Friday, January 02, 2009

Searching for Old Growth in Kitsap

Kitsap Peninsula and associated islands occupy rainforest habitat surrounded by the Puget Sound in Washington State. While old growth forests remain intact in the mountainous National Parks (Olympic, Rainier), finding representative primary forest in the lowlands can be more difficult. This landscape has been heavily impacted by human economies for hundreds of years, and with no major geographic barriers, almost everything was clear cut. Second-growth forests are growing back beautifully in some parks, but locating Minimally Disturbed Condition is essential in forming a picture of the Historic Range of Variation that these second growth forests could be expected to grow into.

Here is a short list of places that might still harbor original old growth rain forests. I would welcome any more suggestions.

Kitsap Forest NAP (Washington State Natural Area Program and Stavis Creek Preserve)
This 572-acre forested site on the Kitsap Peninsula became a natural area preserve in 1998. Mature and old growth douglas fir and western hemlock dominate this forest with rhododendron, evergreen huckleberry, and sword fern in the forest understory. This is one of the few extensive unlogged mature forests remaining in the central or southern Puget Trough ecoregion. The site also protects portions of Stavis Creek, which supports coho and chum salmon spawning grounds, a blue heron rookery, and nesting osprey.

Mountaineers Kitsap Property
set within a 280-acre rhododendron preserve, site of the annual Forest Theatre.
3000 Seabeck Hwy NW. Bremerton, WA 98310
After .5 mile, turn right on Northlake Way (first major road on right). Continue .3 mile, turn right at the Triangle Automotive shop. Bear right at the stop sign onto Seabeck Highway. After crossing the railroad tracks, go .7 mile and you will see our sign

Guillemot Cove Nature Reserve
19235 Stavis Bay Road NW, Seabeck
The cove is home to old growth trees, a salmon-bearing stream and a breathtaking view of the Olympic Mountains. The walk is approximately three miles roundtrip.
from Hwy.3, take Newberry Hill exit; travel to Seabeck Holly Road; turn right. Drive to Miami Beach Road; turn right - drive to "Y"; veer left onto Stavis Bay Road. Drive 4.5 miles to the entrance and parking lot.

?? NAD Park urban park frisbee golf
The course at NAD Park winds through more than "20 acres of old growth forest",....
6002 Kitsap Way, Bremerton

?? Illahee Preserve
Supposed to contain old growth, but we found only a few solitary old (but not old growth) trees amidst second growth forest. This image of suburban sprawl gives a good idea of what has happened to most forests at this elevation.

reference: VisitKitsap

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