Thank you and farewell from the Japanese Gulch Group l Guest View

By Kristin Kohorst | Nov 07, 2018

With hearts full of gratitude, the Japanese Gulch Group wishes to thank you for years of support and faith that together we could, and did, make a difference! Now it’s time to say goodbye because our nonprofit has accomplished its mission and is ready to close up shop.

Generous support from the community, city of Mukilteo, Snohomish County, and the state of Washington allowed the purchase of Mukilteo’s Japanese Gulch to be completed in 2014.

Now and forever the forest and trails are preserved for recreational use, the native plants and animals can thrive, and the threat of industrial development has come to an end!

Japanese Gulch Group was founded by citizens, just like you, who cared about saving this special second growth forest that stretches from 76th Street all the way down to Possession Sound at the northwest end of Mukilteo, bordering Everett to the east.

When word got out in 2007 that the land was being surveyed for private industrial development, they knew that something had to be done to intervene and stop the sale.

Many, many years of late night meetings, doorbelling, fundraising, volunteer trail maintenance, guided tours, trips to Olympia, attendance at county and city council meetings, the hiring of an environmental lawyer, gaining voter approval to pursue the purchase, and unwavering perseverance paid off in every way when 98 acres were finally secured in 2014.

Forterra, a regional land conservation agency, brokered a deal to purchase the acreage (upper and lower portions had been purchased prior to this) with funding from the state, county and city for a total price of $3.4 million.

Now, approximately 144 acres of forested land on the western side of Japanese Gulch is open to dog walkers, naturalists of all ages, gardeners, trail runners and off-road mountain bicyclists.

The city of Mukilteo employs rangers to educate people and to provide safety, and Earthcorps now trains volunteer stewards to maintain established trails for everyone to enjoy. To volunteer, please search the word “stewardship” on the city of Mukilteo’s homepage.

Japanese Gulch Group members worked very closely with the city of Mukilteo to create a master plan for future development of the property, and from that point on, our duty was done.

Tens of thousands of dollars were raised over the years, a testament to how strongly citizens support the preservation of green space in our community. The money was spent on hiring an environmental lawyer, an executive director of the board, the establishment of the dog park, annual auctions (renting space, catering, supplies, decorations and promotions), a website, a Post Office box, mailers, nonprofit dues, bookkeeping, insurance, native plants to restore habitat, tools to maintain trails, materials to build bridges, and for the support of Eagle Scout projects in the forest.

Thousands of dollars have also been given to the city of Mukilteo, in part to remove the bicycle dirt jumps in the forest, which are to be replaced in a more suitable location in the near future.

Remaining funds will directly benefit Japanese Gulch. A majority of the money will go toward building new bicycle dirt jumps near the Community Garden. Money will also go to the Community Garden, the creation and placement of new trail signs, and to doggy bag stations at trailheads.

As a volunteer group of citizens from 2007 through to 2018, we all thank you for your support, faith in our vision, and for your dedication to making this world a better place.

See you on the trails!

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