Cowling Creek Forest Preserve
The 42-acre Cowling Creek Forest Preserve includes scenic trails that wind through mature forest along Cowling and North Cowling Creek. The Preserve’s forest helps to protect the vital salmon habitat in these streams, which was formerly the site of Suquamish Tribe’s Cowling Creek Hatchery. This hatchery played a critical role in restoring chum salmon runs to east Kitsap County streams between 1977 and 2002.
Much of the preserve was previously owned by Virginia Cowling – an inspirational advocate for land protection in the region. Cowling Creek was named for Virginia and her husband Bill Cowling when the Suquamish Tribe placed the aforementioned fish hatchery on the creek running through their property. Virginia was a strong advocate for the Suquamish Tribe’s salmon recovery efforts, and donated her home and surrounding 14 acres to the Tribe to be used as a salmon education and research center. She also donated 10 acres of land to Great Peninsula Conservancy as the nucleus for the growing Cowling Creek Forest Preserve. Friends of Miller Bay, an organization Virginia helped found, then raised the funds to purchase an additional 18 acres from a neighbor. This all-volunteer group remains active as stewards of the preserve.