Fewer Homes, More Trails and Wildlife Corridors

                When Ken Shawcroft bought a home in the newish Shorewoods subdivision in 1975, more homes were planned for the heavily wooded area that eventually became the Hansville Greenway. But limited water and then a daunting housing bust discouraged most developers.

                Sid Knudsen provided a solution when he began working in the 1990s for a conservation and wildlife preservation area with hiking trails to replace residential use plans. Ken was part of that original project. When Sid died last year, four miles of trails connected Puget Sound to Hood Canal through preserved cedar, Douglas fir and red alder woods that provide homes for wildlife.

                But Sid’s death didn’t end the Greenway expansion. When word got out last year that the Ridge at Buck Lake developer was willing to sell remaining undeveloped land, the Greenway was notified. The Greenway Association manages but doesn’t own land, so Ken got the Great Peninsula Conservancy’s support.

                The generous Hansville community donated and pledged the $2 million needed to buy 100 acres. In January, the land became the newest part of the Greenway.

“Sid Knudsen would be pretty surprised,” Ken says. “We hit his primary goal, but I don’t think he ever thought we would add 100 acres.”

Ken, Howie O’Brien and Art Ellison served on the original Greenway committee that stewarded the land, managed the trail system and developed use guidelines. In January Howie and Art and other volunteers began laboring to build a connecting trail from the Greenway to the new section that offers views of Hood Canal and the Olympic and Cascade mountain ranges. Dirt roads the developers had added before selling the property provided convenient links.

While work on the new section continues, Ken sees an opportunity to extend the Greenway to Cliffside Rd. Landowners have offered to donate narrow strips of land for trails. An agreement may be reached by the end of the year.

“It will be a neat trail,” Ken says, “The reward is getting to walk out there.”

Cynthia Taggart