City may buy ‘Lost Valley’ parcels

The eight-acre purchase would be a future link for hikes, bikes.

East meets west, and north south, in the Lost Valley.

So future trail connections are the long-term goal in a seven-parcel, eight-acre public land purchase recommended this week by the city’s Open Space Commission.

In the meantime, backers say, the move would create new access to 30 acres of city-owned forestland at the Head of the Bay, and help preserve a salmon stream that feeds the head of Eagle Harbor.

“In a way, all we’ve done is taken the 30 acres that have been pretty hidden and open that up,” said Andy Maron, Open Space Commission chair. “We’re creating a little park there... It’s pretty cool as it is, and then we’ll look at other (trail possibilities).”

The proposal is similar to the commission’s last effort, by which the city purchased easements and parts of several parcels to forge a trail connection between the Grand Forest and Battle Point Park.

This time, a self-contained, 2.4-mile trail system is envisioned on wooded properties that lie west of Wyatt Way, east of Fletcher Bay and north of the Stetson Ridge development on Bucklin Hill.

The area is described as “one of the least disturbed and most beautiful stream valleys on Bainbridge,” with steep slopes rising over 125 feet on the south and 100 feet on the north. The closest residence is some 400 feet away.

With existing easements, trail construction would allow hikers and bicyclists to reach the Head of the Bay from Bucklin Hill.

If neighboring property owners come on board, future spur trails could be opened up to Fletcher Bay Road; the properties are also adjacent to Westerly Lane, although that link to High School Road is privately owned.

The deal involves seven parcels and six different owners, and required the services of an outside broker to complete. While some neighbors declined to participate, Maron said Open Space Commission members wanted to bring closure on the properties that are available, in hopes that other links can be completed in the future.

“Hopefully, over time, people will recognize that this is a neat thing,” he said.

Purchase price – $280,000 – would be funded through $8 million in bond funding that supports the open space program. Commission and City Council members will tour the properties this Saturday, meeting at St. Barnabas Church at 9:30 a.m. The proposal is expected to go before the council for consideration on April 14.

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