Happy birthday to the National Park Service!

tt2Diablo Lake at North Cascades National Park. Photo taken during Seattle Parks and Recreation’s Teen Trek program.

Join us in celebrating the National Park Service’s 100th birthday! On August 25, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed an act creating the National Park Service, a new federal bureau responsible for protecting the 35 national parks in existence at the time. Over the course of 100 years, the National Park Service has flourished, and our 35 national parks have grown to more than 400 national park sites. Here in Washington, we are blessed with 15 stunning national park sites, which attract more than 7,674,000 visitors a year. Our state’s three largest national parks—Mount Rainier National Park, Olympic National Park and North Cascades National Park—add up to an impressive 1,658,000+ acres of land.

Just like the National Park Service, Seattle Parks and Recreation believes that preserving open spaces and natural areas where residents can enjoy healthy activities like walking, hiking and rowing, helps people make connections to each other and experience the health benefits—both physical and mental—of time spent outdoors. We believe that just getting people moving is the first step to a healthy lifestyle. And parks, from the 500,000-acre North Cascades National Park to 534-acre Discovery Park, are the perfect places to start taking the first steps towards better health.

22593127961_28b872130b_kThe lighthouse at Discovery Park in Seattle.

The National Park Service is encouraging everyone to find their park—whether national, state or city parks. We can’t think of a better way to celebrate the National Park Service’s centennial than by spending time outdoors in nature. Can’t make the trek to a national park? No problem! Seattle Parks and Recreation is blessed with over 6,300 acres of parkland, including 465 parks and 26 community centers. Whether enjoying some quiet time at tiny Pinehurst Pocket Park, or hiking through 350-acre Magnuson Park, we hope you get out and #FindYourPark today!

nps 1Watch this stunning commemorative video from the National Park Service.

Golden Gardens stairway to close for approximately three months for park improvement project

The stairway from lower Golden Gardens Park to the off-leash area is scheduled to close on August 25 for approximately three months for a park improvement project. During this time, the stairway and upper landing area will be closed.

This project will provide drainage improvements and replace damaged portions of the existing concrete stairway. The project will replace multiple sections of failing stairs with a new 6 ft. wide concrete stairway. New ADA-compliant hand railings and landings will be installed as part of the renovation. Drainage improvements will include replacement of deteriorated storm drain infrastructure and enhancement of the open concrete channel adjacent to the stairway. The improved drainage system will capture and redirect localized surface and subsurface flows to reduce subgrade settling and re-occurrence of current erosion problems. The work will be done in accordance with applicable environmental and regulatory requirements.

Funding for the project is provided by the 2008 voter-approved Parks and Green Spaces Levy.

Construction is anticipated to be complete by December 2016. For more information on this project, please visit http://www.seattle.gov/parks/about-us/current-projects/golden-gardens-drainage-and-stairway-renovation or contact Chris Mueller, Seattle Parks and Recreation, at 206-684-0998 or chris.mueller@seattle.gov.

Board of Park Commissioners to hold a Public Hearing on the People, Dogs and Parks Strategic Plan

The Board of Park Commissioners will hold a public hearing to receive feedback on the Draft People, Dogs and Parks Strategic Plan. The meeting will take place at Miller Community Center on September 22, 2016 at 6:30 p.m.

The Draft People, Dogs and Parks Strategic Plan is available here. The plan will guide the operations of existing off-leash areas, and provides strategies for development of future off-leash areas. It provides direction on how to spend Seattle Park District funding designated for existing off-leash areas over the six-year term of the Park District funding plan (2015-2020).

The Board of Park Commissioners will receive oral and written testimony, and will make a recommendation to the Parks and Recreation Superintendent based on the feedback they receive from the public.

Seattle currently has 14 fenced off-leash areas totaling 28 acres. The People, Dogs and Parks Plan offers recommendations on how to add new off-leash areas, and how to improve off-leash area conditions and user experience.

