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News and Views from the Superintendent
No. 73. April 21, 2006
Gregory J. Nickels, Mayor
Kenneth R. Bounds, Superintendent
A periodic electronic newsletter about Parks and Recreation news, programs, projects and events from Seattle Parks and Recreation Superintendent Ken Bounds
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In this issue:
April is Earth Month at Parks | Green Ribbon Report | Green Seattle Partnership Going Strong | Clean Air at Beaches | Paper Cuts | Best Management Practices | Other Efforts | New Park Board Member


Earth Month 2006
Earth Month 2006 Poster

Tomorrow, April 22, is Earth Day. Seattle Parks and Recreation is celebrating throughout the month of April and afterwards. Here are just some of the ways you and your family can get involved. For more details and events, please visit our web site at

  • Carkeek Park/Pipers Creek 26th annual Earth Day festival, April 22, 206-684-0877
  • Fishing Kids Fishing Derby Green Lake Park, April 22, 425-251-3202
  • Bitter Lake Shoreline Work Party, April 22, 206-684-7524
  • Worm Bin Composting Workshop, Green Lake Community Center, April 22, 206-684-0780
  • FlorAbundance Plant Sale, Magnuson Park Building #27, 206-325-4510
  • Earth Day Stations at Discovery Park, April 22, 206-386-4237
  • Washington Park Arboretum Service Project (Student Conservation Association), April 22, 206-324-4649
  • Camp Long Movie Night "Living With Wolves," April 27, 206-684-7434
  • Alternatively Fueled Vehicle Rally, Seward Park, April 22, 206-684-4396
  • Teen National Youth Service Day at Madison Pool, Seattle Center, and a park near you, 206-615-1727

Environmental stewardship is part of our department's mission statement and integral to the City of Seattle's efforts be a good caretaker of our natural environment in Seattle and the region. This issue of "View" includes some of the major environmental initiatives of Mayor Greg Nickels and Seattle Parks and Recreation.


The recently released report of Mayor Nickels Green Ribbon Commission calls on the entire Seattle community -- residents, businesses and government -- to make Seattle "the most climate-friendly city in the nation" by taking actions to curb the harmful emissions that contribute to global warming.

The ultimate aim is to meet the goals of the international Kyoto Protocol in Seattle by reducing global warming pollution by more than 680,000 tons -- equivalent to the emissions from about 150,000 cars.

"The challenge before us is clear: we must change today to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, or face the consequences of a world changed by global warming," the Mayor said. "By taking bold action in our city, we will show other communities, states and eventually the federal government that we can choose a better future."

The Mayor convened the commission last year at the same time he launched his U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement. So far, 218 mayors representing 44 million Americans in 39 states have signed on to Nickels' agreement, pledging to join Seattle in meeting the Kyoto goals.

The report lays out 18 steps the City can take to cut emissions, from significantly increasing transit, bicycling and pedestrian infrastructure to new road pricing strategies to improving the energy efficiency of our homes and office buildings. The community will learn more about the commission's recommendations through a series of events over the next several months. The mayor will use the recommendations and public comment to create Seattle's Climate Action Plan, to be released later this year.

For more information on the Green Ribbon Report, please visit


Green Seattle Partnership

Last year was an exciting and productive year for the Green Seattle Partnership. This is our partnership with the Cascade Land Conservancy to restore 2,500 acres of forested parkland in the city over the next 20 years, and sustain the forest through long-term maintenance and community stewardship. We will soon unveil the Green Seattle Partnership 20-Year Strategic Plan, which will include fundraising efforts and an outreach plan.

In 2005, we worked with the Cascade Land Conservancy and the EarthCorps Community Outreach program. Green Seattle Partnership hosted more than 75 volunteer events across the city and removed 10 acres of invasive plants from forested park lands and planted 2,200 native trees and shrubs.

In October, we also brought together an exceptional group of 25 restoration volunteers for Forest Stewards Training. The volunteers walked away with a better understanding of the scale of our invasive plant problem across the city.

The strategic plan can soon be found online at Please call Katie Moller, Parks Urban Forester, for more information at 206-233-5019.


