As-it-happened coverage + video: Lincoln Park zipline proposal @ Fauntleroy Community Association

July 10, 2012 at 7:09 pm | In Lincoln Park zipline proposal, West Seattle news | 112 Comments

(12:30 AM UPDATE: Adding our unedited video of the entire 2-hour meeting, immediately below)

MEETING TOPLINES:
-Standing room only, FCA estimates 250
-Parks reps say no decision made yet
-Go Ape rep there, but did not speak
-FCA presentation listed concerns including habitat destruction, tree removal
-In public comments, all but one speaker voiced opposition
-Timeline from Parks: Public meeting Aug. 11, Parks Board in Oct., recommendation Nov.
-Next meeting MoCA on 7/18; agenda here
BELOW:
As-it-happened WSB coverage of the meeting:

(Photos by Nick Adams for WSB, added post-meeting)
FIRST REPORT, 7:08 PM: We’re at The Hall at Fauntleroy, where the first public presentation about the Go Ape zipline/rope-swing proposal for Lincoln Park (first reported here, on June 28th) is scheduled during tonight’s Fauntleroy Community Association meeting.

(Lisa Hobson and 7-year-old Georgia, signing in before meeting began)
A standing-room-only crowd is filling the hall’s largest room; at least two TV crews are among the media who are here to cover it.

We’ll be updating live. More shortly.

7:12 PM: The agenda will start with the Parks presentation, followed by FCA’s presentation about the history of Lincoln Park, habitat protection, and “justice and the community impacts,” followed by an open comment period, and “summary and closing statements.” President Bruce Butterfield is introducing Charles Ng and Rebecca Salinas from Parks, and Chris Swallow from Go Ape (a few hissed, but there also was polite applause for all three). Now counting three TV crews.

Rebecca Salinas of Parks (photo left) speaks first, saying she hopes to achieve “providing you with accurate information about what Go Ape is and what it isn’t, but we’ve been allotted only 7 minutes, and I don’t think (that’s enough time).” She says August 11th, 11 am at Lincoln Park, is the likely date for a community meeting, ‘where we will actually chalk out the area we are considering.” That led to a loud round of boos and shouting. Butterfield asked the crowd to stop. Salinas repeats that they have been going through “internal processes” and is why they had not brought this to the public yet, and that they are “still going through internal processes.” They are looking at “doing a SEPA checklist” (state environmental policy act), she says, and “working with naturalists and natural resources unit, and there are some questions that need to be asked.” She says this will go to the Parks Board in October and that it will recommend to the Superintendent in November “whether to go ahead with the project or not.”

7:19 PM: Parks’ Charles Ng is now explaining “how we got to this point,” as Salinas put it. He first mentions the recession, “is it always about cuts, how can we be creative … we have been accused of being reactive… what’s out there that aligns with our core mission.” He mentions the Parks Partnership Policy (linked in our earlier stories). He also talks about the Parks webpage and the “Expression of Interest” process, and how they got to the point of looking at partnership with Go Ape, which he described as “environmentally friendly” (that drew some groans). Salinas has taken back the microphone and says they have spoken with other cities that have “high ropes courses,” and she mentions the “low ropes course that will have some high elements” at Camp Long. “We were told by Leon Younger [consultant behind this May 2012 report] … that this was coming – people want new ways of recreating, they want to recreate off the ground. It’s a new way of thinking,” she said, with some hisses after that. She mentions Rock Creek, MD, where there’s been a Go Ape course for three two years, she says, talking about someone she talked with there, at the 1800-acre park, “he said he was leery of it … but now ‘I sound like I am an employee of Go Ape’,” she quoted him as saying. She also says she spoke with someone in Virginia. (So far there has been no presentation of what this is, but rather a sort of defense.) That person, she said, described Go Ape as “how public-private partnerships should work.” She stressed again that they hadn’t “made a decision,” but are doing “due diligence.”

7:24 PM: FCA board member Kim Petram is speaking now, saying that they “realized we had to act quickly” when they “learned of this 2 weeks ago.” She is presenting the history of Lincoln Park, which was originally known as Fauntleroy Park, renamed when the city bought it in 1922. She shows “what we do with the park today … we ride our bikes .. we run and jog … we play baseball .. we use the shelters with .. our families .. we hang out with our friends .. we might enjoy the waterfront and what it was to offer us.” She lists Frisbee, dog-walking, contemplation, YMCA day camps, and other park uses. She also mentions “We have a zipline already” – the small one by the playground. “And it’s a habitat already for many, particularly birds.” That gets loud applause. She says there are five points they are worried about – starting with habitat, the irreversibility of tree removal, habitat destruction, and more. Barbara Webster is asked to speak next. She is a West Seattle resident, a master birder who leads field trips for Audubon. She says she is speaking about “why a zipline course in some of the most densely forested area is a bad idea.” She notes that zipline videos online include no birdsong.