New off-leash areas may be added through new park development, existing park redevelopment and community requests, on park land or non-park public land. All new off-leash area proposals will be reviewed by a committee of environmental and dog advocates, community members, animal behaviorists and Parks staff, who will make a recommendation to the Parks and Recreation Superintendent.

The Plan recommends that future off-leash areas be fenced, does not recommend allowing unleashed dogs on trails, and recommends against establishing more off-leash areas on beaches. User conflicts, limited enforcement and maintenance resources, and environmental concerns limit the capacity for adequate management of unleashed dogs in city parks outside of fenced off-leash areas.

The plan proposes the use of Seattle Park District funding to improve existing off-leash areas based on site assessments included in the plan, and to explore possibilities for partnerships and sponsorships to expand resources. It also proposes the creation of a license for dog walkers, and limiting the number of dogs in a dog-walker pack to three unless dog walkers complete an approved animal behavior training program.

Those who want to give input on the plan but are not able to come to the meetings can give written comments, which bear equal weight to verbal comments. Please email comments to rachel.acosta@seattle.gov.

Approved by voters in 2014, the Seattle Park District provides more than $47 million a year in long-term funding for Seattle Parks and Recreation including maintenance of parklands and facilities, operation of community centers and recreation programs, and development of new neighborhood parks on previously acquired sites. 2016 is the first full year of implementation and there is work going on in every corner of the city. This year includes funding to tackle the $267-million major maintenance backlog, and will fund the improvement and rehabilitation of community centers; preservation of urban forests; major maintenance at the Aquarium and Zoo; day-to-day maintenance of parks and facilities; more recreation opportunities for people from underserved communities, programs for young people, people with disabilities, and older adults; development of new parks; and acquisition of new park land.

The Seattle Board of Park Commissioners is a nine-member citizen board created by the City Charter. Four members are appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the City Council; four members are appointed by the City Council; and one member is a young adult appointed by YMCA Get Engaged. The Board generally meets twice a month, normally on the second and fourth Thursday, to advise the Parks and Recreation Superintendent, the Mayor and the City Council on parks and recreation matters.


Seattle Parks and Recreation, Office of Arts & Culture open next round of Arts in Parks grant applications

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Program reaches out to underserved communities

Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) and the Office of Arts & Culture (ARTS) invite individual artists, neighborhood arts councils and local community-based groups to apply for a new round of Arts in Parks (AIP) grants.

These grants, funded by the Seattle Park District, are for individuals and community based groups, especially those from underserved, immigrant, refugee communities and communities of color, to produce temporary art installations and artistic performances, festivals and other events in Seattle parks.

Groups applying need not be 501(c)(3) nonprofits, nor are they required to use a fiscal agent. Funded organizations will receive one year of funding support ranging from $1,200 to $7,200 to support direct expenses.

Find the guidelines and application for AIP grants here, temporary art call here, and Neighborhood & Community Arts grant here. Guidelines for AIP applications are available in Mandarin, Somali, Spanish and Vietnamese.

The deadline for AIP grant programs is 11 p.m., Wednesday, October 19, 2016.

Applicants who want to learn what makes a strong application and get information about other funding programs can attend one of the free workshops listed here. These interactive question-and-answer sessions will cover specifics on eligibility and how to apply. SPR encourages first time applicants to attend.   

Wednesday, September 7, 2016, 5:30-7 p.m.
2100 Building, Community Room A 2100 24th Ave. S
RSVP here

Saturday, September 10, 2016, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.
Green Lake Library 7364 East Green Lake Dr. N Seattle, WA 98115
RSVP here

Monday, September 19, 2016, 5:30-7 p.m.
High Point Library 3411 SW Raymond St.
RSVP here

Evans Pool will be closed Aug. 21 – Sept. 5

21035311163_e2f57df074_zEvans Pool will be closed for preventive maintenance August 21-Speptember 5. There will be no programs, rentals or access to pool locker rooms, and no pool staff or cashiers will be on site. The Green Lake Community Center will remain open and users can still register for fall swim lessons at the front desk.

