Brian Zemp (Boy Scouts); Joy Johnston, Bothell Public Information Officer; Jim Freese, Friends of North Creek Forest
We are grateful to announce Bothell now owns 35 acres of North Creek Forest. The deal was completed at 2:00 PM today. Please see Bothell's press release HERE.
This phase of conservation started 10 years ago when a group called Help Our Woods sought to save the forest. Many of Friends founding members were associated with HOW. They raised the funding for wildlife and wetland studies that have been very important for getting the first King County Conservation Futures grant 2 years ago. Matching funds for that grant could not be sustained with the recession.
In 2010 one family (Robinson) purchased 6 acres in the center of the forest. That energized many of us. A gift of $3000 from one of our members enabled us to hire Woody Wheeler, a conservation consultant (see Conservation Catalyst). After several meetings we decided to pursue a new direction and strategy. Friends of North Creek Forest grew out of HOW and had it's first official meeting on February 23, 2011.
In two months we assembled our promotional materials, web site and other infrastructure, obtained key endorsements and applied for a Snohomish County Futures grant. We only had 5 days between learning of the grant and the deadline for application. We worked hard on it, pausing only to ask the Bothell City Council for permission to make the application. By the end of April we won $200,000. The forest also attracted the attention of Representative Derek Stanford and six days after winning the Snohomish grant we won another $200,000 for the Department of Commerce.
We learned that North Creek Forests sells itself. It is so worthy of conservation we only needed to tell the story. This was clearly evident when we won another $109,000 from the federally funded Land and Water grant in September. Assuming Congress funds Land and Water in their next budget, the city will be able to purchase 6 more acres next summer. Time after time the City Council voted to support us and we dove into the work along with city staff and we won the money. This is an exciting and compelling effort. In the words of Bill Evans, Bothell City Council, "In 34 years of public service I have never seen any group go so far so fast". It is the forest. It does sell itself. We just say what is there.
The grant work has not been our only job. The University of Washington Restoration Ecology Network has begun work on the Robinson property. Lessons learned over the winter and spring can be applied elsewhere in the forest now that Bothell owns a big part of it. Support for this work is one of our commitments. Outreach and education are other key activities. Our goal is to support educators with material resources so they can use the forest as a teaching tool.
Sorry about these dark photos: This panorama is of the northern half of North Creek Forest, approximately the part Bothell just purchased. It is about 5/8 of a mile long and 1300 feet deep at the widest part with a 300' elevation gain.
Below it lies I-405, North Creek and the business park.
The next photo is of the remaining 29 acres. Assuming our L&W grant is funded we will still have 3 parcels of forest to acquire. In each case we have to find a solution that works for landowners, Bothell and all other interests.
_We are going to take some time off to "decompress" over the Holidays. We hope to pose a possible solution for the remaining conservation early in 2012.
The Bothell Reporter article is HERE.
A Daily Journal of Commerce article was published today which you may like to read. (see article)
Seattle Times and Everett Herald photographers and reporters spent almost two hours with us yesterday. You should see those articles soon.
Friends of North Creek Forest
This is your new blog post. Click here and start typing, or drag in elements from the top bar.