5 April 2021

The environmental advocacy group West Sound Conservation Council (WSCC) is closing its metaphorical doors this year because many of its members have moved on to other projects or entered other phases of life. They are passing the torch of habitat preservation and environmental protection to a new generation of Kitsap Peninsula citizens.

During the past thirty years, land-use and shoreline policies in Kitsap County have been shaped by the detailed knowledge and personal involvement of WSCC members who worked to keep the County accountable to the philosophy and directives of the Growth Management Act. WSCC engaged its coalition of environmental groups in many issues affecting our home—issues like development, industrial aquaculture, Hood Canal industrialization, race-car tracks, outdoor gun ranges, heritage forests, and open spaces. During their time, WSCC members admirably accomplished the Coalition’s mission of “bringing the voice of environmental responsibility to the public debate” and “helping to conserve and restore our natural resources.”

Environmental work never ceases, and Kitsap citizens need to stay informed about and engaged in their environment, as the current slate of issues proves. Discussions are occurring now regarding Kitsap’s Shoreline Master Program Review, the Buildable Lands Analysis, Port Gamble Heritage Forest Park plans, industrial aquaculture’s spread, and the repeat proposal for a racetrack. There are also bills in our Washington State legislature to map out a clean energy future and to fully fund our land, water, and wildlife conservation programs.

Though WSCC as a formal organization is gone, it’s hoped that concerned citizens will, as they have during this COVID-19 time, continue working for the benefit of our nature. Someone always wants to develop away our peninsula’s environment and open spaces, so it’s incumbent for this new generation to—as the previous generation has—stay informed about and engaged with our nature.

Per Beth Wilson, one of the founding members of the West Sound Conservation Council, the WSCC originated in the late 1980s out of Kitsap Citizens for Rural Preservation, later renamed the Kitsap Citizens for Responsible Planning (KCRP, not to be confused with the Kitsap County Republican Party, which goes by the same acronym). KCRP observed that though there were many small environmental groups in Kitsap County, they tended to focus on localized impacts rather than the land-use policies causing them. KCRP knew the importance of changing bad policies, and it also knew there was power in numbers, so it founded WSCC to be a coalition of environmental groups. Though never a large coalition, WSCC succeeded in being recognized by the County as a stakeholder representing the environmental community.

WSCC’s participation in planning sessions, public testimonies, letters to representatives, letters to the editor, and other actions moved Kitsap County’s land-use policies toward the betterment of our environment and toward the preservation of open space, natural resources and working landscapes. Consequently, the Kitsap Peninsula is less plagued by the congestion and urban sprawl that has overwhelmed the east side of Puget Sound, in part because of KCRP and WSCC. Listed below are some of their accomplishments:

Land-Use Planning
Kitsap County’s first land-use plan was woefully inadequate, so it was taken before the Central Puget Sound Growth Management Hearings Board for review. As Wilson said, “We filed an appeal of the entire first adoption of the county’s land-use plan. After many months, with us working with our attorney David Bricklin [one of the authors of the Growth Management Act, which was passed by the legislature in the 1980s], preparing written appeals, briefs, responses, and replies, and then arguing the case in front of the Hearings Board in the community room at the Poulsbo Fire Station, the Board found Kitsap County’s land-use plan completely out of compliance with the Growth Management Act and invalidated the entire plan. It was the first time that had happened in Washington State.” As a result, the land-use plan was rewritten to comply with the GMA and was then adopted by a new set of environmentally oriented county commissioners (Phil Best, Charlotte Garrido, and Chris Endresen) whose elections were supported by KCRP members.

WSCC members participated on county land-use committees: Phil Best and Tom Donnelly served on the Kitsap Open Space Council which was staffed by Christine Nasser (who later became State Senator Christine Nasser Rolfes) in order to, as Phil Best described, “guide acquisition of open space with open-space funding promoted by local environmentalists and enacted by the county.” Best added that “WSCC also represented environmental interests on the Rural Policy Roundtable to negotiate with rural landowners and potential developers for changing land-use policies.” Bill Matchett, Tom Donnelly, and Tom Nevins all served on the Kitsap County Planning Commission, and Ed Bass served on the Boundary Review Board. As Gene Bullock noted, “Their depth of knowledge on the intricacies of land-use planning gained the respect of County commissioners and planners. Together with Dave Bricklin, they wielded amazing power and influence.”

In 2008, Ron Eber, a retired land-use planner with much experience in rural land protection in Oregon who also helped found the Oregon Chapter of the Sierra Club (through which he lobbied for wilderness areas), moved to Poulsbo where he was invited to work on state and local conservation issues with WSCC. As Eber relates, he and Tom Nevins “discussed how to limit further commercial and industrial development outside of the county’s urban growth areas, and they provided testimony for the WSCC to the Kitsap County Planning Commission.”

In 2010, Kitsap County began a year- long review of its comprehensive plan for the rural areas of the County (it was called the “Year of the Rural.”) They formed a citizen advisory committee that Eber and Nevins were invited to join. After a year of work, the Planning Commission and County Board adopted a revised comprehensive plan that included significant new limits on commercial and industrial development outside of the urban growth areas.

That same year the County appointed Eber to the Washington State Boundary Review Board for Kitsap County where he served until 2014. Here he represented conservation interests on boundary and rural growth issues that came before the Board. Finally, he represented WSCC on another county advisory committee working to revise the County’s Agricultural Code between 2014 and 2016. The Code rewrite was aimed to protect small rural farm operations and permit accessory agricultural activities needed for their success.

Threats to the rural countryside that we love and cherish were resisted through letters and public testimony during revisions of Kitsap County’s Comprehensive Plan and during rewrites of the Critical Areas Ordinance. As long-time WSCC member Gene Bullock remembers, “The development community often pushed to eliminate sound policies that had been put in place to keep rural lands from being redesignated as industrial or commercial development, and it pushed to water down the intention and protection of the Growth Management Act.” WSCC was heavily engaged in rural zoning issues, such as proposals to expand industrial development in rural areas, rural wooded initiatives (allowing greater densities in exchange for open land) and blocking the repeated efforts to construct a commercial marina at Port Gamble, which, if constructed, would have brought pollution and congestion to the bay and negated the positive environmental result that cleaning up the sawmill site had accomplished. WSCC also contributed to the public discussion when the Kitsap County Dept. of Community Development rewrote the Critical Areas Ordinance in 2005 and 2017.

Knowledge about land use planning, lots of communication between those interested in preserving the peninsula’s nature, and lots of cooperative environmental work—with much open discussion via letters to the editor and newspaper columns—helped to move this work along. As Bullock writes, “Chris Dunagan often helped us by reporting these controversial issues in the Kitsap Sun. Chris has an amazing depth of knowledge and insight on the issues that have engaged WSCC over the years. So do Christine Rolfes, Charlotte Garrido, Beth Wilson, Tom Donnelly, Phil Best, and Bill and Judy Matchett.”  [Note: Bill and his friends just celebrated his 98th birthday.]

Hood Canal Pit-to-Pier Construction Stopped
If it had been approved, the Pit-to-Pier Project would have created an extensive gravel-strip-mining operation connected by conveyor belts to an industrial harbor complex just north of Thorndyke Bay. West Sound Conservation Council (Tom Nevins, chair), Hood Canal Environmental Coalition (Phil Best, chair), and Hood Canal Coalition (John Fabian, chair) were intimately involved in opposing what might have become (as described in Phil Best’s 2014 HCEC letter to Thorndyke Resources and the Jefferson County Dept. of Community Development) “a pier and ships/barges that would extend over a thousand feet into the Hood Canal”. As Tom Nevins wrote in his 2014 letter to the same entities, “WSCC opposes intensive land uses or developments, and especially industrial activity, within the shoreline of Hood Canal and other shorelines of statewide significance.” Both men stressed the adverse impact that industrial construction would have on the natural shoreline.

As John Fabian of Hood Canal Coalition (HCC) summarized: “Because of direct impacts to the Hood Canal watershed and Hood Canal Bridge traffic, as well as the inevitable destruction of habitat and degradation of the environment, it became an important WSCC issue. Hood Canal Coalition (HCC) became a member of WSCC, and then—with 7,000 grassroots members and over 60 supporting organizations—HCC led the effort to stop the project. Hood Canal Coalition, along with Kitsap Audubon, Hood Canal Environmental Council, Sierra Club, Tribes, and sportsman and political organizations filed suits against Fred Hill Materials and Jefferson County to prevent the construction of the Pit-to-Pier conveyor belt and industrial-scale dock that would have loaded gravel on oceangoing ships or barges. After a complete turnover of county commissioners, HCC worked with Jefferson County to draft a Shoreline Master Program that put severe restrictions on maritime industrial projects.”

These environmental groups’ and Jefferson County’s actions helped hold the project at bay until the Navy acquired a nearshore conservation easement along the Jefferson County side of the Hood Canal from the Department of Natural Resources, thereby preventing construction of a barging/shipping facility near the Bangor submarine base. If Pit-to-Pier had not been stopped, ships and barges would now be streaming past the bridge on what would now be a commercial shipping lane. This precedent would have expanded industrialization of the Hood Canal.

Other Engagements—WSCC members were busy.
In 2015 Ron Eber and other WSCC members helped curb the overt commercial use of Salisbury Point County Park, which was occurring in violation of County rules, and which was overwhelming the park. Crab sellers and shipping trucks dominated the park and blocked access to the park and the dock, resulting in traffic jams, people not being able to get boats out of the water, and people resorting to threats and name calling because of the crowds. Working with the County and with park neighbors, WSCC assisted with mediation between neighbors, tribes, and park users in how best to manage Salisbury Point County Park as a public resource.

Mike Maddox served on the citizens’ advisory group for Kitsap County’s Shoreline Master Program Update in 2011. Kitsap County’s SMP is again being reviewed this year, and citizens can be aware of events and participate in the process by going to Kitsap County Shoreline Master Program Periodic Review 2020-2021 at https://www.kitsapgov.com/dcd/Pages/SMP_review.aspx

Bill and Judy Matchett (founding members of WSCC) represented Hood Canal Environmental Council concerns during WSCC’s early years. Judy Matchett, using one of the many venues by which our county allows citizens to participate in the protection of our natural environment, served on the Kitsap County Parks Board.

Lawyer Phil Best succeeded the Matchetts as the HCEC representative. Phil’s involvement in Kitsap County’s environment and its land conservation issues is testified to by the slew of documents that bear his signature—documents going back decades—including those from his time as a Kitsap County Commissioner (1995-1998) and as a member of the Governor’s statewide Land Use Study Commission.

Engagement by WSCC members has greatly benefited Kitsap Peninsula’s habitat, animals, plants, and people.

Fighting the Spread of Industrial Aquaculture
WSCC’s Jan Wold informed members about the damage happening to our shoreline habitat because of industrial aquaculture. As a result, WSCC wrote letters to county officials and to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, urging cessation of industrial aquaculture’s spread, a metastasis that is transmuting natural habitat into a shoreline that’s densely covered with bags and PVC tubes.

Campaigning Against I-933, NASCAR, and other congestion-causing measures
Gene Bullock initiated an intensive letter-writing campaign against Initiative-933 and against a NASCAR track in Bremerton that had been proposed in 2004. He, Sandy Bullock, Tom Nevins, Tom Donnelly, and Beth Wilson attended state and county hearings or went to Olympia or Seattle to present the conservation message.

If not for them and others, then developers, unchecked, would have paved away our natural environment. Per Gene, “Ballot Initiative 933 was voted down by 59% in the 2006 Washington State elections. The controversial initiative pitted the interests of real estate developers against environmental protection and preservation of natural resources. The initiative was titled ‘Property Rights’ by the Secretary of State, ‘The Property Fairness Initiative’ by its supporters, and the ‘Developers Initiative’ by its opponents.”

This year, agents are again pushing to construct a race-car track in Kitsap and people are again writing letters opposing it. The battle never ends to prevent Kitsap from becoming a morass of noise, traffic congestion, and pavement.

