View of island’s past

View of island’s past

<p>Friends of the Farms volunteers Greg Thies (left) and Bill McCoy cut and remove branches blocking a 1.5-mile trail taking shape around Day Road farmland on Bainbridge Island.</p><p>Tristan Baurick / Kitsap Sun</p>
Nov. 20, 2015

Bainbridge park district trails coordinator Erik Sherwin uses a skid steer to cut a new trail through farmland owned by the city. The U-shaped trail offers views of vineyards and vegetables growing on public and private farmlands between Day and Lovgreen roads.

Tristan Baurick / Kitsap Sun

Greg Thies, a volunteer with Bainbridge-based Friends of the Farms, cuts branches hanging over a new trail off Day Road on the north end of Bainbridge Island. The 1.5-mile trail offers views of the farms and vineyards between Day and Lovgreen roads.

Tristan Baurick / Kitsap Sun

Volunteers with Bainbridge-based Friends of the Farms clear brush to create a new trail on farmland owned by the city. The 1.5-mile trail forms a U off Day Road and runs alongside vineyards and pumpkin fields.

Tristan Baurick / Kitsap Sun

By of the Kitsap Sun

Nov. 20, 2015


BAINBRIDGE ISLAND — One of Bainbridge Island’s least-known trails has one of its best views.

On a clear day, the path near Day Road offers a panorama of vineyards, pumpkin fields and the Olympic Mountains.

“I guess I’ve been selfish because I walk this trail all the time,” said Bill McCoy, who lives nearby. “But I figured it’d be good to give back and get more people using it.”

McCoy was one of about a half-dozen volunteers who spent a recent rainy morning improving and lengthening a trail that offers a scenic 1.5-mile tour of the island’s farming district — an area that grows wine grapes, raspberries and a variety of farmers-market bound vegetables.

“Most trails on the island are in deep forest with only occasional breaks into open areas,” said Bart Berg, a landscape architect who organized the trail work party with Bainbrdge-based Friends of the Farms. “But here, it’s open-sky agriculture. It’s a totally different experience. I love it. I come here to soak in the sky.”

Berg said the trail will provide a safe detour for carless travelers.

“Bikers, horseback riders, walkers — all of them can get off Day Road, which has no shoulder, and get away from cars,” he said.

On Saturday, Friends of the Farms led work to cut a new trail section through the city’s Crawford Farm property, connecting it to dirt roads in the former M & E Tree Farm and an existing trail on property owned by Grace Church. Work on about 150 more feet is necessary to complete the U-shaped route. The trail can be accessed at an unmarked trailhead at the end of Vista Drive, about a block south of Day.

The Bainbridge park district, which provided a skid steer to cut the new trail section, and volunteer groups likely will provide much of the trail’s maintenance. Signs marking the trail will go up in the coming months.

The city owns 46 acres of preserved farmland between Day and Lovgreen roads on the island’s north end. The city began acquiring the properties about 15 years ago to prevent development and keep a semblance of the island’s farming traditions alive. Developing trails around the properties always was part of the plan, but there’s been little action until this year.

Friends of the Farms hopes a walk on the trail will foster greater appreciation for locally grown food.

“Instead of driving your car past and not really knowing what’s going on here, you can get up close and see the work that goes into it,” Berg said. “You might think, ‘Gosh, there’s a lot more to this than I thought.’”

Retired winemaker Gerard Bentryn granted easements through his property to fill in a few gaps on the trail. He continues to live on property overlooking the vineyards he recently passed to a new generation of winemakers.

“I hope people who walk around the trails are as enthralled by the beauty as I am all the time,” he said.

This story has been amended to clarify that the trailhead is on Vista Drive. A map that ran with the story had an incorrect trailhead location.

About Tristan Baurick

Tristan Baurick covers the environment and outdoors.