Target Forest Types

“Target forest types” are reference communities for the forest steward to target in their plant selections.

The “forest type” is based on research by Chappell (1999, 2006) for the Washington Department of Natural Resources. Each forest type is based on an observed community in areas that are as undisturbed as possible. Chappell’s research concentrates on the Puget Trough Ecoregion (the lowland areas surrounding the Puget Sound), the region Seattle occupies. Selecting which forest types specifically applied to Seattle was based on research by Larson (2005) and by using a key based on GSP inventory site data (Denovan 2012). There are currently twenty-three target forest types assigned to Seattle forests and natural areas. Four of these (discussed below) have been assigned to North Beach Park.

The name of the target forest type is derived from the dominant plant species at every canopy layer. The species are listed by their four letter code in the order of constancy with which they occurred in the sampled plots. Dashes separate species at the same canopy layer, slashes separate canopy layers.

For example, “THPL-TSHE/OPHO/POMU” is THuja-PLicata – TSuga HEterophylla / OPlopanax HOrridus / POlystichum MUnitum” (Western red-cedar – Western hemlock/Devil’s club/Sword fern). This means that there was more Western red-cedar than hemlock in the sampled plots, Devil’s club is the dominant species at the shrub layer, and sword fern the dominant species at the groundcover layer.

A long list of forest plant associations can look bewilderingly similar. The diversity comes with the non-dominant species, especially at the herbaceous level.

Why Target Forest Types

Target forest types were selected by Parks Department plant ecologists to promote heterogeneity among the natural areas undergoing restoration in Seattle. They noticed that, over the years at the city scale, plant selections were very similar.
At first, target forest types were promoted as prescriptive; that is, forest stewards had to consider the TFTs for their park a goal, and select their plants accordingly.

This lead to pushback and confusion from forest stewards. Now forest types are grouped into the seven reference ecosystems as a more general planting palette. Of the two reference ecosystems for North Beach Park, “mesic-moist conifer and conifer deciduous mixed forest” has four target forest types; “riparian forest and shrubland” has nine.

All information about the target forest types is taken from the descriptions by Chappell at the website referenced below. The descriptions are attached to this book as Appendix C, “Target Forest Type Descriptions.” The TFTs are discussed in the order of number of HMUs to which they are assigned.


This target forest type is assigned to the following HMUs: North Slope, 91st St. Slope, West Slope, South Slope, South Plateau.

This forest type is dominated by Western hemlock and Douglas-fir at the canopy level, with sword fern and spreading wood fern at the ground cover level. It is found almost everywhere in the Puget Trough except in San Juan County.

This association is found in moist sites with nutrient-rich soils, and more commonly on lower slopes and riparian terraces. This relates well to the reference ecosystem of mesic-moist conifer and conifer-deciduous mixed forest.

Other plants in this community include Berberis nervosa (Dull Oregon-grape) which grows with sword fern in many places in North Beach Park.

Chappell says that Red alder regenerate after disturbance and that alder typically die out after 80-100 years. The alder canopy in North Beach Park is very mature, and is decaying at the rate of one to three trees per year.


This target forest type is assigned to the Central Valley and Headwaters’ Bowl HMUs.

This forest type has Alnus rubra (Red alder) almost exclusively in the canopy layer, with a dense shrub layer formed mostly of Rubus spectabilis (salmonberry). The herbaceous layer is dominated by Tolmiea menziesii (piggyback). We saw this combination pretty continuously through the Central Valley during the belt transect.

In North Beach Park both Carex obnupta (slough sedge) and Lysichiton americanum (skunk cabbage) were growing before restoration, but not together. In general, the herbaceous layer in these HMUs is not as well developed as described for this community.

Chappell describes this community as existing in palustrine scrub-shrub wetlands, which fits with the riparian forest and shrubland reference ecosystem.


This forest type has Thuja plicata (Western red-cedar) and Tsuga heterophylla (Western hemlock) dominant in the canopy layer, with Oplopanax horridus (Devil’s club) in the shrub layer and Polystichum munitum (Sword fern) in the ground layer.

Red alder and Big leaf maple are the current dominant trees in the canopy of North Beach Park. The 92nd St. Wetlands, to which this target forest type is assigned, is the only HMU where the coniferous canopy cover is more than 10%.

Although Chappell rates this community as secure at both the global and state level, he says there are “very few good quality stands remaining.”

We attempted to reintroduce Devil’s club into the park from seed but were unsuccessful. We look forward to reintroducing it soon, perhaps as part of the Washington Native Plant Society Stewardship Grant.


This forest type is assigned to the Fletcher’s Slope HMU.

Unlike the rest of the target forest types assigned to North Beach Park, this forest type is based on research by Kunze (1994). In general, Chappell is preferred because he provides constancy across sampled plots and percent cover of all species. Kunze provides percent cover for only indicator species. All information below was taken from a PDF excerpt of her work supplied by Green Seattle Partnership.

In North Beach Park, Fletcher’s Slope has greater than 10% Western hemlock in the community, with some Douglas-fir. Kunze says either TSHE or THPL can dominate this community. Acer macrophyllum (Big leaf maple) is the dominant deciduous tree in the dryer sections of the park. Lysichiton americanum (skunk cabbage) grows throughout the park, but we have not seen Acer circinatum (vine maple) that wasn’t planted during restoration activities.

This once-common community has few undisturbed examples. Kunze describes it as occurring in conditions that are very similar to North Beach Park: on flat ground, in depressions, with small streams and seeps, with the water level at or slightly below the soil surface.

Adapting the TFT concept to specifics of North Beach Park

Examining the target forest types above against the current conditions in North Beach Park indicates that more restoration needs to happen at the herbaceous level. To date, we’ve concentrated mostly on the tree and shrub layers. We plan to increase our reintroduction of under-represented herbaceous plants.

Putting different forest types into the buckets of reference ecosystems both allows for a greater planting selection and strategy, and perhaps even a climate change adaptation.

Research with grasslands shows that productivity increases with biodiversity (Tilman, 2001). Making several TFTs available for every reference ecosystem can help with climate change and prevent biodiversity loss through both component redundancy (increased species and community redundancy) and functional redundancy (introduction of ecologically equivalent species or novel associations) (Dunwiddie 2009).


Chappell, C.B. 1999. Ecological Classification of Low-Elevation Riparian Vegetation on the Olympic Experimental State Forest: A First Approximation. Washington Department of Natural Resources, Natural Heritage Program, Olympia , Wash.

— 2006. Upland plant associations of the Puget Trough ecoregion, Washington. Natural Heritage Rep. 2006-01. Washington Department of Natural Resources, Natural Heritage Program, Olympia , Wash. [ ].

Denovan R., and Salisbury, N. 2012. GSP Target Forest Type Assignment Key Using GSP Site Inventory Data. (unpublished document)

Dunwiddie, P.W., S.A. Hall, M.W. Ingraham, J.D. Bakker, K.S. Nelson, R. Fuller, E. Gray. 2009. “Rethinking Conservation Practice in Light of Climate Change.” Ecological Restoration 27:3 320-329

Kunze, M. 1994. Preliminary Classification of Native, Low Elevation Freshwater Wetland Vegetation in Western Washington. Washington Department of Natural Resources, Natural Heritage Program, Olympia, WA.

Larson, R.J. 2005. The Flora of Seattle in 1850: Major Species and Landscapes Prior to Urban Development. (Unpublished thesis).

Tilman, D., P.B. Reich, J. Knops, D. Wedlin, T. Mielke, C. Lehman. 2001. “Diversity and Productivity in a Long-Term Grassland Experiment.” Science, Vol. 294, 843-845

Habitat Management Units

Green Seattle Partnership splits each park into different zones called “habitat management units” (HMUs). This allows GSP to assign different target forest types and reference ecosystems to the different HMUs, and the forest stewards to use techniques and approaches best suited to each HMU.

North Beach Park is split into 11 HMUs; nine of these are discussed in this document. The other two are only accessible by crossing private property lines.

The HMUs were delineated by Nelson Salisbury and Ella Elman when they mapped North Beach Park for EarthCorps in late summer of 2011. The names of the HMUs were decided by the forest stewards. All of the names are descriptive in some way.

The HMUs in North Beach Park are based on two basic characteristics: slopes and uplands, and wetlands. There is some mixture in that all the wetland areas contain some upland slopes, and the upland areas frequently contain some seeps or wet areas in their lower regions.

Within these two divisions, slopes and uplands are assigned their name based on nearby property (ie, Fletcher’s Slope is below Fletcher’s Village; 91st St. Slope is below 91st St.; 92nd St. Wetlands is below 92nd St.), characteristics (the South Plateau is the largest flat area of the park and 80 feet above the rest of the park), or aspect (South Slope, West Slope, North Slope). The Headwaters Bowl is where the groundwater enters the park and begins to form the stream; the Central Valley is in the middle of the park.

Each of these HMUs received a reference ecosystem at the time of mapping, based on broad category of the plant species seen. There are two reference ecosystems for NBP: “mesic-moist conifer and conifer-deciduous mixed forest” and “riparian forest and shrubland.” These are based on NatureServe classifications.

The table below shows the nine HMUs discussed in this book sorted by size, and listed with their target forest type and reference ecosystem. The target forest types are explained in “Target Forest Types,” next week.

Name Size Target Forest Type Reference ecosystem
Central Valley 1.97 ALRU/RUSP/CAOB-LYAM Riparian forest and shrubland
Headwaters Bowl 1.39 ALRU/RUSP/CAOB-LYAM Riparian forest and shrubland
North Slope 1.14 TSHE-PSME/POMU/DREX Mesic-moist conifer and conifer-deciduous mixed forest
West Slope 0.84 TSHE-PSME/POMU/DREX Mesic-moist conifer and conifer-deciduous mixed forest
South Slope 0.76 TSHE-PSME/POMU/DREX Mesic-moist conifer and conifer-deciduous mixed forest
92nd St. Wetlands 0.69 THPL-TSHE/OPHO/POMU Mesic-moist conifer and conifer-deciduous mixed forest
South Plateau 0.57 TSHE-PSME/POMU/DREX Mesic-moist conifer and conifer-deciduous mixed forest
91st St. Slope 0.54 TSHE-PSME/POMU/DREX Mesic-moist conifer and conifer-deciduous mixed forest
Fletcher’s Slope 0.53 TSHE-THPL-ACMA/ACCI/LYAM Riparian forest and shrubland

The Central Valley, Headwaters Bowl, and 92nd St. Wetlands are all primarily wetlands and are discussed first. The other six HMUs are primarily uplands and slopes and are discussed after the wetlands. Within each category, the HMUs are discussed in the order of greatest amount of restoration effort they have received.

