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Gravel mine and rock quarry proposed near Kitsap Lake

After purchasing 1,700 acres of forest land near Kitsap Lake in 2004, Craig and Nikki Ueland are pushing ahead with their plans.

“We aren’t in any particular hurry about the land,” Craig Ueland said with a laugh. “We thought there was mineral resources as well as timber. The rock is very high quality.”

Located just west of Kitsap Lake, the Uelands’ property is bordered by Bremerton’s watershed, Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and The Mountaineers’ lands. The property also occupies 20 percent of the Chico Creek Watershed.

Various studies have been completed on the mineral and geology resources in the area, and a plan for mining and reclamation developments have been made. This also includes designed improvements to Leber lane which will serve as the access road to the gravel mine.

“It took us a couple years in doing studies of how the property should be developed,” Ueland added. “The idea is that we will not do mining in water flows near Chico Creek.”

Ueland added that one of the values to the land is it is already zoned for residential building. He added if homes are constructed, they will be built a long way away from Chico Creek.

“The biggest long-term risk to the salmon is not mining extractions,” he said. “It’s residential and other developments.”

Along with a future gravel mine and rock quarry, the land is currently under heavy use by the public for various recreational activities such as walking, mountain biking and hunting.

“Our property connects Bremerton with Gold Mountain,” Ueland added. “We have offered to put in a trailhead easement so the city of Bremerton can put a trail through our property to connect our trails with other trails ... turn this whole thing into a trail system.”

To develop a long-term socially and environmentally responsible management strategy for the land, Ueland said he is analyzing the ecological role the property plays in protecting the functions of the Chico Creek Watershed, which is one of Kitsap County’s largest salmon runs each year.

Ueland added that further studies should be completed within the next two months which will include road capacity reviews, surface and subsurface water studies and background noise analysis of the area. Ueland said the trails will remain open to the public regardless of whether there will be construction or not.

“We don’t have any plans to close during the gravel mining,” he said, adding that additional meetings will come in the future after reports are completed.

Additional information and completed studies can be found on the Web site www.uelandtreefarm.com.

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