2022 April Newsletter

Letter from our president, Jeff Wirtz

Greetings to all our Foundation friends,

It’s gearing up to be a busy year in Hidden Valley! This summer, we’ll begin work on the construction of a new education pavilion in Hidden Valley. We’ll also be replacing our bridge over Wildcat Creek. We’ll share our progress on these projects along the way and look forward to welcoming old and new friends to celebrate both projects around Fall for Fish, our annual fundraising event, on Saturday, Oct. 15.

The Keta Legacy Foundation, also known as the Mountaineers Foundation, is incredibly excited to share a list of the many recipients of our community grants program. They are highlighted in the “Inspire” section of this newsletter. Congratulations to every grant recipient and all the great work that they do to conserve and preserve the valuable spaces that bring us so much joy!

A big “thank you” to everyone who participated in the annual Kitsap Great Give and the Washington GiveBIG campaigns. Your contributions make our work to preserve and share our cherished Rhododendron Preserve with visitors possible.

Thank you, as always, for your support and active interest in our work. We appreciate you.

Stay healthy and well,

— Jeff Wirtz
President, Keta Legacy Foundation,
also known as Mountaineers Foundation


Hidden Valley Past, Present, Future

creek on the rhododendron preserveThere are a lot of exciting things happening in Hidden Valley this year! Hidden Valley is a section of our Rhododendron Preserve that’s currently closed to the public but, if everything goes as planned this year, that will change before the salmon return to spawn.

Hidden Valley is located at the confluence of Lost and Wildcat creeks. These two creeks come together and form Chico Creek, which flows into Dyes Inlet. The lush bottom land and proximity to three creeks made Hidden Valley an ideal homestead location. And that’s where our recorded history of Hidden Valley begins.


Under the Homestead Act of 1862, Alfred Taylor claimed the 67¼ acres that originally made up Hidden Valley. However, in Taylor’s own words, “I’m no woodsman and the screeching of the wildcats fair drives me crazy.” So, in 1890 Taylor sold the property to John Lewis and his family. The Lewis family lived there until 1903 when Hidden Valley was sold to land speculator John McClain. A chance meeting between McClain and S. Edward Pascall on the ferry Norwood resulted in Pascall purchasing the property in 1907 and settling there with his wife and two daughters, Mary and Patience.

The Pascalls lived in Hidden Valley as subsistence farmers, growing their own food and making nearly everything that they needed. Materials that they couldn’t make themselves were packed in on their backs or brought down the hill on a trolley that ran on wooden tracks. The family was very happy in Hidden Valley. They had no near neighbors, but that didn’t mean they didn’t have visitors.

In 1909, a group of Mountaineer hikers looking for the blooming rhododendrons at Wildcat Lake took a wrong turn and found their way to Hidden Valley. The Pascalls welcomed the group and gave them permission to have their lunch in the valley. The Mountaineers on that hike made such a positive impression on the Pascalls that they invited the group to return, and a long friendship developed. The Mountaineers purchased adjoining property and eventually built what is now The Mountaineers Kitsap Cabin, which is on the Washington State Historic Register, as well as the Kitsap Forest Theater.

In 1955, Mary Pascall Remy and her sister Patience Pascall downsized their homestead and donated 40 acres to The Mountaineers for conservation, educational, and recreation purposes.

By 1968, Patience Pascall was the only surviving member of family, making it increasingly difficult for her to manage everything on her own. Harry Murray and his family moved into Hidden Valley as tenants and caretakers. It was also this year that the driveway into Hidden Valley was built, the first road ever into Hidden Valley.

When Patience Lincoln Pascall passed away in 1978, she left Hidden Valley to the Foundation, with Harry Murray having a lifetime tenancy. This meant that while the land belonged to the Foundation, Murray could live there as if the property were his own, which he did until his death in 2001.


Upon the death of Harry Murray, the property became entirely that of the Foundation. Since that time, the Foundation has been clearing the valley of hazards, demolishing unsafe structures, and giving thoughtful consideration of how best to use the Pascall gift in a way that would honor the history and the environmental value of the property. The Foundation also wants to be sensitive to the fact that Hidden Valley is part of the Suquamish Tribe’s usual and accustomed lands, working alongside the Tribe to ensure thoughtful environmental stewardship and seeking their guidance on projects and restoration work.

While the Foundation has been putting the final touches on our future plans for Hidden Valley, the valley hasn’t been idle. Fisheries biologists from the Tribe use the confluence to conduct annual smolt counts on both Lost and Wildcat creeks. Being able to set up traps at the end of each of these creeks makes for an accurate count of the fish leaving the system. The Foundation has also used the space for field trips, educational events, and restoration projects. Washington Conservation Corps has been engaged regularly to remove invasive species. Girl Scouts and the Foundation Board have planted trees and native species. In addition, a lot of planning, discussion, and fundraising has taken place.


Like all the Rhododendron Preserve, Hidden Valley is an incredible education resource. This year buildings will be demolished and removed, and a new education pavilion will be built. In addition, a new bridge will be constructed across Wildcat Creek.

In addition to the constructing the pavilion and bridge, we’ve hired a contractor to build a protective deck around Big Tree that will protect the roots, but also still allow visitors to touch the tree.

We are proud of the Foundation’s legacy in Hidden Valley and are excited to see all the planning, hard work and partnerships, as well as fundraising, come together.

-Katha Miller-Winder
Chair of the Education Committee


The Power of Community Grants

The Foundation is proud to be able to provide community grants to groups and programs across Washington state and beyond. These grants allow underserved communities to enjoy our great outdoors, support critical conservation efforts, and boost educational work that keep green spaces green and preserve critical areas, including our waterways, as well as inspire the next generation of conservationists.

