PT-84 in 1942, one of several dozen PT boats to pass through Puget Sound during the war, would soon leave Puget Sound for duty in Alaska.

‘I took a walk in the woods’ | Hansville Happenings

“I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees,” said Henry David Thoreau, who has inspired generations of Americans to preserve and protect our land and wildlife.

This year, the 200th anniversary of his birth, Thoreau’s work is more relevant than ever, particularly his call for towns large and small to have “a park, or rather a primitive forest, of 500 or 1,000 acres, where a stick should never be cut for fuel, a common possession forever, for instruction and recreation.”

Right here in Hansville, another visionary and his dedicated friends did exactly that when they started a grassroots movement in 1990 to set aside land that would be forever untouchable and open to the public to enjoy. Sid Knutson, who just turned 92, has written a book with his son, Craig, on how our 275-acre Greenway Wildlife Corridor and Preserve came to be.

“I wanted to document the early history. I think it’s important for people in Hansville to know and understand it,” Knutson said.

Seeds for thought: The environmental movement was in full swing when Knutson, a retired Army Corps engineer, wrote an ambitious vision statement for the community. Over the next two decades, numerous volunteers spent countless hours planning, acquiring and developing land for use, clearing trails and building structures, to make the dream a reality. With grants, donations and the cooperation of the Kitsap County Department of Parks and Recreation, the Greenway grew, starting with seven acres donated by Knutson, which included Upper and Lower Hawk’s Ponds.

The Knutsons’ 132-page book, “Story of the Hansville Greenway: How a Village Preserved an Ecosystem” is filled with interesting facts, photos and newspaper clippings reporting on the progress of the effort, start to finish. It’s $36.99 and available at at the Hansgrill, with profits helping to pay for busing of North Kitsap School District fourth-graders to our green spaces.

Patrol Boats in Puget Sound. There were four PT (Patrol Torpedo) boats in Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. They survived the attack and were quickly sent to Seattle for torpedo training, then on to Alaska to guard against a possible Japanese invasion there.

Coast Guard patrol boats, armed with machine guns, provided war time protection for the Navy Yard here and guarded harbors throughout the nation. More than 60 of these 38-foot wooden boats were built locally.

“PT boats filled an important need in World War II,” said John F. Kennedy, whose wartime heroics aboard PT-109 became famous. But because of wartime security restrictions, few in the Pacific Northwest realized that the famed PT boats also operated on Puget Sound.

Small, fast patrol boats were used during Prohibition and the Vietnam War as well, and today are deployed to intercept drug smugglers, enforce navigation laws, and rescue those in danger.

From the launching of one of the first Navy torpedo boats, USS Rowan, in 1898, to the Coast Guard’s modern response boats, the history of patrol boats on Puget Sound is a fascinating topic that will be presented by Megan Churchill, curator of Puget Sound Navy Museum in Bremerton, at 6:30 p.m., Sept. 26, at the Greater Hansville Community Center, Buck Lake Road.

— Contact columnist Annette Wright at

Hydrofoils, such as the USS High Point (launched in 1962), was designed by Boeing to “fly” above the sea to reduce drag and avoid torpedoes. Annette Wright / Contributed

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