The Skunk on the Table

Last weekend, Seattle Parks hosted a “Mini-Summit” for Natural Areas. There were over 20 groups and about 100 people from around town who are concerned with Natural Areas in Seattle Parks. There was an exhibit hall where the different groups had table displays, and a moderated panel discussion about Parks’ policies on Natural Areas.

The Seattle Nature Alliance had a table display and we sat through the panel discussion.

So…what is at stake here? Why are so many nature groups around town so upset? And, why is Parks holding these highly-structured meetings, where there is limited opportunity to voice opinion? Does Parks have a pre-determined agenda to open Natural Areas to other uses including commercial ziplines, mountain bike skills parks, and who-knows-what-else?

We fear they do.

Acting Superintendent Christopher Williams started the meeting by putting the “skunk on the table” in his words. And by skunk, he said he meant the Cheasty Bike Park — a mountain-bike skills installation in one of Seattle’s last undeveloped natural areas. To be fair, I don’t think he actually meant to say this bike park idea stinks.

But in many ways, it does.

In our recent post, Passive Use, a Thin Green Line,  you read our views about this issue.

In anticipation the Seattle Board of Parks Commissioners meeting on April 9, 2015 about the Cheasty Bike Pilot, the following organizations addressed eloquent letters to the Commissioners about the Supplemental Use discussion and Cheasty. They appear here with permission. Please take a moment to read them, and feel free to share:


5 thoughts on “The Skunk on the Table

  1. During the entire hour-long panel there was no discussion of “supplemental use guidelines,” the alleged topic. When asked directly about the appropriateness of more intensive uses such as mountain bikes in a NA, none of the panelists answered the question, nor did the moderator press them to do so. It would have been a total waste of a sunny Saturday morning but for the networking opportunity among those of us who are concerned, and the groups’ tables.

  2. I became concerned when I spoke to the landscape architect after the “summit” was over; this was the panelist that was second from the left. I asked if she had one reference she could mention to people if she were ever asked for information on native or ecosystem gardening and her response was blank! She expressed concern for the invasive plants of vinca and knot weed, but then said she thought bamboo was a good garden plant because it was just fine when planted with barriers. She did not recognize the irony of the fact that all three alien plants are rhizome spreaders (at least for now). UGH! It is very worrisome that this person was on the panel, but is so obviously clue less.

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