History of the Juanita Heights Park people who keep the trail clear, head up work parties and keep the vision to expand the park.
Meet Andrea Thompson, she is a steward in the park since 2016. Andrea lives on Goat Hill and walks through the forest to get to the main park. Andrea completed the Green Kirkland Partnership steward training. Her experience includes setting up the volunteer check in, demonstrating how to dig, plant, and mulch new trees, shrubs and ground cover and removing ivy and blackberries. As the city and FHNA acquires land and expands the park east and south, Andrea will watch over the new parkland.
Meet John Bailey, a new Steward in the park. John has been working in the park clearing ivy, cleaning out culverts, instructing how to do ivy carpet rolls during work parties and he is re-establishing neighborhood trails. It is because of John’s work on the trails that we’ve been able to take so many City of Kirkland and King County people on tours to see land for sale adjacent to the park. John has lived near the park for nearly 30 years. He is in the park without fail almost every day walking his dogs. There are always a few that stay to ‘tend the forest’ after visiting, John is one of them!
The Juanita Heights Park was ‘created’ by King County in 1986. Two neighbors, Dan Bearwood and Paul Gabrielsen, live close to the park and were the original stewards. They weed wacked the loop trail to keep it clear. Trees fell and they sawed through them to keep the trail open. Dan maintained a trail, long gone, that crossed five draws between the park to Goat Hill. He remembers when King County put in the park stairs and the loop trail. He has a video of the work and we’ll get that up soon.
To read more about the early stewardship in the park. Go to the article by Kathy Schuler appearing November 2011 in the Kirkland Reporter. The article is on Juanita Heights Park and Paul Gabrielsen. For two decades retired Pastor Paul Gabrielsen served as the arborist, the one man maintenance crew and the keeper of the vision for the Park. Although more recently Paul’s health has limited his stewardship, the fact that you can walk the stone trail today is due solely to Paul’s previous care of Juanita Heights Park.
ABOUT ME Kathy Schuler: Special Interests and Involvement – Woodlands, Forests, Open Spaces, Native Plant Seed Collecting, Ecological Restoration. In October 2012 I was appointed a Green Kirkland Steward of Juanita Heights Park. Green Kirkland stewards organize volunteer events to restore forests, wetlands and other natural areas. Without intervention, English ivy, Himalayan blackberry and other invasive plants strangle or shade out the native trees and shrubs. Stewards learn best practices for planning and managing restoration events in Kirkland parks, planting native plants and controlling invasive plants. The volunteer stewards run their own restoration events with the support of the City of Kirkland.The program information is at www.greenkirkland.gov
2013 Award: “Above and Beyond the Call of Duty Award.” The Mayor of Kirkland read:
Kathy Schuler joined the Green Kirkland Partnership as a Steward in 2012 but to walk around Juanita Heights Park or when attending one of her volunteer events, you’d never know she is a new Steward. In 2013, Kathy hosted 6 volunteer events where she and volunteers cleared over 8,000 square feet of invasive plants, rescued 30 trees from climbing ivy, and planted 180 trees, shrubs and groundcovers. It doesn’t stop with restoration with Kathy; she has kept her community informed of volunteers’ progress through her Juanita Heights Park blog, and persuaded local businesses to support the restoration effort through snack and drink donations to keep volunteers fed and hydrated. Kathy, thank you for all you do for Kirkland, the environment, and Juanita Heights Park.
I serve on the Finn Hill Neighborhood Alliance Board (FHNA) 2011-2014, as the Communications Board Director and work on land acquisition. FHNA has civic and environmental responsibilities for the neighborhood of about 15K people. The environmental scope is preserving the wildlife corridors, watersheds and forests within this community. I manage the the FHNA web site. www.finnhillalliance.org
In 2011 I was appointed to the Kirkland Parks Funding and Exploratory Committee, reporting to the Kirkland City Council in an advisory role on funding solutions for the city parks.
kathyschuler at hotmail dot com