(Added 1:02 pm: From WSB files, Trileigh Tucker‘s May 2009 photo of Lincoln Park owlet ‘Wollet’)
11:58 AM: Just in:
Seattle Parks and Recreation has decided not to proceed with a proposal to build a five-to-six acre high ropes course in West Seattle’s Lincoln Park.
“We listened to the community, and though there is demand for this emerging form of recreation, there are some who clearly do not support it at this location,” said Acting Parks Superintendent Christopher Williams.
Low and high ropes courses are gaining in popularity worldwide, and they are among a number of emerging sports and other outdoor activities Parks and Recreation is working hard to accommodate.
The proposal for Lincoln Park was in the conceptual stages. Parks had just begun its public outreach process with contacts with the Camp Long Advisory Council, the Morgan Community Association, and the informal Friends of Lincoln Park, and had developed a full public involvement plan that included four more opportunities for input, one onsite. Parks had issued an Expression of Interest and had selected Go Ape based on their safety, park stewardship and operational history.
After the meeting with the Fauntleroy Community Association on July 10, Williams made the decision not to proceed with a high ropes course at Lincoln Park. Williams and Go Ape have not yet decided whether to proceed with a ropes course proposal at another site.
ADDED 12:15 PM: That announcement in a Parks Department news release comes 13 days after WSB first reported the proposal had been under consideration since last summer, according to a Go Ape document, but had not to that date been disclosed to the community, and was not even mentioned anywhere on Parks’ website, despite the department’s Public Involvement Policy (as reported in our second story) committing the department to providing “early and thorough notification of proposals and projects, through a variety of means, to users, user groups, neighborhoods, neighborhood groups, and other interested people.” And it came 15 hours after the Fauntleroy Community Association‘s board meeting expanded into the first public discussion of the proposal, at which a standing-room-only crowd tallied by FCA at 250 (WSB coverage, with video, here) expressed almost unanimous opposition. Opponents had been organizing for the previous week-plus, including a Facebook page, Facebook group, website, and strategy session. Many opponents said they weren’t against this type of recreation, but that Lincoln Park was the wrong place for it, for reasons including the park’s wildlife – dozens of bird species, including nesting bald eagles – and parking/traffic challenges.