5 Acre Wood

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Saving this Unique Urban Forest

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Help us realize the vision of 5 Acre Woods as an urban forest with trails, a conservation project and education site, accessible to all ages.

Current Status

Thanks to the tremendous groundswell of community support,5AcreWoods soft focus the City made an offer to purchase the 5.6 acres, which has been accepted by the seller Seattle Public Utilities. The purchase should close in mid-December, 2017. This is a critical milestone – but not the finish line – to saving this forest as public park. THANK YOU to ALL who helped get us this far!

In order to make the purchase, the City loaned itself money, dipping into funds which must be paid back. The Stewardship Foundation has spearheaded grant writing and fundraising activities to assist the City in this acquisition. We have raised over $135,000 to date from people like you. Additionally, we have secured grants from King County and the Tulalip Tribes. We are seeking support from WA State for grant funds in 2018. There is still a shortfall, and we NEED more help to make this final fundraising a success! During the final push to get the City to purchase the forest, the Foundation made an agreement to raise funds for the shortfall. IF these funds are not raised by late 2018, the City could put a portion of the land up for sale for sale for development. We are so close to realizing the vision of a full 5.6 acre park, we just need your help to get there!

How you can help!

DONATE to the Cause by making an Individual/Family Donation or Pledge

We have surpassed our first fundraising goal, thanks to all of you – but we still must raise more to prevent part of the land being sold for development.

If you have pledged already (Thank You!), please SEND your donation after the closing of the land purchase on December 15th, 2017.

Please make your check out to Lake Forest Park Stewardship Foundation, write Land Acquisition in the memo field, and mail to: PO Box 82861, Kenmore, WA 98028.

If you have questions or you’d like to discuss pledging for 2018, contact LFPSF Fundraising Chair for 5 Acre Woods Brad Keefe at 206-240-6912 or email keefeba@gmail.com.

Online donations can also be made using our secure online donation form.  Click here to Donate to 5 Acre Wood

Consider hosting a ‘Friend-raising” or fundraising dinner or party at your house. We will help you in setting it up.

Please contact Brad if you would like to host a party, volunteer as a grant writer or help with fundraising.

Help Spread the Word  There are many citizens of LFP who still haven’t heard of this amazing opportunity to create a forested park. Share your support with your neighbors, friends, bookclub, school group…

Keep informed!  Click here to receive 5AW Newsletters and updates

Offer volunteer hours. Contact us to see how you can help.

Like our Facebook page 5 Acre Woods/Project of LFPSF.

Voice Your Support & Appreciation at City Council Meetings and with Council Members

Please voice your steady support of 5 Acre Woods, and take part in the City processes for park development, including the current “PROST” Plan (Parks, Recreation, Open Space & Trails).

Background

As the population of Puget Sound continues to grow, many urban forests are disappearing due to increased development pressure. Deep within the heart of Lake Forest Park lies a rare opportunity to save one of the last remnants of mature second-growth forest. The Lake Forest Park Stewardship Foundation (LFPSF) is leading the efforts to preserve it as an urban forest park and restore the property to its native state, with walking trails and interpretive signage. The property is an old remnant forest and the largest remaining undeveloped site in the City of Lake Forest Park. The property includes steep slopes, a stream, riparian wetland, and hillside seep wetlands. Based on current best estimates, over ninety percent of the property is critical areas and their buffers. The stream is a tributary of Lyon Creek, a salmon spawning and rearing stream. The property is habitat for a variety of mammals such as coyotes, foxes, deer, raccoons, mountain beavers, and many species of birds and is part of a much needed wildlife corridor.

Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) acquired the land for a reservoir site forty years ago, but used an alternative site. Having determined the property to be in excess, the City of Seattle placed it on the market.

The Project

Our vision is to develop the Five Acre Woods into an all-ages / all-access outdoor recreation area. We see upgrading the existing gravel roadside (where people park now) into an ADA-compliant parking area, the construction of low impact trails with interpretive signage and wildlife viewing platforms, possibly the construction of a “Tot Lot” play area for our youngest citizens, and preservation of the remains of the Leonard home, which was one of the first residences built in Lake Forest Park. The historic foundation could serve as a focal point for education about early native sustainable use of the land, logging practices, and changing attitudes toward nature over time.