Guidance for Neighborhood Groups
WSCC guided and supported neighborhood groups in their fights for the environment, whether it involved noisy gun ranges in their neighborhood, the cutting down of bald eagle habitat, or putting a brake on unwise housing development. Gail and Kevin Gross, for example, campaigned against overdevelopment in the El Dorado Hills area.

Per Gene Bullock: “Ryan Vancil and I conducted a series of environmental forums around Kitsap County on behalf of WSCC aimed at reaching out to neighborhood groups that were under assault by unscrupulous developments. Several of these neighborhood groups became very involved in WSCC, and we helped provide guidance in dealing with these issues. Ryan is a Bainbridge lawyer who volunteered his time and expertise to these neighborhood groups.” Many of these local groups dispersed after their issue was resolved.

Gathered Together for the Environment
WSCC brought together people from multiple spheres of experience working for the West Sound environment and cross-pollinating information. For example, Gene and Sandy Bullock served as presidents of the Kitsap Audubon Society multiple times and have advocated for birds and habitat for decades. As members of the Kitsap’s chapter of the Washington Conservation Voters (before WCV shut down its sponsorship of local chapters), the Bullocks campaigned for, and hosted dinners for, environmentally oriented political candidates, many of whom are serving Washington now. Consequently, habitat and numbers of plants and animals exist in the West Sound that would not otherwise.

Though WCV was not a member organization of WSCC, the Bullock’s involvement in both Audubon and WCV, and their leadership in many letter-writing campaigns, exemplifies the breadth of activities that WSCC members were involved in—a breadth which helped inform other members.

Kitsap Forest and Bay Coalition 
WSCC helped found the Kitsap Forest & Bay Coalition. The Coalition expanded far beyond WSCC’s early involvement to become the decade-long, multi-group, many-volunteers organization that—under the Great Peninsula Conservancy’s leadership—advertised, recruited, negotiated, compromised, innovated, and dedicated—eventually raising millions of dollars to purchase thousands of acres of forever forest, which became the Heritage Parks in Port Gamble and North Kitsap.

During those early days, WSCC countered efforts by the Olympic Property Group to exchange timber land in North Kitsap for the right to develop a commercial marina/hotel complex on Port Gamble Bay. When the County rejected the development idea, OPG offered to sell the land to any organization that could raise the money. WSCC and others urged formation of a coalition of interested groups. The Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe hosted a kickoff luncheon on April 12, 2011 at their Long House. The turnout was impressive, and at this meeting the parties created the Kitsap Forest and Bay Project (later renamed the Kitsap Forest & Bay Coalition) and elected Sandra Staples-Bortner [Executive Director of the Great Peninsula Conservancy] as chair. Tom Nevins represented WSCC on the Coalition. The project expanded greatly under Great Peninsula Conservancy’s leadership, planning, and public outreach. In the later years of the fundraising push, Forterra (a statewide land-conservancy organization) was brought in with its organizational muscle and money-raising ability to oversee negotiations.

WSCC helped push events leading up to the formation of the Coalition, but afterwards WSCC’s role was minor. For the next decade, Great Peninsula Conservancy, Kitsap County, the S’Klallam Tribe, and eventually Forterra—working with the owners of the forest, the Olympic Property Group—pulled together the many stakeholders—hikers, bikers, birders, wildlife advocates and native plant enthusiasts, kayakers, equestrians, environmentalists, County representatives, tourism proponents, business owners, and politicians. This massive effort succeeded in conserving thousands of acres of forever forest on the Kitsap Peninsula.

A forest in Kitsap, preserved natural for plants, animals, and people. At the time, it was just a germ of an idea. But the idea captured people, so it flourished and grew to be the incredible result we now know: Port Gamble and North Kitsap Forest Heritage Parks—but only after thousands of hours of labor by lots of people and organizations working together over the course of a decade, resolving many problems, and raising millions of dollars.

It’s a story often repeated in the conservation world—people coming together to save a special place, and succeeding, often when at the start the obstacles seem insurmountable. The Heritage Forests in Kitsap County are now realities, but as Rachel Carson, one of the founders of the modern environmental movement, so insightfully said,

Conservation is a cause that has no end. There is no point at which we say, ‘Our work is finished.’”

