While commuting Highway 305 on Bainbridge Island most drivers are probably unaware that some of the highway parallels a trail located in a park with the biggest ledum bog in the state. Or that some of the land in the park was once a dairy farm owned by the founder of Port Madison on Bainbridge. Or that the park gate features a rat sculpture.
Meigs Park consists of 120 acres of preserved land, some acquired by the Bainbridge Parks Department and Bainbridge Island Land Trust in 1992 and some under a joint agreement with the Parks Department and City of Bainbridge. Most of the park isn’t accessible because of the fragile nature of the ledum bog but there is a maintained public trail that runs parallel to Highway 305 and a parking area at the corner of Koura Rd. and the highway.
Ledum is a plant whose leaves are used to make Bog Tea. Also known as Indian Tea and the Indian Tea Plant, ledum was used first by local Native American tribes as both tea and for medicine to cure inflammation. The last owner of the property considered building a spa featuring the bog’s water.
Before the land was owned by the parks department and city it was a dairy farm owned by the descendants of George Anson Meigs who built the Port Madison sawmill and founded the community that now exists there. In addition to his Port Madison waterfront holdings, Meigs, began the dairy farm which operated until 1950.
The trail has remnants of its use as a farm. Just off the trail is the ruined shell of an old trailer.
The gate that used to divide the park from the Meigs property is still there along with its decorative and inexplicable rat eating a piece of cheese.