Bainbridge park district celebrates 50 years bringing community together

Islanders invited to an array of events for park system’s big birthday.

Since its inception in 1965, partnership and community have defined the Bainbridge Island Metropolitan Park & Recreation District.

First, with the donation of Rotary Park in 1966, and later, when the last living members of the Island Center Improvement Club donated the now more than 100-year-old Island Center Hall, community members have teamed up with the park district over the years to fulfill a need for parks and recreation on Bainbridge.

After five decades of community connections, today the Bainbridge park district has 41 properties equaling 1,479 acres of park land. The children who participated in the island’s first baseball league at Rotary Park are long since grown and are a testament to the generations of islanders the district has led outdoors. Likewise, its programs now range from sailing lessons and roller hockey to poetry writing and pottery classes for all ages.

It goes without saying the park district has become a fixture on Bainbridge Island.

This year is a monumental one, not just because it marks the district’s 50th year, said Terry Lande, executive director of the district, but also because it is the direct result of countless community partnerships, citizen volunteers, passionate staff and dedicated board members over the decades.

“The park district is built on the success of partnerships,” Lande said. “We’ve covered almost every interest group on the island to make things happen.”

In honor of this half-century anniversary, the Bainbridge Island Review will feature an article every month over the course of 2015.

Each story, a looking glass into the past, will bring back to life the milestones that brought the District to where it is today.

Between these short histories, Bainbridge residents can also celebrate the district’s 50 years, fittingly, in its parks with a series of events.

The 50-visit passport program welcomes all ages to walk a trail, visit a park, attend a program or swim. Participants will have their passport stamped with each activity, and at

50 stamps will receive a commemorative prize.

Volunteers are at the heart of the park district. In honor of those who give their time, this year the district will recognize volunteers who log 50 hours of service. Participants can select the area in which they’d like to volunteer, and a prize will be awarded after the hours are completed.

Fifty-stamp passport holders and 50-hour volunteers will also be entered in a raffle drawing at the District’s Birthday Bash Saturday, Aug. 29 at Battle Point Park. The whole family is invited for hands-on children’s activities, music, food and a slice of cake.

There’s plenty to celebrate with half a century, which calls for two birthday parties. Bainbridge parks will also be throwing a 50-cent pool party from 12 to 4 p.m. Sunday, May 24.

With admission, all ages are invited to enjoy food, games and swimming.

For more information on upcoming events in honor of the district’s 50 years or to volunteer, contact Lori Mejia at


Sign up now

Volunteers: Email Lori Mejia at for more information on opportunities or to begin your volunteer hours.

50 visits: Participants can pick up their passport at the Park District’s Strawberry Hill office.