Volunteer Network

Note: This is the fourth in a series of Monday posts about the Restoration Management Plan for North Beach Park. To read the others in the series, please click the “Restoration Management Plan” link in the tags at the bottom of the post.

Friends of North Beach Park has been as successful as it has been because of the people who live near (but not on) the park and frequently come to work parties. Our work parties are usually five to seven people, a good number for the spaces we work in. We have a semi-regular crew of people who attend eight out of ten work parties a year. This greatly improves the consistency and amount of work we’re able to do.

FoNBP has tried many avenues to get volunteers for our work parties. We feel the best approach is to consider it like sowing seed: try a lot of things, and some of them will take.


Everyone who signs in to a volunteer event is added to the email list for the park. We send out one large email announcing the work party, generally two weeks in advance. It usually includes some other information about the park or about other organizations. Shortly after a work party, an email is sent to the attendees with a little report.
This email list is maintained by hand, so to speak, using the contacts in Yahoo! mail. FoNBP will be switching to a contact manager program soon.


First Set Up

FoNBP has tabled at two different community events, three times at “Art in the Garden” and twice at “Sustainable Ballard.”

Art in the Garden is our most successful outreach event. It is located in the Ballard p-patch, at 25th Ave. and 86th St. This is very close to North Beach Park, and many of the people who stop at our table have been there. Success at this event is getting names for our email list. Most important in 2014 was making contact with a neighbor of the South Plateau and meeting someone who had lived near the park and illicitly maintained the social trails (he’s since moved away). We consider this very worthwhile, but also very pleasant.

Sustainable Ballard is held on a Sunday in late September at Ballard Commons Park. FoNBP has tabled at this event twice with Green Seattle Partnership, to promote Green Seattle Day (first Saturday in November). The first time was very successful, as the weather was beautiful and the festival was jammed with people all day long. The GSP liaison at the table was very satisfied with the number of names we were getting for their mailing list. The second time was much less successful due to bad weather.


Up until recently in 2014, Ballard had its own newspaper, the Ballard News-Tribune. In 2008, there were two articles about North Beach Park. In 2013, they printed another article about the restoration.

Print (as in newspapers) is not a viable option for promoting work parties. The surviving newspapers (both weekly and daily) only print parks-related news items when it fits their agenda.

Blog posts

In 2011 the Ballard blog,, was very active and posted a couple stories a day. It had an avid readership, and got many comments, both on its own site and on Facebook. MyBallard posted a few articles about Friends of North Beach Park (most notably this one). In 2012, the editors were forced by economic circumstances to make the blog part time, which decayed it considerably.

Service Groups

There are many service groups in the Seattle area that are potential sources of volunteers.

OneBrick Seattle

OneBrick Seattle is the local group of a nationwide organization. The focus of OneBrick is to get people in their 20s and 30s to volunteer. They use social media extensively, and have a large online presence on Facebook, Twitter, and the web.

Four volunteers from OneBrick participated in a work party with Friends of North Beach Park. Considering the time of year (July) this was a good turn-out. And it was appropriate for the amount of work we had to do.
We might work with OneBrick again in the future.

YMCA Earth Service Corps (YESC)

YESC is a city-wide program to attract environmentally interested high school students into service programs. Most of the programs focus on on-campus projects, but some groups work with forest stewards on restoration projects.

FoNBP spoke to the Ballard HS YESC chapter in 2011, and three members attended a work party, but follow-up attempts at contact have not been successful.

High School Community Service

All high school students in Seattle are required to do some community service. Only Ballard HS has a community service coordinator, however. FoNBP has work parties listed in the Ballard HS community service newsletter.
Private high schools also frequently have a community service requirement. We need to contact these high schools individually.

College service groups

FoNBP is working with Seattle Pacific University to participate in their annual City Quest program.

ESRM 100 students

Removing Ivy.

Our experience with ESRM 100 students appears to be better than most. We get a few students and they usually work well. It might be because they have to travel across the city to get to NBP work parties, as opposed to walking down from the dorm.

Other UW groups

We plant to start working with other UW groups, particularly the fraternity and sorority umbrella organizations, and ENVIR 100 students, in the fall.

Corporate community service


FoNBP did have one large, fun work party with Nordstrom employees. However, the size of the spaces available to all volunteers precludes corporate events.

September Work Party

Welcome fall to North Beach Park! Some of the leaves are already turning and dropping. Now is the time we prepare for the planting parties in October and November.

Saturday, September 27: Work party at the South Plateau. Please note the time and location!

This work party will happen from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (different time!) at the South Plateau, located at NW 88th St. and 27th Ave. NW (different location!).

Directions: To get to the South Plateau from the intersection of NW 85th St. and 24th Ave. NW:

  • Head west on NW 85th St. two blocks.
  • Turn north (right) onto 26th Ave.
  • Drive north on 26th Ave. to where it ends at 88th St.
  • Turn right (west) onto 88th St. and look for parking. PARKING MIGHT BE LIMITED.
  • The entrance to the park is about half a block north.

