Preserve Old Growth

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Mountaineers Foundation Rhododendron Preserve

Get Involved

Because so few places like it are left

The 460 acre Rhododendron Preserve is owned and operated by the Mountaineers Foundation. Located in central Kitsap County, the property has one of the largest remaining parcels of Puget Sound Lowland ancient forest in the Puget Sound Basin.

The Preserve is an important part of the Chico Creek watershed. Chico Creek is the main stream of the watershed that connects the lakes and streams of the upper part of the watershed to Dyes Inlet via four main tributaries: Lost, Wildcat, Kitsap, and Dickerson creeks. The watershed includes Kitsap and Wildcat Lakes. It drains 16.3 square miles of land into Dyes Inlet on Puget Sound a few miles from Bremerton, Washington.

The watershed contains approximately 68 miles of streams, 17 of which provide spawning and rearing habitat to salmon. The watershed produces runs of chum, Coho, steelhead and cutthroat trout. Its 170 acres of virgin forest, and the acres surrounding, provide an unparalleled habitat for fish and wildlife.

The Preserve protects an ecological hotspot in the Pacific Northwest. As a natural area, the Preserve helps to maintain biodiversity of native species. This provides the opportunity for scientific discoveries in forestry, medicine, agriculture, and other possible products derived from the preserved gene pool.

Volunteer Waiver

Please download, read, and sign the volunteer waiver before entering the Preserve for work parties and other volunteer shifts.

Join Us for Bioblitz 2015

In 2015, the Mountaineers Foundation will be collecting as much information as we can in order to create an “inventory” of the ecosystem at the Preserve. We need volunteers at all levels of expertise. The only requirements are curiosity and careful guardianship of what you explore. Make a difference, learn something new, and have fun outdoors! We hope you can join us.

For more information about volunteering, please contact:

Lisa Shanafelt
Mountaineers Foundation Rhododendron Preserve Committee

Mountaineers Foundation
Second Century Campaign

The 2012 kick off of Mountaineers Foundation’s Second Century Campaign was a huge success as we raised the funds to purchase 70 acres which expanded the Preserve to the south. Our success in the initial stages of our Second Century Campaign owes great thanks to our generous donors and a key grant from the Suquamish Tribe. Our Second Century Campaign continues to raise funds needed to enhance the Preserve through additional purchases, conservation easements, and land stewardship.

The Foundation and its partners have preserved much of the Chico Creek watershed in its natural state. The recently purchased parcels include coho salmon spawning tributaries as well as Chico Creek and its floodplain. Many acres of mature forest and regenerating forest will buffer the core Preserve from existing and future upland non-native species and detrimental activities.

We need your help to continue the long-term management of the Preserve. Please donate today.

Get Involved FAQs

Why is it important?

The Rhododendron Preserve is important because it is one of the largest remaining examples of lowland virgin forest in the Puget Sound basin.

The large undeveloped area in the middle of the Chico Creek drainage basin is important to the continued preservation of the salmon runs. It contains four distinct forest plant communities within its boundaries and is crossed by streams used by tens of thousand spawning salmon each year. One area contains stands of pine resistant to blister rust which has destroyed so much pine in the Puget Sound region.

The watershed is an ecological hot spot unique in Puget Sound. This marvelous wild land will be difficult to protect unless some adjoining properties, threatened by development, are acquired.

Part of the Preserve is along a lovely creek, worthy of inclusion in its own right. Other parcels are in comparatively young coniferous forest, essential to protect the Preserve’s old growth trees from wind throw in severe storms. Salmon tributaries exist outside the current Preserve.

The Mountaineers Foundation has achieved its goal of purchasing 70 acres from Ueland Tree Farm. Why is the Second Century Fund Still Needed?

Mountaineers Foundation and its partners have managed this land for nearly 100 years, and we need to prepare for the next 100 years. Although the 2012 purchase is complete we need to manage the Rhododendron Preserve in perpetuity. Purchase of additional buffer parcels as they become available, establishing conservation easements, and ongoing management and stewardship require a steady source of funding.

Your donation will go directly to purchasing additional lands and stewardship of the Preserve. Please, invest in protecting and caring for the Preserve.

Donate Today

To donate to the acquisition of these parcels, please send your check to:

The Mountaineers Foundation
PO Box 5749
Bremerton WA 98312-0583

or use the donate button at right

Please, remember to designate your donation for the Second Century Fund.

What’s next for the Second Century Fund?

The Second Century Fund allows Mountaineers Foundation to continue critical management projects and to remain good stewards of the Rhododendron Preserve. Annual monitoring and maintenance keep invasive species in check and new purchases need to be restored and naturalized. In addition we will continue discussions with our neighbors to increase ecological integrity of the Rhododendron Preserve through future purchases and conservation easements with willing partners.

How much money is needed?

The goal of the Second Century Fund is $500,000. Every gift helps.

Can I tour the property?

Yes! Please sign up for upcoming tours and events.