Development a slippery slope for park planners

"Anderson Landing is a site rich in local history, as well as unspoiled wetland and wildlife.But whether or not to allow development so the outside world also can enjoy its resources was a tough decision for those who attended a recent meeting about the future of the site.About 25 people met with Kitsap County Parks and Recreation Department officials to begin developing a concept plan for Anderson Landing, a 69-acre property on Hood Canal.Connie Reckord and Vinita Sidhu of MacLeod Reckord, the landscape architecture firm preparing the concept plan, gave an overview of the site's history and attributes. They used drawings and aerial photos from earlier studies of the Anderson property to show the creek and areas of concern.Anderson Creek is a very active creek, at one time it moved from one side of the valley to another, and has a lot of run off, Reckord said. It's in good condition for restoration and enhancement.Reckord said the creek and area to each side is considered a Class 2 wetland, with a 75-foot buffer. There are three other, smaller wetland areas on the land south of the creek, beyond the steep slopes. About 25 acres of the lower area is wetland and buffer, and 5 acres in the upper tract.But 25 percent of the land is extremely steep slopes subject to mudslides. It would be difficult (to build) walking trails on the slopes, Reckord said.Another problem is that there is no public access road into the area. The only road that goes to the beach and estuary is private.One road that does cut through a part of the property is failing, and subject to slides, Reckord said. The estuary, a delta area where the creek has dumped sand washed down from stormwater runoffs, is also a point of contention for residents of the area, and any possible plan.The area is classified as a Class 1 wetland, with no recent human disturbance, said Sidhu.Residents are very protective of the area, the wildlife and wetland creatures, including coho salmon, steelhead and other varieties of fish in the area. I have one eagle and two cranes. The eagle comes from across the canal. He used to steal all my chickens, said Robert Josephson, who said he's been a mail carrier in the area for more than 50 years.Josephson said bobcats, coyotes, foxes and bears have been spotted in the area, and possibly a cougar recently.Susan Ramsay, whose property borders the county's on the estuary, said she followed game trails heading north, some of the trails going all the way to Bangor.It's the last area they can get to to go up north, she said.Although a majority of the residents favored some kind of boardwalk-trail in the area, with viewing blinds with certain seasonal and time-of-day limitations, they also wanted the beach preserved and protected.It's always 'let me get at the beach,' said Carl Walske, who lives two houses away from the estuary.Being that it's such a remote area we're concerned about security down there, added Bonita Bolon. People get down there who shouldn't get down there.Said Walske, When the old (Anderson) house was still standing they were getting some people from the drug culture down there.But Ramsay added, I like the idea of teachers bringing students in to study (the natural resources) ... I'm in favor of having small, directed groups.Those present agreed, by a show of hands, that perhaps a boardwalk and an overlook would be acceptable.Reckord will take the information and bring back some suggestions, and other alternatives to the next meeting, in about a month.I thought we developed a good range of alternatives, it was a good process, she said. I feel we really accomplished something. "

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