Pierce County Public Works and Utilities will host a community open house Sept. 23 to hear feedback from area residents about the future of the Naches Trail Preserve.
The open house will be held from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Preserve’s parking area near the intersection of 38th Avenue East and Military Road East in Frederickson. If it rains, the meeting will be moved to Clover Creek Elementary, located at 16715 36th Ave. East.
The Surface Water Management division acquired the 50-acre Naches Trail Preserve in 2003 with a Conservation Futures grant and Surface Water Management funds. The county chose the property because the floodplain and wetlands provide flood protection for neighboring areas and protect water quality in Clover Creek as it flows through the site. The site contains stream and forested habitat along with one of the last remaining prairies in the Puget Sound area and traces of the historic Naches Trail.
The Cascade Land Conservancy has a conservation easement over the property to ensure the site’s preservation as a nature preserve in perpetuity. To implement the conservation easement, a stewardship committee was formed to assist Surface Water Management in developing a Stewardship Plan. The Naches Trail Preserve Stewardship Plan was completed in 2006 and is available on the project Web site at http://www.piercecountywa.org/ntp .
Although it was originally open to the public, the preserve was closed in spring 2010 because some uses of the site were damaging the grassland prairie and areas along the creek. The county and the Stewardship Committee are reconsidering how public access can be offered without compromising conservation values. Public input on these questions will be solicited at the meeting.
“Pierce County and the Cascade Land Conservancy are committed to restoring and protecting the Preserve for the ecological benefits it provides and allowing low-impact public use,” said Marsha Huebner, environmental permitting and planning supervisor for Surface Water Management. “We encourage community members to come learn more about the Preserve and share their comments and ideas for future use.”
Weather permitting, guided Preserve tours will be available at the meeting. The meeting will be conducted in an open house format, so the public can come and go as they please. For more information about the meeting or the Naches Trail Preserve, visit http://www.piercecountywa.org/ntp or call (253) 798-2725.