Community fights to save beloved forest in Port Gamble

KING 5's Eric Wilkinson reports.

Editor's note: This story was originally published April 28. The deadline is Monday, July 31. 

It is a little-known gem in Kitsap County -- a forest six times the size of Seattle's Discovery Park and four times the size of New York's Central Park that has provided everything from trails to timber for generations.
  
Now it's the target of developers.

"I have 7-year-old twins," said Robin Sigo, as she strolled along the shores of Port Gamble Bay. "I walked these trails when I was pregnant with them."

Robin is a member of the Suquamish Indian Tribe.

Her family's roots in the forest run thousands of years deep.

"I remember walking with my dad through these trails," she said. "It was very special."

The Port Gamble Forest is 3,500 acres of Pacific Northwest paradise along Port Gamble Bay. There are 65 miles of hiking and biking trails that meet clam and oyster beds in the shadow of the Olympic Mountains.

More than all that, the forest is an important cultural spot for both the Suquamish and Port Gamble S'klallam tribes.

"I want my grandkids to bring their grandkids here because this is the same path my ancestors walked," said Sigo. "I want to continue that."

Now, though, that path is on the market.
  
The Puget Sound population is expected to grow by at least 500,000 over the next 13 years, and people will need places to live.

But Port Gamble S'Klallam Chairman Jeromy Sullivan asks, what's the point in living and working in the picturesque area if there is no place to play?    

"Bringing your dogs and your kids to these places is a really important aspect of the economy, also," he said.

The conservation group Forterra is now working to buy the forest. It has raised just over half of the $3.5 million needed, but the deadline looms at the end of July.

It costs $2,500 to buy an acre of the forest. Organizers are asking everyone from businesses to Girl Scout troops to pitch in and preserve a piece of the Northwest. 

"I just want to teach people to love it, because once they love it, they're going to make sure it's still here," said Robin Sigo.

© 2017 KING-TV


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment