Friday, 90 volunteers completed the access project through the woods of Dr. Jose Rizal Park. This opens the forest with a defined pathway to the south of the off-leash area fence, running for approximately 1/4 mile. It gives access to police, fire, and emergency personnel, and to restoration crews. The project — which was endorsed by the community in a large public meeting in 2005 — was made possible by a coalition of state and city agencies and community groups. It’s been six years from planning, four years from first boots on the ground.
Over 8,000 hours of volunteer time made the project happen, plus grants from King County and the City of Seattle. About 60,000 square feet of ivy and non-native blackberry bramble have been cleared from the ground; 1,000 trees now have ivy control measures protecting them, including trees south of the park for several city blocks. Over 1,000 native species have been planted. An apple orchard of some dozen trees has been reclaimed.
On Friday, besides the pathway, 145 native plants were planted in an area just uphill from the gateway to the off-leash area off the access road. Another 750 bulbs – tulips and daffodils – were planted on the slope beneath the parking lot overview; this brings the total to 1,600 bulbs planted as interim cover before native plants are brought in. Also, a dozen native rose bushes were planted in this area. At the entrance to the off-leash area, just inside, we cleared non-native grasses and then spread cardboard over previously bare soil and covered it with woodchips to create erosion control; we can plant native species later. A total of 15 cubic yards of woodchips were used along the pathway, the native planting area, and at the entrance to the OLA.
EarthCorps has been instrumental in providing a large base of support for the work, as has King County United Way.
This makes the third year in a row that large crews from Microsoft stepped up to make a difference. I’d like to thank Lynn Tucker, my wife Ariel, and four other Beacon Hillers who came out to help this year. I’d especially like to thank former Hillers Wayne Rennick, Dean Olson, and Kevin Kelley, too, plus my neighbors Dee, Paul, and Lynn for keeping so much going, and everyone who has spared a morning or afternoon.
Thank you, Craig.