Category Archives: environment

52 WoLP #28-29: from a different perspective

Alrighty then: the past two weeks I haven’t been in LP at all. Maybe a sunset walk or two, but that’s it. Instead, I’ve been in the University hood, mainly Magnuson Park, and second to that, Ravenna Park.. And I gotta tell ya, those are some awesomely awesome parks. Seattlites are so lucky to have some great parks to choose from.

A notable thing in Magnuson Park was the interest in and support of migratory and resident bird populations, right alongside all your standard recreation facilities. I wish, oh how I wish, seattle Parks would share some of that love with Lincoln Park.

One example was so easy, I imagine citizen birders could do this themselves: a simple sign at the edge of a field with clusters of branches forming a visual barrier, letting people (especially those with dogs) know that even though this field looks empty, there is nesting going on in the spring. Will it stop all four and two legged onslaughts? Probably not, but it will inform a percentage that might not otherwise know…

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The next cool thing I came across was an impressive interpretative installation telling about the resident and migratory birds of Magnuson –well done and interesting. I’d love love love! To see something like that in LP.

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I so enjoyed these parks, Ravenna with its most excellent system of trails, and Magnuson with its mix of recreational and environmentally minded activities and installations. Lucky us, and one of these days, maybe we’ll have something similar in Lincoln Park–we’ve got excellent trails and lots of recreational options. Maybe it’s time for the birds?

52 WoLP is the chronicle of a year long love affair with Lincoln Park in West Seattle. Enjoy!

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52 WoLP #27: it’s that time again

Oh dear, it happened again. The week totally got away from me…here goes, better late than never.

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It’s that time of year when large herds of running youth thunder through the park, in some semblance cross-country tracks. As a runner myself, I’ve been impacted by a certain assumption that everyone and everything will make way for the herd, but that’s a temporary annoyance.

What’s not temporary, and what just showed up last year in all its garish and unlovely splendor, is spray painted signage. You’ve seen it: the neon orange and yellow arrows sprayed directly on trees, the exposed roots of trees sprayed with cautionary intent (begs the very question of cross-country, but hey).

It’s ugly, thoughtless, and lasts a long time. I’m pretty sure the people who do it aren’t even conscious of what they’re doing, so I suggesting if you see this happening, you go ahead and suggest to them that they spray paint a piece of paper and tack that to the tree. And then remove it after the event.

Easy peasy. We can help keep this stuff off our beautiful trees. After all, friends don’t let friends use neon spray paint in the park. Or anywhere else, IMO, but that another issue.

Thanks and see you out there!
52 WoLP is a years long jaunt through the loveliest of lovely parks here in lovely West Seattle!

52 WoLP #23: what we talk about when we talk about sharing the Park

A couple of things while walking through Lincoln Park this week, and they both have to do with sharing. West Seattle has more people in it than ever before, and that means Lincoln Park does too. By a mile.

We share the park with each other, which sometimes requires grace and skill, and we share the park with creatures, which always requires TLC and respect.

The first story involves a sea otter–did you know we have them? They’re interesting creatures: live in the water, hang out on the shore rocks sometimes, and make their homes on terra firma, in the bushes or under structures, etc. The one I saw this week, and who is making regular appearances down at the water’s edge, was finishing up dinner and just chillin on the beach. At the same time, a large group of elementary age kids was rambunctiously making its way up the walkway.

The kids and teachers stopped to watch the otter, along with the rest of us. Then a couple of the girls edged closer and closer until finally they chased the otter back into the water. I mentioned to one of the adults that that was actually illegal, it’s against the law to harass marine mammals on shore, and she shrugged as if the kids were making the rules now.

I don’t want to get all in the teacher’s biz, but wasn’t that, oh I don’t know, a LEARNING OPPORTUNITY? . Yeah, I think it was. The kids need to learn we share the park. We share nature. We don’t own it.

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The next opportunity came just yesterday when I was walking down the center trail to the shore at sunset–a little dusky, a beautiful evening. I hear voices behind me, yelling back and forth, approaching quickly. Before I have a chance to turn and look, three cyclists come racing by at full speed, downhill, about two inches of margin between them and me. Then another. And another, and yes, several more. I finally stop and look behind me and there are even more barreling down the trail. I ask how many more, and someone says, a lot! I’d say there were about 30 twenty-somethings in all.

