Bridges take priority in Fish Park activity

POULSBO — The smile on Joan Hett’s face rivaled that of the Sunday afternoon sun as she scurried to make sure her small army of volunteers was up to that task in front of them.

Last month, volunteers planted 150 of the 400 trees donated by the Liberty Bay Foundation for Fish Park and Sunday’s goal was to get as many of them in the ground as possible.

“We’ve got to get them planted as soon as possible and today’s one of the last times we’ll have to plant them before the weather changes,” Hett said, noting that the window for planting most trees typically closes around April.

As the Fish Park volunteer coordinator, Hett said the work parties, which take place from 1-3 p.m. every third Sunday of the month, have grown in number as the weather has changed.

“The nicer it is, the more people we tend to have,” Hett said,.

Sunday’s sunny weather brought out about 30 volunteers.

While much of last year’s work focused on eradicating blackberries and other invasive plants at the property, this year the focus is on creating viewing platforms, bridges and trails, said Fish Park steering committee member Tom Nordlie.

“We’re going to start working on viewing platforms and putting some bridges over the streams,” Nordlie said.

The Poulsbo-North Kitsap Rotary Club will be building one of the platforms and another one is being done as an Eagle Scout project, he said.

The platforms will be spaced throughout the park, offering different views of the area, he added, noting work that was done last year by volunteers has shown visible dividends.

“We’ve got cattails growing in the watershed area, which will be a home for red-winged blackbirds,” Nordlie said.

Volunteer groups will continue expanding the trail system throughout the park leading up to the different platforms and to all areas of the park.

Even though Sunday work parties are scheduled on a regular basis, Saturdays are available for large groups and organizations interested in helping out, Nordlie said.

The Sunday sun also brought longtime community advocate Herb Kai to the park, where he quickly jumped in helping plant trees.

Sunday afternoons at the park are important because all of the work done at the park is done on a volunteer basis, Kai said.

“I want to be able to tell my grandkids I dug that hole, I planted that tree and not only is our park, but this is my park as well,” Kai said.

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