Friday, November 12, 2010

Salmon Walk at Rhododendron Preserve Sunday, November 21

The salmon are spawning in the Chico Creek watershed! Meet at the parking lot at the Rhododendron Preserve/Forest Theater/Kitsap Cabin at 1:30 pm for a walk or wander.

We'll walk the Big Tree Trail to the bridge over Wildcat Creek, your first glimpse of the forest and the salmon, then continue up Lost Creek to the Big Tree, the 11-foot diameter Douglas fir that is the biggest publicly accessible tree in our area. Lost Creek is also home to thousands of spawning salmon.

On the way back, we'll also walk into Hidden Valley, where you can spend some more time watching the salmon then wander back up the hill at your leisure.

For more information on the Rhododendron Preserve, including a map:

For directions to the parking area, see:

Saturday, October 2, 2010

October 16 Work Party

The final 2010 work party will be Saturday, October 16. Please meet at the Kitsap Rhododendron Preserve/Kitsap Cabin parking lot off Seabeck Highway at 10:00 am. We'll provide pizza at 4:00 pm as a thank you for your efforts!

The purpose of the work party is to clean up immediate hazards to prepare for winter in the valley:
  • Winterize the Paschall house
  • Recycle/dispose of materials in the various buildings, including the caretakers house
  • Ivy girdling
  • Himalayan blackberry brushing and disposal
  • Burn pile cleanup
  • Sawzall metal tanks (propane, water, etc.) to prep for metals recycling

Please bring your favorite tools-- heavy work gloves, hand clippers, shovels, pick axes, hoes, loppers, etc. This time of year rain is always an option, so have rain gear and waterproof boots to work in. We'll provide drinking water and light snacks, but bring your lunch; we'll feed you but later in the day!

If you can provide any of these items, please contact Mindy Roberts ( right away): 4WD vehicle, small trailer for hauling trash and recycling up steep driveway, brush hog or heavy-duty mower, sawzall.

A huge thank you for those who helped at the July work party!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Great July 25 work party!

Thanks everyone for your help. I can't believe we filled that entire dumpster! The valley is returning to its splendor, and all your work, especially in the heat, is very much appreciated! Kudos to Jamie 1 and Jamie 2, Doug, Jessica, Rebecca, Katha, Deborah, Diane, Paul, Gail, Walt and so many more (Jamie please send names)!

In the Paschall house, we found beautiful fir floors beneath the shag carpet and cleaned out all but the couch frame. Doug opened up some windows and removed some of the people proofing that had been installed.

In the caretakers house, we got rid of the old mattresses and bulkier materials.

Katha and Deborah spent hours carefully looking through the materials of the toolshed and 2-room cabin. Unfortunately, most was not savable, but we did set lots of goodies aside for future historical use and also reuse by other groups (though what Katha will do with the animal teeth is a bit of a mystery).

Jessica led a team that attacked the thistle, Himalayan blackberry, and ivy to the east of the main house. There's still a lot more to do on this, but we made a dent.

Paul and Mindy cleaned up the area around the greenhouse and gathered the reusable pots into the carport.

We also filled the carport with recyclables, including metal and glass.

We're still working on a date for a September work party, and I'll get some photos up to show our progress soon! We didn't want to go any longer without sending a big THANK YOU to the intrepid volunteers.

--The Mountaineers Foundation


Sunday, June 27, 2010

Work party date set: Sunday, July 25

We have confirmed that Sunday, July 25, will be the date for a work party in Hidden Valley. Please watch this site for details.

If you can help out in any way, please email

We need people for a variety of tasks:
  • mowing pathways through the fields of grass
  • identifying and labeling native and landscaping plants
  • mapping gardens throughout the valley
  • disassembling a small greenhouse
  • loading burn piles into barrels for disposal
  • using loppers or chainsaws to girdle the ivy around trees
  • reviewing personal belongings and recommending options for keeping or giving away appropriate items (particularly if you knew Patience Paschall)
  • removing ivy from several small buildings
  • providing drinks and snacks for volunteers (we'll buy)
  • hosting a thank you BBQ for all volunteers (we'll buy the goodies) at the end of the day

Thanks in advance for anything you can offer!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Progress in the Valley

An outstanding crew from the Washington Conservation Corps had a busy week beginning April 26!
  • WCC removed hundreds of feet of wire fences.
  • They removed household garbage from the mule shed, dismantled the building, and piled up recyclable materials for disposal.
  • The 70-tire pile behind the mule shed was also dismantled, and the tires moved across the creek awaiting disposal.
  • They cleaned up several more debris piles around the property, including another 25 tires scattered about.
  • The WCC crew began unearthing what we thought was an old i-beam, but it turned out to be 30 ft long and likely was an old bridge component discarded in the brush.
  • They dug up an old empty barrel.
  • The greenhouse also was dismantled to the concrete foundation, as was the chain link dog run.
  • Wood from the two downed buildings was piled for reuse (we hope-- if you make birdhouses or other crafts out of old wood please let us know!), and the garbage placed in dumpsters.
  • There are hundreds of nursery pots that were gathered and made available to the native plant salvage opportunities in early May (and if you know of someone who could use pots from 4" to 18" diameter, please contact me).
We're very excited that the crew unearthed the stone fireplace from the original homesteaders cabin. Unfortunately, fishing debris and construction materials were tossed on top of the ruins over the years. Once those were removed, the outline of the old cabin was evident.

