A periodic electronic newsletter about Parks and Recreation news,
programs, projects and events from Seattle Parks and Recreation
Superintendent Ken Bounds.
SPRING AT PARKS AND
Welcome to spring! The work of
Seattle Parks and Recreation, perhaps more than any other City
department, is tied to the turning of the seasons. Like many of you
who have gardens and yards to tend to, Parks staff are busy taking
care of our hundreds of lawns, flowerbeds, forests and natural areas.
Our crews are beginning to mow and edge grass, plant and weed beds of
annuals, and clean up beaches and picnic areas.
Also this season, weekend
volunteer work parties in parks kick into high gear as community
residents and Adopt-a-Park groups gather in dozens of parks to weed,
mulch and plant. On Earth Day weekend alone (April 21 and 22), there
will be 18 work parties or events throughout the city (visit www.seattle.gov/parks
for more info). Our environmental education centers focus on spring
happenings with classes and nature walks on bird eggs, blossoming
flowers, and polliwogs. The picnic season has officially started this
month with the reserving of picnic tables and shelters citywide.
At our community centers,
spring is the time for softball, track and field and other outdoor
sports. Most of our centers will host spring egg hunts on Easter
weekend (April 15), and during Seattle Public School's spring break
next week, many community centers will sponsor spring break camps and
numerous activities and events for Youth Appreciation Week.
For more information on these
and other spring programs and events, please consult our web site at
EAGLES AND FISH IN OUR
We may live in a densely
populated city, but nature is still ever present. Bald eagle sightings
have become more common, including a pair of bald eagles at Green Lake
Park and near my house above Me-Kwa-Mooks Park.
In the meantime, volunteer fish
observers for Seattle Public Utilities have noticed a remarkable
increase in the number of salmon returning to Seattle creeks. At
Thornton Creek, which empties into Lake Washington at Matthews Beach
Park, 89 coho, 5 sockeye and 3 chinook were spotted at the end of last
year, a much higher count than the year before. At Longfellow Creek, a
good portion of which flows through parkland, the counters tallied 288
coho, about five times the number sighted the year before. At Piper's
Creek, which flows into Puget Sound at Carkeek Park, 27 coho and 40
chum returned, more than double the number from 1999. At Taylor Creek
near Lakeridge Park, 28 sockeye were found near the mouth; in 1999
there were no salmon.
IMPORTANT FEDERAL PARKS
If you're interested in federal
support for parks and recreation, please let your elected
representatives know as soon as possible.
President Bush has proposed
full funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) at $900
million per fiscal year, including $450 million for matching grants
for state and local projects. This is the highest LWCF budget request
in history. The White House budget is also expected to request NO
funds for the Urban Park and Recreation Recovery Program (UPARR). This
program targets minority and underserved urban neighborhoods.
The U.S. Congress, especially
the House and Senate Interior appropriations subcommittees, will
ultimately determine the level of funding for both programs, and any
specific terms or conditions state or local governments must meet.
Retaining all or a significant
portion of the President's LWCF request will be a challenge in the
face of congressional criticism. Parks and recreation advocates must
press the case for these funds, and for not allowing diversion of the
funds for non-park purposes.
You can do this by writing the
following government officials: The President, The White House,
Washington D.C., 20500 and The Honorable Gale Norton, Secretary of the
Interior, Washington, D.C., 20240. Thank them for their support for
LWCF, particularly the state assistance program. Also write your U.S.
representatives and urge them to support the President's request,
citing the social and environmental benefit of investing in local
parks and recreation, and to support the National Recreation and Park
Association's $100,000 UPARR request. Written (not e-mail) comments
may be submitted no later than April 16. Our state representatives on
the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee include Rep. George
Nethercutt, 223 Canon House Office Bldg., Rep. Norm Dicks, 2467
Rayburn House Office Bldg., and Sen. Patty Murray on the Senate
Interior Appropriations Subcommittee.
URBAN PARKS DIRECTORS
MEET IN SEATTLE
Late last month I had the
privilege of hosting parks and recreation directors from nine North
American cities as part of a regular meeting of the Urban Parks and
Recreation Association. The directors hailed from Minneapolis,
Chicago, Milwaukee, San Francisco, Portland, Boston, Vancouver, B.C.,
El Paso and Louisville, Kentucky. Joining us was the executive
director of the National Recreation and Park Association. All were
impressed with the beautiful sunny weather we had arranged, and the
parks and facilities we visited. They were also impressed with our
active neighborhood organizations, our large number of volunteers and
our local levy successes.
I came away from the meeting
with interesting observations about how other cities operate. For
* El Paso has had great success
in requiring sportsmanship training for parents with children enrolled
in sports programs.
* Milwaukee's community
recreation program is part of its school district; 76 public schools
become community centers at night (a.k.a. "Lighthouse
* Vancouver has formed
Neighborhood Integrated Service Teams, like Seattle's Neighborhood
Action Teams, to deal with long-standing neighborhood problems.
* San Francisco is implementing
a $400 million capital program of its own.
It was extremely rewarding to
share successes and challenges.
SCULPTURE PARK LAND
You may have heard that the
City Council authorized Seattle Parks and Recreation to buy 0.3 acres
of property at 10 Broad St. to complete the assembly of land needed
for the development of the Seattle Art Museum's Olympic Sculpture
Park. The Sculpture Park will be developed on six acres of land near
the waterfront north of Broad St. and south of Myrtle Edwards Park.
Parks and Recreation has been working with the museum on planning and
design of the park, including pedestrian and street improvements. One
cornerstone piece in the sculpture park will be Alexander Calder's
"Eagle," which is located temporarily in front of the
Seattle Asian Art Museum in Volunteer Park. Check it out!
THE ZOO'S LONG-RANGE PLAN
This week, we released the
Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Woodland Park Zoo's
proposed Long-Range Plan 2001. The plan is an update of the zoo's 1976
Long-Range Plan and is a physical development roadmap for the next 20
years. It places more emphasis on the zoo's public education mission
and calls for long-needed new facilities for jaguars, wild dogs and
tigers, in addition to including a proposal to build a parking garage.
The 30-day review and comment
period on the Draft EIS closes on May 1, 2001. For more information on
the plan, please consult the web site www.zoo.org
I will be in touch soon.