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Seattle Parks and Recreation

Frequently Asked Questions

 

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General Information
· How do I register for classes/programs/events?
· How can I teach a class at a community center?
· How many parks in Seattle?
· What is your biggest park?
· What can I do to help Parks?
· What is the length of the path around Green Lake?
· Where can I find the Park Code?
Park Use
· Where can I have a beach fire?
· Can I bring alcohol into a park?
· Where can I go fishing?
· Where can I go jogging or running?
· Where can my dog run around without a leash?
· Can I camp in a Seattle park?
· How do I get a permit to be a vendor in a park?
· Can I pick up driftwood from the beach?
· What if I want to provide food to homeless or hungry people in Seattle Parks?
Employment
· How do I get information about jobs at Seattle Parks and Recreation?
Reservations & Permits
· Do I need a permit for an event in a park?
· How do I reserve a picnic site?
· How do I reserve a park for a wedding or other ceremony?
Athletics
· Where can my team find a field for practice?
· How many playfields do Parks maintain?
· How do I know if my game is rained out?
· Where do I find sports scores?
Maintaining Parks
· What is your budget?
· Does Parks work with community groups?
· How do you manage and care for trees?
Pest Management in Seattle Parks
· What is Integrated Pest Management?
· What is Seattle Parks IPM program?
· What are some of the pest control strategies used in parks?
· What are the most common pesticides applied in parks?
· How does IPM work in park management?
· Who manages pests in parks?
· How does the City of Seattle Pesticide Reduction Program fit into Parks IPM?

General Information

Q. How do I register for classes/programs/events?
A. You can register for classes/programs/events at any recreation center during their normal operating hours by phone or in person, OR you can register online using SPARC, once you have an active Seattle Parks & Recreation account. Try SPARC now!

Q. How can I teach a class at a community center?
A. To propose teaching a class, contact the Coordinator at the particular community center you have in mind.

Q. How many parks in Seattle?
A. Seattle Parks and Recreation maintains over 400 Parks and open areas. Find out more fun quick facts!

Q. What is your biggest park?
A. Discovery Park is 534 acres, including urban wilderness with four distinct habitats and 11.810 miles of trail.

Q. What can I do to help Parks?
A. Get involved! Find out about volunteering, getting involved with the Park Board, Parks Projects and Planning, and supporting your local parks through the Seattle Parks Foundation.

Q. What is the length of the path around Green Lake?
A. The inner path around Green Lake is 2.8 miles. The outer perimeter path near the road is 3.2 miles.

Q. Where can I find the Park Code?
A.
The Park Code is Chapter 18.12 of the Seattle Municipal Code (SMC). It includes, in a single chapter, all City ordinances pertaining specifically to parks and park property.
You can find the Park Code on the City Clerk's web site. It is updated quarterly.


Park Use:

Q. Where can I have a beach fire?
A. Enjoy a fire on the beach at Golden Gardens Park in northwest Seattle or at Alki Beach Park in West Seattle. Please light a fire ONLY in designated fire pits, available at both parks on a first-come, first-served basis. Burn only clean firewood (NO pallets please!), and douse your fire completely before you leave.

Q. Can I bring alcohol into a park?
A. City law prohibits alcohol in city parks. The only exceptions are for special events approved by the Superintendent.

Q. Where can I go fishing?
A. Seattle Parks and Recreation has fishing spots located across the city.

Q. Where can I go jogging or running?
A. Seattle Parks & Recreation has a wide range of facilities for runners and joggers, ranging from rough trails to Cintrex-surfaced tracks.

Q. Where can my dog run around without a leash?
A. At designated off-leash areas, your dog is free to run, roll over, meet new friends, work out, play with you and socialize with canine friends.

Q. Can I camp in a Seattle Park?
A. Camping is not allowed in city parks. The only exception is the 10 rustic cabins at Camp Long in West Seattle. For information on camp sites near Seattle, please try camping.about.com/ or www.koa.com/where/wa/

Q. Can I get a permit to be a vendor in a park?
A. Seattle Parks and Recreation allows vendors for certain special events and for certain concessions. Vending associated with a special event is authorized through the permitting process.

Vending on a longer-term basis is authorized through a concession contract approved by the City Council or through a concession use permit, a short-term (less than one year) administrative permit issued by the Superintendent. For more information, please call 206-684-8008.

Q. Can I pick up driftwood from the beach?
A. Seattle Municipal Code 18.12.070 prohibits removal of driftwood (or any wood, tree, shrub, plant, flower, fruit, nut, soil, sand, sod, or other element) from any Seattle park.

Q. What if I want to provide food to homeless or hungry people in Seattle Parks?
A.For more information on how to participate, please visit Serve Seattle Meals Safely


Employment

Q. How do I get information about jobs at Seattle Parks and Recreation?
A. Visit our Jobs web page. For information about summer recreation jobs, click on our summer employment brochure.


Reservations & Permits

Q. Do I need a permit to hold an event in a park?
A. A Park Use Permit is required to reserve an athletic field, a facility, stage or performing arts area, or to use a park for a gathering of a large number of people.

Q. How do I reserve a picnic site?
A. Start with our picnic guide for information about sites, fees and reservations then call (206) 684-4081 to make your reservations or to ask questions.

Q. How do I reserve a park for a wedding or other ceremony?
A. Start with our Ceremony Guide for more information about sites, fees, and reservations then call (206) 684-4081 to make your reservation or to ask questions.


Athletics

Q. Where can my team find a field for practice?
A. View our athletic field list, which includes contact information for both league and individual field scheduling.

