Tag Archives: local environment

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!

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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.

52WoLP #18: Sometimes rules suck, but dogs will be dogs

Sometimes rules suck, right?  And sometimes you just want to do what you want to do, regardless of others. But we live in a big city, with more people and more dogs all the time.  Like my Dad said when I threw a candy wrapper on the ground, what if everyone did that?

It’s a very valid question.

The dog rules are there because we live in a city with a lot of other people and because this park has wild and cultivated areas–areas we pay tax money to protect.

There’s the pick-up-after-your-dog rule, and people seem pretty much okay with that one.  Then there’s the no-off-leash-dogs thing, and the majority of dog walkers seem okay with that one.  After all, it’s not an off-leash park, it’s an everyone + wildlife park.  And then there’s the no-dogs-allowed part and I gotta say, this last one gets almost no attention at all.  There really are–no really— parts in the park where dogs aren’t allowed at all: the beach and the playfields.

These rules that for some impinge on the god-given rights of dogs to be dogs really upset some people.  A lot.  I sort of understand.  You come home from work, the dog is crazy to run…what are you going to do?

Here’s the deal behind the rules: there are way more dogs and people using the park than ever before.  Way more.  We share the beach with creatures that need it for nesting and life itself.  Dogs will always be dogs on the beach and will always have a hard time resisting the urge to go after that wildlife.  (full disclosure: I like dogs. A lot.)

The other one, playfields: the ballfields are pretty carefully maintained and protected for a specific purpose: ball games.  Dogs running, chasing, digging, and doing the things dogs do (pun intended) flies in the face of the tax-money you are paying to maintain that field.  Do us all a favor and keep your dogs off the playfields.

The park really and truly is a space we all share.  Runners and walkers who frequently prove an irresistible target for even the sweetest dogs; birds and creatures who provide the feeling of getting-away-from-it-all and sing those gorgeous songs that lift our hearts–they make their nests in those bushes where some people throw balls for their dogs to chase;  baby seals and ducks and grebes who need the habitat our beautiful beaches provide.

We all share this park.  There are dozens of offleash parks in the city.  Be a citizen dog-owner, do the right thing, we will all love you for it.

52 Weeks of Lincoln Park is a year long exploration and adoration of the loveliest gem of West Seattle.  Enjoy!

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.

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!

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52WoLP, week 7: A most beautiful thing

This week in 52 Weeks of Lincoln Park, we meet Sky Darwin, a local artist you might see if you’re very lucky along the shores of the Salish Sea in Lincoln Park. He does beautiful things with driftwood. Beautiful. His sculptural works made me think of mandalas, because surely the delicately balanced pieces he was fine tuning would be washed away with the next high tide. And that, of course, only added to the pleasure of his creations. Take a gander:

Sky studied at Cornish and has been working on these all-too-brief sculptural installations since Sept. 2012. He has a background in dance, music and design–all in evidence here. He took videos of the finished product but as yet they’re not up on vimeo or youtube. On the other hand, they are up on his facebook page so maybe look him up–the vids are great because you can hear kids marveling at the pieces moving gently in the sunset breeze.

These pieces were beautiful. And as predicted, I cruised by the spot where they were a day or so later, and they were gone. Beauty is fleeting.

Thanks Sky!

Addendum 3/4/13: Sky now has an official Facebook page–https//:www.facebook.m/ShiftwoodSculpture check it out, he put more pictures and videos there, and will keep it fresh with new stuff for our pure, unadulterated enjoyment. Live aloha!

