Thursday, December 1, 2016

Yesler Swamp Update And Maintaining Boardwalk To Protect Wildlife

Friends of Yesler Swamp and the UW Botanic Gardens have been working together for over a decade to restore the native plants of Yesler Swamp, located near the Center for Urban Horticulture and bordered by NE 41st Street and Surber Drive, as well as construct a handicapped-accessible natural wetland trail, which also serves to protect and conserve swamp wildlife and minimize human impact on the wetlands.

The  boardwalk was recently completed on October 16th with a 

Friends of Yesler Swamp
said on their website that the trail "offers views of the wetlands, the beaver lodge and the lagoon, while protecting wildlife by directing human foot traffic away from these sensitive areas. 
The Seattle City Council approved a Department of Neighborhoods Matching Fund award of $88,887 to restore Yesler Swamp and help with the cost of construction of the boardwalk.
And the King Conservation District provided a $31,940 grant for construction of a Viewing Platform and more. 

And over many years, Friends of Yesler Swamp encouraged the community to give donations and by the end of last summer, neighbors and others had contributed over $260,000 to fund the restoration and the boardwalk.

Friends of Yesler Swamp recently posted this update on their website:

Yesler Swamp Boardwalk Completed!

by Connie Sidles

In October, Friends of Yesler Swamp celebrated the completion of our boardwalk and trail through the swamp with a gala reception and walks. The gala was the culmination of hundreds of thousands of dollars raised by donors and grants, and thousands of hours of volunteer work to clear out non-native plants and restore the wetlands.

Soon, the Friends plan to turn over our project as a formal gift to the UW, to be managed by the UW Botanic Gardens staff.

We urge you to take a walk through this magical place, one of the last remaining swamps on Lake Washington. You will find serenity in nature here, a place that seems almost removed from time itself.

Ongoing work still needs to be done, as the Friends and UW Botanic Gardens staff, faculty, and students continue to remove invasive plants and restore native vegetation. Look for work party announcements in the Blog, if you're interested in helping.

There is another important task we need your help with: The wheelchair-accessible boardwalk and trail have been built through fragile wetlands. Construction involved using special pilings to allow the boardwalk to "float" above the swamp, protecting plants and allowing wildlife to pass underneath the boardwalk from one side of the trail to another. With care, the boardwalk and trail should last for decades, giving the entire community  access to this unique paradise of nature. However, inappropriate use will cause the boardwalk and trail to fail surprisingly quickly. We need everyone to respect the Swamp by keeping their dogs on leash at all times, by strolling and not jogging, and by walking bicycles and not riding them. There are safety issues as well: the boardwalk can become slippery when wet or icy, another reason to slow down and take it easy.

If you see anyone with an off-leash dog, jogging, or bicycle-riding, we ask you to speak up. The Swamp belongs to all of us. Let's keep it beautiful and functional.

The Seattle Times recently published an in-depth article about the history of Yesler Swamp called "Seattle’s own urban swamp gets a boardwalk trail" with details about the construction of the boardwalk and maintenance of the Swamp for wildlife. 

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