Can we save The Lost Continent?
Between Bremerton and Silverdale there remains an area in Kitsap County so pristine and wild that it has been called “The Lost Continent.” Major portions of this unique natural area were acquired for the Illahee Preserve Kitsap Heritage Park between 2001 and 2007, but several key properties were unavailable. We now have a very short opportunity to save this land for current and future generations!
The Illahee Forest Preserve (IFP) non-profit successfully raised enough funds for Kitsap County to purchase the most sensitive 25.5 acres of the Timbers Edge property (Phase I) in September of 2015.
Because of that success, the IFP has signed another options agreement with the Timbers Edge owner to purchase the remaining 10.7 acres as Phase II.
Working with the Parks Department, the IFP is planning to help with grant applications for 2016 to try to protect further undeveloped nearby habitat and protect continuity for a desired regional trail system.
Ways you can help:
1. You can make a contribution to the Kitsap Community Foundation’s (KCF) Lost Continent fund: PO Box 3670 Silverdale, WA 98383, or online by credit card at the KCF website (credit card fees are applied): http://tinyurl.com/nksr6lp
2. You may also mail a donation check or a pledge to: Illahee Forest Preserve, c/o Jonathan Buesch, Treasurer, 6253 East Boulevard NE, Bremerton, WA 98311
3. Tell your friends, neighbors, and co-workers about this important project!
4. Volunteer to help out in any capacity: email info@IllaheePreserve.org
The Lost Continent Project is a multi-year campaign to complete the Illahee Preserve and is a project of the Illahee Forest Preserve, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. All donations are tax deductible.
Brief Timbers Edge History.
The planned development, consisting of mostly small lots (40’ by 90’), was fought by the community (opposed by more than 700 residents), but approved by the Hearing Examiner. A bankruptcy ensued several years later, with the new owner planning to either sell or develop the property.
Timbers Edge Property.
The 36 acre property consists mainly of forested plateau and sloped riparian areas that abut Illahee Creek. On the east end of the property is the site of the four acre Avery Homestead. The map (click to enlarge) shows how critical the property is to the Illahee Preserve, the watershed, wildlife corridors, and proposed trails between the Preserve, Puget Sound, and Illahee State Park.
A phased agreement was eventually reached by all parties whereby the IFP could first purchase the 25.5 acres (Phase 1) of the most sensitive areas abutting Illahee Creek, and later the remaining 10.7 acres (Phase 2). In both cases the owner would provide a substantial contribution towards the purchase, making these more attainable.
The acquisition/s directly supports the Preserve’s mission statement which includes: “To establish and develop a premiere nature preserve and park … [and] To preserve to the greatest extent possible the natural character of Illahee forest lands and the Illahee Creek watershed…”
The acquisition/s will secure key forest and watershed properties necessary to maintain the continuity of riparian properties along Illahee Creek. The acquisition/s reduces or eliminates the blockage of wildlife corridors and a dense development bordering these sensitive areas. They will provide connectivity to the south with other Preserve properties and to the east with two other targeted Illahee Creek riparian properties. Both directions are potential routes for a regional trail system to improve community enjoyment of these natural areas.
The acquisition/s would also protect a critical aquifer recharge area. Hydrologic and USGS studies of the area have shown water infiltration in the Illahee watershed is necessary to support ground water extraction for human use and also to ensure base flows to support salmonids in Illahee Creek.
Phase 1 SUCCESS!
The Phase 1 acquisition was an enormous success to the future of the Preserve as 25.5 acres of prime forest and salmon stream habitat were added to the Illahee Preserve. Thanks to the donors who understood the importance of preserving an area so pristine and wild it has been called “The Lost Continent”.
Phase 2 The “Lost Continent” Project
- 2016 TE Phase 2 & Regional Trail Link (proposed donor, appropriation, capital campaign project)
- 2016 Central Active Use Area and Environmental Exhibit (proposed 2016 RCO grant)
- 2016 Wetland Buffer/Dog Park (proposed Kitsap County/City of Bremerton project)
- 2016 Almira Shelter/Recognition Project (Rotary Club/Illahee Preserve project)
Contiguous estuary, stream, forested, park type properties, along with wildlife patches are being targeted for acquisition and/or conservation easements as funding becomes available.
The dream is for a ~ $5M to $7M benefactor/’s gift (with possible naming rights). Since the 2001 purchase of ~ $4M, ~ $1M in 2004/5, $4M in 2011 (Rolling Hills), and ~ .5M in 2015, the Preserve’s acquisitions/conservation easements goals are roughly two-thirds complete (see the green on the map). Until a benefactor/s is found, properties like TE need to be acquired when they become available for purchase.
Priority #1 TE Purchase & Trail Link.
An options agreement to purchase the remaining 10.7 acres of the Timbers Edge development has been signed. The purchase price is $933K with the property owner contributing $150K for a purchase price of $783K plus an $11,745 extension fee, which is under the appraised value of $870K. The deadline for purchase is May 15, 2016. This is an ambitious task and will require help — major benefactor/s, an appropriation, and large gifts, or combination thereof.
$50,000 Min Needed.
At a bare minimum, should requested funding come through for Timbers Edge, $50,000 needs to be raised by April 15, 2016 (to meet the May 15 closing), and even more for the other 2016 acquisitions. (Note last year’s successful TE purchase resulted in $265K of matching funds towards a 2016 State Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO) grant.)
How to Contribute.
Contributions, large or small, can be made to the Kitsap Community Foundation’s (KCF) Lost Continent fund and mailed to: PO Box 3670, Silverdale, WA 98383, or online by credit card at the KCF website (credit card fees are applied): http://tinyurl.com/nksr6lp
Pledges of $500 or more can be sent to: Illahee Forest Preserve (IFP), 6253 East Blvd NE, Bremerton, WA 98311. Both KCF and IFP are 501(c)3 nonprofits and donations may be tax deductible as allowed by law. For more information visit: TheLostContinent.org or call (360) 479-1049.
Please Donate Now!!!.
Your timely and generous support is greatly appreciated!