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Boardwalk project floats next month in Kingston

KINGSTON — Today, Carpenter Lake is hidden by tall grasses, thickets and sensitive wetlands, preventing curious explorers from venturing into its unique environment without a pair of hip waders.

But after this summer, access to the 7-acre lake will be much easier for residents, schoolchildren and indeed, the environmentally curious.

Kingston-based contractor Chinook Properties, Inc. has been awarded the bid to construct a boardwalk at Carpenter Lake, a project that its owner, Kitsap County, has been hoping to complete for some time.

“It looked like a good opportunity to do some work for the county and it will also benefit us in the local area,” said project manager Charley Baldridge.

The company is scheduled to mobilize on the site in mid-August. The start of the project is dependent on the ordering of the materials and the prep work, such as treating the wood for the boardwalk.

Anticipated work includes building the nearly 400-foot-long boardwalk that will feature several view points of the wetlands and the lake. Baldridge and his crew will also resurface a gently sloping 200-foot switchback with gravel that connects Gordon Elementary School to the boardwalk’s entrance. The entire project is expected to last about 120 days.

“This is the best time of year to be doing it,” Baldridge said. “We’re optimistic that the weather won’t impact us that much.”

While the Kitsap County Department of Facilities, Parks and Recreation staff usually looks to volunteers to assist with labor for projects like these, the county wanted to hire a contractor due to the delicate wetland environment that surrounds the lake.

There hasn’t been much activity at the lake lately other than native animals living in their natural habitat but the area was once a popular gathering spot and farming area for Kingston residents in the early 1900s. The name of the lake comes from the belief that carpenters gathered there for lunch many years ago.

The lake area, including the creek that flows in and out of the lake at both the north and south ends, has served in various capacities. The Suquamish Tribe has used it as a campground, local fire departments have used it as a water source and children in the mid-1900s would store sodas in the cool creek water during hot summers.

The county purchased the property from resident Wayne Bevan in the early 1990s for preservation as an open space.

Today, two groups currently oversee the area — the county’s Carpenter Lake Stewardship Committee, which focuses on activity at the lake and bog, and the Cutthroats of Carpenter Creek, which keeps an eye on the watershed at large as well as supporting creek preservation and restoration.

Kitsap County maintenance supervisor senior for the Department of Facilities, Parks and Recreation Dori Leckner has been working on the project since 2001, yet the community has been waiting for longer, she said.

“I hope we get it finished on time and use its intended purpose, which is outdoor education for youth in North Kitsap,” Leckner said. She expects it to be open to the public by Oct. 20.

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