parks | KUOW News and Information

parks

KUOW photo/David Hyde

Seattle, you may have noticed some new neighbors around lately.

Not the ones who moved here to work at Amazon — that’s another story entirely. We’re talking about beavers, which were all but eradicated from the region just over 100 years ago.

But now they’re back.

Coastal erosion is chewing away at one of the Northwest's most popular recreation areas. It's threatening the main campground and other amenities at Cape Disappointment State Park, which has the second most camper visits in the Washington State Park system.

Larches, a staple of the North Cascades, are shown on the Pacifc Crest Trail near Cutthroat Pass.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

The North Cascades National Park turns 50 years old this year.

It's a popular place to camp and hike now, but a new book about the park's history says it got off to a rocky start. 


Mount Rainier, or Tahoma, Tacobet, Ti'Swaq or Pooskaus.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

Your list of errands for the weekend might include picking up a prescription — but just imagine if that meant going for a walk in the woods.

For some, that's exactly what the doctor ordered.

Sunday is National Park Prescriptions Day, which encourages health care providers to prescribe time in nature to reduce stress and improve patient health. 


A report out last month says visitors spent nearly $740 million in communities near U.S. Forest Service lands in Washington and Oregon. The number of visitors and dollars coming into the region hasn’t changed much in nearly two decades.

The Interior Department plans to expand energy development on public lands and offshore to pay for the National Park Service's maintenance backlog.

In the Pacific Northwest, the needs range from washed-out roads and trails at Mount Rainier National Park to repairing bridges and parking lots at the Olympic National Park.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke says the parks’ maintenance backlog is $11.7 billion. The entire Interior Department’s backlog is $16 billion.

Gardener Marcia High of Seattle's Kubota Garden overlooks the landscape in front of Moon Bridge.
KUOW Photo/Angela Nhi Nguyen

If you’re looking for something outdoorsy yet tame to do, there’s a free place to visit this winter: Seattle's Kubota Garden. 

It’s a windy, snowy day in early November, and my boots keep slipping on the asphalt-paved Alta Vista trail that leads up away from the visitor center at Mount Rainier’s Paradise.

In the summer, this trail winds through wildflower meadows — but, even so, it’s the least used of any of the trails that start at Paradise. Jim Ziolkowski, my reluctant guide to Alta Vista, says that’s because it’s in such bad repair.

Democratic politicians from the Pacific Northwest are up in arms over a proposal to dramatically increase entrance fees at popular national parks next year.

Ellie and Emma are toddlers. They spend a lot of time with their dad Tim Billo in Seward Park, a fragment of old-growth forest on the edge of Lake Washington. Billo’s a lecturer at the University of Washington’s College of the Environment.

The grove Billo and his daughters are exploring today used to have sword ferns that had grown taller than Ellie and Emma. But, now, the ground is bare and dusty. There are no plants growing beneath the towering trees.

For the first time in more than four decades, the Yellowstone grizzly bear is set to lose its federal protections under the Endangered Species Act. Citing a rebound in the bear's population, the U.S. Department of Interior announced its intention Thursday to end these protections and return oversight of the animal's status to the state level.

The agency says the rule to remove the grizzly from the endangered species list will be published "in coming days" and "will take effect 30 days after publication."

Seattle's Gas Works Park About To Undergo Toxic Cleanup

Mar 20, 2017

Kite flyers, picnickers, and Ultimate players treasure Seattle’s Gas Works Park, whose famous towers and pipes were once part of a coal gasification plant on the shore of Lake Union that lit up early Seattleites’ homes.

But beneath the grass lies a more insidious legacy of the park’s industrial past: toxic waste.

A floor of classrooms in the Saint Edward seminary building
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Kenmore's historic seminary building at Saint Edward State Park will become a hotel.

The Washington State Parks Commission voted unanimously Monday to approve the plans.

From the outside, the North Transfer Station looks more like a community center than a dump.
Play Creation

There's an unlikely new place to work out in the Fremont-Wallingford area: the garbage dump.

The city of Seattle just opened a new garbage transfer station near Gas Works Park, after the old one closed two years ago. Neighbors wanted it to reopen only if it came with community benefits - and that's what they got.

Matthew Streib, who lives in the University District, makes his way around Green Lake on his old roller derby skates. He says it's frustrating when people walk into the "wheels" lane.
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

“What’s the right way to go around Green Lake?” Isaac Chirino of Shoreline asked KUOW’s Local Wonder.