As Trileigh Tucker’s bird photos play on the screen behind her, she talks about the habitat in the area of the park where this is being proposed. She says 82 species are on the list for Lincoln Park, with more than 35 of them regularly nesting there. “They need this forest for feeding, for breeding,” she says. And there are seldom-seen birds that rely on the park too, she adds. She says there are also birds that pass through the park and rely on it as a place to rest. … “There is nothing wrong with wanting another form of outdoor entertainment, but it needs to be in a different setting where the impact on the birds is not so much,” she says, to loud cheering and applause.

7:34 PM: Petram is back at the mike. The second point of concern, her slide says, is “Due diligence.” She says she believes that the Parks Department is violating policies including public involvement, supplemental-use guidelines, and other policies. They believe they are speaking on behalf of future generations too, and are concerned that the financial compensation may not be enough. She is introducing Amanda Lee for the next portion of the presentation. “Among the many reasons why we believe Parks and Recreation should cease the process now for (this proposal) is … we believe the process to date is violation of both the letter and the spirit of numerous policies, and fundamentally at odds with Parks’ current strategic plan and the Vegetation Management Plan for Lincoln Park … and … conflicts with … goals for this park set by this community …and by the people who will enjoy it for generations to come.” For one, she says, use policies say Lincoln Park is meant for drop-in recreation, not for tourist activities; its concession and vending policies, she says, limit those activities to food vending, of which there is none now. She then mentions that the Parks Department Public Involvement Plan does not seem to be followed here, including the “early and thorough” notification of the public (an allusion to the fact that Parks has been talking with Go Ape for 11 months). She says she has looked at the company’s history, and “this process has been proceeding exactly backwards … the public has not been provided to participate to date … and the ideas of the community have not been solicited.” She says they also appreciate Parks’ concerns about revenue, but says that there seems to have been a “back door” to private companies having “secret meetings” with the Parks Department. She singles out the fact that Parks entertained three zipline proposals – and then chose one company, and allowed it to choose which park it wanted to pursue.

7:43 PM: Trileigh Tucker - who has shared bird photos on WSB many times in recent years – is speaking now. She says she was overcome when she heard “so many people applauding for the birds of Lincoln Park.” She says they want to work with Parks to figure out how to make Lincoln Park open and accessible to all, for future generations. She is an ecopsychology professor and says people need peaceful greenspaces to heal from the stresses of urban life. Behind her on a screen, it says, “environmental justice is the right to a safe, healthy, productive, and sustainable environment, where environment is considered in its totality to include the ecological, physical, social, political, aesthetic and economic environment.” She is “call(ing) on the city to (honor) environmental justice by keeping this facility out.” After Tucker, Petram speaks again, with the topic “community impacts” – concerns such as noise, litter, safety/security. “We are worried that we’ll lose the sound of the birds and the animals … and gain the noise of a commercial enterprise,” Petram says. She points out some of the statistics that have been suggested in literature related to this proposal so far – 25 parking slots, up to 84 people at a time on the ziplines/slides. She shows photos of what it’s like to try to park at Lincoln Park on a busy day, and the ferry traffic in lanes along the park side of Fauntleroy. (The central parking lot would be closest to the proposed Go Ape site.)

7:53 PM: Petram also showed a shot of the Lincoln Park lot today. She is now presenting some research about the company, including the planning processes well under way before the public is notified, residents in affected areas “ignored and sidelined” (a quote from the FCA presentation), and then she shows where in the park the course would be, with the help of Tucker on the mouse. She says FCA has not taken a position but would like more information before making a decision about “altering the park.” She introduces FCA vice president David Haggerty, who will be calling those who signed up to speak.

7:58 PM: An Arbor Heights resident named Jonathan speaks first, saying he and his wife “are not tree-huggers, but we don’t think this is an appropriate use of a city park.” Marty Westerman is next, an FCA board member. He says, “I’d like to see Parks choose the most appropriate place for the activities they’ve decided to select … it sounds like so far (they did not).” He also says they would be happy to help Parks to figure out how to make more money. Next, Judy Pickens, watershed steward, who says she has long worked with Parks,and “would love to give you the benefit of the doubt,” but she thinks “the magnitude of this proposal” might be “greater than (they) thought.” She adds, “You ask a lot of us .. use the word partnership a lot … you ask and receive thousands of hours every month from volunteers making sure Parks don’t turn into thickets … I’m used to being a partner, I’m used to partnership going both ways. I would like to hear that come from this section of Seattle Parks.” Next, a woman who says community residents “are intelligent, committed, dedicated to our community … quite frankly, I believe the approach the Parks Department has taken has been incredibly disrespectful to this community.” She says if they wanted ideas, they should have come to the community first. Next, Matt Stiles, native West Seattleite, “No to the zipline,” he begins. Next, Kenney resident Bob Burram takes the microphone, saying he came to this area 40 years ago, with “the natural location” being “part of what attracted us.” He thinks his sons might have enjoyed the zipline. The next speaker says she is a steward with the Green Seattle Partnership, which she says did not know about the proposal, and asks Parks, “How could you consider desecrating … Lincoln Park?” She lists the thousands of hours of volunteer time devoted to Parks, “the equivalent of 256 fulltime jobs” … she also suggests that the Go Ape rep “go buy your own land or lease it … and don’t come looking for public handouts.” That draws loud, long applause and cheers.