This is a special work party where we’ll be joined by students from Seattle Pacific University and their CityQuest Program. There will be about twenty students, so we should get a lot done.

We will weed, mulch, and prepare the site for January planting. We provide tools, gloves, and guidance. We recommend you wear weather-appropriate layers that can get dirty and closed shoes. Bring water or a snack if you need them. We’ll take a lunch break which will provide some socializing time.

Please register here so we know you’re coming.

Save the date for these upcoming work parties: October 25 and November 22 (in the main body of the park) and January 24, 2015, once again in the South Plateau (for planting). All work parties are on the 4th Saturday, and will run from 9 a.m. to 12 noon.

Blog posts. Every Monday, Nature Intrudes features another excerpt from the Restoration Management Plan for North Beach Park. The first two posts look at the history of the park, and show more than you might have thought was there.

History of North Beach Park.

History of the restoration efforts.

(Feel free to look at other posts on Nature Intrudes, of course!)

As always, if you don’t have the time to join us for a work party, you can support Friends of North Beach Park by making a directed donation to the Seattle Parks Foundation. All money donated will be used to fund the restoration efforts of North Beach Park.

That’s all for now, but we hope to see you in the woods soon!


Note: This is the third in a series of Monday posts about the Restoration Management Plan for North Beach Park. To read the others in the series, please click the “Restoration Management Plan” link in the tags at the bottom of the post.

Stakeholders are users of North Beach Park, homeowners who live on the rim of the park, and any individual or organization concerned with its restoration. Some, such as dog walkers or joggers, might not consider themselves stakeholders, but they still benefit from the restoration. Others, such as the forest stewards, take an active hand in the restoration.

Supporting Organizations

A number of supporting organizations help Friends of North Beach Park (“FoNBP”) in its restoration efforts. These descriptions focus on what the organizations do for North Beach Park and do not attempt to describe the entire organization. For more information, visit their websites, listed in the references section. After FoNBP, the listing is alphabetical.

Friends of North Beach Park

FoNBP sponsors and coordinates the monthly 4th Saturday work parties, and does the Monday morning forest steward work parties. FoNBP is responsible for the long-term planning of the restoration of North Beach Park. The actions of FoNBP are detailed in “Restoration History” in “Park and Restoration History.”


EarthCorps mapped North Beach Park in 2011 and provided GPS assistance with the wetland delineation. It sponsored seven work parties in NBP in 2013. It also coordinates the city-wide forest monitoring program.

Fellow Stewardship Groups

Three nearby stewardship groups have also helped Friends of North Beach Park. They are Carkeek Park STARS (Streams, Trails, and Restoration Stewards), Golden Gardents GGREAT (Golden Gardens Restoration and Trails), and Friends of Llandover Woods. They have assisted in providing tools, volunteers, expert assistance and mentoring, and plant storage. (There are no websites for these groups.)

Green Seattle Partnership

Green Seattle Partnership provides training, resources, materials, logistical support, best management practices, plants, and coordination with the Parks Department. It was formed in 2005 with a 20 year plan to have 2,500 acres in Seattle’s forested parks and nature areas in restoration.

Groundswell NW

Groundswell NW provides financial and logistical support to park and greenspace community efforts in Ballard and other NW neighborhoods. The first grant assistance FoNBP received, a “microgrant” of $500 in 2012, was from Groundswell NW. Groundswell NW also awarded Luke McGuff one of two “Local Hero” awards for 2014. FoNBP assisted Groundswell NW with its open space inventory in the summer of 2014.

Seattle Parks Foundation

Seattle Parks Foundation provides financial support, grantwriting assistance, and 501(c)3 fiscal sponsorship for FoNBP and numerous other “Friends of” groups. It also coordinates such programs as the South Park Green Vision and was a major player in bringing the Metropolitan Parks District to a vote.

Washington Native Plant Society

The WNPS – Puget Sound Chapter has provided assistance with Plant ID and volunteers. It also awarded FoNBP its second grant, $500 for stewardship of the wetlands.

Other Stakeholders

The remaining stakeholders take a more passive role in the restoration of North Beach Park, but still have a valid concern for the restoration’s success.

Neighbors of the Park

Neighbors of the park are the homeowners who live along the rim of the ravine. There are two small gated communities: Olympic Terrace on 24th Ave. and Fletcher’s Village on 28th Ave. As far as we know, only one person who lives on the park has come to a work party, although some are on the email list. We have done physical mailings to all the neighbors of the park twice, and a special mailing to the people who lived near the South Plateau once. The Olympic Terrace parcel boundaries extend into the park.

In many cases, the boundary lines between the neighbors and the park are obscure. Sometimes that is due to the parcel line being on a very steep part of a slope. In one or two cases, it’s because the homeowner has deliberately obscured it. There is one fence in the Fletcher’s Slope HMU.

One neighbor drains their roof run off into the stream. Another has a large patch of Lamium galeobdolon (Yellow archangel) growing from their property into the park.

Contact with neighbors has been limited. One was upset with some clearing done on the slope underneath his house but has since been mollified with the subsequent work. We’ve talked to two who are concerned that we will “open up” the park.

Efforts to contact and work with the homeowners around the park continue. Lack of neighbor participation has felt frustrating at times, but contact, at least, is improving.

