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Volunteers enhance Poulsbo's Fish Park, eye expansion

Fish Park volunteers Tom Nordlie (left) and Jonathan Scholten plan finishing touches on the park
Fish Park volunteers Tom Nordlie (left) and Jonathan Scholten plan finishing touches on the park's new water feature.
— image credit: Jennifer Morris/Staff Photo

POULSBO — A new water feature in Poulsbo's Fish Park is the latest of many volunteer efforts to expand the park's amenities and preserve its open space for public use.

The water feature, a three-tiered pond at the park's main entrance off Lindvig Way, was installed earlier this month by crews and equipment donated from local companies. This weekend, volunteers will finish building 600 feet of trail in the northern portion of the park and will plant additional vegetation.

Tom Nordlie, chairman of the Fish Park Steering Committee, said volunteers are vital to the park, but those who don't want to brave the elements have a special opportunity to help.

The City of Poulsbo, which owns Fish Park, is in the running for $300,000 in grant funding to expand the park to the east side of Dogfish Creek. Nordlie is asking citizens to encourage state legislators to move forward with park development grants despite budget cuts.

"We're always interested in expanding," Nordlie said. "We'd like to keep this little treasure here for the City of Poulsbo and for the community."

SkelleyWorks crews transported a dozen large boulders for the water feature to Fish Park earlier this month. Foreman Jonathan Scholten estimated each weighs between 1,500 and 2,000 pounds.

It took two days and an excavator and grapple to nudge and rotate each boulder into place along a stream unearthed by volunteers years ago. Once the rocks were settled they were secured with a small amount of cement.

"It's kind of like bricks on a house," Scholten said.

The rocks were staged to create a set of ponds and trickling waterfall. The feature was designed by local landscaper Dan Blossom and installed by Ben Salazar of SkelleyWorks.

"We wanted to harness this water and make it a unique and welcoming spot," Nordlie said.

The steering committee plans to add another boardwalk and an amphitheater to the park in the future.

If the park expands to the east side of the creek, onto a 1.5-acre parcel that encompasses wetlands, forest and eagle habitat, the committee would like to build trails, bridges and parking in the area.

Fish Park is currently 21 acres, most of them undeveloped, with 1.5 miles of trail and boardwalk, Nordlie said.

Church and civic groups, Boy and Girl scouts and members of the Suquamish Tribe have contributed volunteer efforts, clearing weeds, planting trees and building viewing platforms. The steering committee, established in 2003, has worked to re-introduce lowland plants and preserve the natural environment of the park. A volunteer work day will be held from 1-4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 20. Anyone is welcome.

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