May 21, 2001
Downstream: Adopt-A-Park gathering
Communal enjoyment and a great outing was sponsored by Water Tenders partnership with King County Parks Adopt-A-Park program. Fourteen intrepid souls got to visit an interesting variety of natural resource properties in the Bear Creek Headwaters.
Starting at the Paradise Lake Road Whitlock Reserve, Ray Heller, Bear Creek basin steward lead the group on a tour of the property.
This was one of the original homesteads in Paradise Valley which was originally farmed by a group of Welsh settlers in the 1880s.
There is an old orchard surrounded by a former pasture, which leads to Bear Creek and then to a mixed evergreen forest.
As the group walked through the property, they carried bags and clippers and picked up litter and cut invasive scotch broom and blackberries.
A cleanup of road litter along the frontage followed. The next stop was the Craftmaster property, so named for the developers who were going to put a dense housing community on the 80 or so acres.
Fortunately, King County was able to purchase the property for the Open Space conservancy property. The group gathered bits of litter along the walk up to the natural gas pipeline, while enjoying the trillium and emerging spring flowers in the mixed growth forest.
Priscilla Godbee from upper Paradise Valley said this was an ideal spot for her weekly walking group. Other members remarked that since the entrance had been blocked for vehicular traffic, the littering had diminished considerably. A forest restoration project had been planted several years ago and is doing well.
Almost adjacent was a property known as Toad Haven, from its history of having been a bullfrog farm. Here, the group found a large TV console dumped in the shrubbery. This was added to the innerds of a washer and a wall heater, found on the other properties.
Why do people dump stuff in places of beauty? No one knew, but some people just do.
On to the Cold Creek natural area, where Mary Filkins, a dedicated volunteer, has been cleaning up the Bassett Pond property for years. She has taken many sacks of bottles and cans, and she predicted there would be more there. There was. It was added to the growing load in the pick-up truck.
Ray Heller explained that the Bassett Pond property was originally purchased with the idea of playfields in mind, but beaver activity sunk that idea in a series of ponds and wetlands. Much of the area is fed by flowing springs from the hills above.The upland portion was considered as a site for the Woodinville Library, but due to the excess of marshlands it was designated as an open space protected area. The grand finale of the outing was a surprise treasure discovered by Ray Heller. It was the upwelling of springs which are the source of Cold Creek.
Tucked away among skunk cabbage in bloom and large cedars, the cold clear springs emerged from the dark mud and washed with a soft gurgle down through the woods.
Heller explained that the creek became much largebelow, and on the way there we saw that indeed it was a substantial creek.
Cold Creek is one of the most important tributaries of the Sammamish River basin because itis much colder than any of the other waters. Even upper Bear Creek is warmer, and where Cold Creek joins Cottage Lake Creek, the temperature remains cold all the way to the Sammamish River.
Heller went on to explain that Lake Sammamish can reach 80 degrees, and this is way too hot for the returning salmon, so Cold Creek chills the water enough to make the passage of salmon possible into the Bear Creek system. This is why King County purchased the Lisherness property so that Cold Creek could be protected.
Doug Hogarth, who lives near Paradise Lake Road was an enthusiastic volunteer, and expressedappreciation for the excellent learning process about the protected properties, and how the ecosystem works to bring the salmon back.
Water Tenders has taken on the partnership with King County Parks to keep the resource areas free of litter. Juanita Verschuyl has been one of the most dedicated volunteers and deserves a's hero badge for all the scotch broom she has clipped and the many, many litter bags she has filled.