Three Forks is one of my favorite places to work because it has a great view of the south side of Mt. Si, which is practically across the road. I worked there many times last summer, with groups large and small — just a few Parks staff, the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust and employees of the Norton Group (who gave us a BBQ lunch!), students from Ryther, and others I’m sure. What we had done is work on clearing blackberry from along the shoreline and in a small meadow.
Working again in the fall to plant in the cleared areas gave me a good sense of the cycle of restoration work. I’ve been through that cycle several times with North Beach Park, of course, but I felt it strongly Saturday morning.
The weather was perfect: brilliantly sunny, with an overnight frost that made the morning beautiful.
Unfortunately, the overnight cold temperatures had turned the potted plants into potted popsicles. We spent the first hour digging holes to give the plants time to thaw.
About eight members of the Northwest Fly Anglers joined us. Over the course of about four hours, collectively we planted nearly 300 plants. Trees and shrubs along the shoreline, and trees a little upland.
The planting had been delayed by three weeks, two floods, and four cancelled events, as the Parks project manager put it. Flooding had moved lots of plants, so before the volunteers arrived Parks staff had to restage them. You could see the flooding in two ways. Many plants had a layer of river silt on top of the potting soil.
Another way you could see the effects of the flooding was that many of the pots had a layer of dirt on one side.
When I had last been to this site in early August, there was a gravel bar large enough to comfortably hold 50 people for lunch. Here it is from last Saturday.
Keep in mind that this is several feet below the height of the flood — where my coworker (she’s brandishing the shovel) and I are standing would have been a couple feet under water.
The sun was warm enough to keep us comfortable as we worked. We were even able to wrap up early enough for the Parks project manager to give the fly fishermen a brief tour of the site, including Morgan Creek and the conjunction of Morgan Creek and the Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie.
If I work for King County Parks again next summer, I’m sure I’ll return to this site several times. The plants will need mulching and weeding, and maybe watering. There’s also more blackberry to remove.
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