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Hylebos Day honors local icon

By Margo Hoffman, The Mirror

According to some Federal Way folks, the West Hylebos Wetlands is the soul of Federal Way. And what better way to celebrate Federal Way than to give the Hylebos its very own day?

The Federal Way City Council proclaimed at a meeting April 15 that the first Saturday in each May will officially be Hylebos Day in Federal Way.

Thousands of volunteers led by Friends of the Hylebos have worked to preserve and restore 745 acres and 10 miles of the Hylebos Creek, the council noted in its proclamation. More than 410 acres have been preserved so far. The Friends of the Hylebos celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.

“It’s important because it reminds us not only to celebrate and help protect the Hylebos Creek and the Hylebos Wetlands, but also to enjoy it,” said Chris Carrel, executive director of Friends of the Hylebos.

“I think having a Hylebos Day is an important statement from the city... We have wonderful natural resources and we care about them,” Carrel said. “I think it says a lot about who we are as a city.”

The first Hylebos Day will be celebrated with a ribbon cutting ceremony and a grand re-opening of the West Hylebos Wetlands. The Hylebos park was recently closed to the public for seven months while construction was completed on a new boardwalk.

The ribbon cutting is scheduled for 2 p.m. May 3, with an open house running from 3 to 5 p.m. that day.

Instead of cutting a traditional ribbon, public officials at the Hylebos event will cut a ribbon made of Himalayan Blackberry.

“We thought it would be fun to do something different,” Carrel said. “We’re always fighting Himalayan Blackberry and it’s a nasty, invasive, non-native plant... It’s a threat to the health of the forest.”

Carrel said he hopes that Hylebos Day will draw more volunteers to continue work on restoring the creek and wetlands.

“If Hylebos Day brings more people into the effort to protect and restore the Hylebos... I think it will be a smashing success,” he said.

Look in next week’s Mirror for a story about the Hylebos 25th anniversary and the founders of Friends of the Hylebos.

Contact Margo Hoffman: mhorner@fedwaymirror.com or (253) 925-5565.

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