52 Weeks of Lincoln Park: Discovery Park

Hey wait a minute. This is supposed to be about LP, how come we’re talking about DP? Good question, read on….

Discovery Park is the biggest park in Seattle, and has its share of interesting history.  Originally an army base, Fort Lawton, it was given to the city of Seattle as surplus land in 1970.  Seems the ball was immediately in play and many forces, including national ones stepped forward with plans for utilizing those vast acres of sweeping views and winding trails.  In 1974, a focused group of citizens came together as Friends of Discovery Park to protect and preserve the wild natural beauty of the park–and it seems they were (are) fierce.  No push-overs these, and that’s where it gets interesting.  Their mission statement made me sit up and take notice:

In years to come there will be almost irresistible pressures to carve out areas of the Park for structures or activities, because it would provide “an ideal site at no cost.”  There must be a deep commitment to the belief that there is no more valuable use of this site than as an open space.

To me, that statement is revolutionary.  To proclaim that open space is worth fighting for, that there will always be someone thinking about ways to monetize, utilize and rationalize something that is uniquely and stunningly beautiful as it is, especially in an urban setting…well, take a bow, Friends of DP.  You deserve a round of applause.

Every city has its great parks, and those parks go through good times and bad.  Central Park in NYC was on its last legs in the 70s when a group of civic leaders, Central Park Conservancy, was founded to reverse the decline. Last night at the Fauntleroy Community Association, a group that grew out of the Go Ape fiasco of last summer, presented its ideas, concerns and its mission to protect and preserve the West Seattle gem that is Lincoln Park introduced itself.  You can read about last night’s meeting here in WSB--the response has been very very positive and while it’s early days yet (we don’t have a website etc), we have a vision and plenty of passion.  It’s going to be a good year!

(week #6)

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4 responses to “52 Weeks of Lincoln Park: Discovery Park

  1. Hi Cass, Not sure if this is how to let you know I want to be on emails for the new ALLIANCE FOR LINCOLN PARK NATURE or not but if so can you add me? Thanks!

  2. It is, thanks Jennifer–I’ve started a dedicated list, stay tuned and thanks!

  3. Well said, Cass! Lincoln Park is truly a world-class landscape…right here in West Seattle! Every time I walk through the forest or along the beach, I marvel how amazing it is that we have such a place. But there is no doubt…our city is growing fast and in the coming generations our communities will become more much densely populated. Wild, semi-wild, or even places with the illusion of wildness in the midst of our city neighborhoods will be all the more important–to people as well as wildlife–as we learn to live more densely. Our remaining wild-ishness needs protection from the “almost irresistible pressures” to come.

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