Thursday, July 22, 2010

Some History on the "Montlake Fill" aka Union Bay Natural Area

Jean, from Friends of Yesler Swamp and a faithful blog reader was kind enough to send us some follow-up information to our post yesterday on the new kiosk containing daily bird and wildlife updates from Audubon Society Board member Connie Sidles at the Montlake Fill area, more familiarly known as the Union Bay Natural area, located near the Center for Urban Horticulture in Laurelhurst.

Here is what Jean sent to us in email:

"Dear Laurelhurst Blogger,

I really appreciate all your work and your postings of the Yesler Swamp items. You’ve made a neighborhood a better place.

I received today’s blog on the 'Montlake Fill.' The actual name of that area is the Union Bay Natural Area, and it is managed by the University of Washington.

The signs in the area say Union Bay Natural Area, so if someone goes looking for “Montlake Fill” they probably won’t find it.

Here’s a little historical background:

The Union Bay Natural Area was under water until 1916 when the new Ship Canal lowered Lake Washington by about nine feet. Later, the city of Seattle used the site as a city dump – dubbed the Montlake Landfill or Montlake Dump – but it was closed in the 1960s.

Here’s what the UW management plan says:

'The public disposal site (the Montlake Dump) closed in 1964, and garbage landfilling ceased in 1966. Filling, grading, and seeding of the surface continued until 1971. A University Advisory Committee on Arboreta selected the location in 1971 for a new arboretum site.

The Master Plan for the Union Bay Teaching/Research Arboretum (later to become the Center for Urban Horticulture) was submitted to the University in 1976.' "

Thanks Jean for the history and some further background of how the Montlake Fill became the beautiful Union Bay Natural Area, popular with the neighborhood and others for seeing and studying all the interesting wildlife in their natural habitat

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