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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Thornton Creek at Beaver Pond Natural Area Will Get Facelift

Next Wednesday, Jan 11th, Seattle Parks Department is hosting a public workshop to shape the future of the newly renamed Beaver Pond Natural Area.
Wooducks and Hooded Merganzer
are just two of the many birds and wildlife
that call Beaver Pond Park home.
ph credit - Don MacCall

Just across the street from Northgate Mall and Thornton Place, Beaver Pond Natural Area, was formerly known as Thornton Creek Park Six. The park stretches in contiguous parcels from NE 103rd and Fifth Ave NE north across Eighth NE to NE 107th and Roosevelt. It is a unique natural area in North Seattle, because it contains so many different types of terrain, flora and fauna. Beavers have transformed a section of the park into an amazing wildlife refuge.

Thornton Creek Alliance (TCA) is partnering with Seattle Parks and Rec with a $500K Opportunity Fund grant to reshape the park and improve the route of the creek.  
Ruth Williams is a Park Steward, TCA Vice-president
and is and enthusiastic Tree Ambassador

The community is invited to participate in the planning meeting for the restoration project on Wednesday, January 11, 2012 from 7 – 9 p.m. at Northgate Community Center . Northgate Community Center is located at 10510 5th Ave NE.
For additional information about the project, please visit or contact Emily Lofstedt, Parks Planner, at 206-684-7047 or

Great Blue Heron is a frequent visitor at
Beaver Pond Park.
ph credit - Bob Barta
The beavers are active all the time engineering their habitat.
ph-credit- Janet Way

The Park is a fascinating place because it provides a close in opportunity, in a major urban center (Northgate Urban Center) to view a wide variety of wildlife including; cutthroat trout, waterfowl such as the wooducks and heron, songbirds, raccoons and of course the beavers. They are often the most elusive though, but you can easily see the results of their work.
Thornton Creek beaver comes out at night to search
for trees and branches for their dams and lodges.
ph credit - Don MacCall
There are many topics to be considered in the workshop including re-routing the creek so it is less impacted by the street grid. The parks southern section abuts NE 105th and crosses to the northern section under Eighth Ave NE. The TCA proposal and future investments aim to install a "box culvert" and other proposals from neighbors include possibly closing 105th to cars, since it is very narrow and hosts a huge drainage pipe leading from Norhtgate Mall.

This type of pruning is considered bad for trees since it leaves them
open to infection.
Another important topic will be vandalism, vagrancy and petty crime which is considered a problem by neighbors.  Park stewards and many neighbors were appalled a couple weeks ago, when a neighbor took a vigilante action and permanently damaged a huge section of the southern section, by "limbing up" dozens of conifers and slashing the understory which had been previously planted in grant projects. Presumably, this individual thought it would decrease crime and vagrancy to increase "sightlines" in the area. Seattle Parks is investigating the incident and hopefully will send a strong message that this type of individual effort is not good policy.
Trees along the creek were damaged irreparably by
vigilante actions recently.

But the park offers so many unique benefits for passive recreation and excellent and refreshing natural
interactions, that Beaver Pond Natural Area is a spectacular resource that has survived urbanization. 
Looking East, the creek begins it's plunge toward Roosevelt
and downstream towards Lake Washington

"Goofy Racoons"
at Beaver Pond Natural Area
ph credit - Don MacCall

View of Beaver Pond from NE 106th.
ph credit - Janet Way

Citizens are invited to give their input to Seattle Parks at the upcoming meeting. Stop by the park and explore its amazing diversity soon! 


  1. Great update, Janet. And it is a good reminder of the meeting on Jan 11 at 7 p.m. at Northgate Community Center. Thanks.

  2. Thank you for publicizing these matters, Janet! A park neighbor informed me yesterday that there seems to be at least one new tree cut. I have counted about 65 total.

    Parks is also looking at updating reforestation methods to preserve sight lines from the outset.