Users of the Park

North Beach Park is underutilized. A better trail system would increase users, but the sides of the ravine are too steep to support trails, and the soil structure is too friable when dry. Although we’ve seen all the groups below in the park at one time or another, we never see more than a two or three people an hour, and sometimes nobody else.
There is no evidence of anyone currently living in the park.

North Beach Elementary

Students from North Beach Elementary, located across the street, occasionally visit the park when school is in session. In the fall of 2012, we tried to arrange regular visits with the first and second grade classrooms, but scheduling became too difficult. A fourth grade teacher would take her students through every month, but she was transferred to kindergarten. Starting in the fall of 2014, North Beach Elementary will be temporarily relocated to a school in Wallingford while it is rebuilt.

Dog Walkers and Joggers

These are the users we see most often in the park. Of these two, dog walkers are more common than joggers. And, luckily enough, the majority of dogs are leashed.


Evidence of adolescent use of the park is more circumstantial than concrete. There is graffiti on the trees and sometimes marijuana paraphernalia. The fresh litter looks like it was from adolescents — candy bar wrappers and juice bottles.

Next week: Volunteer network.

North Beach Park: Restoration History

Note: This is the second in a series of Monday posts about the Restoration Management Plan for North Beach Park. To read the others in the series, please click the “Restoration Management Plan” link in the tags at the bottom of the post.

This section is drawn from personal memories, work logs, and notes.

State of the Park at the Beginning of Restoration

Records of the condition of the park at the start of restoration weren’t very well kept. There was (and still is) graffiti on the trees. There was trash throughout the park, ranging from bottles’n’cans, through tires and wheels, and up to water heaters and a 300 gallon drum (which is still in the park). For the first several work parties, at least a couple dozen pounds of trash came out of the park, sometimes quite a lot more.

At least 40% of the trees had serious ivy infestations reaching up into their crowns. In some cases, the ivy reached back down to the ground from overhanging branches.

When Luke, Drexie, and Tad took Lex Voorhoeve (instructor of the Master Forester Class) through the park for a site review (September 2011), he said there was a “depressing amount of work.”

There were extensive ivy monocultures in the Headwaters Bowl, particularly along the rims and the dryer areas. There were also extensive ivy monocultures in the South Plateau and on the South and West Slopes.

The vast majority of the canopy was deciduous, with Alnus rubra (Red alder) on the bottomlands and Acer macrophyllum (Big leaf maple) on the slopes and dryer areas. For HMU-specific information about canopy coverage, please see the relevant sections in the “Wetlands” or “Uplands and Slopes” chapters.


The first meeting about restoring North Beach Park took place on March 17, 2011. Attending were Michael Yadrick (Parks ecologist), Mark Mead (Urban forest manager), Joanna Nelson de Flores (Forterra/Green Seattle Partnership), Theresa McEwan (North End volunteer coordinator), Patrick Merriam (North End crew chief), Morry Browne (neighbor) and Loren McElvain (neighbor).

The first restoration work party was held April 30th, 2011. Fourteen people attended, an unusually high number.

From the start, Friends of North Beach Park (FoNBP) had five priorities for restoration work:

  1. Hedera helix (ivy) off the trees – rough estimates (made long after the fact) are that 40% of the trees in the park had ivy up into their crowns.
  2. Ivy off the ground – there were many places were ivy formed a groundcover monoculture that have been cleared. There are still monocultures on some slopes (See “Uplands and Slopes.”)
  3. Rubus armeniacus (Blackberry) off the ground and dug up.
  4. Smaller Ilex aquifolium (laurel) and Prunus laurocerasus holly pulled, larger marked for herbicide.
  5. Invasive groundcover removed and replaced with native plants.

Work was done both at the front of the park, to make visible changes that made the restoration work obvious; and in the forest, getting the ivy off the trees.

First Workparty Group Portrait

Many of the people in this photo (and the person taking it) are still involved in the restoration of North Beach Park.

Many of the people in this photo (and the person taking it) are still involved in the restoration of North Beach Park. Photo by Drexel Malone.

Friends of North Beach Park settled on the 4th Saturday of the month because earlier weekends were taken: Golden Gardens GGREAT (Golden Gardens Restoration and Trails) meets on the 2nd Saturday, Friends of Llandover Woods meets on the 2nd Sunday, and Carkeek Park STARS (Streams, Trails, and Restoration Stewards) meets on the 3rd Saturday. We thought that the 4th Saturday presented the least conflict.

The 4th Saturday schedule does mean that the work party conflicts with Memorial Day in May and the Christmas – New Year holidays in December, so there is no work party on those months.

In summer of 2011, Luke McGuff, Drexie Malone, and Tad Anderson met while taking the Master Forester Class taught by Lex Voorhoeve at Carkeek Park. We were assigned North Beach Park as our project.

In September, EarthCorps Science (Nelson Salisbury and Ella Elman) mapped North Beach Park and delineated the Habitat Management Unit boundaries.

At the end of 2011, Friends of North Beach Park had had 55 adult and three youth volunteers, for a total of 165 hours. We had planted a grand total of 13 shrubs and 8 herbaceous plants, and had more than 0.05 acre in active restoration.

