Welcome

Main trail near the Crossroads

The Illahee Preserve is a Kitsap County Heritage Park which includes:
  • 545 acres of preserve lands.
  • Approximately five miles of trails in the active use area of the Preserve.
  • Wildlife - including over 55 species of birds sighted by the Kitsap Audubon Society.
  • Portions of Illahee Creek, a fish-bearing stream containing coho, chum, cutthroat and steelhead.
  • Major parts of a nearly self-contained, undeveloped watershed draining into Puget Sound.

Maps

Timbers Edge Capital Campaign

We need you help! We are raising funds through our Timbers Edge Capital Campaign to protect land slated for development next to the Preserve and abutting Illahee Creek.

Participate in the Stewardhip Plan Update

Learn how you can participate in our Illahee Preserve Stewardship Plan Update!

Brief History of Illahee Preserve

Native Americans called Illahee “a place to rest,” and treasured the forest abundant with wildlife, Douglas Fir, Red Alder, Maple and Western Red Cedar. In approximately 1732 a fire of unknown origin opened the canopy, allowing Western White Pine and Western Hemlock to sprout up among the more established species. Time passed, the forest recovered, and the natives returned to rest. Soon immigrants came and homesteads were established. A 640-acre piece of this land became the Illahee Trust Land by federal decree. Timber companies clear cut most of the trees in the 1930’s. Some of the Douglas Fir and Western White Pine were spared, however, and they stand majestically as 275-year-old specimens today. Over the years various efforts were undertaken to clear cut this forest again and develop it for commercial uses. A 25-year local campaign convinced farsighted government leaders and agencies to designate the land as park and preserve. Today, the all volunteer Illahee Preserve Stewardship Committee works hand in hand with Kitsap County Parks and Recreation and the Illahee Forest Preserve non-profit to manage this precious urban reserve.

Illahee Film

The Illahee Forest Preserve has created a film about the history of Illahee and the Preserve, and our conservation efforts. Get a hand delivered DVD of “Illahee: Saving Puget Sound One Watershed at a Time” for a small donation to further our work. Makes a great gift!

Almira parking lot sign

Illahee Preserve Goals

  • To establish and develop a premiere nature preserve and park for the education and enjoyment of present and future generations.
  • To preserve to the greatest extent possible the natural character of Illahee forest lands and the Illahee Creek watershed, including vegetation and wildlife habitat.
  • To provide limited appropriate active and passive recreational opportunities while maintaining sensitivity to the Preserve as a nature and wildlife habitat conservation area.
  • To solicit the support and help of local residents, organizations, schools, businesses, government agencies, and Native American nations to carry out the goals and visions for the Preserve.

Mallards near the Almira parking lot

Future Plans and Dreams

  • Establishment of interpretive walking trails.
  • Restoration of a salmon stream to near historic conditions.
  • Acquisition of additional Preserve properties.
  • Creation of an interpretative center.

Management

The Illahee Preserve is managed locally by volunteers on the Illahee Preserve Stewardship Committee, under the purview of the Kitsap County Parks Department. The Illahee Forest Preserve organization is a non-profit dedicated to preserving, maintaining, and enhancing the Illahee Preserve. The Illahee Forest Preserve group works closely with the Illahee Preserve Stewardship committee, the county, and the community to further these goals. This website is run by the Illahee Forest Preserve to facilitate coordination between the different interested parties and to involve the public. Take a look at the projects we are working on.

Become A Volunteer & Supporter

You are invited to help develop and maintain this special and unique area for the enjoyment of this and future generations. We welcome your help and support. Consider attending one of our monthly public meetings or other events. Public meetings are generally held the third Tuesday of every month.