By Katie Kirdahy, Volunteer Coordinator
Dan Miszewski was at Yelm Cinemas one day in 2015 when he saw
an ad for the Nisqually Land Trust. He’d been a longtime volunteer with the
Washington Trails Association and Mount Rainier National Park Associates, but he was looking for something closer to home. He began coming to our weekly work parties, and after a few months he joined our Site Steward program and “adopted” our Lower Reach Protected Area, on the Nisqually River near Yelm.
The Lower Reach hasn’t been the same since.
Dan turned out to be hardworking and a bunch of fun. Site stewards are responsible mainly for monitoring their properties, but Dan has gone well beyond that. He’s accelerated habitat restoration, spending over sixty hours caring for his site last year alone.
The Lower Reach has long had issues with dumping, camping, vehicle trespass, firewood robbery, and Scotch broom infestation. Dan tackled them head on. He cleaned up dumpsites and planted ferns and scattered logs to disguise and obstruct old four-wheeling paths. Over the winter, he also planted more than one hundred salvaged trees.
When Dan isn’t planting he’s pulling Scotch broom and generally keeping a watchful eye on this riparian forest and its shoreline, which provides high-quality habitat for all five species of native Pacific salmon. And Dan’s site-visit reports are funny and positive, showing his connection to the outdoors: “Nature is very much reclaiming the place, the two side roads are just covered with wild grass and flowers.”
Thanks to Dan for all he’s done for the Land Trust. His work has been invaluable and we hope he sticks around for a while!