Category: Log Articles (Page 1 of 11)

Articles also found in the Hansville Log

July 2024

Restore Yourself on the Greenway

For 25 years, Tom Strid’s love and expertise of nature has delighted Kitsap County fourth-graders visiting the Hansville Greenway like a summer breeze on a hot day.

                “There are many ways to see, hear, feel and otherwise sense the natural world,” Tom counsels. “Take time  to look closely, to listen carefully. Explore how you respond emotionally to Nature.”

                We can all learn from Tom, who is one of several volunteers who take kids on a magical Nature tour on the Greenway annually. Kids learn how trees survive, view pond larva and nymphs through microscopes, even appreciate the use of the soft thimbleberry leaf as possible toilet paper.

                “There are so many things on the Greenway to appreciate,” Tom says. “I would suggest that you pay attention to light and shade, to different colors, to different shades of green, to the different leaf shapes and to your own sense of well-being.”

                Tom earned advanced degrees in biological science and plant biology, but you don’t need a science background to marvel at the hundreds of English daisies brightening the sides of Greenway trails.

Adding to the summer bouquet of color are yellow buttercups and dandelions and shoulder-high foxgloves in purple, pink, white and yellow. The bees and butterflies are in heaven.

White starflowers, pink candy flowers, red bleeding hearts and bright yellow, lily-like skunk cabbage blooms are worthy of a Monet painting, but they’re alive and brilliant on the Greenway. Does it get better than that?

Tom has loved Nature since boyhood and dedicated his life to sharing that love, a lesson we should all follow.

“Mother Nature is wonderful and amazing,” he says. “Take care of her.”

One final note: Foxgloves, buttercups, bleeding heart flowers are toxic to people and pets. Enjoy their beauty, but don’t  touch.

Cynthia Taggart

June 2024

The Season of Birdsong

                The high-pitched note of a white-crowned sparrow is immediately followed by a rhythmic trill not more than a few feet onto the meadow start of the Hansville Greenway.

                “White-crowned sparrows really like parking lots,” Ken Shawcroft, one of the Greenway’s founders, says on the same chilly spring morning dozens of Kitsap County fourth graders visit the trails for nature studies. “It’s got to have some shrubs.”

                Luckily, shrubs are abundant throughout the Greenway. The sparrows’ joyous song mixes with the pileated woodpeckers’ monkey-like (think Tarzan movies) call, the warbled notes of the purple finch and the witchety witchety of the common yellowthroat.

                The  aptly named yellowthroat returns to the Greenway each spring along with the white-crowned sparrow and the black-headed grosbeak, filling the air with sweet birdsong quickly identified with The Cornell Lab Merlin Bird ID app. The app is free and a great help identifying birds that are easy to hear and hard to find, even with the best binoculars.

                The hairy woodpecker is no trouble for Ken to sight. Sheets of bark tumble from a snag along the Greenway’s Great Hall as the black and white woodpecker hammers for food. The osprey, too, is an easy find as it soars over Lower Hawk’s Pond. The ospreys are among the Greenway’s many seasonal visitors.

                The lookout at the pond and the Quiet Place platform are great bird viewing and listening spots. Red-winged blackbirds sing as they sway on cattails. Marsh wrens stitch stitch stich in the rushes along with juncos and spotted towhees. Kingfishers hover over the still pond water.

                Get out on the trails and enjoy the spring symphony. Don’t forget your binoculars and Merlin app.

Cynthia Taggart

May 2024

Escape into Nature

A hike under blue skies and spring warmth to the Lower Hawk’s Pond lookout platform on the Hanville Greenway is as good as meditation for restoring your soul. And now the platform is safer for hikers off all ages.

This spring, Greenway volunteers installed graspable handrails on both sides of the stairs that lead to the platform. The wooden rails sit on wide flat handrails that were too big for hands to fit around. Now hikers can hold onto support as they climb, which is especially helpful when the 10 or so steps are wet.

The platform is the perfect spot to listen to redwing blackbirds sing and marsh wrens stitch-stitch-stitch. Birds perch on cattails while ducks paddle and quack in the water around them. Binoculars often offer a good view of eagles in the distant cedars.