Barbara Osteen says, “It’s interesting I should come after that,” because it’s her sentiment. Dave Gould, who speaks next, says “there’s not a damn thing in (Parks) mission statement about building an amusement park.”

8:09 PM: Denise, who identifies herself as an artist who has long lived in West Seattle, says she agrees that “this is a really, really bad idea,” and implores Parks to “drop (it).” She says the city will “become more crowded … and our young people are going to need nature.” The next speaker says she’s also against it, and “ceding her time.” After her comes a man who says, “We need quiet space … we need palces where we can go.” He says he recommends to “patients” to use parks for the same reason. “It’s best that we leave the park as it is … I too understand the revenue needs,” but he says it’ll be shortsighted not to “look at the longterm picture of fiscal responsibility … because this is cyclical.” Martha Callard from the FCA follows him, and she has a question for Parks, asking “does City Council have the final word?” They say, yes. She asks are any City Council members here? No one replies. Author/nature writer Lyanda Haupt speaks next. She says everyone she has spoken to is against this project but “no one is against ziplines – they look really fun.” She says her 13-year-old daughter is included in that, but when she told her about this proposal, the daughter said, “Mom, that would ruin the park.” Haupt said the park is a refugee for wildlife, and a “rare, rare urban forest … we are longing to keep it that way, and we will.” She is followed by Rob Duisberg, who says he “applaud(s) the Partnerships program .. you are being creative and responsible, and that’s terrific.” But, he says, “there are parks .. and there are PARKS … but what hasn’t been appreciated (in this process) … is that Lincoln Park is a remarkable place. It is not so much a city park as Cal Anderson, or Green Lake” (he lists others). The fact there are breeding species “that will be driven out the park by this kind of activity in the canopy, and there is no question about it,” he says. He adds that “ziplines are cool, I went on them in Costa Rica. There are other locations … the so-called ‘jungle’ over the freeway.” Laughter follows. Or, he suggests before his 2 minutes are up, even “the back side of Lincoln Park.” The next speaker echoes that ziplines look fun, and he would take his daughter to something like a Go Ape location, “but not here.” He notes that “ultimately this is going to be a political process, and I want to challenge our hosts … do your due diligence but do it quickly, and decide whether you are for or against this, and speak out.” He says groups must take positions. That draws applause too. Another FCA member, Carolyn Duncan, says she lives across the street from Lincoln Park. She says she is working on a King County Parks task force right now, as it grapples with economic issues, and she says she understands what “the new economy means” for parks systems, requiring “painful choices as they juggle many worthy priorities.” But she says choices must include “compatibility with the park” … and “transparent public process.” She says “urban forests are precious and rare” and “to put the words ‘Go Ape’ in the same sentence as ‘Olmsted park’ is jarring.”

8:22 PM: The next speaker says she and her neighbors “will do everything we can” to stop the proposal. She is followed by a man who says “Lincoln Park is a sanctuary.” After him comes Chris Wood, a half-century-plus resident, who says, “Lincoln Park is no place for a zipline,” and that she is worried about noise and parking “which is an absolute nightmare.” “Already,” adds someone in the audience. “Don’t put the zipline in Lincoln Park .. the wild animals .. don’t do that to them … it’s so neat to see them the eagles, the hawks, a red fox who comes out at 8:30 at night, you can set your clock to him,” and she chokes up. After her, Brian Dunbar, who says he attended school here at the Fauntleroy Schoolhouse when it was still an elementary. He says what he is most concerned about is “the lack of transparency in the Seattle Parks Department.” He says the longer you are in any project, the harder it is to walk away. “They gave the keys to Go Ape, they said ‘what location would you like,’ they said Lincoln Park, it’s up for grabs.” He notes the standing-room-only attendance, and the 30-plus people who attended last night’s organizational meeting. “We need to jump on this now and stop it before it goes any further.” A “new” resident named Mike – who elaborates, “I’ve been here 20 years now” (laughter) – says he was “shocked and devastated that the Seattle Parks Department, who I mistakenly thought was here to protect the parks of Seattle, is springing this on us. … I’m still shocked that you guys are doing this.” He doesn’t think this kind of project “belongs in any of the Seattle parks, period.” Beach Drive resident Bill Beyers, who says he goes to Lincoln Park every day, says he is concerned about Mayor McGinn‘s “(failure) to have citizens committees to plan how we are going to manage this park.” He notes that about 200 people are here and that he is astounded “there could be such poor management from the top in city government.” David Haggerty says at that point, they have counted the turnout at 250 people. The next man talks about the controversial “mud bike race” in Lincoln Park some years back. “I don’t get it – you folks are the stewards of the park, could you be that wrong?” He is followed by a Gatewood resident who says she thinks “the cute little zipline” at Lincoln Park is fun for the kids, “but that’s where it ends.” She says when she “struggles with day to day life,” Lincoln Park is the “one place” she wants to go, and that not every community has such a place. She asks for a show of hands of opposition – almost the entire room raises its hands.

