King County officials hope that a new timber-framed shelter in Island Center Forest will become a site for family reunions, weddings, picnics and educational gatherings once the open-sided structure is completed early next year.
A short, concrete path will lead to the small shelter near the parking lot off of S.W. 188th, making the site wheelchair-accessible, added David Kimmett, a natural lands manager for the county’s Department of Natural Resources and Parks.
The building, funded by a county parks department community partnership grant, is expected to cost between $40,000 and $50,000, said Dave Warren, an Islander active in Friends of Island Center Forest who has managed its grant funding.
It was designed and is being built by Nathan Enzian of Fifth Bench Design/Build on Vashon; much of the wood came from Vashon forests and was milled at Vashon Forest Stewards’ mill, just around the corner from the site. Other materials for the structure came from Island Lumber & Hardware, Kimmett said.
Warren said the wood is “beautiful Doug fir, gorgeous wood,” and he called the structure — with its skylights, tapered posts and large cross beams — “like a small cathedral.”
“It’s a sculpture,” he added. “It’s a stunning piece.”
Kimmett and Warren expect the structure will get plenty of use at the increasingly popular forest, both as a rental as well as a spontaneous place for people to sit, eat lunch or step out of the rain.
“It’s a silly cliche, but it’s so true. Build it, and they will come,” Kimmett said.