Want to see 750 reasons why the Horseshoe Pit in Lincoln Park should be returned to the forest? Click on the picture below for a slideshow.

Know this before you start:

  • each pictures lasts 3 seconds
  • there are 750 pictures
  • the pictures cover a four year period
  • that’s about a picture every other day
  • it takes over 37 minutes to see them all
  • they are arranged newest to oldest
  • there is one couple playing golf
  •  there are a few off leash dogs
  • there is one picture of a person playing horseshoes
    (next to a flaming Hibachi)


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Three little seedlings, and how they grew…

Showing up in pots around the yard, I wasn’t sure at first what they were, but took a guess they might be evergreen starts, so I dug up a few and put them in pots. I kept them under our upper deck in an area that soon came to be known as The Nursery.

Several years later, one Pacific Yew and two Western Red Cedars were headed to our local urban forest, Lincoln Park.

They were pretty excited during the prep for the trip to the park:
DSC04690   DSC04692

They spent a couple of days near the entrance to the park, waiting to be planted…
…which happened on a beautiful Saturday morning in February, 2016:


The “big” western red cedar


The smaller western red cedar


The Pacific Yew

Many thanks to Friends of Lincoln Park leader and volunteer forest steward Sharon Baker, and UW seniors in the Program on the Environment Celina and Bethany.

I will return to visit and encourage these three little trees as they do their best to make it in the Big Woods, and I’ll keep adding pictures along the way:


Click to view the latest pictures on Flickr

Good luck, little guys!

Those seedlings were planted in an area long neglected, and overgrown with ivy and blackberry. However, the natural forest area in Lincoln Park is actually growing, thanks to Sharon’s efforts with Friends of Lincoln Park, with students like Celina and Bethany, and the work of EarthCorps and the Green Seattle Partnership.

Below is a big view of where those three seedlings were planted. You can’t see them because they are so small, but the “big” cedar is in the right front edge of the grass, the smaller one is on the left front edge, and the yew is in the middle, back 20 feet. With a southern exposure, they will hopefully grow fast, and become the new towering trees at the edge of the forest.

Just give ’em a few years. Or decades. They’ll get there.

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Want to see 350 reasons why the Horseshoe Pit in Lincoln Park should be returned to the forest? Click on the picture below for a slideshow spanning over a year and a half.


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Ravens in Lincoln Park

There are Ravens in Lincoln Park. Nesting.

raven1raven2My wife and I have noted Ravens in Lincoln Park occasionally over the past five years – but they have been year round residents this past year. Recently, we have seen two, with nesting material. And we hear them nearly every time we go to the park.


Crow (upper R) waits its turn for squirrel feast


Calling to its mate

Ravens are unusual, but not unheard of, in urban parks. The forest in Lincoln Park is finally reaching a mature enough state to support these amazing birds.

If the Parks Department had its way three years ago, this would not be happening. Parks proposed a commercial zipline installation exactly where these Ravens are. Would they be nesting today in an area with people flying through the trees? Not a chance. Thanks to all those who said Nevermore!

The next time you are in the south end of Lincoln Park, keep your ears open for some Raven Talk:

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A Year in the Life of a Horseshoe Pit

A fifteen minute walk from my typical Seattle back yard leads me to a vastly different 5,000 square foot plot – a publicly held wasteland that I visit almost as often as I visit my own yard. It is virtually devoid of life. It is regularly treated, mowed, and graded to keep it sterile.

3-18-14It is the horseshoe pit in Lincoln Park.

For the past year I have visited the pit regularly, and I have taken pictures – 215 of them. I have become attached to that little piece of land. I love it for the life that perseveres there, and I love it for what it can, and should, be.

The horseshoe pit was created by the WPA in the mid 1930’s – pretty cool, back in the day.

8-21-14But times and recreational preferences have changed, and it has been decades since this horseshoe pit has been used. Today it is a muddy, mossy, decayed, and barren wasteland – surrounded by a healthy, maturing forest.  Unfortunately, it is used almost exclusively for beer/wine parties in the summer, at night.

11-30-14A tree falls across it, and I think of the saying, “If a tree falls in the forest…”

Nobody seems to notice or care.

7-15-15This abused and neglected piece of land should be allowed to rejoin the forest. The forest wants it back. Along its chain linked fence edges, you can see the evidence. The seedlings, native plants, and mature trees – are pushing into, under, across, and above the pit, reaching to rejoin each other across its sterile center.

11-17-15I hope and pray that the plants and animals living along its edges get it back.     This horseshoe pit matters to them, and it matters to all of us.