So I step back onto the trail and let them know I’m going to keep walking and they need to slow down for pedestrians, which they immediately do and I give them full credit for that. They’re just having fun, and I understand the allure of that trail, I’m a bike rider and live for the downhill. But at one point I was nearly nailed against a tree by a guy who didn’t know the trail tightens up at one turn and then another.

Again, they need to balance their fun with the rights of others on the trail to feel and be safe, not to mention the creatures that cross the trail all the time. I never thought I’d say this to bike people, but that gang needs to share the road better.

So, the park is busy. We all love it. So, in the immortal words of Sgt. Esterhaus, hey, let’s be careful out there.

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52 WoLP is a year long dear diary to my favorite park in Seattle. Enjoy!

52 WoLP #22: 50 Shades of Green

This time of year, the color green just knocks me out. You might look at Lincoln Park and think, wow, lotsa green. But there are so many greens, if you really look. One of my favorite places to walk this time of year is the middle path down to the Colman Pool–look up halfway down, you’ll be amazed at the canopy and the dappled light.

So green. Just when you think you know what color green is, you get about a zillion other layers and versions up close and personal. From blue to purple to yellow to reddish green, it’s all in Lincoln Park right now. Hang out for minute, you won’t be disappointed.

52WoLP is a year long fascination with the Gem of West Seattle, Lincoln Park. Enjoy!

52 WoLP #21: Love your local naturalists

Lincoln Park naturalists

Love your naturalists–they’re here for us in the park today!

Today, Saturday, there are two naturalists present in the park–not at the beach for the low tides, but the park.  It’s a very nice surprise, stop if you get a chance; they’re at the top of the trail down to Colman Pool, a gorgeous trail I think of as the The Cathedral because of the soaring canopy of trees with dappled light filtering down the hillside.

They coordinate with the Parks dept. and set up visitor tables in several parks throughout the summer.  Today they have their spotting scope set to the eagles, but they’ve got a lot of information (including specimens, sort of gross/fascinating) about big and small birds that live in the park.  Anyway, I love seeing ranger type uniforms in the park, check it out, take your kids.  Also!  OMG, the songbirds in the park right now are unbelievably active, the understory is hopping with proud parents and music fills the air.  It’s a really superb day to wander through Lincoln Park.52 WoLP is a year long diary of a love affair with Lincoln Park.  Enjoy!

52WoLP #20: Opening Day!!!

For lots of swimmers in West Seattle and beyond, today is the first day of Swimming Season at the Colman Pool.  The Colman Pool, a saltwater outdoor pool, first opened in 1941, replacing a man-made tide filled swimming hole that  had been popular since the 20s. The Colman Pool, made possible by a very generous donation by the Colman family, has long been a favorite spot for swimmers, sunbathers and families all summer long. Here are a couple of snaps, then and now.

Enjoy!  52 Weeks of Lincoln Park is a year long observation of the many aspects of Lincoln Park, the gem of West Seattle.

WoLP #19: it is what it is

At this time of year in Seattle, the cold dark days behind us, the long summer solstice ahead of us, we make plans: picnics, ball games, walks through the woods. We set a day and a time…and if you’ve been around, you bring an umbrella and sunglasses. It’s springtime in Seattle.

I was working in the garden the other day, in the warm rain, appreciating at the very least that the weeds were easier to pull with the ground soft and pliable. In the background I heard robins and song sparrows singing, I heard a nearby wren proudly announcing his territory.

Then I heard a rousing baseball game in the park–the hush right before the pitch and the ball is hit, the cries of parents and team mates, “go! go! go!” And then hoots of joy when as one side or another gained ground, and I thought, “this time of year, it is what it is, and today it’s sunny/cloudy/rainy/breezy/beautiful, all in the space of an hour.”

Enjoy!

