HANSVILLE — Putting a new spin on an old site, the public recently welcomed Norwegian Point Park into the growing family of passive use spaces in North Kitsap.
An old boat house at the site was elbow to elbow Saturday as Kitsap County officials, work crews and Hansville volunteers were honored for their efforts in the park’s acquisition, and visitors were invited to explore the new addition.
Earlier in the week, the county commissioners gave the final OK for the park’s official name — the final touch before the park was again made a part of Hansville.
“This is an exciting and historic day not just for Kitsap County, but for Hansville as well,” said Hansville Greenway Association vice president Fred Nelson. He received a huge round of applause from the crowd after welcoming everyone to the new park, residents’ enthusiasm was apparent as they waited excitedly to visit the grounds.
Glen and June Forbes, who started the Forbes Landing Resort in the late ‘60s, were in attendance along with several of their family members and others who remember the lengthy history of the area.
“Before this was Forbes Landing Resort, it was Randall’s Resort,” said Kitsap County Commissioner Chris Endresen. “My husband, Rick, worked here for several years.”
After the resorts ceased operations, the buildings were closed, and HGA treasurer Sid Knutson began thinking about making the waterfront area a part of his dream — a trail system connecting Hood Canal to the Puget Sound through Hansville.
“As Fred (Nelson) mentioned, this is a milestone,” said HGA president Ken Shawcroft. “Sid (Knutson) had a vision in the early 1990s of a trail network from Hood Canal to Puget Sound. Now we have our own Greenway, and people will be able to come here to the beach. Someday, they will be able to walk from Hood Canal to this beach.”
Norwegian Point Park is now the westernmost part of the Hansville Greenway, only about 10 feet from another trail entrance further up Hansville Road. The county purchased the land in September 2005 with the help of a $1 million state Interagency Committee for Outdoor Recreation grant. An additional $500,000 needed to purchase the four-acre site came from the county’s capital facilities budget. County officials are currently negotiating in hopes of extending the park by 1.88 acres.
Looking forward while not losing sight of the area’s rich history was an underlying theme at the grand opening celebration.
Historical pictures and stories were accompanied by future plans for the land, which includes the Hansville Native Plant Club presenting ideas to have different native species highlighted within the park.
“We’ll be able to maintain the plants after an obvious shoreline has been created,” said Hansville resident and club member Mary Booth. She was referring to a plan to reroute Finn Creek, which is now little more than a ditch, and border it with greenery. “Once the county hires a master planner, we’ll be able to map out better where plants can go. Part of that will include if the buildings stay or go, and how we’ll bring Finn Creek in. It’s all very exciting.”
Several of the buildings are located in the park and either need to be razed or purchased by the county. If the latter turns out to be the case, the buildings must be used for public outdoor activities per IAC grant regulations.
Endresen said a plan for the structures has yet to be decided upon.