Boy, people REALLY care about this one.

People like Carolyn Frost.                                                             


Alaskan Way viaduct, Seattle waterfront, downtown
Flickr Photo/WSDOT (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Deborah Wang talks with Initiative 123 backer Kate Martin and opponent Patrick Gordon about whether Seattle should build a waterfront view park along Alaskan Way — and potentially scrap its existing waterfront plans in the process.

A pavement park at the corner of University and Boylston offers a colorful area, but not green space.
Flickr Photo/SDOT Photos (CC BY NC 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/F7VBT2

Bill Radke speaks with Adiel Kaplan about her article for Investigate West about green space in the city and the future of public parks in Seattle. 

Mount Rainier, or Tahoma, Tacobet, Ti'Swaq or Pooskaus.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

Bill Radke speaks with executive director of Washington's National Parks Fund Laurie Ward about Mount Rainier National Park winning ninth place in an online competition for grant money. The park won $42,000 to restore a cabin to house search and rescue volunteers. 

Children splash in a fountain in Freeway Park in downtown Seattle.
Freeway Park Association/Riisa Conklin

Don't be afraid of Freeway Park in downtown Seattle: That's the message from Riisa Conklin, executive director of the Freeway Park Association. She told Kim Malcolm why the park covering I-5 is a safer, brighter place on its 40th birthday.


Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell said Tuesday that she is not aware of any coordination between her office and the White House about a conservation proposal for the Owyhee.

Last year, Portland-based Keen Footwear launched a campaign to convince President Obama to designate 2.5 million acres in southeast Oregon as an Owyhee Canyonlands national monument.

Barbara Dobkin, council of the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council, stands with her dog Mattie on a hill in front of the Seattle city-owned land she'd like to see turned into a park.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

It’s nearly impossible to find empty land in Seattle. But down at the far south end, there’s 40 acres with nothing on it. And it’s owned by the city of Seattle.

Locals would like to keep it wild. They think of it as “Discovery Park South.” But the city has other plans.

Tiny rooms where seminarians once lived at Saint Edward State Park in Kenmore, Washington. The state bought the land in 1977 but loses money every year on the old building. A developer wants to revamp it into a hotel and spa.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Saint Edward State Park is a swath of forest north of Seattle almost four times the size of Disneyland.

It was once a seminary, and now the state wants to give a building and some acreage to a developer to morph into a privately owned hotel and spa. 

Scott Bonjukian

Jeannie Yandel speaks with Scott Bonjukian about his proposal before the Seattle City Council to build a lid over the downtown Interstate 5 corridor to create a new central park for the city.

Apples on one of the original trees in Piper's Orchard. The orchard was planted more than 100 years ago.
KUOW photo/Marcie Sillman

Seattle's Carkeek Park has a secret.

Hidden in plain sight, on a steep south-facing hillside, just a few hundred yards down a trail from the Environmental Learning Center, you’ll find Piper’s Orchard.

Jurassic Parklet Shakes Up Seattle Park(ing) Day

Sep 18, 2015
Disaster-ready Stephanie Velasco shows Jurassic Parklet to other UW students.
KUOW Photo/Allie Ferguson

 

Over 50 mini parks have popped up around Seattle streets today. It's for PARK-ing day, an annual international event where people can make over parking spots with park greenery, fun and games.  KUOW's Allie Ferguson talks to University of Washington student Stephanie Velasco about the park she helped create: Jurassic Park-let.

Portland and Seattle are known for their parks — and now they have the accolades to prove it.

Flickr Photo/Seattle Munincipal Archives (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds talks to Don Harper, from Our Parks Forever and the the No on Prop. 1 campaign, Christopher Williams, superintendent of Seattle Parks, and Erica C. Barnett, political reporter for Publicola, about the Proposition 1 election results.

Flickr Photo/Roy Patrick Tan (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds talks with two advocates concerning Seattle Proposition 1, which would create a Seattle Park District. Don Harper is with the group Our Parks Forever, which opposes the passage of Prop 1, and Ken Bounds is with Seattle Parks For All, which advocates for it.

Flickr Photo/Jeremy Reding (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds speaks with Jennifer Wielund, public space program manager at the Seattle Department of Transportation, about the crop of a dozen new pilot parklets which will appear in parking spaces across the city this summer.

Forest managers in north Idaho and western Washington will be closing some popular camping areas this year. They say nearby trees are infected with root rot and post a threat to campers.

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