Kitsap Park’s volunteer appreciation lunch on October 28.

                Since 2002 Art has bestowed on the Greenway the skill and experience he gained working in recreation, fire control, and timber management for the U.S. Forest Service.

                Art’s knowledge of trails was a windfall for Greenway founder Sid Knutson. Since Sid recruited him, Art has helped build and maintain miles of trails on land bordered by Hood Canal Road, Twin Spits Road and Point No Point. He managed the stewardship program in which volunteers regularly travel the trails and report on their condition.

As a trained sawyer, Art is often one of the volunteers who responds to fallen trees on the pathways. He’s a regular volunteer on crews that trim, mow, repair and improve the Greenway. For the last 10 years or so he has helped the Parks and Recreation personnel teach chain saw use and safety to county volunteers.

                He’s served as Greenway Association president and treasurer and is currently the Greenway’s media relations manager, in charge of the website he designed.

                “As long as you’re moving, you’re not stuck,” Art says, and he’s made certain he keeps moving. In addition to his Greenway work, Art started an Alzheimer’s caregiver support group and helped with Hansville’s annual rummage sale. And he never stops searching for more Greenway volunteers.

                For Greenway volunteer information, contact Art at afellison21@gmail.com.

Cynthia Taggart

November 2023

Connecting Ponds

            A project to connect the Hansville Greenway’s Lower and Upper Hawks Ponds through the purchase of private land is about to end happily with the help of the Kitsap County Commissioners and the Kitsap County Parks Department.

                The Greenway needed to raise $230,000 to buy 10 acres of scenic forest and wetlands adjacent to the existing Greenway. The parcel about a half-mile south of Buck Lake Park includes portions of both ponds and a 50-year-old cedar forest. If the Greenway didn’t step in, the area could be open to logging and construction of a home.

The site is home to beaver, black bear, deer, bobcats, otters, eagles and more as well as a vernal pool for frog and salamander breeding.

                The Hansville community, with the help of Great Peninsula Conservancy, raised about $117,000 toward the purchase. Over the summer, the Hansville Greenway Association and Kitsap Parks Department requested that the County Commissioners authorize the use of County Conservation Futures funds to cover half the cost of the parcel. The Commissioners approved this request on October 18, 2023, which put fundraising over the top and will make the project a success.  The purchase is expected to close by December 15, 2023.

                Christine Rolfes, who was appointed to the Board of Commissioners in June and represents the north end of Kitsap County, toured the Greenway parcel with Hansville Greenway and Great Peninsula Conservancy staff in August.  “She was very positive,” said Ken Shawcroft, the Greenway volunteer who organized the project.

                Like most of the rest of the Greenway, Kitsap County will own the property and the Hansville Greenway Association will maintain it. Connecting the parcel to existing trails is a possibility in the future.

Cynthia Taggart

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 https://hansvillegreenway.org/dogs-in-the-greenway/.

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 https://hansvillegreenway.org/volunteering-in-the-greenway/ 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 info@hansvillegreenway.org with the time you prefer and number in your group.

For updates on the campaign and to donate to purchase the 10 acres, visit https://greatpeninsula.org/property/hansville-greenway-hawks-ponds-campaign/.

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 https://greatpeninsula.org/property/hansville-greenway-hawks-ponds-
campaign/
.


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. Ebird.org 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

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