52 WoLP is a year long meditation on the beautiful gift of Lincoln Park in West Seattle.

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52WoLP #17: the first ever Celebrate LP & our keep-you-guessing weather

Well, last saturday at this time, the overnight temps were in the upper 30s and the day never cracked 50. Chilly winds, grey skies, threatening clouds all conspired to reduce the crowds to only the toughest souls at our first ever Celebrate Lincoln Park.

Enjoy!

52WoLP is a year long exploration of and fascination with all things Lincoln Park, West Seattle.

This saturday, a mere 7 days later, windows and doors will be propped open, temps will be 25 degrees or more higher, and we’ll all be out in droves.

But the show went on, and it was pretty cool.  We even had Park Rangers there in full regalia and I sort of felt like we were at a campground at some National Park, I loved it!

The Alliance for Lincoln Park Nature, ALPN, was there with nature and bird walks, art-in-the park table for water color sketching and writing.  We had a lot of fun with both the sketching and the writing–fast writing exercises on various park-related prompts, and there’s just nothing like sketching to see where you are.  It’s a beautiful thing.

Here are a coupla pics:

52 WoLP #16: Saturday in The Park (can you dig it?*)

This Saturday, in the Park, 10:30 – 2:30: first ever Celebrate Lincoln Park event! Here’s what you do: come to the park, at the entrance there will be an enticing menu of activities for everyone, kids to big kids and the biggest kids of all–adults.

click here for the deets.

It’ll be a low tide and the Aquarium will have a couple naturalists on hand to explore the tide flats; we’ll have resident experts leading walks through the park exploring the flora and fauna (that’s trees, flowers and birds to the rest of us:-); we’ll have sketching and writing in nature sessions, and down in the driftwood, sculpture making, and more. Go here for more, but be sure to get your beautiful nature-self to the park this Saturday!

*Saturday in the park (can you dig it?) by the Pleistocene era rock band Chicago.

52 Weeks of Lincoln Park is a year long exploration of the beautiful gem of West Seattle, it’s history, nature, essence and presence.

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52WoLP #15: let us count the ways (Tuesday 4/23 and Saturday 4/27)

Backlit driftwood sculpture /Lincoln Park, by Sky Darwin

Backlit driftwood sculpture /Lincoln Park, by Sky Darwin

There’s the beach, and it asks a thing or two from you, like a bit of a hike, like a little bit of care at low tide, but in return, it gives plenty.  It’s a northwest beach, trees and stunning views, rocky and diverse–none of this namby-pamby white sand nonsense. It’s a sturdy beach, home to seals, urchins, clams, starfish, water birds and more;  inspiration to artists, sculptors and enlivened imaginations everywhere.

one of the playgrounds in LP

one of the playgrounds in LP

There are the playgrounds and ballfields, areas where families and kids and fans and athletes get to play in a setting that juts up against forest and just enough wildness to make the senses sit up and take notice.  The walk back to the car after a tournament or play date involves a stroll through shaded rambling paths, a chance to be in nature, to restore, relax, revive.

Checking out possible new digs

Checking out possible new digs

There are the forests themselves, some old growth, all holding the park together in living system that is rare in an urban setting–a gem indeed, and a treasure for us to enjoy.  The forests are home to birds and nests big and small, to squirrels, coyote and fox, flowers in every season, ancient sequoia and doug fir, hillsides of maple all brilliant green in the spring light.  So much goodness!

Colman Pool in the summertime!

Colman Pool in the summertime!

There’s the pool.  The Colman Pool.  Salt water, beautiful turquoise glinting in the summer light, the Olympics to the west, forested hillsides to the east, it is a seasonal treat beyond compare.

Seattle's urban forests make the cut!

Seattle’s urban forests make the cut!

History!  We have History, and tons of it, and we’re in the process of making more!  For example, did you know that Seattle ranks in the top 10 Cities for Urban Forests, along with–check it out!–New York, Austin, Denver, and other great urban centers–go read the article here.  This is our next frontier: holding onto, preserving and protecting what is truly unique in an urban setting. Let’s make some more history, let’s keep LP wild!

Oh, I could go on and on.  I could.  But instead, why not come out to Celebrate Lincoln Park hosted by the FCA at the Fauntleroy Community Center this coming Tuesday, April 23rd, and then again in LP itself, for all kinds of fun, creative, park-loving, beach playing ways to be in Lincoln Park.  Come on down!

