Instead of waiting in long lines at stores or fighting traffic, about 20 volunteered Friday to remove invasive blackberry plants and enjoy a nature walk at the Cumberland Creek Conservation Area, a 211-acre Skagit Land Trust property east of Day Creek.

The land trust has hosted Opt Outside volunteer events on Black Friday for the past couple years, said Conservation Director Michael Kirshenbaum.

“It’s a great turnout for a beautiful, frigid day,” he said. “It’s an opportunity for the community to connect with the places we love.”

Six kids joined the 20 adult volunteers.

Lori Stolee of Mount Vernon, daughter Jessica Stolee and her daughter Vienna Filbert, 8, of Sedro-Woolley volunteered together.

Vienna said she wanted to help clear the area to make more habitat for animals.

“She said ‘Mom, we have to do this,’” Jessica Stolee said.

Jim Johnson, volunteer land steward for the property, said the land trust acquired the Cumberland Creek property in 2006. In 2014, the land trust worked with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Skagit River System Cooperative, Skagit County and Seattle City Light to reroute the creek to its natural channel, which created 4,000 feet of salmon spawning habitat.

Johnson said surveys have recorded steelhead and pink, chinook, coho and chum salmon spawning in the creek. The area also supports beaver, otter, mink and bird species.

He said the property is significant because it includes low-lying forest in the river floodplain, compared to other areas of the river bank that have armored shorelines.

The area includes 2 miles of public trails.

Volunteer Tracy Ouellette of Edison said she wanted to support the land trust’s work and introduce daughter Jayden, 5, to an easy hike.

“It beats shopping,” she said.

— Reporter Jacqueline Allison: jallison@skagitpublishing.com, 360-416-2145, Twitter: @Jacqueline_SVH

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