(Center, Go Ape rep Swallow, seated next to Parks’ Ng, looks back at opponents’ raised hands)
No one raises their hand in support; nor for being “on the fence.” After her, a woman says our country is so well known for planning, she was “shocked” that this plan had come about without having been publicly presented. “I’m ashamed of our Parks Department.” The woman after her says her top concern also is “lack of due process and public involvement.” She says, “It’s appalling that even now, we are having the first public meeting and two more months to make a decision … we should have at least a year … to at least tweak a proposal that could happen.” She also notes that Seattle voters have never voted down a parks levy, and understands the call for partnerships, and is “invested” in its Parks system. “I’m sure you could find $65,000 in this room today” to prevent the proposal from going forward. She talked about having been in the park one recent morning and that it was “mayhem” with day camps in another part of the park, and she was glad to get to the part of the park where this is proposed, for silence and tranquility. Sarah Hebert is next, holding a young child, and quotes the Go Ape website as saying that the company believes in challenge … and in taking risks. “You’ve challenged us” to band together to stop the project from going forward, she says. She also talks about trying to get to the park along sidewalk-less streets, and believes that there will be even more cars brought to the park by something like this. “It is impossible to accommodate that in the blocks around our community.” Her son, cued by mom, says, “I don’t want the zipline.”

8:37 PM: The last group of speakers is called. “How sad,” says a man. “How sad that it comes to this. But thank goodness our Founding Fathers provided us with this right to speak our piece.” He says he works in nonprofit health care and knows about budget problems, but that they “refuse to impact our patients negatively.” He says this could be “a permanent solution to a short-term problem.” Bob is next, saying he heard “no decision has been made … BUT you’ve been meeting for a year with this party, and one cannot feel like when you were finally going to present it to the public, that we were starting from ground zero … you already have this huge investment in meeting with this partner … I really do hope you mean that ‘no decision has been made’.” A mother with young sons is next, talking about going to the park almost every day to enjoy its silence. “It is a neighborhood activity now to have all the kids take their bikes to the park and watch the baby eagle … or all the little kids want to go under the tree where the owl is nesting, and find owl pellets.” She says children in cities “are desperate for … fun that can be created for free,” like those forest visits. “Fun does not have to be paid for, does not have to be manufactured,” she says. “This is one of the few places in the city,” along with Seward and Discovery Park, among others, “where nature really does hold sway.” She says she won’t be able to teach her children about nature if she can’t take her children into a park with silence.” Next a teenager and her little sister speak, saying they “like to walk on the trails and explore” in Lincoln Park. Her sister says she does not want to hear “yelling” and “screaming” from users of an attraction like this. The next speaker says, “I think if the Park Department fails … to understand the importance of silence and peace, the money that can be lost, $65,000, chump change, the quiet and peace that can be lost …” He says that basically, what’s at stake is priceless. After that, Tom Quinn says “public-private partnerships always seem to leave the public without the resource, and holding the bag of debts.” He invokes the not-paid-off-yet-but-long-demolished Kingdome. “I say no monkey business in the parks.” The next woman, who says she is a Fortune 500 executive, says “Shame on you – you’ve worked on this for a year and you bring a business plan that will bring in $65,000?” She is speaking with outrage, saying that certainly the people in the room could come up with ideas worth more than that. “Shame on you!” she shouts at the end. That brings major applause. Charles Austin, who says he works as activities director in the activities department at The Kenney but does not speak for it: “I take care of (your parents and grandparents). … I can drive to North Bend for a forest experience, or four blocks down the street, and take my Alzheimer’s and dementia patients to (Lincoln Park) and take them back to the 40s … they remember it. It clears their mind. It makes them happy. It clears their mind. It makes them happy.” He says an original 1941 Colman Pool lifeguard lives at The Kenney. “Don’t take this away from your parents, or from your great grandchildren who have yet to be born.”

The next speaker is David Whiting, who is on the EarthCorps board, and works in restoration. He says, “Yes, the Parks Department does have a dual mission statement to protect resources and provide recreation opportunities, and these days we are seeing different kinds of activities in our parks” – he mentions skateboarding and bicycling. He says the Parks Department is responding to them, but usually with a “long process” – and yet this time, “you went to the developers and the concessionaires, and this is a kind of bass-ackwards way” to go about it. “For $65,000, you pimped out our parks,” he concludes. The next woman notes that there’s a lot of emotion – a friend of hers was so upset about it, she couldn’t sleep the first night she heard about it. “THis community is in an uproar. Don’t torture us. Don’t make us go through a long drawn-out process. Just drop it.” She pleads with Parks to not drag it out, to “not make us come to more meetings … We’ve spoken our hearts. Drop it now. Let’s move on to a new plan that works.”