We are proud of the success of our efforts to control illegal beach fires, resulting in cleaner air at our two major saltwater beaches: Alki Beach and Golden Gardens Beach.

Through improved use of signs and public education materials, extinguishing fires at park closing and as needed, and enhanced park maintenance efforts at both Alki and Golden Gardens, Parks staff have dramatically improved compliance with outdoor burning rules and regulations, which contributes to cleaner air and a cleaner beach.

In comparing beach fire data for 2003, 2004, and 2005, we found a 60% reduction in illegal fires and an 88% reduction in the burning of illegal fuel (21.3 tons down from 176 tons). These reductions represent 155 fewer tons of fuels burned on our beaches, which translates into 30% fewer emission into our airshed.

For more information about Parks' beach fire management, please visit


Paper CutsEarly last year, Mayor Nickels signed an Executive Order directing all City staff to reduce paper use by 15% in 2005 and an additional 15% in 2006. This "PaperCuts" initiative also directed staff to increase recycling of the paper we use. The goals were set to reduce the almost 74 million sheets of paper used by City government offices each year, and to reduce the environmental impacts of paper production.

For the first nine months of the campaign, City paper use overall was down 12%. At Parks, use is down by 18%.

Our efforts continue - practices such as mandating double-sided printing and copying where possible, storing more files electronically, reducing the size of some standard forms, and eliminating paper reporting altogether when possible.

For more tips and ideas to help save paper, please visit the web at


Seattle Parks and Recreation is steward to more than 6,100 acres of parkland and the work we do every day can have a large impact on the present and future health of the local environment.

At the core of our environmental stewardship work are Best Management Practices for Landscape, Horticulture and Forestry. Best Management Practices detail operational practices that reduce environmental impacts and provide direction on management and maintenance of park natural resources. In 1999, Parks printed its first ever manual of Best Management Practices. It was revised in 2005 and we have trained selected grounds maintenance staff. These practices will improve our efficiency without sacrificing customer service, and will ensure consistent dedication of resources across the city.

The updated Best Management Practices will be posted on our web site by the end of May ( For more information, please contact Barb DeCaro at 206-615-1660 or


Among the many measures Parks is taking to reduce our environmental impact are:

  • Pesticide Free ParksPesticide Reduction. We continue to reduce the use of pesticides in maintaining our parks, including golf courses. Since 2001, Parks has also designated 14 parks as pesticide-free. These parks are distributed geographically throughout the city and provide citizens an opportunity to use these facilities with the knowledge that no pesticides are used. Eight additional pesticide-free parks will be designated in June 2006.
  • Water Conservation. We are reducing the use of water through computerized irrigation systems at 45 parks, saving thousands of gallons of water each year. When possible we plant drought-tolerant plants that require less watering.
  • Fuel. Parks is a leader in implementation of the Green Fleet Strategy, the Mayor's new plan to increase the number of alternatively fueled vehicles, increase fuel efficiency, increase use of cleaner fuels, and reduce tailpipe emissions. We've also implemented a "Mind Your Idle" program, reminding Parks staff and volunteers to turn off their vehicle's engines off when they are not needed.
  • Recycling. Parks provides recycling containers for park users in our facilities and an increasing number of parks. We also created our own "Clean Green" mulch, and reuse pier pilings and telephone poles for parks structures. We also ask park visitors at selected parks to "pack out" their garbage.
  • Energy. All of our 10 pools have washing machines that use up to 70% less electricity and 40% less water than our previous models. All refrigerated vending machines on Parks property are installed with motion detectors that turn internal cooling systems and external lights off when not in use. Lamps in nearly all Parks emergency exit signs are now equipped with features that use a fraction of the power traditional light bulbs use. Many of our new facilities are equipped with energy-saving measures and are designed to use natural light and ventilation.


Jackie Ramels may be the newest member of the Seattle Board of Park Commissioners (as of earlier this month), but she has been involved for many years on both parks and recreation issues in Seattle. Jackie is the former president of one of our major partners, the Associated Recreation Council and longtime member of the Alki Community Center Advisory Council. She also served on the Pro Parks Citizens Committee that helped put together the $198.2 million ballot measure in 2000. We welcome Jackie to the Park Board!

I'll be in touch soon.

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