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