8:51 PM: Stewart Wechsler, a naturalist who leads walks through natural areas around West Seattle and elsewhere, is the next speaker, and says that the mayor should have someone who reports to him with an interest in nature. Longtime community activist Cindi Barker says the person who said it’s up to the associations to take positions now, she disagrees with – she tells the audience, “You need to speak to your representatives!” She says that MoCA’s meeting next week should include in the Parks presentation the answers to the many questions brought tonight. “Are Parks and Go Ape discussing this with cruise lines, and are we going to deal with buses and not cars? We feel like, if we don’t ask you, we are not going to hear about this.” Cindi also says Parks needs to disclose the timeline, and when they expect to go to the City Council, “there better not be a year of your work and a month of our input.” (Editor’s note: In early work on this issue 2 weeks ago, we were told that Parks hopes to take this to the City Council by/in December.) After Barker, a woman talks about a past park project, in which she was told no trees would be damaged, but they were. She fears trees will be cut or damaged here, and cites the figure of 25 trees. “The people of West Seattle had better get busy and look for a new mayor and new City Council who will protect what little public parks we will have left when this commercial venture is finished if they do not fulfill their responsibility for oversight of the Parks Department.” The public comment concluded at 8:55. FCA president Bruce Butterfield now invites Deb Barker, Morgan Community Association, up, and she talks about the meeting next week, which at one point was originally the first public meeting scheduled to address this. She says other hot topics are on that agenda – including the CSO project at Lowman Beach, and Metro’s RapidRide. She says Parks will have at least half an hour to make a presentation at the meeting, Wednesday of next week, 7 pm, at The Kenney, July 18th. (An audience member suggests a larger room; MoCA’s Barker says she might have to “kick Bingo out,” and adds that she appreciates that people turned out. Butterfield invites Parks to come forward; Salinas says they are “putting more information on the website all the time,” and that there is “misinformation” she heard tonight, but that Parks wants to “give it to you straight.”

9 PM: Butterfield asks Salinas if they are at a point where they could call this off. She says they could at any time. She also says that they hadn’t gone public because they “didn’t have something to present.” The woman who brought up the Green Seattle Partnership, which Salinas contended had heard, says she had talked to a key person who didn’t know, whose focus was habitat and restoration. (So far, as of 9:02 pm, we can’t find anything on the Parks website.) Butterfield mentions the FCA website at fauntleroy.net and the FCA Facebook page.

9:05 PM: The meeting is over. The Go Ape rep did not speak, but gave a brief TV interview afterward. We have the entire meeting on video, and also more photos to be added.

WSB coverage of this issue is all archived here.

112 Comments

  1. I’m glad members of the community made it to voice their concerns. The park is a gem and needs to remain so. I do love the marketing angle how we need to adapt to be off the ground. Yes we shall all live and play in the trees in the future, like the Ewoks.

    Comment by huskydawg — 7:46 pm July 10, 2012 #

  2. Great reporting WSB; thanks!

    Parks, at the end of the day A…gain, our parks are not for profiteering.

    Comment by WTF — 7:47 pm July 10, 2012 #

  3. Wow… Look at that age group. I bet they all love to zipline.

    Comment by Rob — 8:01 pm July 10, 2012 #

  4. Thank you all for speaking on behalf of the many of us who could not be there tonight but would have loved to voice our strong opposition to this. I fear this has all the hallmarks of a decision that’s already been made with a charade of public involvement now to give the bureaucrats some self-satisfying cover. Let’s hope I’m wrong.

    Comment by TW — 8:13 pm July 10, 2012 #

  5. Great coverage. It’s so wrong to even consider this I’m still completely disgusted by the idea of this in Lincoln Park. It should be in Discovery Park.

    Comment by Zzz — 8:35 pm July 10, 2012 #

  6. I really hope they don’t plan on causing a stir the morning of August 11th at Lincoln Park. Our fund-raising 5K for cancer prevention is that morning. http://www.lungevity.org/seattle. I’ll write them a letter. Thanks.

    By the way, excellent comments by the audience. Thanks to everyone who spoke up.

    Comment by Amy — 8:56 pm July 10, 2012 #

  7. WSB – your coverage is amazing. Thank you for covering this so well for all to read.

    Comment by raincity — 9:06 pm July 10, 2012 #

  8. Amy – you might want to call that to Parks’ attention immediately.

    Comment by WSB — 9:12 pm July 10, 2012 #

  9. I was not able to attend tonight, but I just want to thank all who did and who obviously kicked some major ape butt in the process! Tracy, thank you for the incredible reporting–I felt I was there and cheered and clapped and roared my approval at every indictment of this misguided notion. “Shame on you, Parks Department!” Indeed.

    Comment by Chuck and Sally's Van Man — 9:14 pm July 10, 2012 #

  10. OUTSTANDING reporting on this meeting. I am passionate about this topic and could not attend the meeting. Thanks WSB !

    Comment by doghouse — 9:18 pm July 10, 2012 #

  11. WSB – I wrote to Christopher Williams, Charles Ng, and Rebecca Salinas tonight. If anyone knows of someone else, I would appreciate it. We were at the park tonight actually for a planning meeting, and it was beautiful. Thank you, Amy

    Comment by Amy — 9:18 pm July 10, 2012 #

  12. Who is making the profit off this? If feels eerily familiar to what we’ve just seen in Delridge with DESC. The decision has been made and the community is brought in as an after thought….

    Comment by concernedinWS — 9:21 pm July 10, 2012 #

  13. Excellent coverage, WSB. I was not able to attend the meeting tonight either, but I am so pleased so many of my West Seattle neighbors were, and so glad so many people spoke to oppose this project. I would also like to add that I feel this zip line does not belong in any city park! Thank you to WSB and those who spoke out against this ridiculous idea.

