Bike Everywhere Day is May 20

May is Bike Month and Friday, May 20 is Bike Everywhere Day, a day that celebrates  people using pedal power to get everywhere, whether to school, to run errands, to commute to work, or just to have fun and explore.

In celebration, here are our recommendations of great places to bike in Seattle:

  • The Burke-Gilman Trail:


Running from Golden Gardens Park in Ballard and connecting to the Sammamish River Trail in Bothell, the Burke-Gilman Trail offers more than 18 miles of multi-use trail perfect for cyclists.

  • Seward Park:


Seward Park boasts 300 acres of beautiful forest land, and is home to eagle nests, old growth forest, and a 2.4 mile bike and walking path. Extend your trip by several miles by biking from Seward Park to Mount Baker Park Beach along the Lake Washington Blvd. Trail

  • Myrtle Edwards Park:


Myrtle Edwards Park features a 1.25-mile winding bike and pedestrian path along Elliott Bay, and has fantastic views of the Olympics Mountains, Mount Rainier, and Puget Sound. Myrtle Edwards Park is easily accessible from downtown and provides easy connections to bike paths to Magnolia.

  • Magnuson Park:


Warren G. Magnuson Park is big – a bike is a good way to see it all! You can ride on any paved surface in the park. Don’t miss the breathtaking views of Lake Washington along the shoreline to the east.

  • Bicycle Sundays:


As part of Bicycle Sundays, a portion of Lake Washington Boulevard will be closed to motorized vehicles from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on scheduled Sundays from May to September. Seattle Parks and Recreation invites everyone in the community to bike, jog or stroll along the boulevard between the Seward Park entrance and Mount Baker Park’s beach during these times.


Free beach shuttle at Discovery Park this summer


A free beach shuttle will operate at Discovery Park from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the following dates:

  • Saturdays and Sundays (May 28 to Sept. 5)
  • Special holidays: Memorial Day, Monday, May 30; Monday, July 4; and Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 5

During operation, the shuttle will pick up and drop off riders in the Visitors Center parking lot at the north parking lot bus stop, and in the beach parking lot.

For park visitors wishing to walk to the beach, it is a 1.5 mile walk each way from any of the three parking lots in Discovery Park. Walk on the Loop Trail until you reach one of three trails that lead you to the beach – the South Beach Trail, the Hidden Valley Trail, or the North Beach Trail.

No parking permits will be available for beach parking on Saturdays and Sundays, with the exception of two stalls reserved for disabled placards. Permits for disabled parking are available at the Visitor Center.

Click here for more information about Discovery Park.

“Climb, Hike, and Restore at Camp Long” wins grant from The Walt Disney Company and the National Recreation and Park Association

During Earth Month, the public voted for their favorite parks and park projects to receive $20,000 for improvements

“Climb, Hike, and Restore at Camp Long” has been selected as a winner of the national Parks Build Community campaign and will receive a $20,000 grant from the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) and The Walt Disney Company, including Disney Citizenship, Disney|ABC Television Group and ESPN. Community members voted for the winning project throughout Earth Month in April.

Camp Long was one of 15 projects selected to receive grant funding. The $20,000 grant will improve access to outdoor recreation to underserved youth in South Seattle through opportunities to participate in rock climbing, hiking, and creating service-learning projects at Camp Long that connect elementary students to their local, natural world.

“Camp Long has been a favorite of Seattleites for 75 years,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “Through this grant, more than 400 youth from underserved areas in South Seattle will be able to experience this Seattle gem, learn about and experience nature, and develop leadership, teamwork and other critical life skills.”

“We aim for three outcomes in everything we do: healthy people, healthy environment, strong communities. Climb, Hike, and Restore at Camp Long is an innovative project that will have an impact in all three of those areas by getting underserved youth outdoors and engaging with each other through hands-on activities, exploring nature, and service-learning projects,” said Jesús Aguirre, Superintendent of Seattle Parks and Recreation.

“The tremendous support shown by the public for a second year during Earth Month confirms what we truly believe: that parks have immense power to make our lives and the places we live better,” said Barbara Tulipane, president and CEO of NRPA. “This grant will give funding that will help create a thriving gathering place where youth, families and adults can connect with nature and get active. This wouldn’t be possible without the support of The Walt Disney Company.”

To see all of the winning Parks Build Community projects, visit



Seattle Parks and Recreation, Seattle Public Schools Work Together to make Athletic Field Times Conform to School Start Times

The City of Seattle and Seattle Public Schools are working together to extend the hours that athletic fields may be used for school sports in order to accommodate new bell times next year.

Over the years, Seattle residents have supported athletic field and facility development through many city and school district levies and bond measures. Since the 1920s, to maximize efficient use of these fields and facilities, the City of Seattle and Seattle Public Schools have operated under an agreement that allows for the joint use of each other’s separately-owned fields and facilities, expanding all users’ access to recreational space and prioritizing students and youth through a joint-scheduling process.

