Tag Archives: seattle parks

52 WoLP: #49-52, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Everbody

Early this pre-sunrise Christmas morning, we headed out into the park for a super quiet, super peaceful walk. We’d planned on parking ourselves at the top of the rise overlooking the Salish, watching the slow holiday ferries glide across the water, listening for the first birds, waiting for the chill winter sun to make a showing.

Instead, I got a hankering for a particular grove of sequoias that reach up so high they look endless. Lean yourself right up against one sometime and look up–squirrel’s eye view, you might say–and you’ll see what I mean. The trunk goes straight up into the sky, branches like a thousand spokes radiating out. It’s breathtaking, awe inspiring.

The sun came up slowly, fog hanging low, apricot puffs of clouds overhead and the whole hood just as quiet as could be. We’re so lucky to live in such a beautiful place. May we treasure it, care for it, and protect it for all who seek its tranquility and beauty. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everybody!

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52 WoLP has been a year long meditation and love letter to Lincoln Park here in wonderful West Seattle. Xoxo

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52 WoLP #36-38: like catching up with an old friend

I’ll keep this brief, cuz summer isn’t over…yet. The Autumnal Equinox officially happens at 1:44 pm, September 22nd, and that marks the end, officially. I have a feeling we will be having many more glorious days before the sun slips too far to the south, and mega-doses of Vitamin are once again called for.

Until then, I am once again being drawn to Lincoln Park for morning runs and late afternoon strolls. And it’s like catching up with and old friend–the mornings are quiet and a little chillier, the paths are empty of playing and picnicking hordes, there are only a dozen fisher-peeps out at the point, the beautiful Colman Pool is shuttered for the season. As I run along the waterfront, there’s a palpable ease in quiet of the park.

One thing I’ve enjoyed a lot this summer is the big rock on the north side of the point, the one that has the stick sculpture on it. Now it has a bit of graffiti, but that doesn’t impact its message one whit–nor has the occasional dismantling or removal. It keeps coming back, again and again, and it seems like the enduring message of the park itself:

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

52 Weeks of Lincoln Park: LP Watch

The thing is, there’s always something going on. Obviously there are the seasonal and weather related things, there’s the tides and shifting cliffs and such. But there’s also this other stuff–science projects, maintenance projects, projects out of the blue, who-knows-what-this-is projects. You go to the park several times a week and you’ll see what I mean: it’s rarely the same.

So #5 of 52WoLP curiosities: a fog collection project, somewhat ill-considered radical-pruning, and a pair of antique water skis, circa 1965.

First up: passive fog collection project by a UW student, studying anew a technique of harvesting water that’s been around for a very long time. It’s pretty cool in that its ridiculously simple, and it will be down by the Colman Pool until April. Happy collecting!

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Second up: ugly I mean, ill considered pruning, south end of park and near the first parking lot:

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And finally: someone neatly placed a pair of very old water skis at the south end parking lot for our viewing pleasure. Most years, towards the end of summer, it’s warm enough for some impressive water skiing and wake riding to take place in the cove. I suspect that at some point these very skis saw a few good runs in their day, and have been returned for their final ride home.

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From Italy to our National Parks and Forests to Lincoln Park: a NYT opinion piece plus some..

Timothy Egan recently wrote a piece about our National Parks and Forests, the envy of the entire world, a fluke almost in a land-grab world of power and exploitation (The Geography of Nope, T. Egan, 9/29/12).  It’s a pretty good read, check it out.

And of course, since it’s the crazy season, there’s a real live and imperative political angle…Not that Obama has been any sort of champion at all of the free and open spaces that grace our country, he hasn’t.  But Romney tipped his hand, showing that he would deal a devastating and permanent blow to the gems that define America “…earlier this year when he told a Nevada newspaper that ‘I don’t know what the purpose is’ of all this federal land in the West. It would be nice to think he just doesn’t get it, because he’s never spent any time in the free outdoors.”

The issue that Egan takes up reminds me of our recent run-in with the “think creatively: minds in Seattle’s Parks and Recreation Dept. that came up with the idea for a tree-top zip line with concession stand and ropes course in the middle of one of our few remaining urban sanctuaries and old growth forests, Lincoln Park.  The response was quick and decisive but you have to believe that they are back at the drawing board trying to figure out how to monetize the park by the square foot.  It’s almost a carbon copy of the national urge on the part of a few:

The states, of course, are cash-strapped, and want these lands only so they can industrialize them quickly, with minimal regulations. If you want to know what our public lands would be like under states in the pocket of oil companies, just look at the closing days of George W. Bush’s presidency, when drillers pressed to scar up land near some of the most iconic national parks and monuments in the Southwest. Only a change in administrations, and lawsuits that back the people’s right to manage the lands properly, stopped them in their tracks.

Second — and more importantly — these are our lands they want to take away. The toddler in Tuscaloosa has equal claim to the stunning Vermilion Cliffs outside the Grand Canyon as does a cowboy in Arizona. One day, when we are a nation of 600 million, these community-owned treasures will be all the more valuable.

And that last part is the part that will challenge the small thinkers who are driving monetization: the importance of our free and open lands will only grow as the lack of free and open land decreases.  And not just for us, but for all migrating animals and birds, for an entire ecosystem that requires space and diversity and a multitude of resources we scarcely recognize.

So, dear Seattle City Council, Mayor McGinn, Parks Dept: I ask you to think in terms of a broad and varied portfolio of open space.  Some quite urban, some urban sanctuaries, some tiny, some quite grand.  Don’t apply a single rule of $X per SqFt to evaluate what we have that makes this city liveable.  Think truly creatively, think really big, think for the long term.  Consider existing city parks like Central Park and Golden Gate park.  No cheap, short term tricks but rather a vision of the gems we have becoming even more valuable with time.