In terms of public engagement, Luke spoke to the Olympic Manor Community Association and the Ballard High School “YES” (YMCA Earth Service Corps). There was a post to in November about the restoration efforts. Friends of North Beach Park also began working with the Seattle Parks Foundation as fiscal sponsor.


The Master Forester class concluded with a successful three-part presentation about restoration of North Beach Park. This was the same day as the work party would have been, so there was no 4th Saturday work party in January of 2012. However, January 2012 did have a very successful work party and trash removal with a group of 8th graders from a University District alternative middle school, on their “Rite of Passage” program. This was the largest amount of trash removed during a single work party.

Rite of Passage students

This was the single largest pile of trash removed from North Beach Park at one time.

This was the single largest pile of trash removed from North Beach Park at one time.

Early February featured the first annual Friends of North Beach Park potluck, which includes forest stewards and volunteers from Carkeek and Golden Gardens, as well as North Beach Park. At that potluck, we formed an official steering committee of seven.

In summer 2012, an independent forest steward worked in the South Plateau, a large, flat area about 80 feet above the main park. Working with residents of the Labateyah community, they cleared most of the ivy and blackberry off the .57 acre plateau in one summer of weekly work parties. They installed steps into the park, and had plans for a native plant demonstration garden modeled after the garden outside Daybreak Star Indian Center. However, when the rains returned, we found out that the South Plateau received street runoff that accumulated for blocks. The Parks Department had to remove the steps and put in fascines and rip rap. See “South Plateau” in the “Uplands and Slopes” chapter.

Also in the summer of 2012, Doug Gresham, of Gresham Environmental, delineated the wetlands. GPS points for the delineation flags were later established with Nelson Salisbury of EarthCorps Science.

In September of 2012, “Knotweed Hill” was created by Luke and a group of middle schoolers who were on a field trip to the park. They cleared a large area of ivy underneath a canopy gap. Before the clearance, the ivy had covered up some of the steepness of the slope. Removing the ivy revealed the slope to be much too steep for inexperienced volunteers. Also, we had been working on private property without realizing it. This lead to Luke, Drexie, and Tad spending many weekdays in the park, staking down burlap sacks, and work parties where dikes were built across the slope.

At the end of 2012, Friends of North Beach Park had had 343 adult and 162 youth volunteers, for a total of nearly 1150 volunteer hours. We had planted 227 trees, 112 shrubs, and 105 herbaceous plants. Nearly three-quarters of an acre was in restoration.

Public outreach in 2012 included tabling at “Art in the Garden” for the first time, and tabling at “Sustainable Ballard” with the Green Seattle Partnership. “Art in the Garden” is a neighborhood event located very close to the park. We meet neighbors of the park, including people who played in it as children. “Sustainable Ballard” is a much larger event, for the Ballard area as a whole. At this event, we’re helping Green Seattle Partnership promote Green Seattle Day (the first Saturday in November).

In 2012, FoNBP participated for the first time in the Seattle Foundation “GiveBIG” day of online giving.


2013 featured many different groups working in North Beach Park: EarthCorps, Parks Department contract and Natural Area crews, and Friends of North Beach Park.


EarthCorps ran seven work parties in North Beach Park, from April through November. During this time, they mulched Knotweed Hill, and cleared along the trail from Headwaters Bowls through the Central Valley. During the planting work party, they added density to both sides of the trail through their cleared areas, and added density to Knotweed Hill.

EarthCorps volunteers mulch Knotweed Hill.

EarthCorps volunteers mulch Knotweed Hill.

EarthCorps volunteers mulch Knotweed Hill.

Contract Crew

The Parks Department Natural Area and contract crew worked on the North Slope, removing invasives, putting done jute net and coir logs, and planting. On the South Plateau, they installed rip rap, meanders, and fascines to help control the erosion. They also helped clear a trail of fallen alder trees.

Friends of North Beach Park

The FoNBP had their second annual potluck, again with forest stewards from other NW area parks, including Llandover Woods.
There were ten 4th Saturday work parties in 2013: January – April, June – November. The January work party featured some plants donated from the Swanson’s Nursery “Trees for Salmon” program.

By the end of 2013, most of the safely accessible trees in the park needing ivy survival rings had been protected.
2013 had 189 adult and 20 youth volunteers, for a total of nearly 665 hours. Friends of North Beach Park planted 346 trees, 672 shrubs, and 675 herbaceous plants.

More than half an acre was brought into restoration, and nearly 1½ acres were in Phase 2 and Phase 3 of restoration.
Public outreach included an article in the Ballard News-Tribune (Bryan, 2013) and tabling at “Art in the Garden” and “Sustainable Ballard.”

2014 (to date)

The start of 2014 featured nearly 200 extra plants from the Parks Department. The summer work parties have concentrated on after care of plants, mostly watering and weeding to help them deal with the heat stress of June and July.
There were numerous site reviews, from Seattle Public Utilities (with their drainage and wetland scientist), a big site review with the Parks Department to talk about target forest types, the South Plateau, and to plan crew time for the next couple years.

The forest stewards returned to working in the South Plateau once a month. We also wrote a letter to the neighbors of the South Plateau explaining our plans.

In June, we executed a cross-gradient belt transect, crossing three HMUs and going from the highest points on the rim to the lowest points of the park floor. The information this provided is used throughout this report.

