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Seward Park Given the Green Flag Award

Seattle Parks and Recreation the First Municipal Park in U.S. to Receive Award

In a first for a municipal park in the United States, Seattle’s Seward Park was given the Green Flag Award on June 14th, 2024. This international park excellence award recognizes high standards in a broad spectrum of areas, including community engagement, sustainable management, biodiversity support, and a safe and welcoming atmosphere.

Staff and partners holding up Green Flag Award at Seward Park

Seward Park was selected because of its amazing offerings – including old growth forest, swimming beach, trail system, community partners like the Seward Park Audubon Center and the Seward Park Clay Studio, and diverse community of visitors and volunteers. Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) worked closely with the Green Flag Award organization and community stakeholders to develop a management plan for Seward Park that identified what works well and what could be improved in the near future.

In June, judges from the Green Flag Award (from Great Britain and Mexico) toured Seward Park with key SPR staff to gain a sense of how the park was managed and better understand what the park offered. This visit accounted for 70% of the score for the award. Seward Park achieved the third highest level of scoring, an uncommon recognition for a first-time applicant.

Staff and judges touring Seward Park

Paul Talbert, president of Friends of Seward Park and author of Wild Isle in the City, stated, “Our incredibly popular Seward Park serves the diverse ethnic communities of southeast Seattle with recreation, art, social gatherings, environmental education, festivals, and quiet natural places. It also preserves our ancient old-growth conifer forest, oak woodland, and undeveloped bay and lakeshore, providing habitat for salmon, eagles, ospreys, and a multitude of other wildlife. The Green Flag award recognizes the incredible importance of Seward Park to both ecological preservation and human enjoyment.”

Carl McClean, International Development Manager for the Green Flag Award stated, “It’s a real pleasure to celebrate this fantastic achievement with the City of Seattle. Seward Park represents so much about Seattle’s diversity and inclusion, as well as being an incredibly bio-diverse site for both people and nature to thrive in. Well-done to everyone involved who works hard to keep this park well managed and maintained for thousands of visitors all year round.”

The Green Flag Award is an annual, non-profit international accreditation program that recognizes and rewards well managed parks and green spaces. Originating in England in 1996 – today the Green Flag Award proudly flies above more than 2,400 places in 18 countries around the world.

Seward Park supporters and partners

“Seward Park is a shining jewel in our park system,” stated AP Diaz, SPR Superintendent, “boasting 210 acres of beautiful forest land including old growth forest. I am thrilled this much-loved place has been recognized with the Green Flag Award for parks excellence, and I am especially proud that we are the first municipal parks and recreation department in the United States to receive this designation. This award reflects the hard work of our staff who steward this incredible space and oversee the management plan for the park. But it also reflects the love of Seattleites who cherish, use, and advocate for this stunning natural space within our city.”

The Green Flag Award adds on to other international recognitions for Seward Park and Seattle. In 2023, Seattle was selected as a Role Model City by the United Nations Environment Program as part of their Generation Restoration initiative to support urban ecosystem restoration efforts globally in cities. In 2024, Seward Park was also chosen as an Urban Quiet Park by Quiet Parks International based on sound recordings and other data.