Category Archives: Trails (STARS)

Work on Viewlands Trail begins August 14th

On Monday August 14th, crews will begin work on the Viewlands Trail reroute. The project will reroute the lower portion of the  Viewlands trail down the ridge to the NW, providing a gentler, drier path.

The existing trail will be open during construction of the new route, 8:30 a.m.–2:45 p.m., August 14–September 15. 

Please keep alert for vehicles moving materials along the Pipers Creek Trail.

Major funding for this project came from the “Meet Me at the Park” grant from the National Recreation and Park Association and the Walt Disney Company. Thank you to all that voted for this project in April (“Meet me at the Park” post).

For more information see go to

Vote for a project to repair the Viewlands Trail at Carkeek Park

You can vote to support a project to repair the Viewlands Trail at Carkeek Park.

The mudslides near the bottom have eroded the ground beneath the trail, making it dangerous to travel and likely to be washed away with the next heavy rain.

If you want to keep access to Carkeek Park from the Viewlands Elementary School area please support this project and encourage like-minded people to do so also. It is the only access from the SE corner of the park. It is also how the Viewlands students enter the park for environmental education classes.

Connecting kids to nature at Carkeek Park: This project will restore a vital environmental education connection trail between the salmon-bearing creek in Carkeek Park and the Viewlands Elementary School that sits adjacent to the park. The project will connect kids to nature by rebuilding and rerouting parts of the trail to provide safe, equitable access for the school and the surrounding community. You can vote for this project starting April 1 by texting carkeek to 35350.

Please help Carkeek Park by voting daily April 1st to April 30th. We need you! Text carkeek to 35350

You can read more about the “Meet Me At The Park” initiative here:

Green Seattle Day at Carkeek Park

As this was the seventh Green Seattle Day in the city, we were honored to see at least 20 volunteers appear at the McAbee entrance to Carkeek Park this particular Saturday. Volunteers again represented many age groups and backgrounds. We had couples, friends, children, and forestry and plant experts.

The plan was to remove invasives from several severely affected areas around the Park entrance, and plant about a dozen native conifers and shrubs in targeted areas. In the Blackberry areas, first we cut the canes, and piled them on the ground, and then we dug out the Blackberry roots, placing them on top of the pile of canes.

The photos from this day show the group of volunteers, tired and proud, who extended the Blackberry removal on the slope closest to the McAbee entrance. It is a densely invaded hillside, sloping down to the trail, which curves several times before becoming the main Piper’s Creek Trail through the Park. Once the considerable amount of Blackberry was removed from the slope, one could see down to the trail, which before had been blocked from view. One picture shows a freed tree where before blackberry vines had climbed into its branches.

Other groups worked removing blackberry from other areas,  There is more blackberry to be removed from this slope, but with many people working together, a lot of progress was made toward creating a natural, healthy, and appealing entrance.

Lex, Volunteer Interview

By Lex Voorhoeve

Going through all my old archives I realize that there are so many stories to tell—which is good, because I will have to seriously limit myself.  Numbers refer to numbered photos.


To give you a first overall impression of my involvement with Carkeek Park, I include a story I wrote when we, in 2010, had finished the last trail planned in the Trails Plan of 2000: the Fern Glen Trail, down from the ELC in the direction of the orchard.  

For me it all started in 1998, when I became member of the Advisory Council. In that body I initiated the Forest Committee, that later branched out into two committees, the Trails Committee and the Forest Committee. Real trail building started in 2000 (1, 9, 10, 11).  The trails system was a real work. It also resulted in starting the WEWOS—a group of volunteers working on weekdays. In addition to that we provided leadership for Saturday work parties (18, 19). Once park restoration became a city-wide program, called the Green Seattle Partnership (GSP) (2006?), we voluntarily placed our activities under the umbrella of the GSP.                                                       


Loren McElvain, graduate of the first Master Forester Class, (classes held in 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2015 with myself and Brian Gay, Carkeek’s staff naturalist) became my parks buddy and together we roamed the forest but also constructed a Tree Guide for Carkeek Park, a digital document (13, 20 – 22). We also started our own nursery in the maintenance yard  (12)—a unicum in Seattle. Although working under the umbrella of GSP we were nevertheless a rather independent body, doing what we thought was most urgent. We had an excellent relationship with the park’s maintenance staff but were wary of too much oversight from “above.”


Between 2000 and 2012 a whole generation of grandchildren was introduced to the fun of a park:  Playground (16A),  Bubble Man (16), Sunsets (17), Art in the Park (15), Picnics on the North Meadow (4A), and the BIG ROCK (2). And always that fascinating aspect:  CHANGE (from 3 to 4). The little girl on the rock (2) is the same as the girl holding  the black/white dog of photo 4A.


Change is an ever-present trait of a Park, or nature in general. Sometimes is comes sudden and unexpected, like a big tree falling down, creating havoc but at the same time creating a light spot where new trees can grow. Sometimes is goes slow, planted trees growing or dying, new management, new volunteers, seasonal changes. Sometimes it is change on purpose, like pulling ivy and waiting to see what new stuff profits from the changed site conditions. Sometimes slow change makes you impatient—GET GOING!!! (to slowly growing Yew shrubs), or it takes you by surprise (after finding a tree you planted 5 years earlier and lost track of). So change is a central theme, and we are part of it, because we, WEWOS + STARS + Earthcorps + other groups, DO make a difference in Carkeek Park, for the better, I assume. Today, at the “Big Bridge”, a lady + off-leash dog addressed me, out of the blue: “I like the boy scouts bridge”.  So there!