Join the Natural History Society on Tuesday, January 14, for a New Year exploration of old growth stumps and what they mean to forest health. We will walk approximately four miles at Port Gamble Forest Heritage Park on old logging roads and moderately maintained trails with little elevation gain. This is one of the largest lowland forests remaining in West Puget Sound.
Inspiration for this outing came from the Natural History Society Book Club’s October 2019 selection, Wintergreen: Rambles in a Ravaged Land, by Robert M. Pyle. The author wrote, “… a good stump is a wonderful thing to teach the watchful naturalist.” This gave many of us unexpected insights. We would like to encourage anyone to share 2-3 sentences from Wintergreen on this walk.
Many community partners launched a visionary campaign in 2011 to conserve Port Gamble Forest Heritage Park and surrounding forestland and coastline from the timber industry and over-development. There’s a new vision and hope for the forest, restoring it as a more natural ecosystem. What better place can we share thoughts and new hope for 2020?
On December 6, 2019, the Natural History Society walked through the Kinney Point State Park, approximately 3/4 mile on a moderately well-maintained trail through a mature Douglas-fir, cedar, and maple forest on the southern end of Marrowstone Island.
Kinney Point was transferred to State Park property from State School Lands because of the exceptional old growth habitat. The trail ends at the ‘kayak camp’ just up from the cobble beach at the mouth of a shallow ravine. The majority of the shoreline is high, steep bluff, so access to the beach is challenging. The forest is quite beautiful and there are also opportunities for the hale and hearty to explore off trail.
Although we don’t usually limit numbers on our outings, this outing was limited to the first 12 participants to request attendance.
On November 8, 2019, the Natural History Society explored the Quimper Lost Wilderness in our own Cape George backyard.
This outing was led by Steve Grace – local naturalist, author, and educator – who happened upon this 30-acre stand of old growth forest and then spearheaded the effort to recognize its value and protect it. We not only saw this sacred place but also got to hear firsthand about the efforts to preserve it. We walked approximately one mile across some uneven ground.
Eileen at JLTnatural@saveland.org provided meeting time and place, suggestions for what to bring, and additional information.
On October, 18, 2019, the Natural History Society visited Marrowstone Island. We gathered at the entrance to Marrowstone with oceanographer Peter Rhines to review the restoration of the channel linking Kilisut Harbor and Oak Bay.
Then we walked through a vernal pond and swamp system on a beautiful property owned by Kurt Steinbach, a recent graduate of the Land Trust’s Northwest Naturalist program. Kurt says these habitats are locally common but hold many secrets due to their inherent inaccessible nature.
We timed this outing to coincide with the end of the dry season for easier access, and to take advantage of walking paths he maintains. We expected to see lichens, mushrooms, and mosses revived by the returning rains. We looked for species that have evolved to thrive in a dynamic system with such a variable water table.
Ken at JLTnatural@saveland.org provided meeting time and place, what to bring, and additional information about both projects.
On September 27, 2019, the Natural History Society took a walking tour of Port Townsend’s new čičməhán (Chetzemoka) Trail. Lys Burden and Luzi Pfenninger, Trail Team members, led us on a specially designed 4.5 mile loop, following parts of the designated interpretive trail, but also neighborhood shortcuts and sections of Port Townsend’s off-road trail system.
As we visited seven sights, including čičməhán’s grave site, Kah Tai Lagoon, and Kah Tai Prairie, Lys and Luzi shared stories of the tribal signs. We learned about the ethnographic, hydrologic, and glacial history of the San Juan (qatay) Valley.