Category: Log Articles (Page 2 of 10)

Articles also found in the Hansville Log

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

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

December 2022

Wild Winds Wreak Havoc

                Trees toppled from one end of the Hansville Greenway to the other in the November winds, leaving holes in the trails, imposing rootball walls and pointy wood lances where proud trees once stood.

                “Don’t walk on the trails on a very windy day,” cautioned Howie O’Brien, Greenway project manager. “We’ve had worse, but this last one was a good one.”

                The wind had hardly stopped blowing when the Greenway’s organized volunteers were out with chainsaws, loppers, shovels, axes and rakes. They know the drill. Howie said a storm five or six years ago downed 40 trees in the eastern half of the Greenway and another storm claimed 30 trees near Point No Point.

                After the latest storm, all the Greenway trails were accessible to hikers within days. The day after the storm, hearty hikers crawled under and over debris, awed by the wreckage but determined to get past it.

                In addition to cutting trees and clearing trails, volunteers helped add quarter-minus gravel to dozens of stairs down to the Point No Point beach. The fine gravel is packed into each stair to reduce the chances of puddles, which can make the stairs slippery and hazardous.

                Volunteers added the same gravel to the quarter-mile length of the Alder Wetlands trail. The gravel is packed into the trail that starts just off Twin Spits Road to keep the trail wheelchair accessible.

                Restoration of the Hood Canal Trail after the storm was a bigger job than the rest of the Greenway. Uprooted trees left holes in the trail that needed filling or minor rerouting. Trees along that route have tumbled steadily since the area was logged a few years ago.

                “Trees there grew up surrounded by other trees and protected,” Howie said. “Now the protection is gone.”

Cynthia Taggart

November 2022

The Hansville Greenway is There for You

It’s 3 p.m. on a cool fall day and the dog is waiting, leash in his mouth. Streets with cars and no sidewalks turn dog-walking into a chore. Instead, I walk the dog on the Hansville Greenway where the 10 miles of intersecting dirt trails provide an adventure. My thanks? I take a bag along and carry dog droppings home. It’s the least I can do.

The Greenway with its canopy of cedars, red alders and Douglas firs is the gift that keeps on giving to Hansville. The trails generously maintained by volunteers year round attract runners, hikers, even people strolling to recuperate after an illness or surgery. Volunteers keep foliage like thorny blackberry bushes from blocking trails, replace bridges, and lay slip-proof wire netting on hills and bridges to protect hikers as much as possible.

I escape life’s daily bustle on the trails. Instead of driving, I can walk through the Greenway to events at the Community Center. Bountiful patches of Oregon grape, salal and thimbleberry absorb nearby road noise before it reaches my ears. I hear quacking wood ducks and mallards and chirping redwing blackbirds and cedar waxwings. On lookout platforms at Lower and Upper Hawks’ Ponds, I savor the quiet and observe lily pads from their exuberant birth in the spring to their brown and crackly departure in the fall.

The Greenway’s trees offer protection. I’ve walked from one end of the Greenway to the other in the rain and emerged nearly as dry as I started. In the right season I eat blackberries and red huckleberries along the way.

Factor in the visible history—logged stumps with notches where planks were inserted for loggers to stand—meeting friends out with their dogs and sighting the occasional deer or bald eagle and the Hansville Greenway is a never-ending treat. Thanks to the energetic volunteers who take such good care of it for all of us.

Cynthia Taggart

October 2022

Holiday Gift Ideas

Winter holidays may be months away, but the Hansville Greenway is ready now with the perfect gift. You can donate toward preserving a 10-acre patch of forest for wildlife and protecting it from development.

The $230,000 price tag may stagger some nature lovers, but the Greenway plans to accept donations of all sizes, giving everyone a chance to participate. Donate in the name of your kids, parents, friends, neighbors, yourself, and you can all claim the title of conservation crusader.

The land for sale is a forested corridor between Lower and Upper Hawk’s Ponds. The landowner could have built on the parcel or sold it to a developer, but preservation was his priority. The Hansville Greenway is the only buyer he wants.

“We’ve been given exclusive right to purchase the acreage,” says Michael Szerlog, president of the Hansville Greenway Association.

No new hiking trail is in the works. The Greenway’s plan is to preserve an unobstructed wildlife corridor between the Lower and Upper Hawk’s Ponds. No new homes will replace beaver lodges that rise from both ponds. No one will log three acres of fairly old cedar and red alder trees that serve as homes for owls, woodpeckers, red-winged blackbirds, bears and more. Coyotes, beavers, frogs and salamanders will roam free.

The Greenway hopes to raise the money by Dec. 31. Kitsap County will own the land and the Hansville Greenway will care for it. To donate, visit the Great Peninsula Conservancy Hansville Greenway Hawks’ Ponds Campaign page, https://greatpeninsula.org/property/hansville-greenway-hawks-ponds-campaign/.

Cynthia Taggart

September 2022

Greenway Trails a Summer Treat

On the hottest days, when the asphalt can burn my dog Watson’s paws, we head for the shade of the Greenway. Our favorite entry is at the top of Ponderosa. Our first steps lead us into the shade, where Watson can’t resist the intriguing smells on the swordferns.

                Sometimes we head to the right toward the lookout platform at Lower Hawk’s Pond. Red-winged blackbirds sway on the cattails in the pond for part of the summer, filling the air with their delightful song. They’re gone now until probably January and the pond is quiet, but red huckleberries growing next to stumps or downed trees are nearly as inviting. The sweet berries are the size of peas and easily reachable from the trails, which is important because hikers are asked to stick to the trails.

                Blackberries are much more abundant in the Greenway than huckleberries. Most are invasive, but they’re still delicious and a treat on a hot hike. I can’t ignore an invasive species when it’s trying to win my favor with its heavenly goodness.

                Most years I’ve found hordes of juicy blackberries between Bear Meadow Vista (8) and the turnoff to the newest trails (40). The berries are plentiful and I can feed myself while Watson pulls me along, though thorns periodically stab me.

                The Madrona entrance to the new trails leads to the best berry picking. Bushes hanging heavy with dark purple blackberries line the dirt road and almost make the absence of tree shade bearable.

                Trail blackberries are native to the area and delicious, but they ripen in early July. Watson and I feast on the trail blackberries on the Hood Canal Trail by the first bridge, close to the ground under the Oregon grape bushes.

                Where are your favorite berry spots?

Cynthia Taggart

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