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Festival marks years of work to create water trails By LESLIE KELLY


ome Saturday, chances are you’ll be able to see Kitsap County Commissioners Ed Wolfe, Rob Gelder and possibly Charlotte Garrido on the water in kayaks. They say it’s the perfect way for them to celebrate the three to five years of work by the county and volunteers to ensure that the Kitsap Peninsula Water Trails happened. In 2013, it was designated as part of the Cascadia Marine Trail by the Washington Water

Trails Association. And with it now being designated as a part of the National Water Trails System, a celebration is truly in order. The Water Trails Festival will be June 27 and 28, with activities on Saturday at the Silverdale Waterfront Park. But it’s at Evergreen Park in Bremerton, where about 100 kayakers will put their boats in the water, along with Wolfe and Gelder. Wolfe and Gelder are experienced kayakers and Garrido has kayaked in the past.

“I’m just hoping the tide will be with us,” said Wolfe, who was elected to the commission last year. “The trip is about five miles and if all goes well, it will only take us a couple of hours.” Wolfe said he and his wife like to put their kayaks in the water in Dyes Inlet just about anytime that the weather is good. “I can leave work and go home and be on the water in about 20 minutes,” he said. “That’s one of the reasons I love living here.” Gelder, in the past, was a serious kayaker who paddled and camped for week-

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Bainbridge Island, to the Tacoma Narrows Bridge and the waters of Hood Canal. There are 13 separate trails designed as a continuous tail experience, to make up the entire trail. Kayakers can map out where they want to travel, based on their time and experience. At stops along the way, there are amenities such as connections to parks and trails for hiking, restrooms, places to picnic and rest, campgrounds and nearby stores and restaurants. Visit Kitsap Peninsula actually developed the Water Trails map which

started the process of applying for national trails status, said Patty GrafHoke, executive director of Visit Kitsap Peninsula. According to Eric Baker, policy manager for the Kitsap County commissioners, the county’s role in the creation of the Water Trails has been to work with the various jurisdictions along the trail to make sure that everything came together in an orderly fashion. “In general, there is a robust outdoor recreation community in Kitsap County,” Baker said. “The SEE FESTIVAL, PAGE 3


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long trips through the San Juan Islands. He is more a day kayaker now. “I didn’t have room in my garage for the 17-foot kayak, so I sold it,” he said. “Now, when I go out, I just rent a kayak.” For this trip from Bremerton to Silverdale, Gelder is looking forward to a “nice leisurely paddle.” “It’s on an incoming tide,” he said. “It will be great to have nature help us paddle.” The Peninsula Water Trails includes more than 371 miles of shoreline from North Kitsap County to

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Water Trails Festival schedule of events June 27-28 SATURDAY, JUNE 27 8 a.m.: Ride the Tide Paddlers Shuttle Bus, Silverdale Waterfront. 9:45 a.m.: Ride the Tide Paddle begins, Evergreen Park, Bremerton. 9:45 a.m.: Suquamish Tribe canoe leads paddlers, Evergreen Park, Bremerton. 10 a.m.: Festival opens, Port of Silverdale, Silverdale Waterfront Park. 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Olympic Vintage Auto Club show, Warriors Motorcycle Club show, NW Byron Street from McConnell to Washington Street. 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.: Cash Brewing, on NW Byron Street. 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.: Food Vendors, Food Court located beside Olympic Outdoor Center Rentals. 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.: Vendors, Port of Silverdale parking lots. Information, games, education. 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.: Salmon fishing simulator, across from stage. 10-11 a.m.: Meet Miss Silverdale, Miss Poulsbo, Miss Kitsap, Around Stage Tattoos. Noon to 12:45 p.m.: Suquamish canoe escort in Ride The Tide & Brownie Challenge, Silverdale Waterfront.

Noon to 1 p.m.: Suquamish royalty arrive, Tribal blessing, Silverdale Waterfront. 1-2 p.m.: Formal dedication ceremony, grassy area at Port of Silverdale Waterfront. 1-1:15 p.m.: Call to gather, Suquamish Tribe. 1:15 p.m.: Welcome and introduction, Commissioner Robert Gelder and Commissioner Ed Wolfe. 1:30 p.m.: Presentation of designation plaques to Kitsap County’s National Park Service representative. Other events 3-6 p.m.: Games, burlap race, bean bag toss, tug of war, barrel races, flippy flop races. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.: Clown Capers, Vendor Area; face painting, balloon tying, Kitsap Physical Therapy. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.: Hula Kai Adventures, watch diver under the pier and see all the marine life; Carlisle II tours on pier, original Mosquito Fleet ship. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.: Demonstrations, kayaks, paddle boarding, rentals, education, Olympic Outdoor Center and Port of Silverdale. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.: U.S. Coast Guard boat tours at the pier. 5 p.m.: Flyover by the NW

