The Bainbridge Island Troll: Everything You Need to Know

What mysterious figure lurks beneath the verdant canopy of Bainbridge Island, stirring the curiosity of both resident and traveler alike?

The Bainbridge Island Troll — named “Pia the Peacekeeper” — is an 18-foot-tall art installation awaiting discovery at Sakai Park, located at 1560 Madison Ave N, Bainbridge Island, WA, 98110.

This enigmatic creature hides in the woods and invites residents to capture unforgettable selfies and immerse themselves in its whimsical world.

Origin of the Bainbridge Island Troll Phenomenon

Pia, the Bainbridge Island troll, emerged somewhat mysteriously, its inception rooted in the rich tradition of Scandinavian folklore that suffuses the cultural heritage of the island.

Closely tied to the natural landscape, these mythical beings, often depicted as stewards or mischievous inhabitants of woodlands, are said to wield a connection to the earth that resonates with the island’s ecological ethos.

This art installation serves as a conservation symbol, quietly overseeing the paradisiacal natural surroundings and silently advocating for the preservation of Bainbridge Island’s serene environment.

Inspirations Behind the Troll Sculpture

The Bainbridge Island Troll, a personification of myth, is deeply rooted in the island’s cultural psyche. Norse legends come alive, inspiring community and reverence for nature.

Crafted by a team of volunteers led by Copenhagen-based artist Thomas Dambo — who has a fervor for ecological stewardship — the troll stands as a sentinel of sustainability. Bridging fantasy with reality, it underscores the island’s values.

The troll’s stoic gaze suggests guardianship over the island’s verdant landscapes.

Envisioned as a keystone of cultural legacy, the troll embodies both a warning and an invitation: respect the land or incur mythical wrath. It also serves as a harbinger of communal responsibility, galvanizing islanders towards environmental caretaking.

Troll Creator’s Intent and Background

Thomas Dambo, the troll artist, sought to encapsulate the mystical aura of Bainbridge Island’s heritage with a contemporary message.

  1. Instill Wonder: Create curiosity and wonder through an intriguing public art installation.
  2. Encapsulate Heritage: Fuse local folklore and environmental consciousness.
  3. Inspire Stewardship: Use narrative power to promote ecological responsibility.
  4. Foster Community: Strengthen the communal bond by offering a shared symbol of identity.
    The troll stands as a beacon of the island’s eco-centric ethos, urging communal action.

Tasked with infusing art with advocacy, the troll mirrors the island’s commitment to nature.

Design and Construction Intricacies of Bainbridge Island Troll

The troll sculpture, meticulously crafted in two weeks from recycled wood including some residing in Sakai Park, seamlessly blends into Bainbridge Island’s natural environment. Its textured skin, seemingly hewn from the earth itself, evokes the island’s geological richness.

Leveraging locally-sourced materials, the construction not only harmonizes with the ecosystem but also minimizes the installation’s carbon footprint. Burlap, timber, and indigenous stones are among the natural elements ingenely integrated into the troll’s form.

This enigmatic figure’s imposing stature—towering yet unobtrusive—whispers of the island’s storied past and beckons a future of conscientious guardianship.

Troll Materials and Methods

The construction of the Bainbridge Island Troll melded artistry with sustainability.

  1. Site Selection: Identify a location with minimal environmental impact.
  2. Material Gathering: Source eco-friendly materials like burlap and local timber.
  3. Framework Construction: Assemble the internal structure to support the troll’s form.
  4. Exterior Crafting: Apply natural elements, ensuring aesthetic and structural integrity.
  5. Installation: Position the sculpture without disturbing the surrounding ecosystem.
    Using these methods ensured the sculpture’s symbiosis with its habitat.

Meticulous planning and execution preserved the integrity of the island’s natural landscape.

Frequently Asked Questions of the Bainbridge Island Troll

How long did it take to construct Pia the troll?
Pia the troll took approximately two weeks to construct.

How tall is Pia?
Pia stands at an impressive height of 18 feet.

What is Pia made from?
Pia is crafted from recycled wood, showcasing a commitment to sustainability.

Are there other trolls like Pia?
Yes, Pia’s brothers and sisters, crafted by artist Thomas Dambo, can be found in various locations including Portland, Oregon, Bainbridge Island, West Seattle, along the Rainier Trail in Issaquah, on Vashon Island, and in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood.

How do I get to Sakai Park from the ferry?
There are several ways to reach Sakai Park from the ferry. You can walk, bike, or take public transportation. Minimal vehicle parking is available on site, but environmental sustainability is encouraged. Additionally, take the opportunity to explore the natural beauty of Bainbridge Island.

  • Foot: It’s a little over a mile from the ferry terminal. Take the Sound to Olympics trail, which runs alongside Highway 305. You can also access the park via Madison Avenue, about 0.5 miles from downtown Winslow.
  • Bicycle: Bicycle rentals are available at Bike Barn Rentals at the ferry terminal and Classic Cycle behind the McDonalds on 305.
  • Public Transportation: You can take Kitsap Transit and BI Ride from the terminal. Disembark at 305 and High School Road or the stop near the library. Please note that there is no public transportation on Sundays.
  • Lyfts/Ubers/Taxis: Regular operation of these services is limited on Bainbridge Island.

Where can I park?
Limited parking is available at Sakai Park — about four parking spots, to be exact, with one handicapped accessible spot. Extra parking is available, located to the east, across Madison Avenue at the Bainbridge Island Aquatic Center. Avoid parking on the road or grass to prevent safety hazards and grass damage.

How long will the troll be at Sakai Park?
Pia is intended to be a temporary installation made from recycled materials. The artist intends for Pia to age naturally, and the Park District will perform basic maintenance and repairs to keep her in good shape for as long as possible.

Can I touch the troll?
Visitors are welcome to hug and take pictures with Pia. However, climbing on the troll is not allowed to ensure safety and longevity. Treat Pia and her surroundings with care to help maintain a happy and safe space for everyone.

Is there an article about Pia the troll that I can read?
Yes, there is an article titled “‘Pia the Peacekeeper’ – A giant troll now lurks in the woods on Bainbridge Island” written by Nathan Pilling of the Kitsap Sun. It was published on Aug. 19, 2023. You can read the article here.

How much did it cost to create Pia the troll?
The average cost of creating a troll art installation is approximately $100,000. This cost includes artist fees, housing for the crew, materials, equipment, machinery, and per diems for the crew. The funding for Pia’s creation came from various sources. The Scan Design Foundation and the Paul G. Allen Foundation each donated $25,000. Additionally, Bainbridge Island raised $35,000 through a book signing fundraiser at the BI Arts Museum. The community of Bainbridge residents also played a significant role in offsetting lodging expenses by generously opening up their homes to host artist Thomas Dambo and his crew of 12. Several local businesses also contributed by donating meals and refreshments for the fundraiser. The support and generosity of the community made the creation of Pia possible.