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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Bear Reserve - A Place That Matters

The "Tuning Fork Tree" stands proudly in the
Bear Reserve
ph credit - Janet Way
Huge Doug Fir Tree at Risk in Bear Reserve
ph credit - Janet Way
A Grove of Significant Trees in Shoreline that many neighbors care about is at risk from a proposal by Innis Arden Board's plans.
Trees in a Steep Slope Critical Area Proposed to be Cut
ph credit - Janet Way
The Reserve contains a bonafide Critical Area, according to the City of Shoreline. The IA Board proposes to cut 45 trees in this unusually forested area in Innis Arden. They claim since they are the owners that they can cut whatever they want to enhance views of nearby property owners.

Critical Areas or ECA's are places that are protected by cities and counties by their Critical Area Ordinances. Steep Slopes, Streams, Wetlands and other types of resources like flood plains are protected by City Ordinance and State Law.

However, other neighbors want to keep the trees because of the exceptional benefits they find in this grove of big trees. 
Bear Reserve is a popular walking path
for Innis Arden and nearby residents, just below
the site of the old Sunset Elementary School.
Children used to walk to school along this path.
ph credit - Janet Way

Some trees were already cut in the last few years there.  The Innis Arden Board is arguing that it is not a Critical Area. An appeal hearing is scheduled with the Hearing Examiner  in August. 

Curving Trunks indicate trees protecting a steep slope
There is also a small creek that was flowing there last week (in July). It seems to be hardly an "ephemeral stream" as claimed by the IA Board if it is flowing in July. 
Small stream flowing in Bear Reserve surfaces in the upper section of the ravine.
The trees proposed to be cut are "significant" by the current city rules because they are much larger than the 12" measurement. 
Alan Kohn is a retired UW Professor of Biology
who lives next to the reserve and is a member of
the Friends of Bear Reserve group.
ph credit - Janet Way

The trees offer a respite and valuable wildlife habitat to many species. While there we witnessed hummingbirds and insects flitting about.
Red Elderberry Grove in the Reserve
ph credit - Janet Way

What will be the fate of the trees in Innis Arden, and the City of Shoreline? That will be up to the City, the Hearing Examiner and the citizens who care.


  1. Dear Janet,
    I will be in touch. Please be advised that the group has been successful so far in staying the efforts of development of a slope above Meadowdale Beach Park in Lynnwood/Edmonds. I am sure those folks would like to connect with you and I will share this blog post with them with your permission!
    Paige, volunteer
    WA State Chapter, Sierra Club

  2. This is unbelievable - I'm so glad I don't live in Innis Arden where I would be fighting to keep something named "reserve" by paying home owner's association fees to support an attorney, paying taxes to support the city staff & attorney, while watching the market value of my own real estate being threatened by the loss of a community owned asset; all so a handful of owner's can create a view they never had. You'd think the home owner's would get sick of this baloney and recall the board....