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Friends of Miller Bay working toward goal

SUQUAMISH — By spreading awareness and growing the need to protect the environment, the Friends of Miller Bay is hoping to save a small part of Mother Earth for future generations to enjoy.

Still in need of almost $40,000 to finish purchasing land for this niche, members of the group visited the Suquamish Garden Club Tuesday evening to explain their mission.

With about 25 people at the meeting, Nancy and Dick D’Archangel, as well as Virginia Cowling showing her support quietly from the audience, gave a brief history of FOMB and the land it is trying to preserve.

The group started in 1989 to save a herons’ nesting area near Miller Bay that was in danger of being destroyed by developers. It has grown since and is in the process of buying 18 acres Kitsap County purchased specifically for the group to preserve from future developments.

“We had three years to pay them back for the first parcel, which we’ve done,” Nancy D’Archangel said. “And we have four years to pay them back for the second parcel. What happened then was people started coming to us, saying things like, ‘We’ve got a band, we’d like to do a benefit concert for you.’”

The loan for the first parcel, 13 acres southwest of Miller Bay Road, was repaid. The remaining five acres will complete the Cowling Creek Project. Grand total, FOMB has to pay back more than $260,000, and has less than $40,000 to go before the October 2007 deadline. The land was bought by the county in September 2004.

“On April 16, we were at $233,938, and we need $273,000,” Dick D’Archangel said. “We have less than $40,000 to go. We’ve come a long way, and we really appreciate the support of the community. Most of the grants we’ve received have been from the (Suquamish Tribe), and at the fund raisers we’ve had, we’ve had a lot of contributions. People really appreciate us and the work we’re doing, and we’re grateful for that.”

Suquamish Garden Club member Sharon Nichols asked what would happen if the money wasn’t paid back on time.

“I would have to hijack (Kitsap County Commissioner) Chris Endresen,” Dick D’Archangel said with a laugh. “I don’t know what we would do.”

FOMB is planning a summer full of events to raise money, and is asking a community that has already given a lot to open its wallets a little more. Once full protected, the group will construct walking trails through the area so the public that helped pay for the land can use it forever.

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