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Friends of Miller Bay find 13 is pretty lucky after all

MILLER BAY — It’s a day the members of the Friends of Miller Bay were thrilled to see.

After working for seven years to preserve 18 acres of forest within the Miller Bay watershed, the group reached a milestone Monday.

Members were present as the Kitsap County Board of Commissioners passed a resolution, transferring the title of a portion of the property from the county to the Great Peninsula Conservancy.

The county purchased 13 acres of the property within the Cowling Creek corridor, just southwest of Miller Bay Road, in 2003 for $150,000 to prevent it from being bought by developers.

The catch was that FOMB had to raise the money within three years to reimburse the county.

FOMB achieved that goal and last Monday, the Kitsap County Board of Commissioners passed a resolution stating that the group had reimbursed the county for the property and it will now sell the property to the Great Peninsula Conservancy to be permanently protected.

Even though the lofty goal was met, there’s still work to be done.

The 13 acres are considered Phase 1 of the Cowling Creek Project, which is an overall effort to preserve the full 18 acres of forest land. The second phase is to raise $110,000 to purchase the remaining 5 acres, which the county purchased in September 2004. The group already has raised about $50,000 toward this goal, said FOMB president Dick D’Archangel, noting that it has another 17 months to raise the remaining $60,000.

The group is making progress on the fund raising, he said, and hopes as the donation goal gets closer, residents will get more excited for it.

“We’re all anxious to get it finished so we can move on to something else,” he said.

The latest fund-raising effort to help the group “move on,” is a rummage and plant sale that will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 21-22 at 7136 NE William Rogers Rd., near the end of the Indianola Spit. Donations are being accepted and interested donors can call (360) 598-6564 or (360) 598-5452 for more information. The group is seeking high-end furniture and tools.

Last year, nearly $4,000 was raised during the event and members hope to see a similar result next weekend, said FOMB member Nancy D’Archangel.

The plant sale will consist of donations from local North End nurseries, such as Japanese maples, primroses from France, rhododendrons and ponderosa pines, Nancy said, and anything left over will be put in a self-serve sale at Virginia Cowling’s house on Miller Bay Road, for whom the project is named after.

Once the property is purchased in its entirety and under the protection of the Great Peninsula Conservancy, the group doesn’t plan to do anything more to it other than maintain the current trails and try to connect them with others in the area, so residents will have various access points, such as from Urban Avenue, Essex Avenue or Miller Bay Road.

“It will be a great green belt area,” Dick said.

Nancy said she when was on the property recently, she saw trillium flowers everywhere and heard eagles flying around, reminding her of why FOMB has been doing what it has the past few years.

“It kind of made it worthwhile all the work (the group has done) because it’s such as wonderful place,” she said.

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