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Building trails through teamwork

Kassie Korich/staff photo CK High School students (from left) Elizabeth Potter-Lee, Zoe Mayhook, Cassidy Cole, Easton Wright and Jeff Wynn work together to create a new segment of the Clear Creek Trail Thursday morning. Students crafted 600 feet of new trails. - Photo by Kassie Korich
Kassie Korich/staff photo CK High School students (from left) Elizabeth Potter-Lee, Zoe Mayhook, Cassidy Cole, Easton Wright and Jeff Wynn work together to create a new segment of the Clear Creek Trail Thursday morning. Students crafted 600 feet of new trails.
— image credit: Photo by Kassie Korich

Bring together 80-plus Central Kitsap High School students, throw in some shovels, wheelbarrows, a little determination and teamwork and what do you get?

Two new additions to the ever-expanding Clear Creek Trail in Silverdale and a widespread feeling of accomplishment and pride among a large, diverse group of 10th-, 11th- and 12th-graders.

A tradition now in its 12th year, students and community volunteers converged Thursday morning to create two new trail segments, putting in the final pieces to connect the trail between Ridgetop Boulevard and Bucklin Hill Road.

Each year, right around Earth Day, CK High School partners with the Clear Creek Task Force to create new trails — in this case about 600 feet worth.

“It’s been a wonderful partnership,” said Tex Lewis, Clear Creek Task Force member. “It sets our work year for us. We lay out what we want to get done. This is the kick-off. The kids are marvelous ... This is the highlight of my year.”

With students divided into two teams, one group worked on a new trail segment beginning at the parking lot of Mike Brown’s new development on Ridgetop Boulevard between Blaine Avenue and Levin Road. The other segment, the larger of the two, is farther south on the trail in the vicinity behind Safeway. Using a wooden form to keep the trail straight, students poured wheelbarrows full of gravel while others used rakes to keep the gravel level.

“It’s fun,” said Stevie Sipple, a senior at CK High. “Just knowing that when you come back out here and you can tell others you helped to create it. It’s nice to see it all come together.”

Fellow senior Kelsi Pitts, quickly learned pushing a full wheelbarrow of gravel up a slope is a workout in itself.

“It’s really fun, I’m getting a good workout,” she said. “I’m getting pretty pro at it.”

For their work on Thursday, the students — in chemistry, botany or biology classes at CK High — received three lab credits, community service hours and a free lunch courtesy of the Silverdale Taco Bell owned by Marty and Peter Braun.

For junior Cassidy Cole, the work was easier than she expected it to be.

“I thought it was going to be harder,” she said. “I like giving back to the community and being out here with all of my friends and having fun.”

Jeff Wynn, an 11th-grader, has been a visitor to the trail since he was a small child.

“It’s really neat because you get to help with something that you’ve walked on your whole life,” he said. “You get to be a part of it.”

All of the gravel — about 90 yards — was donated by Brown whose development plan includes portions of the trail.

“He’s donating the material and we’re donating the labor, it’s a win-win for everyone,” Lewis said.

The students’ teacher, Marie Crumb, has partnered with the task force for the event since day one.

“We have (former students) come back and stroll and hike the trail,” she said. “Some are bringing their kids, it’s a whole new generation.”

Year after year she watches as each group of kids indulge in the opportunity to give back to the community.

“It gives them something tangible that they can see and do as a team,” she said. “I think the students are pleased to see they’re connecting the trail to parts that past CK students did. Students have created about 500 to 800 feet per year, for the past 12 years.”

Sid Williams Jr., a service technician with Silverdale Water District, is a 2000 CK High grad and one of the community volunteers helping on Thursday. During his senior year, Williams helped create Old Mill Park on Bucklin Hill Road.

“It’s great,” he said of his return to the trail. “It’s good to see it’s still going. It’s all different groups, but everyone comes together. The social boundaries go away for a while.

“It’s something I still talk about with my friends who also were involved with it,” he said. “It’s definitely a memory that sticks with you.”

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