Images of Kitsap County
Public Communications (MS-11)
614 Division Street, Port Orchard, WA
Phone: 360.337.4598
Date: July 17, 2014

Contact: Rebecca Pirtle, Commissioners' Office
360.337.4650 or
No: 14-078


Forest thinning begins next month in Newberry Hill Heritage Park


(Port Orchard, WA) - Newberry Hill Heritage Park in central Kitsap County will be the site of the first forest restoration thinning under the Kitsap County Forest Stewardship Program with work to begin on a 20-acre portion the first week of August and continuing through September.

For public safety, some areas of the park, located south of Klahowya Secondary School, will be closed during active harvesting operations to allow for service road and trail maintenance and repairs, including several culvert replacements – but the remainder of the park will remain open to recreationalists. Closures will include portions of Old Loop Trail and Old Timber Road. Signage detailing trail and road closures is posted at all trailheads and park gates. Alternate trail routes will be marked with detours.

Thinning operations will typically occur between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. Park patrons will be allowed full access to the park on weekday evenings and on weekends.

Overall, thinning operations planned for 2014 are focused on the northwest corner of the park. Vehicles involved in the operations will use the Seabeck-Holly park gate as primary access. A map detailing forestry operations in Newberry Hill Heritage Park and the forest stewardship plan are available at, where updates, photos, alternate parking areas and related information will also be posted. Maps showing work areas are also available at all trailheads.

Of the 6,500 acres of forested county park lands, over 4,000 acres have Douglas fir plantations, the result of commercial harvesting operations the past 150 years that have suppressed a natural forest structure needed to provide the highest quality fish and wildlife habitat. With the help of the Friends of Newberry Hill stewardship group and Kitsap County Stream Stewards, site monitoring has occurred throughout the park, consisting of forest vegetation assessment data and photo points. These sites will be revisited after the thinning to observe and monitor changes.

About 145 acres of the forest stands in the Newberry Hill Heritage Park will be thinned, using a technique known as variable density thinning which removes smaller, less vigorous trees, mimicking natural disturbances provided by wind, fire and disease that take place over centuries. The largest, healthiest trees will be retained to become old-growth legacies. As more sunlight reaches the forest floor, shrub growth improves, increasing forage and habitat for a wider variety of wildlife. The water cycle is also replenished, improving stormwater runoff.

Native plants and trees will be planted into some of the gaps created by thinning. With the help of park stewards, complex and diverse forest ecosystems will be restored, creating a more natural condition similar to those that existed prior to settlement in the 1860s.

For more information on forest ecosystem management or to join the Friends of Newberry Hill Heritage Park stewards, visit or Kitsap County Parks and Recreation at and click on the Forest Stewardship link. Contact Kitsap County Forester Arno Bergstrom at



Last Updated: 
July 18, 2014