New trees swim into Fish Park

POULSBO — It was a perfect clear and crisp November morning for planting trees, which is just what nearly 20 volunteers did at Poulsbo’s Fish Park Saturday, bringing the facility one step closer to becoming an active recreation area.

“We’re essentially trying to speed up what nature would do in 100 years,” said Poulsbo Tree Board volunteer Ernie Linger about transforming the former Weyerhaeuser land into the city’s first nature park.

The volunteers planted 125 trees in an hour and a half in the 13.5-acre park, including red twig dogwoods, shore pines, Douglas fir, Western red cedars, vine maples and snowberry bushes that were donated by Puget Sound Energy. Trees were planted along the parks’ berms, which were established to prevent people from driving through the site, Linger explained.

Red twig dogwoods were planted along the creek that meanders through the park to create shady waters for salmon and to furnish a bird habitat. Douglas fir were also planted within the thick forest of alders on the property to add some longevity to the forest since alders tend to have short life spans, Linger explained.

Volunteers included members from the Poulsbo Tree Board and Poulsbo Parks and Recreation commission, Audubon Society, Poulsbo Lions Club and its younger counterpart, the North Kitsap High School Leo Club.

“They are doing really good,” Linger said of the volunteers.

“It’s fun,” said NKHS junior and Leo member Leah Thurston about volunteering. “You feel good when you’re done. You got something accomplished.”

North Kitsap High School sophomore Joe Pendergraft was also digging in the dirt Saturday morning, alongside Poulsbo City Councilwoman Kathryn Quade, as they worked together to plant a tree in one of the berms.

Pendergraft was encouraged by one of his teachers to come out and volunteer.

“Besides, if I don’t do this, I’d be at home playing video games anyway,” he said. “I love helping. Why not?”

The city purchased the park in July 2002 with Salmon Recovery Funding Board monies and plans for the parks’ development started in October 2003.

While the parks’ proposed design includes trails, viewing stations, educational facilities and an amphitheater, these plans need the support of the community, said Fish Park steering committee member Tom Nordlie. Aside from applying for grants, donated labor from residents and civic groups is highly encouraged, too.

“If we can get a grant that will be here by next summer, you’ll start to see things happening,” Nordlie said.

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