Last year, following a trend among many school districts nationwide, Seattle Public Schools changed start and end times for schools, generally moving these bell times later for middle and high schools and earlier for elementary schools. A year of study and community feedback led to the change, intended to better reflect the sleep rhythms of students to benefit their health and academics.

These bell time changes require shifts in scheduling for fields and facilities for all users – youth and adults alike – to accommodate the many students who will be released later in the day. Updating the schedule for the 2016-17 school sports seasons is still in process, and that schedule will impact scheduling for all fields and facilities. 

Seattle Public Schools (SPS) and Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) are working collaboratively to keep impacts to a minimum, and to honor priority use for youth while maintaining as much capacity as possible for adults. Once the impact from bell time changes is factored into the updated field and facility schedules, SPR will follow up with all users to schedule the remaining availability.

“We understand how important these fields and facilities are to the community,” said SPR Superintendent Jesús Aguirre. “We’re pleased to be working with our partners to minimize the impact of school schedule changes, to ensure that these important amenities continue to be available for community exercise and recreation.”

“Seattle has made a momentous step forward in adjusting high school start times to improve sleep and learning,” said Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Larry Nyland. “Thank you to Seattle Parks for working with us to align after-school uses of athletic fields to best serve our students.”

SPS and SPR intend to update the Joint Use Agreement, using the 2016-17 school year as a transitional period to work through the changes resulting from shifts in field use times.

Both agencies are grateful to field and facility users, both school- and community-based, for their patience as we work through these changes in an effort to meet continuous youth and community demands for recreational opportunities.

Seattle Parks and Recreation Memorial Day closures

Many Seattle Parks and Recreation facilities will be closed Monday, May 30, in observance of Memorial Day.

These facilities and services are CLOSED:

  • Community centers
  • Environmental learning centers
  • Indoor swimming pools
  • Green Lake Small Craft Center
  • Mount Baker Rowing and Sailing Center
  • Amy Yee Tennis Center


These facilities are OPEN on regular schedules:

  • Boat ramps
  • Interbay, Jackson Park, Jefferson Park and West Seattle golf courses
  • Outdoor swimming pools


Seattle Parks and Recreation Superintendent names several new parks

Seattle Parks and Recreation Superintendent Jesús Aguirre has approved the names of several new parks: a two-block stretch of 14th Ave. NW in Ballard, a community space on the south side of the University Heights Center for the Community (UHCC) in the University District, and several small sites in the Thornton Creek Watershed in north Seattle. Seattle Parks and Recreation invited the public in February to submit potential names for these sites to the Parks Naming Committee.

The 14th Ave. NW project will be named Gemenskap Park. Gemenskap (pronounced Yuh-MEN-skawp) is the Swedish word for community. This project converts two l blocks of 14th Ave. NW, between NW 59th and NW 61st Streets into a park. The park replaces the gravel parking median and portions of the existing concrete roadway. It includes green infrastructure and incorporates safety improvements for pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles. The 2008 Parks and Green Spaces Levy, provided approximately $2.9 million for design and construction of the 14th Ave. park. More information can be found here.

Because this was a community initiated project and because of the area’s Swedish history and influence, the Park Naming Committee believes this unique park will help build community by turning parking into park space. While there are several Ballard parks that have Norwegian names, this is the first with a Swedish name.

The University Heights Space on the south side of the UHCC is named University Heights Plaza. This multi-use community open space includes a performance area/plaza, rain gardens to improve stormwater quality, pedestrian pathways, lawn areas, landscaped areas and other amenities. This project is one of 15 community initiated projects that received Opportunity Funds from the 2008 Parks and Green Spaces Levy, combining $747,000 from the Opportunity Fund with $254,000 from the 2000 Pro Parks Levy. Construction was completed on January 4, 2016. More information can be found here.

The name reflects the site’s roots in the neighborhood and its location adjacent to the 114-year old school building.

Thornton Creek Watershed Sites:

  • The site next to Jackson Park Golf Course is named Flicker Haven Natural Area on Thornton Creek. This parcel, contiguous with Jackson Park Golf Course, is located along the North Fork of Thornton Creek. Properties at the south end were acquired in 1950, using cumulative reserve funds. This Natural Area features excellent habitat with wetlands, forests and pools. There are also trails in the uplands part of this Natural Area. Seattle Public Utilities has restored some areas of the creek. The name reflects the presence of flicker birds, which provide very distinctive sights and sounds in the Jackson Park neighborhood.
  • Little Brook Creek Natural Area on Thornton Creek’s name will stay the same. It has been called Little Brook Creek Natural Area since it was acquired in 1995, and the community and creek supporters want to retain the name. The creek is the dominant geographical feature of this natural area and the reason the natural area was purchased and restored.
  • The 95th and Sand Point Way site is named Chinook Passage Natural Area on Thornton Creek. This 2.5-acre site is the main stem of Thornton Creek. It was acquired between 1992 and 1998 with funds from the 1989 Open Space and Trails bond program. Although much of the property is steep, there is a limited access point across the street from Matthews Beach Park. Neighbors and stewards have removed invasive plants and replanted with natives including conifers.

