Bothell’s ‘last great forest’ saved

  • Written by Woodinville Weekly Staff

NorthCreekForest_Map-2Last week, the City of Bothell purchased 35 acres of the North Creek Forest from The Boy Scouts of America (BSA), culminating years of hard work by citizen groups who have dreamed of protecting this important habitat for birds, fish and wildlife.

Often referred to as Bothell’s “last great forest,” North Creek Forest is located only one mile from Bothell’s city center.

Surrounded by an urban area projected to grow 30 percent in the next 18 years, the conservation of this forest comes at a critical time.

“The Bothell City Council, city staff and our citizens worked for years to bring together the public private partnership that has preserved this beautiful forest,” said Bothell Mayor Mark Lamb.  “The purchase of the North Creek Forest is a conservation legacy that Bothell is securing for generations to come.”

The land acquisition is fully funded through sources other than City of Bothell tax dollars, including grants through Washington State Department of Commerce, Snohomish County Conservation Futures and King County Conservation Futures and funding through the King County Proposition 2 Park Levy.

Under city management, the new parcel will be preserved as open space and be available to the public for passive use.

With several schools within walking distance, the forest has great potential to become an outdoor laboratory for education and research.

BSA property representative Bryan Zemp called the deal “the ideal way to sell Scout property, knowing that it will become a public space to benefit people for years to come.  This honors the spirit and tradition of Scouting.”

Jim Freese, interim director of Friends of North Creek Forest, described the purchase as “historic” and “the outcome of 10 years of grass roots efforts on the part of the Friends, and Help Our Woods (HOW) to showcase and protect the forest.

“You don’t find this kind of forest in a city. This is a game changing piece of property. When a city saves something like this it alters the future: for fisheries, for education and for all Bothell citizens.”

The entire North Creek Forest is 64 acres in size, consists of mature coniferous forest with large douglas fir, western hemlock and cedar trees.The forest is also home to a wide array of plants and animals, including the pileated woodpecker and band-tailed pigeon.

The forest is an integral part of the North Creek watershed, which filters water flowing into North Creek, an active salmon stream.

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