A guide to exploring nature in Kitsap County

This post was originally posted here, but with permission from Valerie- we are sharing it here. 

If you want to escape the burbs, or the busy life around Seattle- head to Silverdale! This lovely town  is centrally located on the Kitsap Peninsula. I’ve explored the area from top to bottom, and side to side, ha! There is a lot of nature to explore, and endless trails for walking and hiking. Oh and I can’t forget to mention: You will love the breathtaking  views of the snowcapped Olympics, and Sinclair Inlet.

Explore Nature in Kitsap County WA

I was just a bit excited to go for a walk on a balmy, winter day!  Clear Creek Trail is a big hit with residents of  Kitsap County, and others who visit from out of town.  It’s crazy, I’ve lived in the west sound for over 30 years and have walked this trail, only twice!  Here are some tips for visiting and facts you may be interested in.

ARRIVE EARLY

Last week on Martin Luther King day, I decided it was time for a visit again. Most of the time ,the parking here is a big pain. There is a good sized lot at the head of the trail, but is always overflowing. There is some parking available along  side of the road, but I  still recommend arriving early in the day. In spring and summer the trail is packed of course. It may be a good idea  to wake up with the chickens, and start trekking early!

Explore nature in Kitsap County WA_mapleleopard

WHAT TO WEAR

As you might already know, the weather in Western Washington can be just down right crazy! There can be wind and rain one minute, and sunny and calm the next. The Kitsap Peninsula is no exception to the rule. For the 2nd week of January, it was an unusually warm day. It was a balmy 65, and calm as can be. It was however a bit mucky, and wet on the trail. A good pair of waterproof tennis shoes, layers you can peel off, and a rainproof jacket will serve you well.

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BE MINDFUL OF WILDLIFE

Clear Creek trail is not heavily wooded, it’s quite the opposite.  However, there could be creatures lurking in the trenches, so just beware! As we know, most wildlife will shy away from humans, and only come out at night.  There are isn’t much to fear here, but bears and coyote have been seen. Other fun creatures you may encounter are:

Explore Nature In Kitsap County WA

 

  • Raccoons
  • Deer
  • Fox
  • Muskrat
  • Mice
  • Rats
  • Birds
  • Salmon
Explore Nature in Kitsap County WA
VOLUNTEER
 
If you live nearby, there are plenty of opportunities to volunteer.  Keeping scotch broom and blackberries from overtaking the place is a big problem. Trash clean up is always needed, and people to help out with the Salmon in the classroom”  program.
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SALMON IN THE CLASSROOM
 
I’m an educator, and am so happy how this program has benefited local schools. It’s exciting to see kids get excited about the environment they live in.  Each year, hundreds of students in Kitsap County are educated about the life cycle of the salmon.
The program was originally started by the Kiwanis Club, but it got too big for them to handle. Now several agencies are involved to make sure this experience continues. Clean Water Kitsap, Kitsap Public Utilities, Kitsap Public Health District, and the Suquamish Tribe help out with running the program each year.
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The eggs are hatched on site at each school, and the life cycle is studied in the classroom. Later in the spring, field trips are planned to release the salmon into the creek.  The fish run from late September through November, this time can vary. Most of the salmon wait until their is a lot of rainfall, before entering the creek.

Types of salmon occupying the creek are Chum, Chinook, and Coho.  The environment at this creek makes it difficult for the salmon to survive. It’s because of the runoff from some of the surrounding areas. Luckily, many of them do manage to survive and spawn.

 

Explore Nature in Kitsap County Washington_maple leopard

As I mentioned the trail does get quite soggy, so best time to visit is in the summer, and late spring.  Maybe it’s dry  enough to do a hike, in your neck of he woods!  Have fun exploring, where ever your travels take you. I have an exciting announcement about an upcoming trip, that I will share soon!

 Where is your favorite place to hike, or explore nature?

 

You can follow Valerie’s adventures at: https://www.mapleleopard.com or on her Instagram