Letters to the Editor

Citizens make Hylebos a gem

All the brochures and Web sites promoting the city of Federal Way prominently mention West Hylebos State Park as a place of exceptional natural beauty. This unusual piece of real estate, virtually ignored by the state parks department, is one of the last remaining wetlands in urban Puget Sound. We have good reason to be proud of the park and the whole Hylebos watershed in which it falls. The Hylebos Creek and wetlands are seeing a recovery in salmon populations and water quality as a result of community support and volunteerism.

About once a quarter, city citizens clean up garbage, plant trees, remove blackberries, monitor water quality and count returning salmon in order to preserve this gem.

Even though Federal Way is at the border of King County, and large parts of the Hylebos watershed are in unincorporated areas, the County Council recently allocated $350,000 toward the restoration of the watershed and acquisition of bordering property. In a year when dollars are extremely tight and restoration monies are fought over tooth and nail, the council recognized Hylebos Creek ŽÐŽÐ our creek ŽÐŽÐ as an important resource, both for fish and for people.

While we must applaud the prime movers (County Council members Pete von Reichbauer and Larry Phillips and County Executive Ron Sims), the reason why the Hylebos is seen as worthwhile is because of community action and support.

No agency is going to throw money at a chunk of open space that no one cares about or takes care of. The Hylebos remains a gem and continues to improve by the actions of local citizens and the city.

Anyone wishing to experience the thrill of community camaraderie and the satisfaction of restoring wildlife habitat need only call the Friends of the Hylebos Wetlands (929-1519) to volunteer.

Also, the city wants your input regarding a proposed trail system which would allow citizens to visit currently inaccessible parts of the creek without impacting salmon habitat. Simply complete the on-line survey at www.ci.federal-way.wa.us.

So bravo to the County Council, the city of Federal Way and us.

Eric Stavney

Federal Way

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