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.