The views of the mountains surrounding us are inspirational, but excitement and marvel await those who trek into these remote natural settings. Anyone can get an up-close and personal experience in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. Snoqualmie Ranger District at North Bend is introducing a new interpretive program near Snoqualmie Pass this summer.
This series guides visitors through 90-minute nature walks to Gold Creek Pond in the Gold Creek Valley just east of Snoqualmie Pass summit. Rangers will teach participants about resident bull trout, beaver and the nature of invasive plants and animals. Visitors can view Osprey, beaver, elk and kokanee, which are landlocked sockeye salmon. Gold Creek Pond holds a Watchable Wildlife designation, and the trail accommodates all ages and abilities with ADA accessibility. The walks will follow a one-mile paved loop with no climbing involved.
Tours are Saturdays at 10 a.m. and Sundays at 1 p.m. beginning July 19 and ending Sept. 14, 2008. Call 425-434-6111, Thursday through Monday, 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. for reservations or information. Reservations are required. A $10 donation per person is requested to offset the cost of the program.
Gold Creek Pond Offers Natural Solace for TLC
Volunteers, Forest Service employees and their partners gathered for a day of work and camaraderie, as well as to enjoy and enhance a unique natural setting near the I-90 Snoqualmie Pass in July. Volunteers pulled noxious weeds, built bird boxes and removed brush to improve the view from the picnic area at Gold Creek Pond. Participants also joined guides for an educational hike around the pond.
The guides explained how construction crews dug gravel from a quarry along I-90 during the freeway’s construction. The quarry immediately filled with water, and the resulting pond is now a scenic destination within close distance to one of the busiest freeways in the Puget Sound area. But it requires a lot of volunteer maintenance to keep things beautiful and accessible.
“I don’t think people realize how much use the forest gets,” said Harold Buresh, who spends most of his free-time organizing work crews for Volunteers for Outdoor Washington or VOW. VOW will celebrate its 25th anniversary this month, conducting volunteer work projects every weekend at Gold Creek Pond. They plan to fix a boardwalk that collapsed under snow last winter to maintain ADA accessibility.
“We don’t just need people to work on trails,” said Buresh. He said they need carpenters, photographers, reporters, office workers or anything people want to volunteer, “You don’t have to be a mountain climber to help out.”
People interested in volunteering can contact Volunteers for Outdoor Washington: 206-517-3019 or email@example.com.