Pathway of Lights glows across generations

Luminaries line Green Lake

Luminaries line Green Lake

The city is dark. The air is cold. But Green Lake Park is aglow.pathway of lights 2015

Since the 1980s, on the second Saturday of December, neighbors, families and tourists have celebrated the Pathway of Lights.

The idea was brought to Green Lake Community Center by a woman who was inspired after seeing a similar event on a trip to the southwestern U.S. The named was coined through a community contest.

In its inaugural year, luminaries encircled only the community center and the event was marked with horse-drawn hayrides. Throughout the years the event continued to expand. While guests used to light the luminaries by passing candles to one other, large community groups are now needed to help with set up. Local performers and artists are stationed around the lake to entertain walkers. [Read more…]

Freshwater fish contaminant monitoring and water quality testing to take place at Green Lake this month

The State Department of Ecology will be collecting fish from Green Lake during the week of Oct. 5, 2015 as part of its statewide Freshwater Fish Contaminant Monitoring Program. The work involves collecting fish using an 18 foot electrofishing boat and will likely be completed in two days. Fish collection will be done in late night hours.

Fish tissue will be analyzed for various contaminants such as: pesticides, PCBs, flame retardants, dioxins/furans, and mercury. Results from laboratory analyses will help state and local health departments assess risks to human health from eating contaminated fish. [Read more…]

Work to update Green Lake Park’s Meridian outfall vault

Please pardon our dust!

What?  Seattle Parks and Recreation, in cooperation with Seattle Public Utilities, is updating the outfall vault (the vault structure that lets water leave Green Lake and enter the stormwater system, located on the lake’s north side near Meridian Ave. N).  We will replace the vault lid to improve maintenance access, and install an internal weir gate to help regulate the lake’s level when needed. [Read more…]

Windermere Summer Splash comes to Green Lake Aug. 15

Green Lake

Green Lake

Come experience the Windermere Summer Splash at Green Lake from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 15!

In addition to featuring corporate crew races, the event will celebrate summer fun and healthy activities for families. There will be food vendors, children’s activities, entertainment and opportunities to experience rowing, canoeing, kayaking and paddle boarding.

The event is free and open to the public.

The Windermere Summer Splash is sponsored by Windermere Real Estate in partnership with George Pocock Rowing Foundation and Seattle Parks and Recreation. Most activities will be located on the southwest corner of the park near the Green Lake Small Craft Center.

For more information, please visit

Green Lake Small Craft Center offers beginning sailing

This summer Seattle Parks and Recreation and Green Lake Small Craft Center are offering weeklong youth sailing camps. The center is located at 5900 W Green Lake Way N.

The camps will be held from noon-4 p.m. Mondays-Fridays, and sessions will be held from now until Aug. 14. Participants will learn sailing skills using the Topper boats available at Green Lake. Beginners will learn the basics of sailing, rigging, safety and boat handling. [Read more…]

Green Lake algae scum with toxins found; only harmful where scum is found

Toxic algae has been found in accumulated scum along the shores of Green Lake; however the lake is not closed and remains open to many activities.

King County Department of Natural Resources has been conducting weekly testing of water collected at the east and west swimming beaches at Green Lake as well as scum samples submitted through the State Toxic Algae Program. After each test, the information is reviewed by Public Health – Seattle & King County. Tests have revealed that the toxins are currently found in the scummy algae that accumulate and drift in some places along the lakeshore. Due to toxicity levels and algae movement, Public Health does not recommend closure at this time. [Read more…]

Green Lake Path lines to be painted on May 2

Visitors to Green Lake Park on Saturday, May 2 will see the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) painting the center yellow line on the Green Lake pedestrian path. SDOT will begin work at 9 a.m. and anticipates the project will take 6 to 8 hours.  The lines on the Green Lake path define the rules of use for many thousands of people per year and help regulate congestion on the path. The City asks park visitors for their patience and cooperation during the painting.

Seattle Parks and Recreation contracted with SDOT for the work. This City collaboration provides a more efficient way to paint the path and will minimize the amount of time the path is closed to the community. Use of the SDOT truck will enable completion of this work in a shorter time frame than is typical and will provide more visible, long lasting lines. On Saturday, SDOT will provide a pilot truck for the paint truck and staff will tail the paint truck to warn pedestrians as the wet paint is applied.

The path will remain open and visitors using the path will be detoured around the painting project vehicles.

Parks and SDOT hope to engage in more collaborative projects in the future.

For more information on this project please contact Kenny Alcantara at 206-437-6818, or Dahvee Enciso 206-255-7759,  For Green Lake Park information contact Patrick Merriam, Seattle Parks and Recreation at or 206-684-4561.

Register today for the Fishing Kids event May 2

There are plenty of fish in the sea, and this May, there will be plenty of fish in Green Lake.

A previous Fishing Kids participant shows off his catch. Photo provided by C.A.S.T for Kids.

A previous Fishing Kids participant shows off his catch. Photo provided by C.A.S.T for Kids.

