Seattle Parks Recreation

It’s true for many of us that when we get outside and away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, we always enjoy just being alive!  The Seattle Parks Recreation areas around the King County and city of  Seattle  are so unique and different.

Have you been to them?  I’ve been to most of them myself, and they’re great!

Green Lake surrounded by Seattle in the Fall - flickr

Green Lake surrounded by Seattle in the Fall – flickr

Let me name just a few for you.  There is Waterfall Garden Park, Boreal Songbird Initiative Park, Myrtle Edwards Park, Frink Park, Volunteer Park, Kinnear Park, Gasworks Park, Woodland Park,  and finally, Green Lake Park.

Since there are so many more than the above mentioned parks, we will not be looking at all of them.  So let’s take a closer look at one or two.  We’ll start with Green Lake Park (or as many call it: Greenlake Park).

Green Lake at it's best. courtneycooperphoto

Green Lake at it’s best.
courtneycooperphoto

A Brief History

Green Lake has a long history, extending way back to around 1855 when it was first “discovered” and surveyed by David Phillips.  Phillips is given credit for the name “Green Lake” because of the naturally occurring green algae growth in the lake.  Seattle Parks and Recreation have taken many steps to see to it that this algae is regularly cleaned from the lake, making it quite inviting to all visitors.

What makes this lake so inviting today?  Many things.  First it is large enough for small, unpowered boats, sailboats, and a variety of human propelled water crafts to be on the lake at the same time with room to spare.

Averaging about 13 feet deep with a few places around 30 feet deep, it is considered a fair sized lake.

Lake Side Path for All

Green Lake also has generous grassy lawns extending around the entire lake.  Plenty  of room for those baseball games, picnics, frisbee throwing, running your dog, and just plain having fun with friends or family.

Having a running track around the entire lake, makes it ideal for those who like to start their day with a 2.8 mile jog around the lake while taking in all the sights, smells, and sounds.  Speaking about smells, it’s also a great place to have the whole family and friends together to have a little outdoor barbeque!

Plenty of room for all on the 2.8 mile path around the lake.

Plenty of room for all on the 2.8 mile path around the lake.        photoS.Bagshaw

Don’t like to jog?  Well, not to worry.  There is plenty of room for inline skaters, bicycles, and walking pedestrians all at the same time.  Just be aware though, if you hear from behind you something like,  “coming around on your right (or left)”, don’t get excited.

Also don’t jump to the side either.  Why not?  Because that comment is from someone either on a bicycle, skate board, or roller blades that is about to pass around you.   Just be forewarned!  🙂

I remember when my wife and I were going around the path and the first time we heard “coming around”, it shook us up a bit.  So, of course, we did the dumb thing of stopping, turning around and moving to one side.  Yikes!   The guy on the bike almost “nailed” us!

Be smarter than we were.

What About Duck Island?

As you take your  jog or stroll around the lake, you’ll notice a small island.  It originally was named Swan Island because of the many attempts at making a swan sanctuary there from the swans that were donated to the city of Seattle by the kind folks of Vancouver, British Columbia.

Needless to say, after a number of attempts, the swan sanctuary (or wildlife sanctuary) was abandoned.  This small island was created back in 1936 by using large rocks and gravel for fill,  and is now known as Duck Island.

Duck Island photobyetsy

Duck Island           photobyetsy

Keep in mind also, that even though this small island is easy to get to, it is still off limits to the public.  Mainly because of the influence of the Bald Eagles that have been known to visit it.  Safety is another reason for people to keep off this island.

However, from time to time, it has been the home to rope swings, beer cans, pop bottles and other litter, showing that people still visit it from time to time.  Sorry to say, they always seem to leave a “trash trail” behind each visit.  🙁

Don’t ask me why people go out to the island, because there is really not much there. (?)

The Geese Have Arrived!

Even though Duck Island is off limits, there is no shortage of wildlife.  Each year, hundreds, if not thousands, of Canada Geese come to Green Lake.  These “honkers” are absolutely beautiful!

However, PLEASE do not feed them!

Why not?

Let me explain.  Some years back, because of the droppings left by the geese, the local folks that lived around the lake began to complain.  After so much complaining, the city officials decided it was time to have the geese “removed” to a different area.

Canada Geese on the lake.

Canada Geese on the lake.

However, if you know anything about geese, then know this, that once they have created a flight path, also a landing place, it is taught to each generation of geese.

Because of that, it is pretty much impossible to stop the geese from returning to their familiar resting places.   OK, so, with that in mind, here is what the city tried.

They came up with the idea that a loud noise like a siren, whistle, or boom like a rifle shot, would keep the geese away.  It did…..for a few minutes. After circling the lake, sure enough, they would land once again.

Honking to each other and leaving more droppings.  Next, the city hired people to shoo the geese away.  Nope.  Did not work.  Then the idea of having dogs chase them away was tried.  Again, that too failed.   So what was left?

Don’t Feed The Geese

This is the sad part.  The final result was to start on an early Sunday morning , and kill the geese!  That is exactly what they did.  Hundreds of geese were slaughtered there at Green Lake.

So many people were upset by this that it was never tried again.  However, the aftermath of this “great goose slaughter” is still fresh in the minds of those of us who are aware of it. So, now you see why we do not want anyone to feed the geese.

Stopping at the lake is a natural stop.  They can forage for themselves and do just fine.  However, when people begin to feed them, it seems that “word gets out to the other geese” and they come into the lake in tremendous numbers.

Please do not feed the geese.

Stuffed Full of Fish

Green Lake is a great place for the fish also.   It seems to be stuffed full of fish everywhere!  Rainbow trout, largemouth bass, carp, yellow perch, bluegill, channel catfish and yellow bullhead to name a few.

There is also a tremendous amount of unnamed fish that inhabit the lake.   Perhaps you are not a fishing person but you love fish.

Then why not enjoy them fresh from the Pike Place Market (another blog page I’ve written) and then either smoke your own or enjoy them in other ways?

The Seasons Say It All

Just a final note about Green Lake.  Since there are four distinct seasons in the Seattle area, and the Seattle Parks Recreation Dept. want everyone to enjoy the lake and it’s beauty, be sure and come to visit in the spring.

Autumn season around the lake

Autumn season around the lake

Spring season around the lake

Spring season around the lake

In full foliage and bloom, all around the lake you will find yourself in a virtual field of “snow balled” trees!

Makes you feel great!   White and pink flowering cherry trees line the lake.  These were a gift from the Japanese Association of North America way back in 1931/1932.

Enjoy the natural wonders of this lake, sponsored by the Seattle Parks Recreation, surrounded by the city of Seattle!  Oh, and don’t leave out the pets.  As long as they are on a leash and you have your “clean up” bags, they’ll love it too.  Yay!

Be sure to  share.  Thanks, and come again.

Written by:  Tom McDaniel