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Land trust garners grants for work at Shinglemill preserve

The Vashon Maury Island Land trust recently received grants from REI and the Vashon Rotary to continue improvements and restoration work at the Shinglemill Creek Preserve.

Beth Bordner, operations manager at the land trust, said the organization will use a $5,000 REI grant it received last month to purchase about 2,000 cedar and fir seedlings to be planted at the preserve.

“We were thrilled,” Bordner said. “This is a project we want to do and need to do.”

Bordner said that in order to qualify for the REI grant, the land trust had to show that the preserve provides recreational opportunities and that the project funded would involve community effort.

Shinglemill was a perfect fit, she said. Two years ago, the land trust opened a two-mile trail at the topographically diverse preserve, providing what Bordner called the closest thing Vashon can offer to a back-country hiking experience.

In addition, the organization relies on volunteers, including community groups such as the Boy Scouts, to help with restoration projects at the site. Planting along the creek and in the surrounding forest has been ongoing at the preserve, which was once heavily logged.

“It adds to the health of the forest, impacts the health of the stream and provides conditions salmon need to return and spawn along the creek,” she said.

The seedlings will likely be purchased in January 2012 and planted in the winter and early spring.

“It’s sort of next on the list for this watershed,” Bordner said. “For REI to do that was great.”

In July the land trust opened what Bordner called a much-needed parking lot at the trailhead of the Shinglemill Creek trail off of S.W. 156th Street. A $7,000 grant from Rotary last year funded the new parking lot, as well as about 200 native trees and bushes planted around the lot and a new metal sign that will soon be installed at the trailhead.

Bordner said the trail at Shinglemill has become increasingly popular and until the parking lot was built, many were forced to park their cars along 156th, a narrow, one-lane road.

“It was causing all sorts of difficulty for the neighbors,” she said. “It has become a very popular Island walk.”

Rotary president Bart Queary said the Rotary gives large grants to Vashon organizations yearly and chose to fund the Shinglemill project last year because members thought it was a valuable project and want to support the land trust’s conservation efforts.

“We like the land trust because they do good things and they spend money carefully,” he said.

Though both the land trust and Rotary are pleased with the parking lot, some who live near the trailhead are concerned that the large, gravel lot will become a gathering place for youth to drink at night.

Ron Irvine, who owns Vashon Winery and has apple trees at a one-acre plot on 156th, said some who live on the street have met to discuss the issue and have made their worries known to the land trust.

Bordner said she understands the concern, but so far there has been no evidence that the lot has been used for drinking

“There have been no issues, no trash, no reports of anything,” she said. “Up until this point it has been a concern, but not a realized one.”

If the parking lot does be-come a gathering place, she added, the gate installed at the entry to the lot can be closed at night.

 

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