_ Bothell buys 35 acres from the Boy Scouts
By KATIE ZEMTSEFF Journal Staff Reporter
The city of Bothell is purchasing 35 acres of open space from Boy
Scouts America in a $460,000 deal that is expected to close today.
The land is one mile from the city center, along Interstate 405.
It is undeveloped mature forest with wetlands and streams, and is
surrounded by an urban area that city officials expect will see
significant growth in the next 18 years.
Funds for the purchase were raised by Friends of North Creek
Forest, a nonprofit citizens group that received money from the
Washington State Department of Commerce, as well as Snohomish and King
Jim Freese of Friends of North Creek Forest said the purchase
follows 10 years of grassroots citizen efforts. “You don't find this
kind of forest in a city. This is a game-changing piece of property.
When a city saves something like this, it alters the future, for
fisheries, for education and for all Bothell citizens.”
Before Friends of North Creek got involved, another citizens
group called Help Our Woods contributed time and effort. The groups
raised $600,000 to finance the acquisition.
Joy Johnston, public information officer for Bothell, said
citizens involvement allowed Bothell to purchase the land without using
any city tax revenue. She said Bothell only has about 200 acres of
parkland now, so 30 acres will make a big difference.
The city will preserve the land as open space for passive uses.
At some point, the area might get trails but there is no need now for
consultant services or a master plan.
Bryan Zemp, a broker with Windermere Bellevue Commons and a long
time Boy Scout, said the Scouts are not in the development business and
wanted to sell the land. Over the last five years, he said he's helped
the organization sell five other properties that were given to the
Scouts. Money from the sales goes back to operations.
He said the organization took a loss on the property, but he said
he “can't think of a better win-win.” The Boy Scouts may help maintain
the property or build trails.
“The Boy Scouts are willing to take a loss and Bothell's willing
to take a risk and (the Friends of North Creek Forest) already have
things lined up. It's just a great, good story. It does give me hope,”
The property was given to the Boy Scouts in the 1970s by the
Fortin Family. A number of development plans were proposed over the
years. The most recent was in 2004 when CamWest wanted to use the land
as part of a housing development. The plan fizzled in 2008 due to the
This year, Zemp was asked to help sell the land.
Zemp said the group would like to buy more land in the area, so
it was important to secure this piece first. The North Creek Forest is a
mile long and extends from Canyon Park Junior High on the north to
North Creek wetlands near the University of Washington Bothell campus on
the south. It links to the Sammamish River.
Zemp said working on the land deal was also interesting to him on
a personal level. While researching it, he discovered that his father
was on the executive board of the Boy Scouts as vice president of
properties when the land was given to the organization. He also
discovered that the father of current Council President Tom Piggot was
council president in the 1970s.
Zemp said he and Piggot are finishing something their fathers started.
Friends of North Creek Forest is a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation. Donations are tax deductible. EIN: 27-5439187.