On Thursday, June 25, A large group of dedicated people let the Seattle Board of Park Commissioners know exactly how they felt about Seattle’s Parks. At issue was a proposal from Seattle Parks and Recreation to add Supplemental Use Guidelines to how Greenspaces and Natural Areas are treated. The room was jammed, standing room only. Nearly 35 people spoke, for 2 minutes each. Five or six spoke in favor of the policy, mentioning bicycles. Two spoke on other issues.
The vast majority of the speakers, one by one, spoke (representing organizations and for themselves) against the policy – and for continuing to protect the very last of our natural areas. They brought up a multitude of reasons the proposal was, in the words of former Park Board Commissioner John Barber, “broadly misdirected“. They suggested alternatives. They questioned the science (or lack of it). They invoked fairness. They reminded everyone of the living things in those Greenspaces and Natural Areas. They cited conflicts with city policy. They handed over letters (see below) and petition comments. They talked about the importance of maintaining access to all of those areas for everyone. They talked about legacy, and about the future.
Many of those speaking so eloquently were forest stewards, who have maintained these protected places and other parks lands for decades. They have worked hard to make their parks healthy – not so portions of their parks can be turned over to specialized use groups – but to make them accessible to everyone. Everyone.
Some read prepared statements, some spoke off the cuff, but everyone spoke from the heart – with one voice, clearly telling the Park Board, “No. Reject this proposal”.
The three SNA Directors were there of course, and we each spoke. We sat right behind the representative of Seattle Audubon’s Conservation Committee, who was the first speaker of the evening. You can read her recap of the meeting and discussion of the issues in this message from the Tweeters listserv.
Here’ s the video. Public testimony begins at 19:00, and ends at 1:35:00
The Board is accepting written testimony until July 16. They may vote on July 23. Address emails to the Park Board in care of Rachel Acosta: Rachel.Acosta@seattle.gov
Letters from Organizations (used here with permission)
- Thornton Creek Alliance
- North District Council
- Fauntleroy Watershed Council
- Seattle Audubon Society Conservation Committee
- Seattle Nature Alliance
- Friends of Frink Park
- Friends of Madrona Woods
- Friends of Seattle’s Urban Forest
- Seattle Urban Forestry Commission (public letter)
- Pelly Place Association
- Magnuson Environmental Stewardship Alliance
- Washington Native Plant Society (public letter)
If your organization would like to have your letter listed here, please let us know.
Finally, please continue to spread the word about our petition – signatures and comments are still being sent to the Board!
(to catch up on all Seattle Nature Alliance posts about the petition and the proposed guidelines, check the “petition” category)