Feed on

The first phase of construction began on the boardwalk in Yesler Swamp. The attached photo shows the crew from Washington Conservation Corps (WCC) setting “diamond pier footings” and inserting metal pins to hold the footings in place, in preparation to actually installing the cedar boardwalk. The crew is working on the west side of the swamp, so if you want to stop by, you can see how they are doing. They are setting the pin piles in the deepest portion of the west trail before the April 15th cut off date set by the Army Corp of Engineers. The WCC is diverted to help recover the victims of the mudslide and will return in June to install more footings and then lay down the cedar boardwalk itself.

In response to the disturbance caused by this construction in the wetland we are mitigating by removing invasive plants and planting native plants within the swamp. Last year we had one senior UW group. This year we have 2 senior and one junior groups doing this work for us.  So you’ll notice lots of pink ribbons and signs saying “restoration in progress” — the work of many talented and energetic UW students to whom we are most grateful.

Thank you to all our friends and supporters who have worked with us since 2009 to make the boardwalk a reality and restore this wonderful 6.4 acre site.construction start

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UW Restoration Ecology Network students need your help in Yesler Swamp! 


The 2013-2014 UW REN restoration of Yesler Swamp is well on the way but we could use a hand. We will be removing more invasive plants, mulching, and planting. If you would like an opportunity to help out in your local community, we’d love to have your support.


We will be removing invasive species and mulching on: 

Sunday, February 23, 2014 – 10am to 3pm 


We will finish mulching and start planting native species on:

Saturday, March 8, 2014, 10am to 3pm


To RSVP, or if you have questions, please email Amy Stephens at aamys6@uw.edu or email Elyse Denkers at edenkers@gmail.com


Where to meet: UW Center for Urban Horticulture, 3501 NE 41st St., Seattle, 98105. We will be located at the Yesler Swamp trailhead in the CUH parking lot. Sign in sheets will be located here. 


What to bring: Dress appropriately for the weather (rain or shine) and be sure to wear clothes that are tough and can get dirty. Closed-toe shoes are required. Rain or waterproof work boots preferred. Also bring a water bottle. We will have a water jug to refill your bottle.


Tools, water, snacks, and gloves will be provided.


Looking forward meeting new volunteers!




Fifth graders from Laurelhurst Elementary School are helping to save Yesler Swamp!



 Mr. Pat Howard’s fifth grade class from Laurelhurst Elementary recently visited Yesler Swamp. The kids planted plant seeds that will grow into native shrubs. A walk through the swamp followed the seed planting lesson.





The children saw an active beaver lodge and spotted a blue heron. In a 30-second moment of silence, everyone heard a chorus of birds singing and an eagle’s cry.






Professor Kern Ewing and UW students Carolyn Foster and Tyler Licata taught the children about environmental restoration, why invasive species harm nature, and why it is important to replace blackberries with native plants.

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UW Botanic Gardens: Avian Tools with Connie Sidles


Saturday, January 25, 10 – 11:30am


UW Botanic Gardens Center for Urban Horticulture 3501 NE 41st St. Seattle

$20 before Jan. 18 ~ $25 after Jan. 18

Everyone is invited to learn about the birds of Yesler Swamp. See how the birds of Yesler Swamp use their beaks and bodies to make a living in the swamp! This fun, hands-on demo class is taught by master birder Connie Sidles — for all ages. You can sign up just for the Jan. 25 class or for the whole series of 4 classes, your choice.

 Connie Sidles, author of Fill of Joy and local birding authority, offers this exciting series throughout 2014 to learn all about the birds in our area. Each class will focus on a seasonal topic and include a story from Connie’s book. In this class Connie will illustrate the various specializations of birds’ bills that enable them to find food and divide the resources of nature to minimize competition.

To register or learn more, go to the University of Washington Botanic Gardens Website.

Our New Partners!


Welcome to our new partners, the UW Community Engagement Committee ~ Yesler Swamp Project. The new partnership will be a continuous collaboration between the student committee and the Friends of Yesler Swamp. The Community Engagement Committee is committed to working for two years to preserve, protect, and maintain Yesler Swamp!

In the picture (from left to right) are Tyler Licata, Carol Foster, and Morgan Wright (UW Community, Environment and Planning students), and BG Court ( a student in civil engineering). A special welcome to Tyler and Carolyn who will join the Friends of Yesler Swamp Board.

The Committee has already worked for three weekends clearing invasive out of Yesler Swamp. The Committee’s next work day is is Saturday, November 16 from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. Everyone is welcome! Please show up anytime during the morning/early afternoon. Tools will be provided, just bring your own work boots/shoes. Tasks include: Mitigating invasive plant species in various locations (Himalayan Blackberry, English Ivy, and Morning Glory) and revitalizing those zones with native plants species.

