Letters to the Editor

Recognizing unsung heroes of conservation

Many thanks to you and reporter Megan Stephenson for your very skilled and thorough reporting on negotiations between Kitsap Forest and Bay Coalition members and Olympic Property Group to preserve open space around Port Gamble Bay.

As an active participant in the Kitsap Forest and Bay Coalition, I am privy to many pieces of the puzzle, but your articles and editorial do a masterful job of pulling it all together.

As conservation chairman for the Kitsap Audubon Society, I have served on the board of West Sound Conservation Council (WSCC) for about eight years. Kitsap Audubon is one of eight environmental organizations that make up the WSCC coalition. WSCC was closely involved in tracking Kitsap County’s land-use and rural zoning policies long before I joined the board.

Over the years, we’ve met with county commissioners and staff, as well as Jon Rose and Tribal leaders, and had an important impact on related policies. Our influence stems mainly from the technical expertise of individuals like WSCC Chairman Tom Nevins, who has served on the Kitsap County Planning Commission for the past 10 years, and others intimately involved in county land-use policies, such as William Machette, who served previously on the Planning Commission; and Tom Donnelley, whose organization, Kitsap Citizens for Responsible Planning, has helped guide community development for many years.

WSCC members also served on the Task Group that developed updates to the Shoreline Management Program. WSCC’s input is valued and respected at all levels in Kitsap County land-use planning because our members do their homework and their suggestions are substantive, insightful and constructive.

Our community has a wealth of unsung leaders who work passionately and diligently behind the scenes to make our community a better place. I am privileged to work with many of them as an active member of the Kitsap Forest and Bay Coalition, West Sound Conservation Council, and the Kitsap Audubon Society, as well as the team that devoted several years of intense effort to organize the unsuccessful Great Peninsula Future Festival.

Gene Bullock


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