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Maury Island Natural Area Cleanup Updates – June 2018

The comment period for the Maury Island Natural Area Cleanup Action Plan has closed. King County currently working with the Department of Ecology on responses to address each comment. Those responses are estimated to be available on Ecology’s website in late July/early August. In the meantime, based on public comment, King County is making some adjustments to the cleanup proposal.

 

1.      Trail Closures. King County has decided not to close any trails for now. All trails will be capped as part of the cleanup.

 

2.      Trailhead Parking. Due to the regional significance of this park, the increasing number of visitors it continues to draw from both on and off island, as well as the need to address  contamination from the former skeet range, King County Parks plans to move forward with the parking area on SW 260th St. An updated figure showing the parking lot location and size relative to the surrounding area is available here. The current design minimizes the amount of fill material and the need to remove mature trees, while addressing the need to limit the possibility of exposure to contaminants leftover from the Skeet Range.  This location was one of three identified in the 2013 Draft Site Management Plan and since Parks already has to do something to address contamination from the former skeet range, putting the parking here allows Parks to cost effectively achieve two objectives at one time. To help address concerns, Parks will incorporate mitigation measures directing parks users to access the parking area from the main road, rather than through the neighborhood. Parks is open to suggestions for other mitigation measures that could be incorporated as well. 

 

3.      Planning Advisory Group (PAG). Other remaining items related to the cleanup (e.g.,  revegetation approaches for future areas, mitigation measures for the new parking area) as well other as items covered in the Site Management Plan, are all open for discussion. Parks is going to be reconvening the Planning Advisory Group this Fall to continue those discussions and finalize the Site Management Plan.

 

Other upcoming activities include:

  • Shoreline restoration planting, similar to what has occurred at Maury Island Marine Park
  • Continued maintenance and repair of existing trails, including the access road/trail near the recently completed restoration site and trails in the steeper bluff areas
  • Continued planning and development of the site management and forest stewardship plans, with more updates on those plans coming later in 2018

Located on the southeast shore of Maury Island on lands formerly operated as a sand and gravel mine, the Maury Island Natural Area is now a 275-acre park. The park contains pure Madrone forests and habitat that supports endangered species, such as Chinook salmon, orca and bull trout. The site’s nearly one mile of shoreline is the longest undeveloped stretch of Puget Sound shoreline in King County. When combined with the nearby 320-acre Maury Island Marine Park, the two parks represent the largest public holding of protected marine shoreline in all of Puget Sound.

Citizen activists and environmental groups fought plans for mine expansion and advocated for public acquisition of the site, which was purchased in December 2010. Acquisition funding came from the King County Conservation Futures Tax, Washington State Department of Ecology ASARCO Settlement fund and an amendment to CalPortland’s existing royalty agreement for another mining site. In addition, community groups including Forterra, People For Puget Sound, Preserve Our Islands, Vashon-Maury Island Land Trust, and Washington Environmental Council began a fundraising campaign to help ensure the site would be protected and cared for in perpetuity.

Due to previous mining activity and the site's location within the historic Tacoma Smelter plume, plans for land reclamation and soil remediation have been an integral part of site management planning. King County Parks has been working with a planning advisory group, which helped identify appropriate site uses and amenities, such as trail improvements, water access, restroom facilities, picnic areas and parking. We will finalize those recommendations as part of the planning process and in coordination with the Washington Department of Ecology.

Access: The park can be reached from Seattle by the Fauntleroy-Vashon ferry and from Tacoma by the Point Defiance-Tahlequah ferry. Once on Maury Island, head south on Dockton Road SW, east on SW 260th St. There is no formal access or parking on site, but non-motorized access is allowed via the gated maintenance road.