An organized group is lobbying to convert part of the park into an arts campus. We oppose such a drastic change to the park’s current use and purpose as a natural area park. Please help us by signing and sharing the Friends of Discovery Park petition, and/or by writing the City Council and the interim Mayor Tim Burgess to show your support for protecting Discovery Park and preserving its current use and purpose as a natural area park.
From the Friends of Discovery Park, a detailed objection to the proposal can be found here.
About Discovery Park
“Discovery Park is a 534 acre natural area park operated by the Seattle Parks and Recreation. It is the largest city park in Seattle, and occupies most of the former Fort Lawton site. The site is one of breathtaking majesty. Situated on Magnolia Bluff overlooking Puget Sound, Discovery Park offers spectacular view of both the Cascade and the Olympic Mountain ranges. The secluded site includes two miles of protected tidal beaches as well as open meadow lands, dramatic sea cliffs, forest groves, active sand dunes, thickets and streams. The role of Discovery Park is to provide an open space of quiet and tranquility away from the stress and activity of the city, a sanctuary for wildlife, as well as an outdoor classroom for people to learn about the natural world. Maintained in its semi-natural condition the park will continue to offer a biologically rich and diverse natural area for urban dwellers and an unmatched opportunity for environmental education.” – from Mayor Tim Burgess
“Although the park was conceived as an “open space of quiet and tranquility,” a recent proposal would install an expansive arts campus at its center, one intended to host year-round musical concerts and initially planned to include a new 600-seat auditorium. Although with the best of intentions, that proposal fails to recognize that the park is not an empty space waiting to be filled: it is already fulfilling its role as a destination for those seeking the “rejuvenation which quiet and solitude and an intimate contact with nature can bring.” -from Open Season on Open Space, “focuses on nationally significant cultural landscapes, large and small, throughout the United States. The sites, some of which are protected under the Antiquities Act, are threatened by confiscation, development, energy and resource extraction, and other incompatible uses.”
Why are we opposed to the proposal to use Discovery Park as an arts campus?
We oppose the proposal because it seeks to change not only a City Ordinance for use of Historic Buildings, but also to change the Discovery Park Master Plan. Discovery Park exists as a peaceful place of natural beauty only because the citizens of Seattle demanded it. In 1975, the people rejected a proposal to convert Discovery Park into an 18-hole golf course. Unlike most Pacific Northwest Cities, including Portland, Vancouver BC, and Tacoma, Seattle has very few acres preserved in a naturalistic state. We must keep what we have, for future generations to enjoy.