Conservationists can never relax their vigilance. Because conserved open land is beautiful, desirable, and not degraded, someone covets it to make a dollar. Each era has its challenges and opportunities.

Some current Kitsap examples:

1. Port Gamble Forest Heritage Park Master Plan.

A steering committee is working on the Master Plan Development for Port Gamble Forest Heritage Park (see https://portgambleforestpark.com, accessed 31 Mar. 2021), and they had the first of several public information sessions on 16 March 2021.

A worthy goal of the committee is the “conservation and regeneration of this historic working forest to optimize for more diverse ecosystem” (Judy and Don Willott, “Shaping future birding in Port Gamble!” Kingfisher,[monthly newsletter of the Kitsap Audubon Society], January 2021. You can find this article at http://www.kitsapaudubon.org > “click here for the latest Kingfisher newsletter” > January 2021 issue.

Danger exists, though, in terms used recently regarding the Port Gamble Forest Heritage Park—terms such as “development of the property,” “jobs,” “facilities which support economic benefit,” and “working forests” (as if forests haven’t, for eons, already had the noble “job” of being habitat for plants and animals). “Working forests” has often been the buzz-phrase from those who seeking to profit from cutting forestsdown.

Replanting clear cuts intelligently in the Port Gamble Forest Heritage Park (one last timber harvest was part of the purchase agreement) is important. Constructing bathrooms, parking, and trails (including some paved trails for those with wheelchairs) is necessary for peoples’ access to and use of the park. A ride park is also cooked into the purchase agreement of part of the land. However, campgrounds, lodging, a concession stand, and other buildings within the park (as was proposed at the 16 March 2021 public-information meeting) must not be allowed, for they are antithetical to the forest remaining undeveloped.

Developing the forest is a terrible goal that would fundamentally change its character. Now it’s an uncrowded day-use park of trees and trails (with the potential to mature into rich Northwest habitat) that is uncrowded and serves as a refuge for plants, animals, and people. Development would convert quiet forest reserve into intensely impacted land with commercial trucks delivering goods to the concession stand on newly built roads, trash trucks emptying campground bins, many people in the forest staying for extended times (with the inevitable nighttime noise and lights affecting wildlife), swaths of trees cut down for cabins, roads, restrooms, and campgrounds, more traffic on North Kitsap roads, pressure to build a marina in the town of Port Gamble (which would bring pollution and traffic to Port Gamble Bay and the Hood Canal). Build it and it will all come.

As a regular user of Washington State’s campgrounds, I have benefited greatly from them, but as our natural places on the Kitsap Peninsula disappear, there is great need to preserve some of our land as natural.

Bill McKibben in his book Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out? raises the concept of rest and repair of the land. As he notes, our preoccupation with development and economic growth, the holy grails for many, is straining the survival of ecosystems. All is not for us to develop and consume. We must mature our behavior. We have achieved much that enables us to live comfortably, and now, rather than pursuing more consumption, we need to consolidate and spread those benefits around. Rest and repair. Port Gamble Forest Heritage Park is a wonderful opportunity where we can put rest and repair of the land into effect . . . or not.

A forest built over and intensely used versus one that’s allowed to rest, regenerate, and be a place where people and animals have a place of quiet and seclusion: these are two radically different directions. Many labored for a decade to wrest this forest away from the development wave that has engulfed much of the east Puget Sound. The Port Gamble Forest Heritage Park—which started as a germ of an impossible idea—is now widely pointed to as one of Kitsap’s treasures. Don’t allow pillagers in. Don’t relax vigilance. During this “Master Plan development for Port Gamble Forest Heritage Park,” don’t develop the forest.

As mentioned, a public information session occurred March 16, and during that meeting development of the forest was discussed. To register for future public information sessions, which will occur several more times in 2021, and to make your comments known, go to https://portgambleforestpark.com or contact Kitsap County Parks at parks@co.kitsap.wa.us or 360-337-5350. The proposed plan will be presented to the Kitsap County Commissioners in early 2022.