Until Evans Pool reopens, we hope you will use Ballard, Madison, Meadowbrook, Queen Anne or Pop Mounger Pools, or West Green Lake Beach.

  • Ballard Pool, 1471 NW 67th St., 206-684-4094
  • Helene Madison Pool, 13401 Meridian Ave. N, 206-684-4979
  • Meadowbrook Pool, 10517 35th NE, 206-684-4989
  • Queen Anne Pool, 1920 1st Ave. W, 206-386-4282
  • Mounger Pool, 2535  32nd Ave. W, 206-615-1591
  • West Green Lake Beach, 7312 W. Green Lake Dr. N

The schedule of programs at other pools can be found online at: http://www.seattle.gov/Documents/Departments/ParksAndRecreation/Swimming/AquaticsAllCitySchedule.pdf

Showers are available for use at all other swimming pools for $5.25.

Evans Pool 206-684-4961

Judkins Park Find It, Fix It Community Walk


Please join Mayor Murray and city leaders on Wednesday, August 24 in the Judkins Park neighborhood for our fourth Find It, Fix It Community Walk.

These walks provide a unique opportunity for community members to identify neighborhood needs and discuss challenges directly with City leadership.

Judkins Park Find It, Fix It Community Walk
Wednesday, August 24

  • Sign-in and refreshments provided by Starbucks from 5:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
  • Program and walk from 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
  • Meet at Judkins Park near S Charles Street

Community Learning Centers engage youth over the summer

Denny3Did you know that over the summer, low-income youth lose two to three months in reading, while higher-income peers make slight gains? And over the years, these losses add up—by fifth grade, summer learning loss can mean that low-income students are 2 ½ to 3 years behind their peers1.

But thanks to innovative summer learning programs, such as the Westside Scholars at Denny International Middle School in West Seattle, kids from a variety of backgrounds can spend their summer months engaged in academic and enrichment activities. And best of all, the Westside Scholars program combines learning with what is most important to kids over their summer break—having fun!

Westside Scholars offers extra academic support to 7th and 8th grade students at Denny International Middle School, while serving as an introduction to middle school for incoming 6th grade students. This year, more than 200 students participated in the five-week program from July to August. In addition to participating in classes covering standard topics, students also had the opportunity to take part in creative and hands-on enrichment classes, including Mariachi, Cooking and Cartooning.

The Westside Scholars program operates in part out of Seattle Parks and Recreation’s Community Learning Center at Denny International Middle School. Located within Seattle Public Schools and operated by Seattle Parks and Recreation or the YMCA of Greater Seattle, Community Learning Centers serve as a place where students who are struggling find hope and opportunity. From homework help to singing classes, Community Learning Centers help provide students with the support they need to succeed in school and life. To learn more about our Middle School and Elementary Community Learning Centers, visit: http://www.seattle.gov/parks/volunteer/tutoring.



Sailing adventures for Van Asselt youth

real1At Seattle Parks and Recreation, we believe that access to invigorating ways of enjoying nature are key to any great city’s livability. And here in Seattle, we are blessed to live in an area with mountains, forests and water at our doorstep. But for many residents, access to recreational opportunities to get out and enjoy these natural resources is out of reach.

That’s why our 26 community centers have a special focus on providing meaningful recreation opportunities for people from diverse backgrounds, including older adults, people from low-income households, and differently abled populations. Recently, the Van Asselt Community Center took a group of nine youth for a day of sailing and paddle-boarding activities with Sail Sand Point, a non-profit community boating center located in Seattle’s Magnuson Park.