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)

52 Weeks of Lincoln Park (#3): Mystery Solved

Ok, so this is an obscure mystery, but still….When I was looking through the Seattle gov photo archives for stuff on Lincoln Park, I kept coming across a pix of a lily pond that was supposedly located in LP.  Except it had houses right behind it and it didn’t look like any part of LP I’d seen. Add to that the fact that Broadway Park on Cap Hill was called Lincoln Park before being renamed in 1922 and I figured: those lily pond pictures are from the other park, case closed.

the houses in the back, the clear space? mystery pond! (1936)

the houses in the back, the clear space? mystery pond! (1936)

But recently, friend, fellow artist, and West Seattle native Kirsten Wilhelm happened to mention the old lily pond in Lincoln Park–how she used to love it as a kid.  What?!  Where is this thing!  Well, it’s at the northern edge of the park, right where there’s this odd clump of bamboo…look behind the bamboo, in the bramble and you’ll see the remains of the lily pad pond.  The boulders and landscaping are still visible, but it’s very much overgrown from its earlier incarnation…which is ok, imo, since a lily pond in the piney-cedary woods of our beloved LP is kind of a stretch.  But a lovely idea anyway.  Please let me know if you have faves or special tidbits about LP you’d like to share–cuz we all wanna know!

52 Weeks of Lincoln Park: everybody knows

Well, not everybody.  The kids in the neighborhood know, and I’m guessing other kids know too–about the butt rock and boob tree, important LP landmarks. We’re at week #3 in 52WoLP and going straight from the sublime to the silly….but to be honest, the butt rock and the boob tree are awesome landmarks, imho.

So without further ado:

A friend of mine discovered one day that a part of one of the madronas looks just like a woman with long hair.  I haven’t found it yet, but I’m sure there are others.  If you have photos of faves, please send and I’ll post.  Yay LP!

52 Weeks of Lincoln Park: good bones

The Collins Precise English Dictionary defines “good bones” as “having admirable, pleasing, superior, or positive qualities.” When I think of Lincoln Park, I think of the beautiful path that hugs the Salish Sea, of the nearly always blustery point, of the cliffs and hillsides with their winding trails and proud madronas, oaks and pines.

WPA stamp 1936, Lincoln Park path

WPA stamp 1936, Lincoln Park path

Many of the features we’d call “good bones” today were actually put in place in the 1930s, first by the Civil Works Administration and later by the Public Works Administration (depression era endeavors, “Roosevelt was convinced that jobs were much better for everyone than cash handouts”), small armies of unemployed men given projects that were so smart, so right, that we still enjoy them today.  And others were a good start, that met with challenges.  The seawalls–which are currently getting hit by ever rising tides during our annual King Tide fest–were finished in 1936. For the most part, they still hold the shore.  You can see in one shot that the new wall and adjacent road quickly met their match with the tides and winter storms.  No matter, the collapse was filled in with gravel and has since been a great little running path along the water. Enjoy!

Week #2 of 52WoLP.

52 Weeks of Lincoln Park: Driftwood

A few years back I did a year-long, nearly daily project called My Life w/Car, or MLwC, wherein I tracked my transportation to see if maybe I could change some unconscious habits.  Basically I wanted to get rid of my car.  I ended up not doing that, but for sure changed everything around my transportation habits.  It was a very good project.

I’m starting a new blog project today called 52 Weeks of Lincoln Park, or 52WoLP.  The goals are not as ambitious, I suppose…well, there are no goals, so there. What I want to do is simply pay homage to a gorgeous gem of a park, Lincoln Park, here in West Seattle.

LP is spectacular in so many ways. It is both urban forest and recreation area: a stand of sequoia watches over a baseball field, with native undergrowth all around, and a real sense of “getting away” from things for a while, even as you hear the crack of a bat and cheers from spectators.

It is refuge for nesting bald eagles, owls, warblers, and baby seals, as well as  families with their kids splashing in the wading pool or playing on the swings.

It has a zip line that I swear is going at all times of the day and night–it’s short, it’s free, and it’s very very popular.  It’s exceptionally low tech, especially the old tire at the end of the line.

In the summer it has Shakespearean theatre as the sun sets fabulously golden and lovely over Vashon Island.  It has seen its own share of theatre recently as friends of Lincoln Park stood together against what would have been a massive, very invasive change to its nature.

So each week this year, I’m going to simply witness a wonderful thing about Lincoln Park, to pay my respects and share this gem we have here in Seattle. First up, because the sunset walks along the water the past few days have been spectacular: Driftwood.