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Thursday, November 06, 2003

Call To Order:

Chair Jim Owens called the meeting to order at the City Council Chambers at Mercer Island City Hall, 9611 36th Avenue SE, Mercer Island, Washington.


Roll Call:

Members Appelman, Duvall, Magnuson, Owens, and Sutherland were present. Members Rita Moore and Jim Pearman were absent. Parks & Recreation Director Pete Mayer, Park Arborist, Paul West, and Administrative Assistant, Stephanie Cangie were present.



There were no public appearances.



Motion by Member Appelman to approve the Minutes of October 2, 2003 with the following amendment:  Page 3, rather than Increased Planning vs. Natural Regeneration, should read, Increased Planting vs. Natural Regeneration. Motion was seconded by Member Duvall and the motion passed.


Old Business:


Ravine Bridge Update

The bridge will be installed in November.  The contractor, Sahale, is waiting for the timber to come from Portland, Oregon. 


Volunteer Work Day

The fall planting event was held on October 25, 2003 with participants from Youth and Family Services, the E-team from Mercer Island High School, two Girl Scout troops, one Boy Scout troop, several other citizens, and Trust Board members totally approximately 45+ people. With the help of the Parks Maintenance crew, four areas of work were divided among the volunteers: ivy pulling, fern planting, trail correction, and trail clean up.


Forest Management Plan

The second draft of the Plan has been distributed to the Trust Board.  The changes decided by the Board at previous meetings are annotated by the use of underlining and margin notes. 


Other changes agreed upon by the Board were as follows:


On Page 4, under Introduction, the first paragraph will read, Pioneer Park is a 113-acre park broken into three 40-acre blocks of second-growth western-hemlock forest situated on the south-central spine of Mercer Island.  The park represents the largest relatively unfragmented forest habitat remaining on the island, providing a range of ecosystem services and benefits including recreation, water retention and slowing storm water runoff, improving air quality, temperature buffering, wildlife and aquatic habitat.  Pioneer Park provides nesting or foraging habitat for at least 74 avian species, including bald eagles and pileated woodpeckers.  The park is home to over a dozen mammalian species, including little brown bats, the uncommon Douglas squirrel, mountain beavers, shrews, voles, and raccoons.  The park provides a range of dry and wet habitats supporting an unknown number of invertebrate species.  The park’s forest soils nurture at least 38 species of mushrooms.


On Page 5, the second line from the top should read….in Seattle are examples).  Not only would this affect the public’s enjoyment of the park….


On Page 9, under 5.3 Edges and “edge effects”, the last sentence of the first paragraph should read: This, combined with the surrounding urban environment, has made this forest susceptible to loss of “interior” forest condition, the kind of conditions that we see in “old-growth” forests.  Paul will edit the document so old-growth forests is always spelled with a hyphen.


On Page 10-11 the last paragraph should be changed to read: In 1996 Sara Reichard, Ph.D. prepared the Pioneer Park Invasive Plant Report and Recommendations (Appendix D) in which she identified four non-native species of concern in the park:  English ivy, herb Robert, Himalayan blackberry and English holly.  In other parts of Mercer Island and around the Seattle area, additional species such as laurel (Prunus laurocerasus), wild clematis (Clematis vitalba), garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata), periwinkle (Vinca minor), Norway maple (Acer platanoides), and Japanese knotweed (Polygonum cuspidatum) have become prevalent and may become a problem for Pioneer Park in the future.


On Page 11 the first sentence of the last paragraph should be changed to read:  1.The first is retention of the forest canopy bordering the stream and wetlands….


On Page 12 under 5.7 Wildlife Resources, the last sentence of this paragraph should read:

…resources would prove valuable to maintaining and protecting biodiversity value in Pioneer Park.


On Page 19, the last paragraph, the second sentence should be changed to read…Until now, techniques for planting, watering, or invasive plant control have been tried in various areas of the park with varying results…..


Page 22, 8.3 Fire Management, the first line should be changed to read….Pioneer Park is susceptible to fire primarily from human behavior.  Historical incidents of…..


On Page 22, the last paragraph, the last sentence should read….This could include the following activities:  Neighbor partners would foster dense, low-growing ….


On Page 41, under Resource Management, the first bulleted sentence should be changed to read:  The City will continue to support the vision of Pioneer Park as a sustainable native forest.  Paul will edit the document to be consistent and use the term, sustainable native forest, rather than native forest.


On Page 50, under 13.2 Community Framework, the second block to the right of Volunteerism, the first sentence should be changed to read:  People come to volunteer at the park for scheduled project events.


Page 135, delete the first paragraph at the top of the page.


Trustee Appelman stated the following:

He is opposed to including the sub-heading and text of Encroachments under 9.8 Edges. 


In Section 8.9 he does not agree with the sentence that suggests that Board members will be telling kids and adults to get back on the trails.  He finds this offensive and is in conflict with why he became a Trust board member. 


He believes that the plan should emphasize public safety more.


He believes there is too much emphasis overall on ecosystem issues and not enough emphasis on Islanders’ use.


He believes the primary goal of the Plan should be to manage the forest to facilitate passive use by Islanders.  It’s mentioned in Section 2, #10, page 6, but the Plan should include more about passive use.


At the top of Page 5, Trustee Appelman does not like the inference that humans are damaging the forest in the sentence, “More commonly, however, it is humans that injure the forest by trampling vegetation, piling yard waste around trees or harvesting greenery.”  He wants to encourage people to go off trail and get involved in the forest.


Trustee Appelman referred to the Introduction on Page 4, third paragraph where there is some mention of human use.  He would like human use to be more prominent in the plan and believes the forest should be managed to facilitate passive use, not simply to manage the forest to have a healthy ecosystem. 


He does not believe that the Board has spent enough time deciding whether the Forest Management Plan is a good management tool.  He sees the Forest Management Plan as a policy statement that constrains what decisions will be made later.  He does commend the document for its emphasis on the use of native plants.  He questioned what tasks the staff would do over the next few years and how does the Forest Management Plan provide direction to the staff.


Paul advised that he intends to use the Forest Management Plan over the next several years beginning in December 2003. He will present project plans to the Trust Board using the forms in the Forest Management Plan.  The way the Plan is written allows the Trust Board choices on projects.   


There was extensive discussion regarding the wording of Section 8.9 concluding with:

Motion by Trustee Duvall and seconded by Trustee Sutherland to change the wording of Section 8.9 as follows:  Remove the word, Control, from the title.  Also, after the sentence “Educating park users is the most obvious first step to address this issue,”  add the following:  Where off-trail use has damaged park resources such as on steep slopes, unstable soils, or locations with sensitive plant species, further off-trail use will be discouraged.  Woody debris, signage, and/or barriers may be placed along trails to discourage off-trail traffic where vegetation has been impacted.  Motion passed 5-0.


Motion by Trustee Duvall and seconded by Trustee Sutherland to adopt the Forest Management Plan as modified.  Motion passed 4-1 with Trustee Appelman as the dissenting vote.


The Forest Management Plan will be presented to City Council at its December 1, 2003 meeting at 7:30 p.m.  Trust Board members are encouraged to attend.


New Business:


Upon the Board’s request, Mike Elde, Parks Manager, will attend an Open Space Trust Board meeting in early spring to discuss the width of the brushing of the primary and secondary trails in Pioneer Park.  Concern was expressed about the current trail brushing appearing to be wider than needed. Discussing this with the Parks Manager early in the season will allow him to instruct the summer staff in the correct width to be maintained.



Adjournment:   9:00 p.m.


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