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 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.
We are currently (November, 2015) in discussions with the Timbers Edge owner about a possible extension of our option to purchase up to another 10.7 acres as Phase II.
Working with the Parks Department, we are beginning planning for 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 mail a donation check to:
Illahee Forest Preserve, c/o Jonathan Buesch, Treasurer
6253 East Boulevard NE, Bremerton, WA 98311
2. Tell your friends, neighbors, and co-workers about this important project!
3. 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.
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.
An agreement was eventually reached by all parties whereby the IFP could purchase either 25 acres of the most sensitive areas abutting Illahee Creek for $767K, or the entire 36 acres for $1.7M. In both cases the owner would provide a substantial contribution towards the purchase, making these more attainable.
The acquisition 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 will secure key forest and watershed properties necessary to maintain the continuity of riparian properties along Illahee Creek. The acquisition reduces or eliminates the blockage of wildlife corridors and a dense development bordering these sensitive areas. It 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 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.
Double Your Contribution!
This acquisition would be an enormous benefit to the future of the Preserve as it would serve as a match for other grants, such as the required 50% match needed to apply for RCO grants. In other words, the funds raised to purchase this property can potentially be doubled through a state matching grant to purchase the remaining properties targeted to complete the Preserve!
- It helps complete the Preserve by connecting critical targeted forest and riparian habitats.
- It helps maintain the groundwater recharge of the critical Manette aquifer (already impacted).
- It lessens further storm water impacts to Illahee Creek, the Illahee Road culvert, and Puget Sound.
- It insures base flows in Illahee Creek affecting salmon species are not further degraded.
- It is a recommendation of the 2008 DOE/Port funded Watershed Management Plan (#Pur-1).
- It avoids a pressurized sewer main running through Illahee with major cost impacts to residents (either the 25 or 36 acre purchase avoids this).
- It eliminates or reduces the small lots and a major traffic concern for residents who live along Fir Drive.
What If Funding Is Not Raised?
By purchasing the first 25.5 acres, the approved 87 lot development is reduced to a 43 lot development with reduced impact on the community. A purchase of the full 36.2 acres could eliminate all development. The Illahee Community Club and the IFP boards have agreed to support the development if the funds are not raised for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
A donor recognition wall is being planned at the Illahee Preserve’s Almira entrance for gifts of $1,000 or more.