The goal of the outing was to get young people from the New Holly community out of their comfort zones and expose them to a new experience, one that they might not normally have the opportunity to take part in. Our staff leader on the trip was impressed with the energy and interest of the group: “Each participant was very respectful, punctual, and thoughtful, and group morale was very high. They all participated in the sailing and paddle boarding activities that were provided, and had it not been for our time constraints, would have stayed until it was dark. I observed several individuals looking after the health, safety, and well-being of the group, and even those who were shy or apprehensive at first broke out of their shells and participated with enthusiasm and gusto.”

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Seattle teens explore North Cascades National Park

tt1Seattle is one of the fastest growing cities in the U.S. With urban density increasing, we have to ask ourselves how we can help residents, especially youth, experience more time in nature. One way we are tackling this important issue is through our Teen Life Centers, which provide youth with a variety of programs to promote community involvement, positive relationships, learning experiences that build skills, and opportunities to move and exercise.


This summer, our Teen Life Centers’ Teen Trek program organized four trips for youth groups to national park sites in Washington State. Made possible by the Teen Enhancement Fund and partnerships with North Cascades National Park and Olympic National Park, Teen Trek allows youth from diverse backgrounds the opportunity to experience the great outdoors through camping, hiking, team-building activities and service projects.


The Southwest Teen Life Center recently took a group of 28 participants on a trek to the North Cascades. The teens were provided with camping spots at Lower Goodell campsite on the banks of Goodell Creek in North Cascades National Park in exchange for taking part in a service project, which consisted of helping park rangers cleanup the campsite during the peak camping season.


In addition to the service project, the participants took part in icebreaker activities and facilitated group-building programs such as Anger Replacement Training (A.R.T) and Coping and Support Training (C.A.S.T). After the service project, staff and teens packed into vans and headed up to Diablo Lake lookout to take in the amazing views of the turquoise-colored lake and surrounding mountains. The final night consisted of a night hike to a lighted waterfall and ended with s’mores, scary stories, laughter, campfires and great company!


Friends of Piper’s Orchard host tenth annual Festival of Fruit

20550987630_2966e7cd40_k (1)The Friends of Piper’s Orchard invite the community to join them in celebrating Carkeek Park’s historic orchard on Saturday, September 24 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Events will include cider pressing and tasting, live music, an apple pie contest, activities for kids, guided tours of the historic orchard and more.

The event will take place at the Nancy Malmgren Environmental Center (650 NW Carkeek Park Road). Visitors are encouraged to park below the learning center; volunteers will be directing guests.

The event is free and open to the public. Activities will include:

  • Apple pie contest: Bring a contest entry between 10:00 and 10:30 a.m. and buy a piece of contest pie after the winners are announced.
  • Fresh pressed cider: Visitors are encouraged to try out making cider the old-fashioned way, with a cider press.
  • Apple identification: Bring apples from your home orchard for variety identification.
  • Homemade pie: Visitors are invited to donate homemade pies. Fresh warm cider and slices of pie will be available at Tillie’s Café for a nominal cost, with proceeds to support ongoing maintenance of the orchard.
  • Orchard tours: Expert volunteers who have painstakingly restored the orchard will lead tours, pointing out the heirloom varieties that are going strong as well as younger trees and grape vines.
  • Apple tasting: Visitors will have the chance to taste heirloom apple varieties from the orchard and other sources.
  • Kids’ crafts: Little ones will enjoy organized arts and crafts activities.
  • Live music: Talented musicians will provide live music during the festival.
  • Master Gardener Clinic: Activities for adults and children.
  • Carkeek Wildlife Habitat Garden tour: A tour of the gardens near the Environmental Learning Center will be offered.

The Friends of Piper’s Orchard is a group of dedicated volunteers who rescued the historic North Seattle orchard from invasive plants. The annual Festival of Fruit raises awareness and funds to help the volunteers ensure that the orchard, originally planted in the 1890s, will survive at least another 100 years.

The Festival is sponsored by Friends of Piper’s Orchard, Seattle Parks and Recreation, Carkeek Park Advisory Council, Seattle Tree Fruit Society and City Fruit.