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Friends of Miller Bay ecstatic at making deadline

MILLER BAY — Dick D’Archangel was riding a rush of emotion Monday, just one day before an important deadline fell for the Friends of Miller Bay. After four years, the group was able to produce the last dollar of $273,000 to pay for the final five acres of 18 purchased by Kitsap County in 2003.

In July, D’Archangel, along with the rest of the FOMB members, was writing to past donors trying to squeeze out the final $37,000 for the land. They came through in a big way, he said, enthusiastically writing checks and providing support to the non-profit group.

“We are extremely happy about it,” he said. “We have a deadline with the county we set originally for Oct. 30. Two months ago, we mailed letters to about 500 contributors, former contributors. The thing is about doing something like these things is you have something to care about.”

The Miller Bay corridor project, which is where the land is located, drew encouragement and support from hundreds of residents during the last four years through a variety of fundraising events and meetings. Now that the property has been acquired, the Great Peninsula Conservancy will serve as its steward, and the FOMB will use it for education and preservation.

“We’re actually considered partners with them, we provide financial oversight and organization assistance,” said Great Peninsula Conservancy director of development and outreach Kate Kuhlman. “They have done the heavy lifting as far as raising the money, and they’ve done a wonderful job... As a land trust, we take on the stewarding forever.”

FOMB members will announce the financial success at their annual meeting Nov. 5 at the North Kitsap Fire & Rescue headquarters on Miller Bay Road, but the main focus will be on local wildlife author Ron Hirschi, who will be giving a presentation called “We All Live in a Whale Watershed.”

“Ron Hirschi has lived in this community for a long time,” D’Archangel said. “I think it will be an appropriate program. We’re inviting the public and people of all ages. It’s going to be part slides and part either Powerpoint presentation and possibly pictures.”

In the meantime, he said he and FOMB member Paul Dorn would be out at the now familiar sign along Miller Bay Road marking how much had been raised. It will be replaced with a new sign, trumpeting the group’s success to all motorists driving by. There aren’t any plans in the works to acquire additional land, though D’Archangel said FOMB is always seeking property to preserve. The group is looking into other projects around Miller Bay, including working with the county on code enforcement.

“The thing that we’re really excited about is we got so much help from people,” he said. “But we couldn’t do this without the help of the Great Peninsula Conservancy and the county parks department.”

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