On August 28th, members from five Rotary clubs in Kitsap County came together for a big joint work party at Port Gamble Heritage Forest Park. There was a great spirit of camaraderie and Rotary spirit as trimmers and loppers, machetes and a brush hog all were deployed to open up and clear three trails, making them more accommodating to hikers and opening up gorgeous views of the waters of Port Gamble.
The origin of this combined effort is one of the silver linings of the challenges of lockdown and remote connections. After virtual PETS, in which none of the Area 9 presidents shared a single session together, Tom McCloskey (then P-E, now President of the Bainbridge club) reached out to his fellow Presidents-Elect about getting together to get to know each other. We all met up at and as the camaraderie grew, so too did the planning for collaboration.
One of the ideas that came out of this was my suggestion that we do a big work party at one of the bigger parks in the area. Port Gamble Heritage Forest Park was an ideal choice as its grand scale provides great opportunities for a big work party, plus, it’s not in any one club’s specific geographic area.
Tonya Thomas (Crossroads), who has long had an affinity for the Port Gamble park, was eager to take the lead and coordinated with the Park to find an appropriate project and set a date. Unfortunately, as the original date approached, so did severe smoke from forest fires. Jim Schlachter (Poulsbo) wisely suggested a postponement. After a two-week delay, the work party happened, with attendees from Poulsbo, Silverdale, Kingston, Bremerton and Crossroads.
The folks from Port Gamble were so thrilled with our efforts that they approached us about adopting that section of the park!
This was a great event that came together thanks to the combined efforts of Erin Shannon & Jennifer Strong, Co-Presidents of Silverdale, Donna Pledger, President, & Jim Schlachter, Community Service Chair of Poulsbo, Chris Gilbreath, Kingston President and Tonya Thomas from Crossroads