52 Weeks of Lincoln Park is a year long project chronicling and loving the seasons of LP in beautiful West Seattle.

52WoLP #14: I Just Wanna Celebrate!

Celebrate Lincoln Park is a combo of two free events being offered by Fauntleroy Community Association. Here are the deets:

  • April 23, Tues., 6:30-8:30 at the Hall at Fauntleroy: speakers (such as the fabulous Trileigh Tucker) tables, fascinating people sharing fascinating information (full disclosure, I will be part of the crew at the ALPN table)–and who else? Seal Sitters, Whale Trail, Puget Sound Partnership, Seattle Parks, and more. Come get some history, some future, some ongoing thangs.
  • April 27, right smack in the park itself, all kinds of things going on! First, there will be a low tide and naturalists available and also, therefore, a zillion happy kids running around. ALPN, Alliance for Lincoln Park Nature, will be offering Art in the Park with three sessions of writing and sketching and having some fun ;-). I’ve heard a rumor that the guy who makes those beautiful balancing driftwood sculptures will be down at the shore making beautiful balancing driftwood sculptures.(full disclosure: I love what Sky Darwin does.) There will be nature walks, nature talks, nature all around. Don’t miss this.
  • All activities will start at the south of the park, much more information will be available at the Celebration on April 23, plus I’ll be keeping the faith here, check back as we get closer.

    Mark the dates! April 23 & 27–see you there!

    52 Weeks of Lincoln Park is a year long project chronicling and loving the seasons of LP in beautiful West Seattle.

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    52 WoLP #13: Curvy is better than straight

    It’s been rainy, and it’s muddy, but that also means water in the Lincoln Park stream, and water in the stream means runoff for the waterfall.  What waterfall?

    Sometimes, since a lot of people visit LP in the summer, they don’t get to see the waterfall in action. Some don’t even know it’s a waterfall, or that there’s a stream.  But there is, it goes through the park and ends up at the beach.  Here’s a map, and the back-story of the falls right after:

    Here's a sketchy map of LP and the stream

    Here’s a sketchy map of LP and the stream

    The back story: back when the WPA was doing all kinds of things in LP, they made the excellent steps and stairways from the beach to the park, except one of those walkways crossed a runoff zone from the stream.  No problem, they’d just turn that runoff zone into a pretty waterfall and direct it under the walkway:

    The original went cascading pretty much straight down the hillside

    The original went cascading pretty much straight down the hillside

    If you’ve ever seen the waterfall at full throttle in the winter, the original plan which had the stream running nearly straight down into a catch didn’t have a chance–a lot of water comes down during the rains and anyway, nature doesn’t play nice with straight lines, so either by its own design, or with the help of a few folks along the way, the waterfall achieved a nice curvy and cantilevered path with a better runway…although it still runs over the path in big rains, and makes a beautiful sound as it cascades down the incline.

    52 Weeks of Lincoln Park is a year long project exploring this West Seattle Gem. Enjoy!!

     

    52WoLP #11: the secret lives of Lincoln Park (Happy 1st Day of Spring)

    There’s the beach trail and the bluff trail; the playgrounds, old fashion zip line, wading pool and picnic shelters; the ball fields and, of course, the Colman pool. These are the places we all know and use and appreciate. There are other places, a little bit secret, not so much for us humans, although we definitely benefit from them.

    I was looking at a parks dept map of Lincoln Park the other day and was sort of impressed by the forest areas. Forest. Take a look at the list:

    Lincoln Park Forests: particularly H, B, G and J

    Lincoln Park Forests: notice particularly H, B, G and J

    This is cool, because those areas are part of what makes LP the most excellent park it is. HBG and J are beautiful and sort of urban-wild. There are nicely tended trails through and around them, and at this time of year, those forested areas are extremely active…and their inhabitants particularly vulnerable. Why? Nesting. Lots and lots of nesting going on, nest building and baby making by the ones who sing beautiful songs, flit in and out of trees and bushes and make us feel a little bit more alive and in touch with nature. Here are a few of those creatures, maybe you’ve seen one or two?