    Comment by Paula T — 9:24 pm July 10, 2012 #

  14. No zip lines, not in Lincoln Park and not in Discovery Park. No pushing this to our neighbors. There may be a right place for this, such as Seattle Center which is more urban, but let’s not pass the hot potato back and forth between natural parks. Unacceptable people.

    Comment by It's About All of Us — 9:27 pm July 10, 2012 #

  15. We all know how horrible the swings, and bbq fire pits and SWIMMING POOL made this park…

    Comment by Rob — 9:27 pm July 10, 2012 #

  16. If Seattle Parks and Recs is struggling with thier budget, maybe they should consider charging for parking in their lots. Marymoor parks does this, last time I was there it was just a $1 for the dog park parking area. People could choose to drive and park or get to the parks by alternative modes like walking or biking.

    What a great way to create a healthy, active community!

    I don’t think a zip line business is the right fit for Seattle Parks anywhere in the city.

    Comment by Carrie — 9:28 pm July 10, 2012 #

  17. This argument from Parks that they didn’t talk to the community because they wanted to have something to talk about, is specious. It would be easy to have a concept-level discussion. Parks has always had a negative attitude toward communications with the community. They had to realize that this proposal would be controversial. They were hoping to get this thing packaged, and on the way to implementation before airing it. I don’t believe them.

    Comment by Mike — 9:39 pm July 10, 2012 #

  18. Thanks to all those who came tonight. I couldn’t be there. The one thing I didn’t read in the very thorough coverage (thanks, WSB) is that Lincoln Park, especially the upper park, is very small compared to other parks in which Go Ape has built their zip line courses. The impact on Lincoln Park would thus be greater than in other parks, since the percentage of land disturbed would be fairly high (up to 25% from what I’ve read). Was this point brought up?

    Comment by dcn — 9:41 pm July 10, 2012 #

  19. I understand the community’s adverse reaction to this potential development, but I hope that this drives home the point that parks need to to funded! There a lot of cost in maintaining a big public space, and there’s not a lot of money in the budget.

    We either have to make parks a priority or open them up to commercial enterprises. (And the parking arguement would not be valid if public transport was a priority, too, but that’s another can of worms…)

    Comment by liz m — 9:42 pm July 10, 2012 #

  20. Amy – you might also want to contact Karen O’Connor in the communications department. Besides dealing with us media types, they also do community relations – which probably would include this type of interference-running. Dewey Potter is also in that department but was out for a while and I’m not sure if she is back yet.

    Comment by WSB — 9:46 pm July 10, 2012 #

  21. I think between all these meetings that are going on and the number of people from parks and city involved they will or have a good amount of money invested on a project that is not even doable with our current laws and park regs. GOOD JOB City of Seattle for wisely spending Tax dollars. That is probably why they are raising our city light bills (goes into general fund, city light is fine) so they have more money to spend on these types of ideas. Job security for some I guess. Thanks WSB for a good report on the meeting as I could not attend.

    Comment by Wetone — 9:48 pm July 10, 2012 #

  22. I’m personally horrified that adults would actually hiss at someone who has come to speak before them. This is completely unnecessary and an embarrassment to the greater West Seattle community. Citizens in a civil society should be able to sufficiently express their opposition without descending to that level of belligerence.

    Comment by cjboffoli — 9:50 pm July 10, 2012 #

  23. I just got back from the meeting. Thank you WSB for your coverage. You broke this story. If not for you, we would not know about it until it was too late.

    I think every local tv station was there as well as the Seattle Times.

    As I headed home, one phrase really captured this for me — DON’T MONKEY WITH OUR PARKS. Hey GoApe, Mike McGinn, Seattle Council members, Parks Board, are you listening???

    Comment by ws_suzanne — 9:52 pm July 10, 2012 #

  24. @liz m and carrie-

    The parks don’t have a funding problem, they have a spending problem and this zip line, parking fees, etc. won’t ever be enough to help until they decide to stop hiring middle manager paper shufflers who do nothing but add to the public payroll.

    Comment by fauntleroy fairy — 10:06 pm July 10, 2012 #

  25. I fully agree with Rob’s comments on here. Not to mention ,I didn’t see many people between ages of 18 and 40 in this group of nay sayers. I don’t find the park very peaceful during baseball season, or when thousands of kids attend the Easter egg hunt sponsored by a church or when families have bbqs in large groups with screaming children. There is plenty of park for everyone to enjoy plus the added attraction of this zipline. Why not in our area? Why does eating and shopping and entertainment always have to be some other place but here in our own backyard? These people that showed up tonight are most likely the same kind of people that disagreed with having skateparks in West Seattle as well, gimme a break.

    Comment by Alki Resident — 10:09 pm July 10, 2012 #

  26. You are right to speak up for civility, cjboffoli.

    Comment by Robert — 10:11 pm July 10, 2012 #

  27. I am 38 yrs old, was not able to attend and am pro skateboard parks. however, I am very strongly opposed to this proposal and thank all who attended to voice concerns. Thank you for covering, wsb. I wish I could have been there and did follow thread as it was posted. Keep that company out of Lincoln! I’d gladly pay for parking if that helped. I also think they should crack down on beach roaming /off leade dogs. $500/per violation would take care of that in one summer.