This is an ideal site for a park, including both natural passive and active recreation elements. The site includes stream, wetland, steep slopes as well as some flat areas, and an existing small gravel parking area along the street. Uses could include:

  • Natural style playground for small children and gathering space for classes and activities
  • Hiking loop trail to view (but avoid impact to) riparian area / wetlands.
  • Educational signs informing the public about the forest and riparian areas
  • Restoration and replanting of native NW Pacific plants and trees
  • Historical/Cultural significance of Leonard Family Homestead and native presence, early LFP logging and settlers
  • Environmental educational opportunity for area school children / outdoor classroom about the importance of trees, the life cycle of salmon, and the hydrology of wetlands and streams
  • Community development through coordinated volunteer activities restoring native plants and implementing subsequent grants

5 Acre Woods map 8_02 NEWThe wetland is functioning well but the riparian zone is badly degraded with invasive plants.   Even some of the older trees are in jeopardy from heavy English Ivy infestations.  Invasive plant removal, modeled on LFPSF’s successful volunteer activities in Grace Cole Nature Park, is a part of long-term restoration plan.

Partnerships and Restoration

We have a well-established, broad based coalition of stewards with experience in just this kind of project, enthusiastically committed to working with the City for this park.  LFPSF is eager to work with the city to organize volunteer work parties to remove ivy and other invasive vegetation from this site, and plant native trees where forest functions could be improved. This organization will continue to help maintain this new conservation area in the long term.

Tree planting parties, coordinated by the City of Lake Forest Park, and supported by LFPSF typically draw volunteers, and will be used to restore parts of the forest deemed in need. The City’s arborist has already worked with LFPSF in surveying the trees of the property.

Other supportive partners include, among others: Lake Forest Park Stream Keepers, Adopt a Stream and the Audubon Society, Plant Amnesty, Seattle Coalition for Green Spaces, Bastyr University, and the elementary schools of Lake Forest Park. Additionally, a program at Shoreline High School will be aimed at helping senior students fulfill a 60-hour community service requirement on restoration of this site, and there is interest from other students from nearby schools and the Boy Scouts to contribute environmental restoration efforts.

Community Walks to 5 Acre Woods Build Momentum

5AWrallyThe Stewardship Foundation invited the community to a series of “Walks to the Woods”, at 10:30 am the first Saturday of the month (unless specified otherwise). Walk to 5 Acre Woods has been a great way to learn of the project and its updated status, and how to help. Every walk featured a guest. Here are the guests for past Walks (also see 5AW Calendar of events):

Saturday May 6 at 10:30: Tony Angell, LPF resident and accomplished artist, illustrator, writer and avid naturalist. He will recount his experiences living with and observing the urban wildlife of our forests.

Saturday June 3 at 10:30: Ben Pedigo, grew up in LFP, and became very interested in birds. Let’s hear Ben speak to us of the songs and identification of the birds inhabiting our woods.

Saturday July 8 at 10:30: Sarah Cooke, wetland biologist will speak to the life inhabiting wetlands, plants and animals, and its contribution in the ecology of our forest. Sarah has also performed the wetland delineation of 5 Acre Woods and can speak to it more in details.

We may schedule more Walks to the Woods – stay tuned for more info.

To join the Walk, meet in front of the LFP Elementary School (18500 37th Ave NE, LFP – Parking available in the school parking lot) and proceed along the pedestrian walkway on40th Place NE, to take a short walk to 5 Acre Woods. Refreshment will be provided at the end of the walk, courtesy of Honey Bear Bakery and the Seattle Coalition for Green Spaces.

References and Resources

Nature Deficit Disorder _comments Jean Robbins

James-2015-A Review of the Health Benefits of Greenness PUBLISHED copy

Photo Information.

  • Header: Wetland and Western Skunk Cabbage (Lysichiton americanum) in the Five Acre Wood.
  • Map showing part of Lake Forest Park. The Five Acre Wood is the area within the red box.
  • Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus) in Lake Forest Park.  Pileated wood peckers are one of many species that depend on mature forests.
  • (article on Benefits of Greeness)