A group working to preserve the Port Gamble Forest just secured more than 1,500 acres of land—bringing the total size of the already massive Port Gamble Forest Heritage Park in Kitsap County to around 4,000 acres.
The land was originally owned by timber company Pope Resources, which is pulling its operations out of the region. Conservation and sustainability profit Forterra has been leading the project, along with the Port Gamble S’Klallam and Suquamish Tribes, local governments, and others.
A 535-acre block of land was first purchased for the county in 2014, followed by another 1,356 in in December 2016. The latest acquisition completes the purchase, creating a park six times larger than Discovery Park.
The land will be owned long-term by Kitsap County. It already owns and operates the existing park, which wraps along Port Gamble Bay and includes more than 60 miles of trails for hikers, mountain bikers, and horses.
The latest land acquisition cost $4 million. 1,200 individuals and organizations raised $3.5 million, with the rest made up in matching grants from Kitsap County and Washington State.