Check out the Community Engagement Committee’s Yesler Swamp Project website!


Union Bay Watch

Union Bay Watch photo


Yesler Swamp, on the north shore of Union Bay, is home to over 100 species of birds, an active beaver lodge, and wildlife. (Last winter, an otter was seen skating on the frozen waters of Yesler Swamp — really!)

Yesler Swamp lovers will enjoy Union Bay Watch, a website dedicated to  promoting “the appreciation of wildlife on and around Union Bay and a higher level of harmony between harmony and nature.” The site features beautiful bird photographs and informative commentary on Union Bay wildlife.

The original photo of the Great Blue Heron to the left is sourced from Union Bay Watch. Check out this great site!


Yesler Swamp is an urban wilderness, hidden away in the heart of Seattle. But where is Yesler Swamp, anyway?

Mapshowinglocation 2

You can find GPS directions for the street address at 3501 NE 41st Street, Seattle. Or you can take any route to Husky stadium, then follow these directions:

  • Head north on Montlake Boulevard. Follow Montlake as it curves to the right and becomes NE 45th Street.
  • Follow NE 45th Street to Five Corners (This is the 5-way intersection where NE 45th meets Mary Gates drive. You will see a Tulley’s on the northwest corner.)
  • Turn right onto Mary Gates drive. Follow Mary Gates Drive as it curves to the left and turns into NE 41st Street.
  • Turn right into the UW Botanic Gardens/Center for Urban Horticulture parking lot.
  • Follow the parking lots until you reach the last lot on the east side of CUH.
  • You will see the Yesler Swamp sign. Now you can follow the wood chip trail into Yesler Swamp!




Water for the Swamp!

water faucet

The plants in Yesler Swamp are thirsty! It’s hard to believe, but the new native plants in the upland area of the Swamp need water.

This spring, the 2012-2013 Capstone project restored the large swath of the upland area that you can see from the corner of 41st and Surber.  Working with Friends of Yesler Swamp, the UW students removed a mountain of blackberry and planted a variety of native trees and shrubs. But even though this area is part of a Swamp, it is dry in the summer.

Yesler Swamp volunteers led by Jerry Gettel generously installed several hundred feet of water line and a spigot to the restoration area. Now the new plants will get the water the need to survive our hot summer!


Photo By Jean Colley

Photo By Jean Colley

Yesler Swamp Restoration!  Please join the fun!
Bring your friends and family!

Work Party
Saturday, June 22, 2013

10 – 12 a.m.

Meet at the East Parking Lot of Center for Urban Horticulture

3501 NE 41st Street Seattle

 Why are we working to restore Yesler Swamp? Here is what Professor Kern Ewing says:

“Yesler Swamp sits in the middle of residential, commercial and transportation dominated land uses.  It is not near any large acreages of native vegetation.  As a consequence, it has been subjected to a long history of disturbance, it is bombarded by a seed rain from non-native plants, the climate that impacts the site is urban, not rural or natural, and there are not great refuges of other native plants to replenish it with a native biota.

“There is a simple rule in restoration:  the more “natural” your surroundings, the easier the restoration.  Our surroundings are not very natural, so a lot of work is going to be required to keep Yesler Swamp looking like a real freshwater swamp.  Here are some of the things that we must do:

            Get rid of invasives

             Plant natives

             Create shade (most invasive plants like sun)

             Create structure (forest floor, understory, canopy)

             Make habitat

             Create visual interest

             Increase biodiversity

             Build biomass and organic material

“If we do all of these things and are able to maintain a certain level of effort, we should create an environment that supports plants, birds, mammals, fish, amphibians and other organisms, while providing ecological functions that improve our lives (water quality, hydrology, local climate).  In addition, we can teach, learn and enjoy because of the presence of this ecosystem.”


Supporters of Yesler Swamp enjoyed a Saturday evening of music, delicious food, and champagne in the beautiful garden setting at the home of Jean and Peter Colley. In addition to a good time, the “Swamp People” contributed $2,000 to the Yesler Swamp trail fund. This celebration marks the successful end to the campaign to raise matching funds for Yesler Swamp Trail ~ Phase 1 and the beginning of our fund drive for Yesler Swamp Trail ~ Phase 2. We expect construction on Phase 1 to begin Fall 2013.

The highlight of the musical evening was the amazing concert played for us by William Chapman Nyaho, a celebrated concert pianist. Nyaho is famous for his eclectic mix of classical music and African music.  During the evening, we enjoyed everything from Bach and Mozart to African dance music from Nyaho’s father’s land in Ghana. You can learn more about this amazing musician at his website.

Thank you, Nyaho, for contributing your time and talent to Yesler Swamp! And thanks to everyone who has given their time and treasure to preserve and protect this unique natural area in the heart of our city.




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