Don't Miss: King County Native Plant Salvage

By Jennifer Power

Some of my favorite winter memories are of the King County Native Plant Salvage: waking up early, bundling myself in thermals, and braving the icy woods in search of native plants to save from bulldozing and send off to new homes in restoration projects around King County. At the end of the morning, I was always rewarded with muddy boots, a sense of accomplishment, and some native plants I could bring home for my own garden.

How does the Salvage work? King County identifies natural areas that are slated for development, and calls for volunteers to come remove healthy native plants from the site. These plants are later replanted (also by volunteers) around the County, in salmon habitat restoration projects.

While it’s a great way to spend a Saturday morning, the KCNPS isn’t just a walk in the woods. The activity promotes genetic diversity at restoration sites, saves native plants that would have been destroyed in the course of the development of forested land, and secures plants for the County's restoration sites for a low cost. When the King County Native Plant Salvage was started in 1992, it was the first program of its kind in the Pacific Northwest.

Though development of forested land always leaves a larger footprint than resourceful strategies like infill and brownfield redevelopment, it still happens in King County and around the country. Doing the best we can to ensure that new development is handled responsibly and resourcefully from start to finish is one way to ensure a future of smart growth for Seattle and beyond.

If you'd like to get your own hands dirty, the next King County Native Plant Salvage is this Saturday, February 7th from 9am to noon. To RSVP, call Cindy Young at 206-296-8065 or email

Young volunteers carrying salvaged plants
(Source: KCNPS Seventeen-Year Summary, 2008, with permission)

Directions to salvage site at Redmond Ridge near Redmond
From I-405, I-5 or Hwy 520, drive Eastbound 520 through Redmond and continue north onto Avondale Road. Turn right (east) onto Novelty Hill Road. Turn right (south) onto Redmond Ridge Dr. NE. Turn left onto NE Market Place Dr. Watch for signs directing you to the site.

Notes: A parent or guardian must accompany volunteers under 16 years old. Dress for the weather and be prepared to get dirty. Sturdy shoes or boots are recommended. KCNPS will provide gloves, tools and light refreshments.

Not a morning person? Volunteers are also needed at the Native Plant Holding Facility from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. to help pot up the salvaged plants. Volunteers who help with potting are eligible for free native plants.

Directions to the Native Plant Holding Facility:
From I-5 or I-405, take I-90 east to Highland Drive exit (exit 18) in Issaquah. Stay left on the off ramp to continue onto Highland Drive through several lights. Turn right onto Issaquah–Fall City Road. Just past Endeavor Elementary School, stay straight onto Duthie Hill Road. The holding facility is in Duthie Hill Park (on the right) at 27101 Duthie Hill Road.

Jennifer Power has been a happy resident of Seattle since 2002 and hopes she never has to leave. She writes about her life in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood at Life on the Hill and Other Stories.

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