    Comment by Seaview — 10:17 pm July 10, 2012 #

  28. I attended the meeting and made some comments. It just struck me now-with some many unemployed in our country, why in the world would we even consider a British company?

    Comment by Karen r — 10:21 pm July 10, 2012 #

  29. I’m 32, attended the meeting and am vehemently opposed to this project. Hours upon hours of people screaming down the zip line does not even compare to a once a year egg hunt or BBQ. I am so incredibly proud of my neighbors of all ages that showed up tonight. You obviously care about the environment, the future of our neighborhood and what it means to be a West Seattlite. Save Lincoln Park!!!

    Comment by LincolnParkNeighbor — 10:21 pm July 10, 2012 #

  30. WSB, thanks very much for the better-than-excellent reporting, again!

    I am also PRO skateboarding, PRO dodgeball, PRO parkour and ANTI zip lines in the park (or in any Seattle park).

    I do agree that the hissing and booing were totally inappropriate. It was also wrong to demonize the two parks employees who attended (Ng and Salinas), to refer to them as if they made these decisions. They are parks EMPLOYEES who are doing whatever they have been taxed with doing, and they want to do their jobs as best they can. IF there is anger, it should be directed to the decision-makers: in this case, the mayor and the city council parks committee – these are the ones who set the agenda.

    Comment by visitor — 10:31 pm July 10, 2012 #

  31. Wow. So much anger…at a zipline.
    .
    And the rationales…”save our park”? Really? It’s as if they’re going to level the whole thing.
    .
    Imagine if all of this could be directed at something really important.
    .
    (As with other similarly – or more – impactful projects, such as DESC, I’m really neither for nor against right now, and as with the vast majority at that meeting, I don’t have enough information to make a proper decision.)

    Comment by Mel — 10:42 pm July 10, 2012 #

  32. Thank you for the coverage WSB! I would have liked to have been at this meeting but I was home with kids! I live near Lincoln Park and was aghast when I heard about this proposal! Lincoln Park is the soul of our community. It is a place where people really “live & love”! I know people who have gone there to celebrate and to grieve, to nurture themselves and others, to commune with nature and to share all those experiences and more with their families. Have an old house and often thought of leaving the neighborhood but I cannot as Lincoln Park is an extension of my home. It is not an amusement park and we the stewards of this park need to nurture it as we do our own children and families. It needs our support, please write the mayor and city council members to tell them this is a REALLY BAD IDEA!

    Comment by mary — 10:43 pm July 10, 2012 #

  33. I’m 31 and hate that this idea has gotten this far. And by the way, Alkiresident and Rob, do you know how lame zip lining is? It’s so lame southpark made fun of it, lol. All joking aside, it doesn’t matter the age range of people present, there are individuals of all ages opposed to this. I hope that GoApe sees that they are unwanted here and thinks again about a new home for their business.

    Comment by Michele — 10:44 pm July 10, 2012 #

  34. Stewart Wechsler says that the mayor should have someone who reports to him with an interest in nature.

    I would have thought that McGinn the Sierra Club leader was himself exactly that. I seem to have been mistaken.

    Comment by Dennis Cheasebro — 10:47 pm July 10, 2012 #

  35. I was at the meeting tonight. I use the park almost everyday! We have 2 kids under 5yr old and know how hard it is to have freedom…like going to community meetings w/o bringing kids! LP is our escape! Kids get exercise, explore, run, check out bugs, birds, eagles….NATURE!! Today we went to the park and got to watch a hummingbird drink water 5 feet away from us! We also walked through the middle wooded area and heard eagles, beautiful song birds, and silence. I used to explain the park to my friends as “it’s like you are in the mountains or camping in the middle of no where”…..hopefully, it will stay the way it is! And it was all free!!!!!!

    Comment by SAHWSMom — 11:10 pm July 10, 2012 #

  36. Thanks WSB, superb reporting again.
    Salinas said that Parks had not gone public because they did not have anything to present.
    IMO, they still do not have anything to present.
    These bureaucrats live in their downtown cubes, and “Parks” are their department, they have no real clue what a park is or what it is for.
    They are like kids having a garage sale of their folk’s stuff,
    and putting Tiffany Glass on the table with a $1.00 tag on it.
    I wish they would just back off.
    They’ve wasted enough time and money on this folly, they would have done better doing vine and weed removal for a year.

    Comment by old timer — 11:19 pm July 10, 2012 #

  37. If ziplining gives people something new to do and a compelling reason to go to the park, so much the better. It is in the public’s best interest to get as many people as possible interested in going to parks, in whatever shape it takes. Look, parks, like society, won’t stay the same forever. Don’t make them irrelevant by thinking other people should interact with nature the way you like to interact with nature, or think others should. If you truly want to preserve open spaces, remain open to the idea that people interacting with it in new ways maybe, just maybe, is a good thing.

