Calling All KEC Members & Concerned Members of the Public Urging You to Make Public Comment on the Draft Master Plan for Port Gamble Forest Heritage Park (PGFHP)
GOALS for our public PGFHP comments:
Flood county government with emails
Attend the Parks Advisory Board (PRAB) Meeting on Wednesday, April 20, 2022 at 6:00 pm via Zoom
Attend the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) Meeting on Monday, April 25, 2022 5:30 pm via Zoom
Attending the Zoom Parks Advisory Board meeting and/or the County Commissioner meeting will increase our impact, so please attend if possible!
***Instructions for emailing your comments are at the bottom***
***Check the KEC Events Calendar for Zoom links***
LOOMING APRIL 30th DEADLINE FOR ADOPTION OF THE DRAFT MASTER PLAN: The County wants to approve the plan for the Port Gamble Forest Heritage Park by the end of April, and the public can only see the 200-page draft online on the County Parks Website. This is one of the biggest county parks in the United States. Kitsap County residents assumed that these acres were going to be preserved, and contributed money thinking that there would only be minimal development. This current plan does not reflect that vision. Rayonier, who purchased Pope Resources, has the right to clear-cut the trees until 2040.
CONSERVATION is much more cost efficient than restoration, which takes greater effort and money, and time. Saving trees that are already standing and discontinuing clear cutting will sequester carbon, conserve water, provides shade and cooling, while providing continuity for the ecosystem and animals living in this forest. The County’s plan for Parks, Recreation & Open Spaces plan (PROS) places great importance on protecting the natural environment.
A LACK OF PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT: Public involvement on the draft plan was through four Zoom meetings put on by the county’s consultants. These meetings only allowed for very limited input by residents, although even at these meetings the participants stated that they preferred minimal development. Meaningful public engagement is needed, through public forums that allow genuine conversations and discussions!
THE SOUND TO OLYMPICS TRAIL (STO) is a part of the County’s NON-MOTORIZED TRANSPORTATION PLAN, and is managed by Kitsap County Public Works, not the Parks Department. The STO plan calls for an impermeable asphalt surface through the middle of North Kitsap Heritage Park (NKHP) and PGFHP, potentially causing significant environmental impacts and costing millions of dollars- money better spent on higher priorities for county residents.
OPG/ RAYONIER are promoting these parks as selling points for their developments at Port Gamble and Arborwood. Businesses such as a proposed Eco-farm, vineyard, hotel and cottages in Port Gamble will make significant income for Rayonier, a large international real-estate company. This will extract money from our county, rather that circulating resources owned by local businesses. Dollars made in the Kitsap County need to remain in Kitsap County.
Talking Points for Concerned Members of the Public
- We demand that the county hold an open public forum on this draft master plan before getting approval from the Parks advisory Board and the Board of County Commissioners.
- There is a glaring lack of an environmental assessment of the Park as a whole. These assessments are being done inadequately on a piecemeal basis. There have been limited wetland delineations, NO recent SEPA reviews, NO wildlife assessments, and NO Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) for the project as a whole. Professional environmental assessments are needed and required for a project of this magnitude.
- Construction costs for all 3 phases of the project are over 20 millions dollars, yet less than $300,000 are allocated for Resource Management. We ask that the County allocate more funds towards natural resource management and
- The annual Operations and Maintenance costs for Phase 1 of this Park are estimated to be approximately half a million dollars. The County’s total yearly Parks budget, for all of the parks (pre-Covid) was $4.6 million. This park would consume a disproportionate amount of this budget, potentially leaving the other parks cash-strapped.
- We need to take a stand against a paved STO trail going through Port Gamble Forest Heritage Park, and the North Kitsap Heritage Park.
- The priority given to the STO in the Non-MOTORIZED Transportation Plan ignores the needs of residents who need to commute between communities and business areas. We want a walk-able and bike-able community, especially in light of climate change, and the need for reductions in CO2 emissions.
- Dollars made in our County need to remain in the County, and not flow out to a multinational real estate investment company. We ask that the business profits made as a result of our parks and the developments around them including the STO should stay in Kitsap County.
- The Trails in PGFHP are being designated as multi-use, when actually and practically, they should not be. The park as a whole seems to be devoted to mountain biking, which is dangerous to all users. Safety is an issue, and liability is a concern.
- According to the Draft Master plan, consultations with the Port Gamble S’Klallam and Suquamish Nations have not been completed. Tribal review is vital for this project’s viability.
You’ll only need to send one email; just cc the other officials in the same email. Since the goal is to have our emails read aloud at both meetings, please make your comments fit into a two-minute window.
The following info is requested by the Parks Advisory Board:
- Start by stating: I request that my comments be read at both the Parks Advisory Board meeting on 4/20/22, and the Board of County Commissioners meeting on 4/25/22.
- State your first and last name
- Note whether you live in Kitsap County or not
- State subject of your comments: Commenting on the Draft Master Plan for Port Gamble Forest Heritage Park
Send your email comments to:
Commissioners Gelder, Wolfe, and Garrido
Using the same email, cc the following:
KC Parks Advisory Board email@example.com
Kitsap County Parks Director – Alex Wisniewski,
PGFHP Steering Committee – Mark Schorn