The Fishing Kids event will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 2. A net will be installed in the swim area by Green Lake’s Bathhouse Theater and stocked with trout. Kids from the community are invited to head to the shore and fish for 30 minutes (or until the child has caught two fish). There will be volunteers on-hand to help bait hooks, remove hooks, untangle lines and to clean the caught fish.

This event is designed to provide all children ages 5 – 14, with an opportunity to receive hands-on fishing lessons and to enjoy a quality outdoor recreational experience.

Before the event, there will be a brief water safety segment. Registration includes a free Zebco fishing rod and reel, t-shirt and trout recipes. This event is free and is sponsored by the Green Lake Chamber of Commerce and the support of a Neighborhood Matching Funds grant.

There will be five fishing time slots for the children: 9 a.m., 10 a.m., 11 a.m., noon and 1 p.m.

To register, visit our SPARC registration page. Select the “Hobbies, Clubs & Lifestyles” category and choose “Fishing.” For event details, visit or the Green Lake Chamber of Commerce website.

The Pathway of Lights at Green Lake returns Saturday, Dec. 13

Volunteers Needed!


Seattle Parks and Recreation presents the annual Pathway of Lights at Green Lake on Saturday, Dec. 13, 2014 from 4:30-7:30 p.m., to take place rain or shine.


Join thousands of families, friends and neighbors for this beloved Seattle tradition. Travel the 2.8-mile path around the lake, taking in the warm glow of the luminaria, music and refreshments. Visitors are encouraged to bring their own lights and candles to add to the ambiance.

Local musicians will perform at four sites around the lake:

  • The Green Lake Community Center on the east side
  • The Green Lake Small Craft Center (the Aqua Theater) on the south side
  • The Bathhouse Theater (Seattle Public Theatre) on the north side
  • The Arch on the east of side of the community center/pool.

This fun event is free, but community members are encouraged to bring non-perishable food donations to benefit neighbors in need through the FamilyWorks food bank.  Food donation bins, as well as warm drinks and treats, will be available at the locations listed above.

Volunteers are needed to help place and light the thousands of luminaria and to clean up after the event. Individuals, businesses, community organizations and school and scout groups are welcome to participate. Setup takes place from 2:30–4:30 p.m., and the lighting of the candles takes place at 4:30 p.m. Cleanup is from 7:30- 9 p.m.

This Seattle tradition is presented in partnership with the Green Lake Advisory Council and with help from community partners, the Green Lake Masonic Lodge #149 and PCC Natural Markets.

Become a fan of the Pathway of Lights Facebook page,, to get updates about the event and find out where your favorite music group will perform.

For more information, please contact the Green Lake Community Center at 206-684-0780 or email Jeff Skinner at


Green Lake closed to swimming, water contact due to toxic algae

The level of toxins in the algae at Green Lake has increased and has prompted parks and Public Health officials to close the lake to swimming and water contact for people and dogs.

People and pets should not swim, wade or play in the lake. Dog owners should be especially cautious not to allow animals to go in or drink from the lake. If there is water contact for a pet, it is important to rinse well to remove all algae.

Symptoms of illness from contacting the toxins in water are eye, nose, and mouth irritation and skin rash. If accidental contact occurs, use clean water to promptly rinse skin. Swallowing the toxins may cause abdominal pain, diarrhea vomiting and in severe cases liver damage.  If symptoms occur after swallowing lake water, park users should consult a health care professional or veterinarian immediately. Pets are at highest risk.

Tests have revealed that high levels of toxins are currently found in the algae and are higher in areas where algae collect.  King County Department of Natural Resources has been conducting weekly testing of water at various locations around Green Lake as well as scum samples submitted through the State Toxic Algae Program. After each test, the information is reviewed by Public Health – Seattle & King County.

The lake remains open to fishing (though fish should be thoroughly cleaned) and boating in stable boats. Avoid areas of scum when boating.

Seattle Parks and Recreation’s lifeguarded beaches closed for the season on Sept. 1.

A warm, dry summer has promoted the algae bloom, and continued warm weather continues to promote it. Blooms have been known to last into November in particularly warm autumns, and typically disappear as the weather gets colder.

Toxic algae blooms appeared at Green Lake in 1999, 2002, 2003, 2012 and in 2013, resulting in warnings to the public about exposure to the algae. Intense blooms of blue-green algae have occurred in Green Lake since 1916. Phosphorus released from the bottom sediments stimulates algae growth. Treating the lake with alum inactivates the phosphorus that is released from the bottom sediments and prevents stimulation of the algae growth. Green Lake was successfully treated with alum in 1991 and 2004. The water quality improved for several years following treatment on both occasions, and has been mostly good since 2004.

Green Lake is home to cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae that are regularly present in small numbers. When nutrients are plentiful and the weather is warm, the conditions are right for an algae bloom to take place. Winds can concentrate the buoyant cyanobacteria into accumulations or scums along the shoreline, which may increase the amount of toxin that could be ingested by pets or people using the lake recreationally.

For more information on cyanobacteria, please visit Washington Department of Health toxic algae website.

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