This year, we awarded a total of nine grants to the following deserving groups:

American Rivers: American Rivers—along with their partner, the Vamos Outdoors Project—is organizing a rafting and river education trip for Latin youth on the North Fork Nooksack River in June 2022. The goal of this trip is to introduce the next generation of river stewards to the ecological gem that is the Nooksack River. With this trip, they hope to invite historically underrepresented communities to the river’s recreation community and build a stronger, more diverse team of river advocates.

Braided River: This group is using an innovative multimedia citizen action campaign to celebrate, protect, and restore Puget Sound. It began with an award-winning book published in Fall 2019, and has expanded to include live events, earned media, bus and transit signs, a library poster contest, and a multimedia traveling exhibit. The Foundation’s grant will be used to extend the tour of the multimedia exhibit around Puget Sound and provide additional partner support to venues around the Salish Sea to leverage the suite of the group’s educational resources.

Pacific Shellfish Institute: The Pacific Shellfish Institute will use its grant to expand its “Exploring Plankton!” lendable backpacks program in partnership with the Timberland Regional Library, teachers, and local School District Science Coordinators. The Institute will create two backpacks for the Library of Things Program at Timberland Regional Library and an additional backpack that will be available to classrooms and the public directly through the Institute.

Raincoast Conservation Foundation: The grant money provided by the Foundation will support the third season of Raincoast’s interactive online education program, Coastal Insights. The funding will also support the running of our Student Innovation Contest, in partnership with Take A Stand: Youth for Conservation.

RE Sources: The grant will support The Green Team Network (GTN), which is a free program for all Whatcom County K-8 students. It provides hands-on, locally relevant lessons and learning activities focused on energy efficiency, water conservation, waste reduction and recycling, and climate science and impacts. RE Sources staff support GTN members, including teachers and volunteer mentors, as they explore the sustainability of their school and then plan and implement their own student-led sustainability project.

The Student Conservation Association: The grant will fund The Student Conservation Association’s (SCA) Seattle Community Crews, which offer financially insecure and diverse urban youth a paid opportunity to gain environmental education and workforce development skills through hands-on conservation projects at local parks and green spaces. SCA operates two to four Community Crews in the Seattle area each summer, each comprised of 5-8 high school youth and 1-2 leaders who complete four weeks of conservation service, building and repairing trails; cleaning shorelines; tracking and monitoring invasive species; and restoring habitats for native species.

Vashon Nature Center: Grant dollars will allow the Vashon Nature Center to participate in an on-going community science effort to estimate wildlife population sizes for black bear, cougar, black-tailed deer, Roosevelt elk, bobcat, and coyote throughout the Salish Sea. This ground-breaking non-invasive study was started by Olympic Cougar Project, which is a partnership between Panthera and four tribal nations.

Washington Association of Land Trusts: Grant funds will be used to support the Northwest Land Camp 2022 and underwrite a six-part Equitable Communications in Land Conservation workshop series. Collectively, the group’s cutting-edge environmental education events are expected to attract over 200 land conservation practitioners working in the Salish Sea Ecoregion.

Washington Environmental Council: The grant will support their public conservation education work around threats to the survival of the critically endangered Southern Resident orcas, specifically their work on Orca Month and the Give Them Space campaign. The Give Them Space campaign is a public engagement effort to reduce vessel noise and disturbance around the orcas in Puget Sound.

The Foundation is incredibly honored to support these groups this year – and many others over the years – and the good work that they do across our state and beyond. They represent the spirit and legacy of the Foundation’s work to educate, inspire and preserve.

-Renee Johnson
Chair of the Grants Committee


Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

We’ve all heard about the three ‘Rs” – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. We’ve all heard that mantra over and over again. And while we all know why it’s important to recycle, there’s a lot less emphasis on the other two Rs.

Most of us have a recycling bin in our homes. We know recycling is necessary and that it matters. We’re a little less clear about why it is vital to reduce and reuse. We could learn a lot by watching nature’s example. Nature is all about reducing, reusing and recycling. Nothing in nature is ever wasted and everything serves multiple purposes.

Let’s start with “reduce.” How does nature reduce? When we talk about nature we use words like abundance, generous and plenty. While there is competition for resources in nature, plants and animals don’t take more than they need. They don’t hoard resources. A wolf pack, for example, doesn’t kill two deer when one is enough to feed the pack. “Reduce” is a reminder for people to do like nature and only use the resources we need and not amass more than we can use.

“Reuse” is what nature does best. Everything in nature has multiple uses. This pile of branches on our Rhododendron Preserve property was once tree limbs that held leaves that made food for the tree. When the leaves fall, they are reused as a blanket for the soil, holding in moisture and providing protection for insects, grubs and larvae while they sleep and grow over the winter. The leaves are also food for these small creatures and fungi. As the leaves are eaten and eroded by weather they are recycled into new soil.

It’s vital that we humans think and act more like nature. It doesn’t have to start with major life changes; it can begin with small steps. My family subscribes to the newspaper. When we are finished reading the paper, we give it to a friend who uses it to line her bird cages. When the birds are done with it, she adds the newspaper to her compost bin where it breaks down and becomes soil for the herbs she grows. Instead of simply one use then going off to the recycling center, the paper serves three purposes ending up recycled back into nature.

We encourage you to think about the small things you can do to reduce, reuse, and finally recycle.

-Katha Miller-Winder
Chair of the Education Committee


Upcoming events and reminders

  • A new pavilion and bridge in Hidden Valley will be constructed this summer with a completion date of mid-October. This project has taken 5+ years of planning, fundraising, and many board volunteer hours to get where it is today.
  • Save the date: Fall for Fish annual fundraising event, Oct. 15, 2022.
  • Mark your calendar for Giving Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022.