If you have the time, take a look at the 215 pictures of the horseshoe pit at Lincoln Park over the past year. Each picture is a day. Think about it.

Let me know if you’d like to do something about it! Thanks.

For a 215 image slideshow, click on the picture below. It takes about 10 minutes to go through 365 days at the horseshoe pit. Check your time when you start, because you’ll lose track of where you are. Trust me.


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A Tale of Two Cheasties, a year later

On March 13, 2014, I put up a little post here about some folks wanting to put a mountain bike park in a Seattle Parks natural area. Only a handful of people knew about it. That little post has now been read over 1,500 times: A Tale of Two Cheasties.

Time for an update.

A year later, Cheasty has become the unfortunate poster child for both sides in a contentious debate about our Parks. You just say the word Cheasty, and many people know the issues you’re talking about. The Seattle City Council has become involved, it has been written up in the media, Parks organized a very adversarial Project Advisory Team, and people have become more divided than ever. It is a polarizing issue, unfortunately.

There is no bike park. Yet.

Personally, I am more opposed to it than I was a year ago. The actual proposal has constantly morphed over the course of that year – to gain funding, to sway public opinion, and to influence elected officials and private sector donors. The current proposal barely resembles the one I wrote about a year ago. I have been constantly appalled at the misleading information and pandering that has taken place.

Cheasty Greenspace

Cheasty Greenspace

Cheasty Greenspace is still there, but it is being “restored”. Invasive plants are being removed. Hundreds of “volunteers” have tromped through Cheasty with chainsaws, shovels, pick axes, and more. They have changed the landscape. It breaks my heart.

When they are done restoring it as a natural area, it will be destroyed. It will no longer be a natural area. For everyone. It will be a mountain bike recreation area. For a few.

It can’t be both.

A little more from this blog on Cheasty:


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“It was twenty years ago today…”

No, it was not the day “Sergeant Pepper taught the band to play”… but it was still a significant day.

ahlogo1August 14, 1994. I remember shaking with excitement and uncertainty. My principal had come over to my house and was watching a simple graphic appear on my computer. It seemed to take forever to load, watching it fill out from top to bottom, line by line. Eventually, there it was. A school website. OUR school website. The ninth elementary school in the world with such a thing. He happily gave it his blessing – well, what could he say – his name was on the graphic!

The default background color on web browsers back then (if you even had a browser) was grey, so it looked a little different.

But we were there! And we still are. Of the earliest schools on the web, all appearing that summer, ours is the only one that still exists on the same piece of internet real estate: http://www.halcyon.com/arborhts/arborhts.html Here’s a listing of school websites from January of 1995. Oh my, it was a time!

ahmapchristmasThe story that followed was flat out amazing. I won’t go through much of it here and now, except to point you to a page that will lead you through the evolution of a pioneering school web site.

As I said earlier, the website still exists. I retired two years ago, but I believe in the importance of hanging onto some things. I am a saver. On the original Arbor Heights site, there are thousands of documents and pictures, telling the story of the school from 1994 to 2012. A few notables that will give you a sense of and feeling for the school, the families, staff, the kids – and that time:


Principal Carl Leatherman rides into an assembly on his motorcycle, 1997

There is plenty more, so please feel free to poke around and explore this little piece of internet history at arborheights.com. I intend to maintain it indefinitely.

arborhtswikiWe continued blazing school website trails with the establishment of a school wiki in 2006. In 2008, the wiki actually became the official home page of the school, recognized as such by the school district. I also maintained the  original website, so there was a period of 6 years where content was added regularly to the wiki and the website, the difference being, there were multiple authors to the wiki – staff and parents. It was a very exciting time. Challenging? Of course, but the end result of having to collaborate on a shared goal was a strong, united vision of how our school would appear on the web. The wiki still exists, and it has a fair amount of material archived on it as well.

Behind the scenes, from 2005 on, there was a constant pressure from the school district to have the Arbor Heights website look the same as all its other school websites, using their template. My sense has always been that schools, like individuals, want to be seen as unique, and NOT just like everybody else. But the big organization wants all its parts and pieces to look the same – it’s so much easier to manage that way…

In the fall of 2012, as soon as I retired, the school set up its website using the district template.

The current school website for Arbor Heights does not link to content on, or acknowledge the existence of, the school’s unique digital history. I hope that will change someday.  There are many inspiring stories and important pieces of that history to be shared, carried forward, and built upon. As a new Arbor Heights is being constructed, I hope people realize this is a time to tighten those connections and strengthen that foundation.

Happy 20th, Arbor Heights on the web!


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