The platform bears a plaque to honor Weencie Fite and Lauren Keen. Memorials from their families helped build the lookout that replaced an old tower over the pond years ago.


Weencie was a long-time area resident who supported the trails in every possible manner for a woman in her 90s. Lauren was the daughter of Chip and Linda Keen, who owned the Hansville Garage. She died of a sudden illness.

The platform overlooks a wetland that beavers, coyote, mink, mallards, red-tailed hawks and more call home. Built-in benches offer a place to sit and admire pink-flowering spirea, bog laurel, pond lilies, even muskrats. The area is bright with morning birdsong, peaceful in its afternoon stillness.

Lower Hawk’s Pond is closest to the Ponderosa Blvd. Greenway entrance. Follow the signs and take your binoculars.


Cynthia Taggart

April 2024

Free the Trees

                When volunteers Howie O’Brien,  Art Ellison, Jim DeRoy, Marilyn DeRoy, and Denny Johnson planted several hundred cedar seedlings just west of the Hansville Greenway about 12 years ago, they hoped the trees would slow the rampant growth of berry bushes that threatened to overtake the trails, especially after the land to the west was logged.

                “Some of those trees are not much bigger than when we planted them,” Howie, the Greenway’s projects manager, says now. “They’ve been overgrown by salmonberry and blackberry bushes and aren’t getting any sun.”

                Last year, during the Day of Caring event, 60 trees were freed, cutting away the tenacious berry bushes to allow tree growth. This year, they’re asking for help to free 100 more cedars.

                “We hope for 20 to 25 volunteers with hand clippers or loppers and good gloves because we’ll be dealing with brambles,” Howie says.

                The struggling trees are in the northwest sector of the Greenway between an old road-turned-trail and a hundred-acre section added to the west a few years ago.  They cover about a half-mile stretch.

                Volunteers will meet at 9 a.m. on April 20 in the Buck Lake parking lot and work until about noon or until the 100 trees are freed. The work will include cutting and pulling but no digging. Kitsap County will provide some cutting tools. Volunteers who bring their own need tools that can cut through thick berry branches.

                Howie recommends bringing water and wearing sturdy clothes, thick gloves and boots for the workday.

                “There will be a little mud,” he says. “But there is a ditch for drainage.”

                The cuttings will be tossed into the blackberry forest on the east side of the trail where they will decompose.

                To volunteer, contact Howie at howiehvl@gmail.com.

Cynthia Taggart

March 2024

Hiking the Southeastern Trails

Along with Spring, March bestows the Hansville Greenway with shoe-soaking mud, green shoots, buds and a growing chorus of bird song. To catch the first starflowers and return of the trillium this month, pull on your raingear and sturdy boots to explore a two-mile stretch from the Greenway’s center to its southeastern end.

Trillium
Trillium

Let’s start at the entrance at the end of the Ponderosa Boulevard hill. Follow the trail past ferns and cedars to Post 7, then veer to the right for a short jog to Post 10. Turn right here onto the main trail. Woodpeckers love this area. If you don’t hear them, you’ll see where they’ve jackhammered snags of wind-battered Douglas firs and alders.

At Post 13 you can bear to the left to climb the viewing tower at Lower Hawk’s Pond, where red-winged blackbirds will serenade your effort. Or you can head right and parallel the pond, hiking over gentle hills, dodging endless tree roots, hearing croaking frogs in the thick salmonberry patches and tiptoeing around trail-blocking mud puddles.

Viewing platform

A turnoff to the bridge over Hawk’s Hole Creek is at Post 14 and well worth the short detour for its pastoral beauty. Turning right at Post 15 will take you to a Greenway exit at Spruce Road. Continuing to Post 16 and turning right will take you another half mile past about 15 crashed tree giants, uprooted during recent storms. The trail ends at Hood Canal Road, two miles from where you started at Ponderosa.

Hawks Hole Bridge

Of course, you can start (and park) at either end and turn around at any point that suits your endurance level. Enjoy!


Cynthia Taggart

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

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