Northwest NEWS

September 18, 2000

Features

Sammamish ReLeaf and Creek Meet, fun fall events help wild salmon

by Bronwyn Wilson
   Senior Staff Reporter
   Take a walk along the trail which leads from Wilmot Gateway Park and heads toward Bothell. Just past the trestle, and beyond the area where the Sammamish River and Little Bear Creek converge, is a smooth dirt clearing along the river banks.
   On October 7 at 10 am, 400 to 600 volunteers are expected to turn out at this clearing for the Sammamish ReLeaf work party. Wearing boots and old clothes and with shovels in hand, the volunteers will work side-by-side planting over 3,000 native trees and plants. The greenery, which will transform the area into a natural setting for salmon habitat, includes: Noble and Douglas Fir, Vine Maple, Red and Yellow Twig Dogwood, Oregon Grape and Salal.
   As the trees grow and flourish into a green canopy of shade over the water, the salmon will have cooler water temperatures to traverse and to survive. Plus, the fish will have more secluded areas for rest, which they need as they travel great distances up river to spawn. Not only this, the native plants will filter out pollutants, reduce erosion and improve habitat for people and wildlife, as well as fish.
   In conjunction with the ReLeaf event, the Woodinville Creek Meet is planned on the same day from noon to 3 pm under the park pavilion at Wilmot Gateway Park.
   The festival will feature displays and games with a wild salmon theme. According to Volunteer Coordinator John Markuson, there will be fun educational instruction for kids.
   Markuson said that youth involvement is one of the accomplishments coming out of last year's efforts to raise community awareness about the declining populations of wild salmon.
   "Our youth are more involved due to educational efforts through the Northshore School District and through scout projects," he said.
   Scouts and school groups have shown a lot of interest in the upcoming ReLeaf and Creek Meet events. Girl Scout Troop 1765 will be there, along with their families.
   Judith Lewis, who shares leadership with other mothers in the cooperative troop, said that the leaders wanted to get the fourth grade girls, and one fifth grade girl, involvedčon a small scalečin community projects.
   Lewis took her family last year to a similar tree planting project held in Everett and said, "It was really good fun."
   Other youths who are taking an active role in this project are the students at Woodinville Montessori. This hard-working group salvaged and repotted over 600 of the native trees scheduled to be planted at the ReLeaf event.
   The two October 7 events are a recognition of the passage of wild salmon through Woodinville's Little Bear Creek and Sammamish River. The Chinook salmon, a species native to the Sammamish River, were listed last year as 'threatened' under the Endangered Species Act. Wild salmon are totally dependent on the health of the freshwater environment for reproduction. They need clean water and a passable stream. Planting trees on the banks of the sweeping Sammamish River is one endeavor in the promotion of a healthier ecosystem for healthier salmon.
   At the event, snacks are provided. Fresh squeezed orange juice will be on hand, compliments of Jamba Juice. Hot coffee from Tully's and bagels and cream cheese from Bigfoot Bagels will round out the delectable provisions.
   To get there, park at the Woodinville Park and Ride (179th Street and 140th Ave. NE) and take the free shuttle bus to Wilmot Gateway Park. Buses start running at 9:30 am and run continuously until 3:30 pm. Look for the yellow Laidlaw school bus. Only participants with State of Washington Disabled Parking Permits may park in the Wilmot Gateway Park lot.
   To register as a volunteer for the Woodinville planting project or to learn more about the Creek Meet, contact John Markuson at 425.398.9327 ext 298.