Criteria considered in naming parks include geographical location, historical or cultural significance, and natural or geological features. The Park Naming Policy, clarifying the criteria applied when naming a park, is available here. For more information about the park naming process, please contact Paula Hoff, Seattle Parks and Recreation, at 206-615-0368 or

Memorial Day family fun awaits at the Seattle Japanese Garden!


Celebrate the Japanese national holiday kodomo no hi (Chidren’s Day) at the Seattle Japanese Garden on Monday, May 30 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Visitors to the garden will experience Japanese culture, live performances and a variety of hands-on activities in a spectacular garden setting.

Kids of all ages will have the opportunity to enjoy storytelling about little Kunoichi, a young ninja girl; a thrilling Japanese sword demonstration; origami making; nature-themed crafts; an Aikido demonstration with audience participation; raking miniature Zen gardens; a scavenger hunt with prizes, and more. Best of all, children will be invited to feed the koi fish in the pond.

Complimentary guided tours for those who want to learn more about Japanese culture and history will be offered starting at 12:30 p.m.

Admission is free for all children age 12 and under. Ticket prices for adults 18 to 64 are $6;  tickets for youth 13 to 17, seniors age 65 and older, and students with ID are $4.  Annual passes are accepted for this event.

The Seattle Japanese Garden is located at 1075 Lake Washington Blvd. S. For more information, including the exact times of the performances, visit



Google Trekking in Downtown Parks Today – May 16

Today, Seattle Parks and Recreation staff will be out in the downtown and center city neighborhoods today mapping the trails of Freeway Park, Lake Union Park, Denny Park, and the surrounding park lands. We will be in our parks during the work day and will complete our mapping by 4 p.m.

For more information about our Google Trekker partnership and how mapping our trails works, please see our project blog post.

Mounger Pool to open for the season on May 14

 Seattle Parks and Recreation reminds the public to recreate safely

Lowery C. “Pop” Mounger Pool, one of two unique outdoor pools operated by Seattle Parks and Recreation, will open on Saturday, May 14 and operate through Sunday, September 11. Mounger Pool is located at 2535 32nd Ave. W, adjacent to Magnolia Playfield.

Mounger Pool is really two pools in one place. The “big pool” has a 50-foot corkscrew slide and the warmer, shallower “little pool” is great for relaxing and for teaching little ones. Call the pool at 206-684-4708 to reserve it for your own birthday party or other special event.

For information on opening dates for our other outdoor pool, beaches, sprayparks and wading pools, please visit

With record breaking temperatures already taking place, and high temperatures predicted across Western Washington this summer, Seattle Parks and Recreation wants to remind the public about water safety precautions.

Summer water safety tips:

  • Lifeguards will be on duty at East Green Lake beach and Madrona beach starting on May 28. All nine beaches will be staffed starting June 25. Only swim when and where lifeguards are present. For beach hours, please visit
  • Parents play an important role in swimming safety for children. Parents should keep small children within an arm’s length.
  • Wear a properly fitted life jacket.
  • Evans Pool and the Small Craft Center at Green Lake Park will host low-cost life jacket sales from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on select Saturdays this summer. Visit for more information.
  • Public beaches have life jackets on loan for children when swimming at the park. Ask a lifeguard for more information.
  • Learn how to swim. Take lessons at a public pool or beach. For more information, please visit
  • Discounted swim lessons are offered at pools for those who meet low-income eligibility standards.
  • Free weekday swimming lessons for beginners are offered at all beaches in two-week sessions. Visit for more information.

Low-cost life jackets for sale at Green Lake

16044472472_65d9844fce_zWe encourage the community to beat the heat this summer at our public beaches, pools and water features, but we want everyone to enjoy the water as safely as possible.

A small investment could potentially save the lives of loved ones or friends. Low-cost life jackets will be on sale at Green Lake on select Saturdays (see dates below) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

-Evans Pool (7201 E Green Lake Drive N): May 21, June 18, and July 16.

  • -Small Craft Center (5900 W Green Lake Way): Aug. 20.

Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury death among children ages 1 – 14 years old. Wearing a life jacket saves lives. Washington State law requires children ages 12 and younger to wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket or life vest on vessels shorter than 19 feet long. There must be a life jacket on board for each person older than 12.

The cost for life jackets sizes infant to youth large is $20, and for teens to adult size XXXL, is $30. The life jackets are comfortable, high-quality vests in fashion colors. All sales are final -sorry, Parks cannot offer refunds or returns. Customers younger than 18 must be accompanied by a parent/guardian. Fitters will be on site to help purchasers choose the correct size. The person for whom the jacket is being purchased must be present for proper fitting.

For more information, call 206-684-4961 or email