Bothell City Council authorizes purchase of last parcel of North Creek Forest

University of Washington Bothell students Nicholas Vradenburg, left, and Kai Farmer, right, work to restore a section of the North Creek Forest. Reporter file photo

The Bothell City Council has authorized Interim City Manager Bob Jean to sign a purchase and sale agreement with the Fries Family LLC to buy an 8.23-acre parcel of the North Creek Forest for $1.25 million. Once finalized, the purchase will complete the acquisition of all 63.4 acres of the forest, preserving the land from development.

The city has secured grant funding for the acquisition from the King County Conservation Futures program and from the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office through the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program (WWRP) Local Parks Program and the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). Additional private funding of about $54,000 also has been secured.

Community groups have been working for many years to acquire all the property that is known as the North Creek Forest. A grassroots organization, Help Our Woods (HOW), started the efforts in the year 2000 and raised funds to purchase initial parcels of the forest. HOW also secured state recognition for the North Creek Forest as a vital element in salmon recovery efforts.

The City of Bothell and Friends of North Creek Forest (FNCF) have been working jointly for a number of years to raise funds to buy the remainder of the forest. FNCF volunteers were the lead authors on multiple LWCF grants and the WWRP grant that has funded most of the recent acquisitions. FNCF President Jeanie Robinson noted that this is a great step, but she added there is much more that needs to be done.

“We not only want to preserve the forest, we want to make it accessible to the public in a way that they can understand the beauty and importance of a natural forest right in the middle of extensive development,” she said in a statement. “North Creek Forest can be an environmental laboratory to teach young students the values and functions of a forest ecosystem, and provide opportunities for college students working toward careers in environmental science, education and policy.”

The North Creek Forest is just west of Interstate 405 on the side of Maywood Hill. It features second growth, mature forest with wetlands and streams that connect to North Creek, the Sammamish Slough and Puget Sound.

“The purchase of this property is very important in our efforts to preserve open space in Bothell,” John Keates, Bothell parks and recreation director, said. “We’re grateful to the community groups who spearheaded the effort. When I arrived in Bothell, I was able to pick up where retired staffers Clark Meek and Pat Parkhurst left off.”

The council and city staff celebrated the authorization with cake at the Nov. 8 council meeting.

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