We're still finalizing a date for a summer work party, but tentatively we're looking at July 25-- please keep that date open because we need your help!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

May 16 Rhododendron Tour of Hidden Valley

The Mountaineers Foundation will be leading a tour of Hidden Valley on Sunday, May 16, from 1 to 4 pm. The rhododendrons should be in full bloom-- deep reds to peach to light pinks, the hybrids are a riot of color. Meet in the parking lot of the Kitsap Cabin and Forest Theater (3000 Seabeck Highway NW, Bremerton). We'll be walking down the steep driveway, so have good footwear and be ready for a little hiking.

We'll give people an overview of the site history and talk about the plans for Hidden Valley for 2010 and beyond. There will be plenty of time to wander the site at your own pace as well.

The buildings are not open to the public and the grounds have uneven terrain so please be aware of the hazards on the site.

For more information, contact Mindy Roberts ( Spread the word and bring friends!

Hazardous waste removal and Washington Conservation Corps crew prep

We had a busy day in the valley today! We removed hazardous waste, rolled a water tank down the hill, and prepared the valley for a crew from the Washington Conservation Corps who will be working on debris cleanup and small structure removal next week.

Eugene loaded up the back of his pickup truck with household hazardous waste-- old paint containers, gardening products, mysterious liquids, and a 30-gallon drum of grease. He inspected all of the other containers still onsite, and everything else can be disposed of as garbage. We still have to deal with two 55-gallon drums (empty), dispose of the caretakers' propane tank, take a sawzall to the Paschall house oil tank (empty), remove an empty barrel from the old greenhouse area, and move another large drum from near the Winneford cabin ruins over to the carport for metals recycling.

Mindy and Doug finished flagging the work areas in the valley and identified areas where we'll stockpile non-garbage items. Next week the focus is on the tire pile, mule shed, old greenhouse, and Winneford cabin ruins across Wildcat Creek and several small buildings, some already collapsed, near the carport, caretakers' house, and barn. We hope to remove a layer of debris and ivy from the Winneford ruins and see if there is anything of historical value.

Doug replanted a rhododendron that had been partially dug out, and he discovered the barrel near the greenhouse.

Mindy and Doug pulled wire fencing and barbed wire out of Wildcat Creek and onto the bank so it can be dug up and recycled next week.

Doug arranged for a site visit from Jesse at TRS to discuss disposal options. We'll have a dumpster up in the parking lot (can't make it down the driveway) for the garbage. We'll also stockpile metal waste, tires with and without rims, and concrete waste. Some landscaping materials are still usable, so we'll set those aside and see which of our volunteers can use them.

The trilliums are in bloom, as are several of the hybrid rhododendrons. There are still some daffodils blooming and a few tulips. The apple trees are in blossom, and the Japanese maples have leafed out. One limb of the maple near the barn came down last week, partially blocking the driveway extension to the caretakers house.

As a last hoorah, and to do something rather than just plan, Doug and Mindy walked up the hill above the orchard to an old water tank that probably was tossed from the parking lot. We rolled it down the hill, and the base of it separated and hit the orchard outbuilding with a satisfying thunk. We also picked up some metal waste and started a pile for recycling.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Progress 3/27/10

Four volunteers worked on different efforts in the Valley today tackling some of the preparation work needed in advance of clean up tasks:

Mark Hallman managed the valley's electrical system. He traced the line from the service pole near Kitsap Cabin through the forest (not down the driveway) to the Paschall house, where the main breaker is. He labeled all breakers in the main house and carport, then disconnected the service wires to the caretakers house. He also verified that the 2-room cabin had shorted (he capped those wires) and the barn had been disconnected several years ago.

Eugene Radcliff was in the valley, taking measurements of the various barrels and tanks in advance of disposal.

Gardner Hicks walked the trail from Forest Theater and battled a small patch of scotch broom for several hours.

Mindy Roberts flagged the immediate clean up and disposal sites with orange flagging to prepare for work crews in May.

Hidden Valley Introduction

Welcome to the Kitsap Hidden Valley blog!

Hidden Valley lies at the confluence of Lost and Wildcat Creeks in the Chico Creek watershed. The valley was home to Patience Paschall and her family, and most recently her caretaker, Harry Murray. Mr. Murray died in November 2009 and the Mountaineers Foundation ( owns and now manages the Hidden Valley parcel as part of the Kitsap Rhododendron Preserve.

Over the next six months, we will be hosting a series of work parties to clean up the valley and begin to naturalize the site. If you can volunteer your time, either in the planning stages or at the work parties, please contact Mark Malnes ( Meanwhile, check this blog for status and upcoming activities.