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Be a good neighbor to your neighborhood parks
Please be a good neighbor to your neighborhood parks
Are you a neighbor of City park land? City park lands include developed parks, playgrounds and trails, undeveloped greenspaces, and streets that have been designated as park boulevards. These park lands are Seattle's natural treasures and home to many native species of plants, birds and animals. To help preserve and protect these valuable areas, the Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation wants to work with neighbors and others who enjoy our parks to clarify boundaries and promote the proper use of park lands.
Commonly asked questions and answers:
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Where are the boundaries?
If you have questions about a boundary, please contact Parks and Recreation's Real Estate Section at 684-4860. When in doubt, be a good neighbor and don't proceed until certain.
What is an encroachment?
Encroachment is the unlawful, unauthorized, or unpermitted use of the property of another. An encroachment is often thought of as a structure, such as a fence or part of a building, but an unauthorized use, such as parking, a storage area or garden, may also be considered an encroachment.
Encroachments on public land often include:
There is no adverse possession of public property, which means private owners cannot establish rights to City land by using it for a number of years.
The Department may issue permits which allow very limited, temporary non-park use of park lands. To obtain an application form, please call the Real Estate Section at 233-7935.
What about driveway access along park boulevards?
Property owners living adjacent to park boulevards often have rights of access, even if not explicitly defined in land ownership documents. Contact the Real Estate Section at 684-4860 with questions about individual access.
What's wrong with dumping yard waste?
Cutting, pruning or trimming of trees or plants on park property is not allowed EXCEPT by permit. Trees are an invaluable asset to the beauty and health of our park system. Untrained "topping" or "chopping" to improve a view, or for any other reason, can permanently damage or kill a tree. In areas where trees are mature and reaching the end of their lifespan, the Department works with community groups to develop and implement reforestation projects. For more information please call the Urban Forest Restoration Program at 233-5019. If you have questions about view trimming or tree safety or want to obtain a tree cutting permit, please call the Department's Senior Urban Forester at 684-4113.
Is it OK to clear out low vegetation from park lands?
Generally, NO. Trees, shrubs, and plant life in our park system not only contribute to a neighborhood's beauty and character, but they also provide unseen benefits such as runoff buffering, slope stabilization and habitat for wildlife. "Cleaning up" the undergrowth disturbs the protective ground layer which is essential to a healthy forest and may destroy shelter and food sources for native birds and small animals. The natural habitat can be enhanced by planting desired native trees and shrubs and managing the existing vegetation. The Department works with volunteers through the Adopt-A-Park program to eliminate noxious weeds, such as non-native blackberry and ivy, and re-establish native plants on park lands. To help in this effort, call 684-4075 for information on Adopt-A-Park.
You can contact the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife at 775-1311 for more information on landscaping for wildlife habitat.
What can you do to be a good neighbor?
Protecting park land is everyone's responsibility. Please report mis-use or abuse to 233-7935. If you have an encroachment onto park land, please contact the Real Estate Section at 684-4860 to discuss the situation. The Department would prefer voluntary action rather than legal action to resolve problems.
Let's be good neighbors.
For more information, call or write:
Updated January 11, 2007
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