    And this is just a little tiny smidge of the secret lives happening in LP right now and through Spring/ Summer. So, keep an eye out, take it easy in areas H, B, G and J–we’re just visiting where they live. And many of them live pretty close to the ground, so if you are a dog walker, best to stay on paths, keep your dog on a leash and enjoy the beautiful music of the forests.

    **H/t to Trileigh for her bird notes and help
    52 Weeks of Lincoln Park, a year long project: #11

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    52WoLP: #10, Animal Presence Part 2

    This is a bit of a riff, but bear with me, we’ll end up at Lincoln Park. I’m still buzzing about animal presence, and wanted to share some o’ that love. After the iridescent octopus at Makena on Maui, the turtle-paloosa at every beach we visited, the shave-ice colored wrasses and graceful idols, the whales, spinner dolphins, I wanted to learn about local folks helping to protect the gift of nature that Hawaii is… and one group stood out: Hawaii Wildlife Fund.

    HWF was founded in 1996 by two biologists who saw the encroachment of all kinds of not-very-wild activity on an environment that depends on wild conditions. They are, as co-founder Hannah Bernard put it: “small but mighty.” They spend most of their energy actually doing things like this and this and this (poopy!). They have an awesome education and intern program (do they take 60 year olds??), outreach, and have built an impact worth supporting.

    So….Lincoln Park, here’s the link up: as soon as I learned about HWF, Seal Sitters here in West Seattle came to mind. Local with an impact that belies its size, passionate and visionary…Good stuff. Some things I love about Seal Sitters: they have educated a whole city about the little seal pup on the beach, the one people may mistake for injured or worse, others may think would be a happy playmate for their dogs, and still others who might not have noticed at all. It’s neighborly, it’s profound, it’s small but mighty.

    Co-Founded by author Brenda Peterson and gaining strength as Seal Sitters in 2007, the group has helped so many–kids, adults, even dogs– understand that it is up to us to protect and share the beach as part of our wildlife habitat. You see them often on Alki, but for the last couple of years, you’ll also see them at the beach in Lincoln Park, setting up a protective zone around a seal pup resting on the shore. They have a great blog (blubberblog, best. name. ever.), our beloved West Seattle Blog is a big booster, and the volunteers are more than happy to talk about what they do. The pups are still taking long sleeps on the shores so keep an eye out for that thing that Seal Sitters does so well.

    Wildly, improbably, a few people saw a need and decided to do something about it. As a result, they really have changed the world–one beach at a time. I love that.

    52 Weeks of Lincoln Park: week #10

    52WoLP: week #9 and Animal Presence

    I can’t help it. I’m still enveloped in the pleasure of swimming with green sea turtles in Hawaii for the past two weeks, and am not yet finished replaying the sensation over in my imagination.  Those great bodies moving so gracefully through blue green water, coming up for a gulp of air and a look at the odd but apparently harmless creature swimming alongside–I will not soon forget the glint in the turtle’s calm, accepting eye.

    What does this have to do with Lincoln Park, you might ask. Well,  I was reminded of a post on the subject of animal presence by the eloquent Trileigh Tucker, intimate friend of Lincoln Park and all of nature. Her post is this week’s contemplation of LP, because it’s an awesome post, and because we are heading into a period of intense animal presence in and around the park.

    How rare it is for us humans to be encountered in the wild by an animal who seems without fear of us, and even more powerfully, to whom we are of calm interest. To see ourselves in their eyes, to be recognized in some way as having a presence, perhaps even being of a kindred nature, perhaps, ultimately, with personhood — such an experience reminds us who we are….Some deep part of us yearns for this recognition.

    RCK

    Personally, I wait each year for the ruby crowned kinglets–skittish little lovelies with beautiful songs.  Yesterday I noted on WSB Facebook that a neighbor had seen a coyote on the perimeter of the park three days in a row, a seasonal presence to watch for. There are owls, bald eagles, wrens, tree creepers like nuthatches and browns, song sparrows and squirrels, of course. We can watch them, and there’s a sense that they might enjoy watching us.

    May you be in the presence of the animals that make their home in LP; coexisting with them is deeply, deeply soothing to the soul.  Thanks Trileigh!