In July and August, Friends of North Beach Park participated in Groundswell NW’s open space inventory.

Public outreach this year has been limited to “Art in the Garden,” which was very successful for us.

FoNBP participated in the Seattle Foundation’s “GiveBIG” day of online giving again, and raised more than $800.

North Beach Park: History

One thing I found about the history of North Beach Park is that it has always attracted a lot of interest from its neighbors — sometimes good, sometimes bad.

King County regraded and paved 24th Ave. NW from 85th to 105th in 1931. The figure below shows a section of the plan for this regrade. The top half is a plan view, showing the street and parcels on both sides. The bottom half is a cross section, showing the altitude changes. The thicker line shows the planned regrade and the thinner line shows the pre-paving contours. Note the sharp dip where the lines cross at 260 feet, and the sharp rise where they cross again at 230 feet. The vertical written notes contain directions for installing pipes across the roadway, and guard rails on the right and left sides (King County Resolution No. 3924, 1930).

King County Regrade Map for 24th Ave. NW.

King County Engineer’s Office, 1930. “24 Ave NW Grading and Graveling.” Engineering map. Seattle: Map number 16-56. King County Road Services Map Vault. (accessed June 26, 2014)

King County Engineer’s Office, 1930. “24 Ave NW Grading and Graveling.” Engineering map. Seattle: Map number 16-56. King County Road Services Map Vault. (accessed June 26, 2014)

At that time, the ravine provided drainage for Olympic Golf Course and Country Club, which was open from 1924 until 1953, when it became Olympic Manor.

North Beach ravine in 1936.

King County Engineer's Office. “1937 Aerial Survey” Seattle: Map number 260335. King County Road Services Map Vault. (accessed June 26, 2014)

King County Engineer’s Office. “1937 Aerial Survey” Seattle: Map number 260335. King County Road Services Map Vault. (accessed June 26, 2014)

The aerial photo from 1937, above, shows the area that will become North Beach Park. North Beach Ravine is in the center of this picture. Fletcher’s Orchard, now Fletcher’s Village, is at the top left of the picture. Note gap, center of picture, in what is now the Central Valley, and gappiness in what is now the Headwaters Bowl. The gap in the center today has large, old Alnus Rubra (Red alder) and a dense Rubus spectabilis (Salmonberry) cover. This is an indication of logging or other disturbance (Apostol, 2006). Evidence of disturbance also exists in the number of large cedar stumps that are now nurse logs in the stream.

Up until 1954, this area was unincorporated King County. In 1954, Seattle annexed all the areas between 85th St. and 145th St.

In 1968, King County voters approved a number of bond issues that included $118 million for new parks in Seattle. The Planning Division undertook a survey of ravines in the city, and in the “Summary and Recommendations from the Survey of Vacant and Undeveloped Natural Ravine and Creek Sites within the City of Seattle” (Planning Division 1969), North Beach Park is ranked second of the 23 properties surveyed. The property is described as:

This ravine having a small creek fed by several springs has a wide variation of foliage and hence offers one of the best internal environments of all the ravines studied. This site also indicates a high potential for a pathway and local park of 12 acres adjacent to the North Beach Elementary school.

A sketch of the original project dimensions.

This is considerably larger than what resulted, and would have reached from 24th to 28th Ave.

This is considerably larger than what resulted, and would have reached from 24th to 28th Ave. Source: Planning Division, 1969.

At a public meeting in February, 1970, neighbors expressed concerns about “hippies and undesirable type people” and the possibility of a “road into the park” (Alley 1970). However, the neighborhood was so in support of the project that someone unable to attend circulated a petition that eventually garnered nearly 500 signatures and “created a great deal of community interest” (Whitman 1970).

Purchase of the park property stopped in the 1970s. A 1980 letter from the then-presidents of the Olympic Manor Community Club and the North Beach Club expressed concern that the “five acre park” was receiving no attention from the city, and requested a meeting with a representative of the Parks Department to discuss the park (Malone 1988). Purchase of the property was completed with Green Space Levies in the 1990s and early 2000s.

In 2003, North Beach Park and North Beach Ravines (between 28th and 30th Avenues) was a heron rookery.

North Beach Ravine today.

The ravine and surrounding fully-developed neighborhood. Source: GSP Reference map on

The ravine and surrounding fully-developed neighborhood. Source: GSP Reference map on

In 2008, serious neighbor problems lead to a contentious neighborhood meeting. There were accusations of illegal trail building, dumping, tree-topping and cutting, and worries about homeless encampments (Wong 2008). There was brief interest in a “Friends of…” group but nothing came of it (Wong 2008a).

Restoration began in 2011 and continues to this day. Restoration history will be posted next Monday.

NOTE: References for graphics will be in the caption of the graphic. Online references will be in the text as links. The references below are to printed materials.

Alley, J. 1970. “North Beach Community Meeting.” (Internal memo to Hans A. Thompson). February, 1970, Box 40, Folder 27, Record Series 5804-05, Seattle Municipal Archives

Apostol, D. and D.R. Berg. 2006. “Riparian Woodlands.” In Restoring the Pacific Northwest: The Art and Science of Ecological Restoration in Cascadia. Island Press, Washington, D.C.

Malone, T. 1988. “Letter to Ms. H. Miller.” Active files of the Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation, Property and Acquisitions Services.

