October 26, 1998
More than 1,000 individuals of all ages, families with small children, scout troops and employees of Eddie Bauer participated in a volunteer group planting project on the Sammamish River last Saturday.
Woodinville's Wilmot Park was the formal kickoff site for Sammamish ReLeaf, a fish habitat restoration program. More than 13,000 native trees and shrubs were planted at four different sites along the river including Blyth Park in Bothell and the Willows area in Redmond.
The day began at 9 a.m. with check in, presentations from officials, a Planting 101 course, tool check out and then assignments to areas along the river. Participants came in a steady stream all day long transported by charter bus from the Woodinville Park and Ride to the Wilmot Park on the South Bypass.
The soil preparation and plant design was completed along one-half mile of river bank prior to the event. Locations for planting were marked with different colored flags placed along the river bank. Volunteers matched the flags in their potted plants with flags on the ground.
Speakers included Woodinville Mayor Don Brocha, King County Executive Ron Sims, Redmond Mayor Rosemarie Ives, Eddie Bauer CEO Rick Fersh, American Forests Director Deborah Gangloff and ARCO representative.
Lane Youngblood, Woodinville Parks and Recreation Director, instructed the volunteers and coordinated the effort.
"It is inspiring to see so many people spend their Saturday helping save salmon and improving our quality of life in King County," said Sims. "As we look to the enormous chinook salmon recovery job we face in coming years, the Sammamish ReLeaf serves as an example of the power of partnerships we will need to succeed."
Sammamish ReLeaf is a $2.5 million public/private partnership pilot project. The the cities of Woodinville, Bothell, Redmond, King County and the non-profit organizations American Forests who have formed the Sammamish Watershed Forum. Major business sponsorship came from Eddie Bauer Global ReLeaf Tree Project with additional participation from ARCO.
This event served as kick-off for Global Releaf for the Puget Sound initiative which is part of a national effort to plant 20 million trees throughout the country by the year 2000.