2. Shoreline Master Program review
The SMP determines locally what can and can’t be built on the shoreline, and what shoreline habitat will and will not be conserved. It’s being revised now, and the public is part of that discussion. For details, go to https://reviewsmpkitsap.participate.online/ or contact the County by phone at 360-337-5777 or by email at reviewSMP@co.kitsap.wa.us.

3. Participation in Land-Use Committees.
See Boundary Review Board, Non-Motorized Facilities Citizens Advisory Committee, Park Advisory Board, and Planning Commission

With WSCC gone, who will fight for Kitsap’s natural environment? Kitsap County risks being transformed into a mass of housing developments, as recent events portend:

— Nathan Pilling, “Developer floats Bainbridge townhome project with affordable housing off High School Road,” Kitsap Sun, 27 Feb. 2021, Web, Bainbridge Development

— Nathan Pilling, “Historic build to start in Poulsbo,” Kitsap Sun, 16 Feb. 2021, Print, 1A and 5A; Web, Huge development in Poulsbo
The article informs us: “Work to begin on city’s [Poulsbo’s] largest [468-housing units] residential development in history.”

—  Christian Vosler, “159-home subdivision planned on Waaga Way,” Kitsap Sun, 15 Feb. 2021, Print, 1A and 4A; Web, Waaga Way subdivision
As described in another Sun article, this subdivision will replace 46 acres of rural land (Kevin Walthall, “A way to build toward affordability,” Kitsap Sun, 28 Feb. 2021, Print, 1C; Web, 27 Feb. 2021, affordable housing

— As noted in one letter to the editor, the new fast ferries that are bringing Seattle residents to Kitsap have raised apartment rents and property values [and property taxes], which has made Kitsap more expensive for the people who are already living here.
— Ann Barbillion, letter, “What’s development costing us,” Kitsap Sun, 25 Jan. 2021, Print, 6A; Web, 24 Jan. 2021, https://www.kitsapsun.com/story/opinion/readers/2021/01/24/whats-development-costing-us/6694151002/

 Having conservationists like Tom Nevins on land-use committees alerted people and groups to land-conversion threats. Having reporters at city and county meetings informed residents of the details and pros and cons of proposals. The Kitsap Sun’s Christopher Dunagan was frequently seen at county meetings typing in the back of the room on his computer, doing that job of researching the facts and reporting them to the public.

With timely warning, people can counter development threats: They can write to their commissioners or testify at public hearings, or they can volunteer to be on land-use or park committees to ensure that the terms “conservation,” “environment,” “habitat,” “clean water,” “rural,” and “bikeable/walkable” are brought up—and not just “economic development,” “rezone,” and “subdivide.”

Tom Donnelly, Ed Bass, Bill and Judy Matchett, Phil Best, Gene and Sandy Bullock, Ron Eber, Jan Wold, Ryan Vancil, and others courageously and diligently engaged and influenced how Kitsap land-use laws and regulations were written and how it’s natural environment was protected. As Beth Wilson put it: “I think the history of how citizens in Kitsap County protected the County from the ravages of unbridled urban sprawl, which was certainly in the cards had we not had the tool of the GMA to work with, is a fascinating history of citizen empowerment.” She added that it would be good “to educate the next generation about the legacy they are inheriting and the need to be vigilant to protect it.” As Brock Evans, a past lawyer for the Sierra Club writes: “When you take another look at a map someday, and notice all those protected ‘green spaces’ . . . never forget how they actually got there. And never forget where the love and passion to save them always comes from” (Brock Evans, Fight and Win).

This COVID-19 time, even as bad as it has been for the economy and for many people, produced at least one benefit: it taught environmental groups to communicate regularly through email and Zoom, in addition to their already practiced use of letters to the editor and letters to politicians. In this e-age, activist groups like the Kitsap Audubon Society and the Hood Canal Environmental Council have learned that notices of prospective assaults on the environment and habitat—if we know about them—can be spread quickly to hundreds of people.

