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Seattle Parks and Recreation

The View From Denny Park

Gregory J. Nickels, Mayor
Kenneth R Bounds, Superintendent

No. 27. June 24, 2002
A periodic electronic newsletter
about Parks and Recreation news, programs, projects and events
from Seattle Parks & Recreation Superintendent Ken Bounds

The View from Denny Park: News and Views from the Superintendent


We lost a great friend and staunch supporter of parks and recreation earlier this month. Walter Hundley, Seattle Parks and Recreation Superintendent for 11 years from 1977 to 1988, passed away on Thursday, June 6.

Before he came to Seattle Parks, Walt was the director of the Office of Management and Budget. While he was Parks Superintendent, the department completed many of the projects in the massive Forward Thrust capital program. Also during his tenure, the Woodland Park Zoo began a capital program that transformed the Zoo's animal exhibits from cages to naturalistic habitats. Perhaps most importantly, Walt significantly increased the diversity of the department's staff at all levels. Walt also served on the Seattle Board of Park Commissioners after his retirement as Superintendent.

Walt was known for his financial savvy, for his deep, resonant voice (he was an ordained minister) and for his fortitude under fire. When he made a decision, he stuck by it and stood up for it.

One of my fondest memories of Walt was back in the late 1980s while sitting in the audience in City Council Chambers. Walt stood up and defended his record of civil rights and affirmative action. Councilmembers were criticizing the Parks Department affirmative action efforts and Walt would have none of it. He assertively but respectfully set the record straight over the objections of several councilmembers.

There will be a memorial service for Walt at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 6, at First A.M.E. Church, 1522 14th Ave. in Seattle.


Every summer for the past 30 years, our Special Populations section has run a series of summer day and sleep-over camps for up to 60 young people with a wide variety of mental and physical disabilities.

The camps have been a tremendous success despite the considerable logistical and staff challenges of organizing and running such camps. For instance, several nurses are on hand to dispense the medications needed by these campers. The camps' target groups include young people with severe developmental disabilities, physical disabilities, and behavior problems.

Because they are the only camps of their kind in the area, the participants and their families greatly appreciate the positive, active camp experience, and the invaluable respite for parents, who rarely have days off from the specialized care they provide their children every day.

Beginning on June 25 and ending at the end of August, the week-long camp sessions offer all of the typical day camp fare, including arts and crafts, environmental education programs, Zoo outings and other field trips, and entertainment. The day camp runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily out of Lower Woodland Park and the overnight camps are held at Camp Long in West Seattle.


The problem of Canada goose feces in our city and in our region is well-documented. As the steward of 11% of Seattle's land area, Seattle Parks and Recreation has a responsibility to keep our beaches, children's play areas, ballfields, and other park areas clean for the use of the people of Seattle. The King County Board of Health in 1999 adopted a resolution finding that the disease-causing organisms in goose feces represent a public health concern serious enough to warrant the Board's support of the lethal method of goose population control.

We respect the strong feelings of the people who oppose use of this method. The goose population is going down and damage to parks is lessening. We hope that in the near future, the goose population will stabilize at a level the U.S. Department of Agriculture - Wildlife Services (Washington Office) finds manageable, and we will no longer use it. However, we do not respect the disruptive and sometimes violent tactics used by some of the opponents. Wildlife agents should not be threatened, and should be allowed to do their jobs without the fear of intimidation or harm.

Seattle has worked for 14 years with a regional committee, the Metropolitan Area Waterfowl Committee, on regional solutions; in an area like Lake Washington, any jurisdiction acting alone would simply move the problem to the next. We use many population control methods in combination:

  • Egg addling, USDA's major effort--stepped up this year to include private property--that prevents eggs from hatching
  • Taller grass, which is less attractive as a food source than short grass
  • Mylar fringe, which helps keep geese off docks and other structures
  • Application of a bitter, grape-based substance to grass; the downside is it wears off and is a labor-intensive method
  • Transportation to other regions (no longer feasible)
  • Public education (we are installing new signs and placing more emphasis on education this year)
  • USDA's permit to capture and kill


Earlier this month, Deputy Superintendent Patricia McInturff joined with northeast Seattle community members to celebrate the purchase of a two-acre property along Little Brook, a tributary of Thornton Creek at 11715 36th Ave. NE. Deputy Mayor Tim Ceis, City Councilmember Margaret Pageler and Metropolitan King County Council Chair Cynthia Sullivan were also in attendance. Preservation of this property was a long-term community goal, but the purchase was possible only because voters approved the Pro Parks Levy. Levy funds were also used as a match to secure supplemental funds from Seattle Public Utilities and the King County Conservation Futures Tax. Pictures and information are available on the web at:


Community celebrations in the past month included the joyous openings of the nifty new play area at Rogers Playfield in Eastlake and the newly acquired and named Ward Springs Park in Queen Anne. Both projects involved many talented and dedicated community volunteers working with Parks and other City staff to move the projects from concept to reality.

Rogers Play Area was funded through the Neighborhood Matching Fund (NMF), Parks Neighborhood Response Fund, and private donations. Funding for the Ward Springs development, which included a play area and renovation of an old city pump station into a community space, came from the Pro Parks Levy, NMF, King County and private donations.

I will be in touch soon.

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