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.