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From this northeastern perspective you can see the eastern boardwalk of the Yesler Swamp in the foreground and the entire southern loop close to the lagoon that once floated logs into Yesler’s mill. You can also see the western boardwalk up to the T intersection of the entrance boardwalk.

The swamp has much more rainwater than usual. And Lake Washington is beginning it’s annual rise to store enough water for the Crittenden (Ballard) Locks to run all year. So it is very swampy place indeed but accessible on the boardwalk.

The early spring has given us a leafless window to the boardwalk from the sky. Although this was taken early in the spring, this spring is not early.

In the background is Union Bay, a western out-pouching of Lake Washington that communicates with Lake Union. To the right are the greenhouses run by the Center for Urban Horticulture (CUH), the Society of Ecological Restoration (SER) and the University of Washington Botanic Gardens (UWBG) which supply some of the native plants which are restoring Yesler Swamp.

Late-afternoon snack

On February 2 late in the afternoon, Gordon Starkebaum photographed this female merganser heading toward the shore of Yesler Swamp with a fish in her bill, trailed by a second female merganser. Gordon used a Canon EOS Rebel T3i with a 400mm lens.

Lots of people enjoyed the views of water and birds today (Dec. 26, 2016) as they strolled the boardwalk at Yesler Swamp, including Gordon Starkebaum who took this photo of a beautiful Great Blue Heron. He used a Canon EOS REBEL T3i with a 400 mm lens.



On this first day of fall, September 22, 2016 the Friends of Yesler Swamp with the help of the staff of the UW Botanic Gardens and supervisors from the Washington Conservation Corps completed two days of intensive work on the upland entrance trail to modify the trail’s 10% sloping grade so that it now meets ADA specifications for accessibility. As pictured here today, we incorporated two level resting areas and a level switchback to accommodate for a lessor 8.33% sloping grade between the resting areas.




Each of these 5 foot flat resting areas is demarcated by 4 inch high kick boards secured by rebar.

The remaining portions of the entrance trail and other Yesler Swamp upland trails and boardwalks have less than a 5% sloping grade which makes for easy travel by wheelchair.  About half of the boardwalk is five feet wide which allows wheelchairs to pass at any point. In other sections where the boardwalk is four feet wide, there are “pullouts” to allow wheelchairs to pass.

Friends of Yesler Swamp is pleased to complete this trail so it can be used by everyone. To celebrate this accomplishment, on Sunday October 16th from 1 to 3 p.m., UW Botanic Gardens will publically thank us and our many supporters and volunteers. This event will take place at the Center for Urban Horticulture 3601 NE 41st St. Seattle,WA. Please join us in this celebration.

Through the combined efforts of the Friends of Yesler Swamp, UW Botanical Gardens staff Annemarie Bilotta and supervisor David Zuckerman we did it! Volunteers used hand tools and UW staff used machinery to make the volunteer effort easier. Last week volunteers removed 2 inches of soil along the 60 foot long 4.5 foot wide path.



Monday Annie, David and volunteers secured porous fabric over the dirt and then placed 4  inches of thick gravel on the trail. Tuesday Annie compacted it. Wednesday, today, we place an additional 2 inches of fine gravel on top and compacted it. Done!


Completed east upland trail looking south

Completed east upland trail looking south

Completed east upland trail looking east

Completed east upland trail looking east


Now the entire loop is accessible to the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

We have some tweaking to do on the entrance trail over the summer but a wheelchair did get down and up it safely on a tour two days ago. Once the entrance trail is finished to our satisfaction, the Friends of Yesler Swamp can hand the Yesler swamp and it’s trail over to the University of Washington Botanical Gardens.

Six members of the WCC returned for their Swan Song as a team for this last two week effort on the Yesler swamp boardwalk.

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The boardwalk was completed today June 22nd 2016, a construction process that started before April 15th 2014.

Junior, the foreman:

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“Junior” Joseph Fulmaono has been the dedicated crew supervisor from the 2014 start, now proudly displaying the Yesler Swamp T shirt and equally proud of his work and for good reason!

He left this message:

“After 3 crews, 3 phases we made it to the end of the line…..official completed. Have a nice day folks.”

And he took this photo of his crew: 2016-06-22 14.44.05

The whole crew was smiling today!

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And even though the boardwalk is now finished, the boardwalk will miss Junior and his WCC crews. 2016-06-22 15.55.01 Thanks! Please come back and visit!

New Resting Areas

Nearly a year ago the UW arboretum cut down a very large cedar and sliced it in 6 foot sections nearly 3 inches thick yielding four slabs of wood. David Zuckerman and Fred Hoyt who are administrators for the UW Botanic Gardens suggested we could use this wood for seating areas at two overlooks of the lagoon on the Yesler Swamp Trail.

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Fred Hoffer designed the three resting areas and put one next to a plaque honoring his late wife, Dr. Kathleen Kelly.

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Bill Bender, chair of Construction Management, UW College of Built  Environments and also a Friend of Yesler Swamp, signed off on the plans and the two of us built and installed them on Father’s day for everyone to enjoy.


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Thanks to the donation from the King Conservation District and the quick work from Washington Conservation Corp this viewing platform is now open.

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The viewing area takes you to the ordinary high water mark, which is high now and at the most natural area in the swamp.

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The skunk cabbage is viewable by wheelchair, stroller, walker or in fancy shoes except high heels.

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You no longer have to get your feet muddy to view it. We will take down the fence once the construction of the boardwalk is completed to the south.

East Trail Progress

The Washington Conservation Corp started working again on the Yesler swamp trail on the East trail this spring. All the wood material is cedar. They are making a 4 ft wide boardwalk with four wider passing zones for wheelchairs

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Wheelchair passing zone

and one T intersection viewing platform to view the skunk cabbage in the ordinary high water area.

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Skunk cabbage viewing platform

They will return again  in late May to finish the trail which may take another 2 to 4 weeks.

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Eastward Ho!

If indeed it will take that additional 2 weeks, we will need to raise more money. So consider Give Big Today or Tomorrow:

Please consider “giving big” to Yesler Swamp this year on May 3rd (tomorrow)! Your donation will help us finish the boardwalk and continue doing environmental restoration in this beautiful wetland! ‪#‎loveparks‬‪#‎parksforall‬,‪#‎GiveBIG‬

To make a gift to Yesler Swamp, please go to http://bit.ly/1RLcfI5 and enter “Yesler Swamp” into the comments box. Gifts made on this page will be “stretched” by the Seattle Foundation. The first 300 donors to Seattle Parks Foundation or its fiscal sponsor partners, will receive a $6 voucher to Pike Brewing!

Please consider sharing this post to spread the word with your networks!

What is GiveBIG?
The Seattle Foundation’s GiveBIG is the biggest day of giving in Seattle! Seattleites will raise more than $15 million to support hundreds of local non-profits. All gifts made through the GiveBIG donation page by May 3rd will be amplified by the GiveBIG Matching pool.

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