The Future
In 2021 we will see Kitsap County review its Shoreline Master Program, act to conserve its Heritage Forests and rural lands—or not, and probably plan to work with climate change considerations having been integrated into the Growth Management Act—all occurring with the underlay of COVID’s impact, decreased tax revenues, and decreased staffing of environmental departments. Saving our nature has always been tough, in every generation, but it’s so important.

West Sound Conservation Council accomplished great good for plants, animals, people, land, and water. As WSCC members proceed to other projects and phases of life, they can look with pride at the many open and unpolluted spaces on the West Sound for which they played a part in preserving.

The torch is handed to a you—a new generation of West Sound citizens. May you—with wisdom, foresight, action, and tenacity—also strive to be informed about and committed to the preservation of Kitsap’s open spaces. Kitsap’s nature depends on it.


How can you engage? Here are some peninsula and state organizations (advocacy, education, or both) available to you:


Audubon Society, Kitsap                http://www.kitsapaudubon.org

– Citizen’s Climate Lobby of Bainbridge Island

– Great Peninsula Conservancy                      http://www.greatpeninsula.org
GPC is the major land steward organizations on the Kitsap Peninsula. Thousands of people from many walks of life contribute their time, money, and labor to further the Conservancy’s mission of conserving habitat on the Peninsula.

– Hood Canal Environmental Council  http://hoodcanalenvironmentalcouncil.org/

– IslandWood                              https://islandwood.org (a nature center on Bainbridge Island)

– Kitsap County Advisory Boards

On this page are these boards that affect land use whose information you can subscribe to and some that that you can volunteer to be part of:
1. Boundary Review Board

2. Non-Motorized Facilities Citizens Advisory Committee

3. Park Advisory Board

4. Planning Commission

– Kitsap County Parks, volunteering for

– Kitsap County Volunteer Participation

– Kitsap Sun newspaper                                  https://kitsapsun.com

– Port Gamble Heritage Forest Park planning
“Port Gamble Forest Heritage Park Master Plan,” Kitsap County Parks, Web, https://portgambleforestpark.com, accessed 31 Mar. 2021. Also see https://www.kitsapgov.com/parks/Pages/PortGambleHeritagePark.aspx

– Stillwaters Environmental Center     www.StillwatersEnviromental Center.org

– 350 West Sound Climate Action

– Washington State University, Kitsap Extension    http://kitsap.wsu.edu

          WSU hosts outstanding educational series and engages many people in stewarding our environment via the Beach Naturalists, Stream Stewards, Salmon in the Classroom elementary school education, Native Plant Classes, Green Crab Monitoring, stormwater education, and other programs.

– Western Washington University on the Peninsulas   https://sea.wwu.edu/
WWU provides environmental education that it makes available online, at its Poulsbo campus, and at the aquarium in Poulsbo.


– Audubon Society, WA  wa.audubon.org

– Earth Ministry                                    https://earthministry.org/

– Evergreen Future                     https://www.evergreenfuture.org/        

– Futurewise                                                    http://www.futurewise.org

– Salish Magazine                      https://salishmagazine.org
An online magazine of essays, photographs, and poetry.

– Seattle Times newspaper                    https://www.seattletimes.com

– Sierra Club, WA                      https://www.sierraclub.org/washington

– 350.org, WA                https://www.350wa.org                          
– Washington Environmental Council            http://www.wecprotects.org

– Washington Conservation Voters                          https://wcvoters.org/

We in the West Sound are fortunate to have lots of nature, and we have many means to engage with and protect it.

Michael Maddox
former chair, West Sound Conservation Council

Thanks to Phil Best, Gene Bullock, Ron Eber, John Fabian, and Beth Wilson for their contributions to this narrative, which is a compilation of their writing, edits, and experiences. And a great thanks to the many members of West Sound Conservation Council and Kitsap Citizens for Responsible Planning for their engagement with, and their contributions to, West Sound’s environment and nature.

Published by MRM Conservation

I retired from the U.S. Navy after thirty-four years of service and am now engaged in fighting the twin crises of global warming and extinction, which threaten us and other species. This website’s news and comments are focused on the Pacific Northwest with the intent being to add to the constructive conservation actions being accomplished by many here.


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