Newberry Hill Heritage Park approved

The Kitsap County Commissioners voted to approve the reconveyance of the last 315-acre parcel of Newberry Hill Heritage Park earlier this month, according to a statement. This will transfer the ownership of the land from the state Department of Natural Resources to the county. The reconveyance process is expected to be complete by the end of the year.

Despite the missing piece of the park, Friends of Newberry Hill Heritage Park — a volunteer stewardship committee — has continued to work on the park. Their work has included maintaining trails and posting signs.

“It was just a matter of paperwork,” said Tom Coleman, president of the stewardship committee, adding that when the county created a master plan for the park about two years ago, it included the 315 acres.

Coleman estimated that there are about 20 to 25 miles of trail in the park and he expects all the trails to be marked with signage by the end of the month. The group has received continuous help from Boy Scouts troops, church groups, Klahowya Secondary School students and other volunteers on maintaining the park.

“This is a very homegrown, bottom-up park,” he said. “We’re not getting any money from the county.”

The process of piecing together the park started in 2004 when the county acquired 247 acres in the northern area of the park and in 2009, received 520 acres of the southern parcel. The remaining parcel is state forest trust land, which means the state took over in managing it and the county benefits from funding earned off of it.

In general, most state forest trust land was once logged and abandoned in the last century and the only way a county can gain ownership is to turn the land into a park.

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