Q. How many playfields do Parks maintain?
A. There are over 200 Seattle Parks athletic fields that can be scheduled for various sports and activities throughout the year.

Q. How do I know if my game is rained out?
A. Call the Rainout Hotline at (206)233- 0055

Q. Where do I find sports scores?
A. Many sports team report their scores to us - and we post them on the web site on the Sports Scores page. If scores are missing, they were not reported. Please call the center where the game was played.


Maintaining Parks

Q. What is your budget?
A. Our 2009 budget is $131,000,000. Find out more fun quick facts!

Q. Does Parks work with community groups?
A. Yes! We could not do what we do without you! Parks works with "Friends Of Groups" across the city to expand programs and take on projects we could not otherwise do. Our Volunteer Coordinators can help you find a "Friends of" group near you.

Q. How do you manage and care for trees?
A. Seattle Parks and Recreation Tree Maintenance Program maintains the health and safety of trees through out City parks.


Maintaining Parks

Q. What is Integrated Pest Management?
A. Seattle Parks manages over 6200 acres of natural area and park landscapes within our urban area; 2,300 acres of this is developed parkland. These landscapes provide a recreation experience for visitors and habitat for a variety of urban wildlife, insects and plants. While most of these plants and wildlife co-exist peacefully within our landscapes, these habitats also include pest species that may have no impacts in a given environment or spread out and take over the ornamental landscapes or native woodlands. Pests can be insects, plant diseases, invasive weeds, animals and birds. Pests disrupt the natural ecology of a habitat and landscape, creating an unhealthy environment for plants and sometimes humans and pets, and can also cause structural damages to buildings.

Seattle Parks practices Integrated Pest Management, or IPM. By using IPM, our staff first identifies the pest and then determines whether a given pest is actually impacting the park. The actual level of impact or damage in a given site determines whether staff might leave the pest alone, or manage the situation. If the pest impact is too great, a decision-making process is done to determine if, when, where and how the pest will be managed. An IPM program includes all potential pest control strategies but focuses on non-chemical controls whenever possible, in order to maintain the natural ecology and health of a landscape.

Q. What is Seattle Parks IPM program?
A. IPM has been practiced in Seattle Parks since the late 1970s and is our standard operating procedure in all landscapes, forests, golf courses and greenhouses.

Parks’ landscape management integrates with pest management strategies. An IPM program begins with attention to plant care and culture, as healthy plants resist pests. When pests are observed, the park use and landscape asset value is considered in determining an injury threshold for the particular pest. This philosophy allows staff to respond to both continuing pest issues and also new, unique or specific pest problems.

Q. What are some of the pest control strategies used in parks?
A. Parks IPM program includes cultural, mechanical, biological and chemical control methods. For example, cultural could mean planting the right plant in the right place, mechanical might mean hand-weeding, biological could be insect predators or bacterial
products for mosquito control, and chemical might be a synthetic or naturally derived herbicide such as Round-Up or vinegar products.

Q. What are the most common pesticides applied in parks?
A. The most common pesticides used in outdoor parks are herbicides for weed control on hard surface cracks, in gravel areas and in shrub beds, while fungicide use for disease is often necessary on golf greens. Insect pests and diseases are common in the artificial growing conditions found in Parks greenhouses, where both insecticides and fungicides could be used.

Q. How does IPM work in park management?
A. An IPM program considers the anticipation of potential pest problems to be the most important tool in pest management. Parks staff is trained, knowledgeable, landscape maintenance professionals who understand the plants cultural needs and the potential for pest impacts. Staff monitors landscape assets continuously in their daily work. Each park facility is unique, which allows for determination of the appropriate limits for aesthetic and economic injury. If impacts or injury is imminent and unacceptable, a specific IPM strategy will be designed and implemented. Staff evaluates the success of the strategy over time and makes adjustments as needed for long-term successful pest suppression and management.

Q. Who manages pests in parks?
A. Parks horticultural and grounds maintenance staff share responsibility for managing pest problems for 11% of the City’s total land area. Staff who apply pesticides are required to have a Washington State Public Pesticide Operator’s license and attend continuing education classes in IPM on an annual basis to update their skills and knowledge in pest management.

The department also employs an IPM Coordinator who monitors overall programs, and insures that regulatory requirements are met, including tracking pesticide use. This coordinator works with staff to research and develop new pest management strategies, especially regarding alternatives to pesticide use. The Coordinator also sits on the City of Seattle’s Interdepartmental IPM committee, which reviews programs annually and makes adjustments to procedures and protocols. Park’s IPM Coordinator is the department’s liaison on pest management issues to a variety of stakeholders, including the Mayor’s office and the community.

Q. How does the City of Seattle Pesticide Reduction Program fit into Parks IPM?
A. By implementing IPM, Parks has consistently reduced its pesticide use since the late 1970’s. This has resulted in an estimated 80% drop in labor hours associated with pesticide applications. (Previously, pesticide application was tracked in labor hours. Today it is tracked in amounts applied.)

In 1999, as part of a commitment to manage public land in an environmentally responsible manner, the city developed Pest Reduction Strategy Goals to reduce use of pesticides overall and to phase out use of the most potentially hazardous products.
In 2010, Parks is proud of its IPM program and has reduced its use of pesticides by implementing alternative strategies. For questions please contact Barbara DeCaro, IPM Coordinator - Sustainable Landscapes Programs, at 206-615-1660 or via email barbara.decaro@seattle.gov.


 
Updated November 7, 2013

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