Port Gamble Heritage Park framework approval delayed

The framework for Port Gamble Forest Heritage Park was initially supposed to be voted for approval by the Kitsap County commissioners Oct. 24 but county staff requested and was granted more time to respond to public comments received about the project’s State Environmental Policy Act review.

County parks director Alex Wisniewski said the SEPA process was completed Oct. 17, and staff needs time to review and respond to comments about it. The PGFHP framework will be brought back to the commissioners at their Nov. 28 meeting.

Wisniewski said, “Given that it’s only been a week, we have not had appropriate amount of time to kind of digest and fully give thought to understand the comments.”

In an effort to guide future discussions of recreation, education, tourism, conservation and restoration opportunities for the PGFHP, the county has developed a draft and vision in concert with community groups, tribes, stakeholders and citizens, documents say. The framework, drafted over the past year and a half, is the culmination of over a decade of efforts to procure, enhance and preserve the nearly 3,500 acres of timberland for recreation and open space. Now a county park, the draft is a flexible long-term vision and guiding document for future actions in one of the largest locally owned parks in the state.

A fundraiser to acquire up to 756 acres of timber rights at the park has raised $348,000 as of Oct. 14. The goal was to raise $500,000 by Oct. 31. The fundraiser was put together by Forterra, the state’s largest land conservation organization, with support from many local organizations and entities.