Working with Conservation Northwest at Gold Creek Pond

Working with Conservation Northwest at Gold Creek Pond

By: Shelby October 14, 2014 11:00 am 1 comment

After spending all summer hiking and camping, we’ve been wanting to give back to nature and the outdoors. I discovered Conservation Northwest through Facebook, and happened to see a planting party scheduled for a few weeks from then. Perfect! I thought, and RSVP’d. And it turned out, it was perfect!

goldcreekpond

Planting began early(-ish… 9:30) on a Saturday morning, but we arrived a little bit late, around 10:00. Alison and her wonderful intern were waiting for us in the parking lot to meet us and give us some direction, which was amazing. She handed us tools, sort of showed us the lay of the land, and we went off to work digging holes and planting trees. The group has been doing a lot of work on the Gold Creek Pond area, working to restore and stabilize the soil near Gold Creek and plant shade trees to cool the water and provide nice spawning areas for salmon. There were Forest Service botanists placing plants in their desired spots, and lots of shovels, pickaxes, and mulch lying around for people to grab and use. It only took a couple plantings to get into the swing of things, and soon enough I was snagging rocks out of the soil, pulling weeds, and planting trees at a fairly rapid rate.

Crappy Photo of Salmon in Gold Creek

Crappy Photo of Salmon in Gold Creek

As I was pulling weeds out of the loose soil and trying not to slide into the water, somebody noticed beautiful pink sockeye salmon slowly making their way upstream behind me. As the shallow water streamed past them, they looked almost like long pink flowers waving in the water. It was hard to focus on the weed pulling after that, because the salmon were so mesmerizing in the water. Am I part bear? I eventually saw one jump its way up the small cascade caused by a fallen log. We stood there for a while and watched the salmon queue up in the current, almost as though they were psyching themselves up to jump up to the next level.

Gold Creek Pond

I planted this!

I planted this!

Compelling shot of Spenser

Compelling shot of Spenser pulling rocks out of the ground

Throughout the day, we planted dogwood, Spirea, and one other small plant that I never caught the name of, all along the sloping shore of the creek. Then, along the edge of the pond, after lunch, we pulled up multiple wheelbarrows’ worth of St. Johns wort and oxeye daisy, all without trying to disturb the glorious, thick moss that was spread across the ground. We all chatted with each other, about our favorite hikes, camping spots, things we love about Washington, etc. One woman asked me “So how long have you been doing conservation work?” I paused and said “I guess since today!” It felt good being asked that. I had almost forgotten that we were out there for a reason. Who knew digging up rocks and pulling weeds could be so enjoyable?

Gold Creek Work

Compelling shot of some trees before planting

Compelling shot of some trees before planting

Gold Creek Valley and Chikamin Peak

Gold Creek Valley and Chikamin Peak

After we finished planting trees and pulling weeds, we took a quick spin around the pond, learning as much as we could about the area. I was surprised to learn that the pond was almost completely manmade. In the 70s and 80s, the area served as a gravel pit for the construction of Interstate 90. Since then, multiple agencies have come together to transform this once gaping hole into a serene bit of ADA-accessible wilderness that nearly everybody can enjoy.

The trail around the lake is pristine and gorgeous

The trail around the lake is pristine and gorgeous

Directions to Gold Creek Pond: From Interstate 90, take exit 54, 2 miles east of Snoqualmie Pass summit. Turn north onto FR 4832 and then east, going parallel to the interstate for about a mile. Then take a left onto Gold Creek Road (142) and take another left into the parking lot after about .3 mile.

Northwest Forest Pass required

1 Comment

  • Feel free to come home and pull weeds and dig up rocks, anytime! We’ve got plenty! 🙂

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