A rainbow of kayaks await their time on the water. Contributed Photo BeechBoys. 9-10 p.m.: Bonfire with story telling by Suquamish Tribe and Roger Fernandes, Silverdale Waterfront by the pier. Stage Area: NW Washington Street by Olympic Outdoor Center 10 a.m.: Opening ceremony, U.S. Marine Corps Color Guard; National Anthem, Gary Bowlby of Gary Bowlby Photography; Silverdale Chamber introduction of Kitsap Peninsula Water Trails Committee. 10:15-10:45 a.m.: Kitsap Regional Library, Zak Sherman, story telling. 10:45-11:45 a.m.: Roller Rita, 1950s music, hula hoops, roller

skating, audience participation. Noon: Hula/Halau Polynesian Dance. 2-2:30 p.m.: Bully Luna Hula Dance. 2:30-2:40 p.m.: Quinton Cooper, local gospel music. 2:45-3:45 p.m.: Ryan Fosket, country music. 4- 6:30 p.m.: Betsy & the Boys, country blues music. 6:30-9 p.m.: Sweet T & Justice, Top 40 music. SUNDAY, JUNE 28 Port of Brownsville 7-7:45 a.m.: Christian worship and Blessing of the Boats, hosted by Brownsville United Methodists, in the pavilion. 9-10 a.m.: Paddlers check

in at Bremerton West Marine booth in The Lighthouse for the Keys to Keyport Paddle. 9-10:30 a.m.: Paddling Basics. Free class sponsored by Bremerton West Marine. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.: Vendor booths open. Take your picture with Brownie, the 106-foot, water-spouting sea serpent skeleton. Games for kids, hosted by Brownsville United Methodist Church. Take a sailboat ride, provided by the Peninsula Sailing Club. Touch marine wildlife. Touch tanks provided by Poulsbo Marine Science Center. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.: Kite Building for Kids workshop in the pavilion. Materials will be provided. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.: Build a toy wooden schooner. Sponsored by Bremerton Lowe’s and the Kitsap Maritime Heritage Foundation. 10:30 a.m.: Formation fly over by the Northwest BeechBoys Flight Demonstration Team. Up to 20 planes, including vintage aircraft. 10:45-11:15 a.m.:  Parade of Boats and West Marine Awards. Enter anything that paddles, pedals, rows or sails — as long

as it floats long enough to go around the marina one time. 11:15 a.m.: Depart Keys to Keyport Fun Paddle (3.6 nautical miles). Free paddle for beginners and novices sponsored by Bremerton West Marine and the Keyport Community Club. Prizes and goodies. Reservations are required. Go to www. 2-4 p.m.:  Pier Peer — Treasures of the Sea. Sponsored by Washington State University Kitsap County Extension and Sound Dive Center. Children and adults will explore the marine life in Puget Sound with exhibits on the north breakwater and watch live underwater video from divers exploring the seabed. Port of Keyport 1 p.m.: Celebrate arrival of Keys to Keyport paddlers. Raffle drawings for prizes from Keyport restaurants and the Grandview Gardens Bed and Breakfast. Paddler’s Lunch at the General Mercantile & Deli. Cost: $8. Reservations are required. Return to Brownsville. Free transportation provided. 4 p.m.: Kitsap Water Trails Festival closes.

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commissioners have been working very hard to see that the Waters Trails happen for the recreational opportunities it brings, and for the economic ecotourism that comes along with it.” In dollars, the county has spent about $50,000 in improving amenities along the trail, plus staff time. And there has been more than 10,000 volunteer hours put toward the project in the past three to five years. Leading the pack of volunteers is John Kuntz, owner of Olympic Outdoors Center in Port Gamble. Wolfe said he was the power behind the formation of the Kitsap Peninsula Water Trails. Kuntz has been paddling in Kitsap County since 1996 and in 2008 he joined the North Kitsap Trails Association to work on trails on land and water. “John has been passionate and persistent about the Water Trails,” said Wolfe. “He has so much to do with everything that has happened.” Kuntz said


the water trails is a dream come true for him. “It is something that I never imagined would happen but believed it could,” he said. “To take an idea I had almost 20 years ago and have invested thousands of hours of my time and many others and transform it into a reality is very gratifying and humbling. “The thing that occurs to me most is how passionate and sincere this movement has become. It is truly everyone’s trail that touches so many lives and improves our quality of life through recreation, eco-tourism, environment, education, and more.” Kuntz estimates that paddling-related activities bring $1.7 million annually to the Kitsap County economy. Wolfe thinks that’s just one of the great things about the water trails getting so much attention. “Kitsap used to be known as the ‘Gateway to the Olympics,’ ” said Wolfe. “That’s true. But now we are a destination in and of ourselves.” People come here and stay here for recreation, he said. That means they spend their dollars at local hotels and restaurants, too. But, he said, it’s a quality

of life issue, too. “For people who live here, it’s a big deal,” he said. “They crave outdoor experiences. And it gives people a reason to stay here for their entertainment.” He added that “natural pursuits” have brought companies like REI, Inc. to the area. A grant by REI was used to create the signage all along the water trails, he added. While great strides have been made with the Water Trails creation, the work isn’t finished. The Water Trails Alliance, a group of about 60 members, will oversee any future growth. Baker said the alliance will communicate with shoreline owners and recreators along the route in addressing issues that may face the water trails. Such things as keeping trail and rest stop standards equal and adding points to the trail are among things they will oversee. All jurisdictions that have shoreline along the water trails are represented in the group, including the county, several port district, four Kitsap County cities, Gig Harbor, the community of Union, Visit Kitsap, Mason County, and Kuntz.




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Festivals - Water Trails Festival 2015  


Festivals - Water Trails Festival 2015