Planning Division, Department of Community Development. 1969. “Summary and Recommendations from the Survey of Vacant and Undeveloped Natural Ravine and Creek Sites within the City of Seattle.” September, 1969. Box 40, Folder 27, Record Series 5804-05, Seattle Municipal Archives

Whitman, J. E. 1970. Letter to Hans A. Thomspon. February, 1970, Box 40, Folder 27, Record Series 5804-05, Seattle Municipal Archives.

Wong, D. 2008. “Neighbors upset over illegal trails.” Ballard News-Tribune, Vol. 116 No. 21.

— 2008a. “North Beach gets help to stay green.” Ballard News-Tribune, Vol. 116 No. 27.

Monday and Saturday

Two reports this week! Forgot to download the Monday pictures so here they are now.

On Monday we explored two habitat management units that are at the far northern end of the park, and consequently not very well explored. We also got a good estimate of canopy cover and of that what was conifer and what deciduous.

On the way there, though, we saw that someone had made a tasty snack of a tree planted last spring:

It’s the clean, angular cut that is a sign of mountain beaver (which don’t live on mountains and aren’t beavers). The other trees planted at the same time were doing well, so maybe it wasn’t that tasty after all.

The areas we were exploring were the 92nd St. Wetlands and Fletcher’s Slope, which you can see on the map below:

Source: Green Seattle Partnership Reference map on

Source: Green Seattle Partnership Reference map on

(Okay, that’s a little big, but the other size the software offered was too small.)

The green lines are the park boundaries, and the red lines are the HMU boundaries. The short, horizontal red line just below the center of the picture is a stream crossing. The social trail ends just north of there, but the park continues on for another couple hundred feet. That’s what we were exploring Monday.

Fletcher's Slope platform
We saw this platform — what is it? Sleeping platform? Somebody’s home? Camping spot for kid’s sleep out? Whoever built it did a good job.

The reason for the exploration was to get some missing information for the MEH project and restoration management plan. We found out what we needed to know. But let’s skip ahead to Saturday because –


You can see it above, in the middle of the image, but quite a ways from me. Looking very intently into the park — “I just want to go home after a night of stealing cat food.” It very patiently waited while I took a couple pictures. Here’s the other one.

(I just realized I got so excited to post the coyote pictures I never processed them. Oh well.)

I was hoping to get one more, but looked down at the camera for a couple seconds and when I looked up, the coyote had vanished.

Really happy about that, I hope it eats some of the mountain beaver.

The work party today was just three people — “The few, the proud… or at least the few,” as Morry said. August work parties are usually our least-attended. If it’s good weather, everybody wants to get out of town because OMG SUMMER’S ALMOST OVER. If it’s bad weather, they want to sit inside and sulk because a possible good weekend is wasted.

In any case, we got some good work done. We revisited an area that had been cleared of a blackberry monoculture in the winter. Well, really clearing the blackberry monoculture and then letter everything sit for a couple months sharply increased the diversity. Unfortunately, it was all invasives or undesired native plants. But we worked among the weeds and brought down four wheelbarrows of mulch, so we did some good.

Here is an “after” picture:
"After" Picture

The next work party will by Saturday, September 27. It’s at a different location, the South Plateau, and a different time, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. We’ll be joined by students from Seattle Pacific University on their CityQuest program. Hope you can join us!

Hello Again

I’ve just finished my MEH degree at the University of Washington, and hope to be able to start blogging here more frequently.

This began as a school project for Antioch, and paradoxically, school has interrupted it frequently.

We’re going to start with a series of posts on Mondays based on the final product of my time at the UW, a “Restoration Management Plan for North Beach Park.” I probably won’t post the whole thing here, but will post large chunks of it.

I also hope and plan to start reading books about restoration and stewardship, greening and wilding cities, and posting reviews here. Also, shorter responses to papers about these subjects.

And of course, news and announcements about North Beach Park as they happen.

Thank you to all who read this!

August work party already?!?!?!?

Apologies for the short notice, but the time for the August work party is already upon us.

The August work party is this Saturday, August 23, from 9 a.m. to Noon. We’ll work in an area that was cleared last winter, removing any weeds that have returned, mulching, and getting ready for the planting that will happen in November.

Please join us, the work is always fun and it’s great to see the improvements in this hidden little park.

Wear weather-appropriate layers that can get dirty and sturdy, closed shoes. Even if it’s warm, long sleeves will help protect a little against nettles and blackberries. We’ll provide tools, gloves, and guidance. Bring water and a snack if you need them, but there are no facilities at the park.

Parking is available on 90th St. east of 24th, and on 24th north of 90th. The #61 bus runs past the park, and the #s 48 and 40 stop a few blocks away. Check Metro for details.

Please register so we can make our plans. And, as always, if you can’t attend a work party, please consider making a donation to the Seattle Parks Foundation. You’ll get a tax deduction for the donation, and all funds will be spent on restoration of the park. Click here to support North Beach Park.

Our September work party will happen on the 4th Saturday as usual (the 27th), but will be at a different time and location. We’ll be meeting at the South Plateau, at 27th Ave. and 88th St., and students from Seattle Pacific University on CityQuest will be joining us. The work party will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and have a lunch break.

Thank you, and we hope you’re enjoying your summer!