A new accessible trail leads to the new pavilion at Valley View Forest. Photo by Tim Lawson.
Cody Wayland and volunteer woodworker Steve Habersetzer. Photo by Tim Lawson.
As visitors to Valley View Forest make their way toward the natural studies area, they’ll now be met with an enchanting sight. There, in a clearing enclosed by alder, cedar, and sword ferns, they’ll find a stunning timber frame pavilion, built with the help of dedicated community volunteers using trees harvested from this forest.
A new 525-foot wheelchair-accessible trail leads from the parking lot to the new pavilion, which is now available for community use. (Read on for trail details.)
Test fitting the rafters.
The project was led by local designer-builder Cody Wayland from Wayland Constructive, a Land Trust “Save the Land” partner. Along with Cody and his team, an incredible group of skilled volunteer woodworkers contributed more than 500 volunteer hours to the joinery on the beams and posts for the pavilion during 2022, using lumber from 15 Douglas Fir trees set aside during the Land Trust’s selective harvest at Valley View in summer 2021.
“I chose a timber-frame design because I wanted the building to demonstrate, through the joinery, the strength of the wood — and the power of that wood coming from this forest,” Cody says. “The building is 100 percent unique. Any piece of wood you see in there truly is custom. And every piece you see is a tree from these same woods you’re able to explore around the pavilion.”
The pavilion in progress. Photo by Tim Lawson.
The pavilion’s design honors the trees: those that went into its construction, as well as those growing in the surrounding forest. With plenty of open space between the beams and a large skylight letting lots of natural light, the pavilion provides a tranquil shelter where school and community groups, families, and visitors of many ages and abilities can rest, reflect, and observe the beauty of Valley View Forest. Valley View is the future gateway to Chimacum Ridge Community Forest, which is now being planned.
“It’s truly a community project,” says Richard Tucker, Jefferson Land Trust’s Executive Director. “I’m very proud of the fact that local hands did all the work — and the craftsmanship that went into it is beyond compare. Through their commitment to the community, their talent, and their craft, this group has created something of real value for the people of Jefferson County and their future children and grandchildren.”
Steve Habersetzer doing joinery work for the pavilion in his shop. Photo by Tim Lawson.
Today, the pavilion stands as a testament to the exciting possibilities for local, sustainably harvested forest products to enrich the culture, economy, resilience, and spirit of our region. These products include wood and other related non-timber forest products, like cedar bark and cedar tips.
“I look at this structure as an example of what a community can do with the resources from the forest, and how a community can connect to its land,” says pavilion volunteer Tim Lawson.
A co-founder of the Port Townsend School of Woodworking, Tim is Vice President of the Land Trust’s Board of Directors and President of the Chimacum Ridge Community Forest Board of Managers. He’s also a member of the Splinter Group, which puts on the annual Port Townsend Woodworkers Show. In 2022, the show featured many pieces by local makers using wood from the same 2021 selective harvest.
He continues, “It’s our responsibility to help the community connect with and shape what this community forest will become.”
Land Trust Preserve Manager Carrie Clendaniel cut the “ribbon” at a small pavilion celebration to honor volunteers.
In early October, we gathered to thank and celebrate some of the many people who’ve helped us in this vision — including the pavilion joinery team, volunteers who helped build the trail, and others — at a cozy gathering in the new structure.
A cedar bough “ribbon” strung between two beams awaited the scissors of Land Trust Preserve Manager Carrie Clendaniel, who led the selective harvest process in 2021 from which the pavilion’s timber was chosen. As Carrie snipped the ribbon, cheers filled the pavilion.
Visitors can now access the pavilion on a new 525-foot wheelchair-accessible trail from the parking lot. The trail was built by our staff field crew with help from a Washington Conservation Corps crew. Our partners at DASH (Disability Awareness Starts Here!) helped us with an initial site assessment and provided accessible guidelines (wide, packed gravel, no sharp turns or steep grades) for its construction. We’re looking forward to welcoming DASH representatives to Valley View for a final trail review soon.
A segment of the accessible trail at Valley View Forest.
This trail project is part of our goal to increase accessibility at our nature preserves. Recently, we also installed an accessible trail, ramp to the picnic shelter, van-accessible parking spot, and wheelchair-accessible sanican at our popular Illahee Preserve.
Trail details: The trail is 525 feet long and 4-5 feet wide. The gradient is generally below 5%, though a section approximately 20 feet long approaches 12% as visitors climb above a small creek. The trail is made of compacted 1/4-inch minus gravel to provide a stable, level, hard, non-degrading, and non-slick surface for long-term durability and a comfortable visitor experience.
Directions to Valley View Forest at 1717 Center Rd: From Chimacum Corner, travel 1.7 miles south on Center Road to the gravel driveway on the left (opposite mailbox for 1720 Center Road, and approximately 300 feet south of Short’s Family Farm entrance). This leads to Valley View Forest public parking area and trailhead. Parking is available for up to 15 cars. Hours: 7:00 am to 7:00 pm daily.
Interested in gathering a larger (6+) group at the pavilion? We request that you let us know by emailing info[at]saveland.org so that we can manage any overlapping engagements.
To keep informed about progress on the forest and opportunities to get involved, please sign up for forest-related news here.
Preserve Manager Carrie Clendaniel cutting the cedar bough “ribbon” to open the new pavilion.