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Disclaimer: The viewpoints expressed by outside submissions do not necessarily reflect the opinions or viewpoints of The Garfield Messenger.

 

Untitled, By Cecilia Hammond

 

Letter to the Editor
By Paul Shannon
Green Seattle Partnership Forest Steward, Seward Park

Two kinds of history intersect in the old-growth forest at Seward Park.
One kind of history – perhaps only a recent tradition,but one observed in recent years, and widely enjoyed – brings GHS students to a clearing in the forest each year in early June, on and around Purple and White Day, to celebrate the approaching end of the school year.
Another sort of history for that spot, in those woods, is not social but rather natural history. Seward Park’s “Magnificent Forest” is one of the very few remnants of the million acres of fir/hemlock/cedar forest which once blanketed the Puget Lowlands. Less than a thousand acres survives – only one tenth of one percent; everything else has been logged. A full one hundred of those surviving acres are at Seward Park. Five hundred year-old trees are found here, along with bald eagles, mountain beavers, thousand year-old sword ferns, pileated woodpeckers, several species of owls, and the occasional coyote.
This beautiful old forest is under threat from overuse, from vandalism, from disease, and from the impact of dogs and people tramping off-trail. Many of us work hard to keep the forest healthy. We especially encourage visitors to stay on the trail, to leave no trace of their visit, to do no harm. In this one small corner of Seattle, we try to place the interests of the forest community first, with the interests of human visitors, and their dogs, coming a close second.
The exuberance of the annual, well-attended Garfield party in the woods is easy to understand. But, alas, it is not compatible with the threatened health of the forest. A few specific items are worth mentioning. In 2016, students painted way-marking arrows throughout the forest to show the path to the party; Seattle Parks spent $1000 to remove the paint. In that year, and in 2015, plants were trampled and injured by partygoers; understory plants died. In 2017, at a Garfield-related party in the clearing in the woods, held the week before Purple and White Day, two students required treatment in the emergency room.
For all of these reasons, we ask the Garfield student body to forgo holding parties in the woods at Seward Park.
And for any who may be interested, we invite you to join us in restoration planting, at that very same clearing in the woods. Please come help out. Ongoing, informal restoration events are described here, to which all are invited (with pre registration): https://www.facebook.com/sewardParkForestRestoration/

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