    Comment by Dana — 11:21 pm July 10, 2012 #

  38. I am proud to be part of this community! I attended the meeting, and was so impressed with the speakers. Everyone presented articulate, intelligent, and passionate arguments against this hare-brained scheme. Oh, and Dana, we already have plenty of people enjoying our parks – no need to get “as many people interested” – sheesh. And more are welcome to enjoy our beautiful parks – however, NO APE!

    Comment by sonoma — 11:42 pm July 10, 2012 #

  39. Thanks to all who attended and voiced your concern. NO ZIPLINE. We will fight this and we WILL win.

    Comment by i'mcoveredinbees — 11:45 pm July 10, 2012 #

  40. as long as they enjoy it the way you think they should enjoy it, and the less of them better?

    Comment by Dana — 11:47 pm July 10, 2012 #

  41. The age-related comments by some seem really unnecessary. I certainly didn’t conduct an age poll while at the meeting, but I did see plenty of people “between 18 and 40″ there including myself.

    Comment by Tracey — 12:23 am July 11, 2012 #

  42. wow. never seen so many people want their densely populated urban area to be, well, not. hey, parks are great, but you live in a city. maybe if you want trees and birds and untouched wilderness, you’re looking in the wrong place.

    Comment by michael — 12:43 am July 11, 2012 #

  43. DCN – the only mention of park size I recall was Rebecca Salinas’ mention of Rock Creek Park in Maryland, Go Ape’s first U.S. facility (which she said had been open for three years, but is described online as having opened in May 2010), being 1800 acres. I did mention park sizes several paragraphs before the end of our second story:
    .
    http://westseattleblog.com/2012/07/followup-go-ape-ziplineswing-proposal-for-lincoln-park-where-it-stands-and-more
    .
    The mentions were regarding existing and proposed-but-scrapped Go Ape projects. The only one whose size I missed, which a commenter noted later, was Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis, whose webpage describes it as almost 4,000 acres of dry land, more than 1,000 acres of water.
    .
    http://www.indy.gov/eGov/City/DPR/Parks/List/Pages/EagleCreekPark.aspx/
    .
    TR

    Comment by WSB — 12:44 am July 11, 2012 #

  44. I, too, am saddened to hear that people were booing and hissing. To me it sends a strong message of being closed minded and immature.
    Dana- I agree that more people interested and going to the parks. The more people enjoy them, hopefully the better they will be at protecting and appreciating nature.
    I’m not against exploring ways to increase revenue. My biggest concerns about this project are the impact on the species, parking, and what seems to be very little revenue for the parks dept., but huge revenue for an outside company.
    I have a difficult time imagining that this wouldn’t have a negative impact on the bird species and hope that we can find other ways to support the parks to help keep and protect the habitat.

    Comment by T — 1:05 am July 11, 2012 #

  45. Isn’t there some green space in Seattle that fits the description of: “that would be a good place to DUMP A DEAD BODY” that Parks could revitalize with this kind of commercial venture, instead of Lincoln Park? REALLY!

    I’m under 35, have screamed down a mountain on a zipline, and I’m horrified at this scheme. I need the peace and quiet of Lincoln Park to regroup from the daily stresses of raising young kids. They get to run and explore, I get to meditate (sometimes cry) on the waves in the water, (quickly walk past and roll my eyes if the BBQ groups are blaring their stereos), and find a quiet bench along the dirt trails to read my book while my kids nap in the double stroller. Heaven!

    Comment by Eileen — 1:34 am July 11, 2012 #

  46. “In the silence of the woods, you will not be alone.”
    ― Chief Sealth

    Comment by Art Critic — 2:15 am July 11, 2012 #

  47. Everything CJ said. Hissing? This kind of vitriol over a damn zipline?! Until this is over I’m telling everyone who asks that I’m from Burien.

    Comment by Cait — 2:53 am July 11, 2012 #

  48. I wish I could have attended the meeting but had to work at that time. While I am not much of a zip liner myself it seems like zip lining might be an interesting, somewhat fun, and mildly exciting thing to do. But it seems like most zip lines are supposed to take you through an area of wilderness high up in the mountains. This is definitely not Lincoln Park. It’s a small patch of land that we can visit to connect with nature. I read that someone at the meeting described this park as a sanctuary. That is exactly what it is. This is Seattle. A major metropolitan city. Lincoln park is a natural refuge from the urban environment. Why would the parks department even consider this? Lincoln Park is a sanctuary. It is my sanctuary. It is your sanctuary. It is our sanctuary. It is not an amusement park. It is not big business. Get your filthy claws off my park. It ALL belongs to all of us. Not just certain sections. We visit this park and take care of it. We pay taxes that pay for the upkeep. Go Ape somewhere else. I mean it. Go away.

    Comment by Wild One — 2:56 am July 11, 2012 #

  49. Just because its “in the city” doesn’t mean every nook and cranny has to become action packed doucheville, Bottom line, its about money, the Parks dept wants to make some, and Go Ape has conned them into thinking its a good idea, yea a good idea for Go Ape. Not necessarily a good idea for the rest of us. That whole concept of “the park should be for evey one and who are you to tell someone else how to interact with nature” GOES BOTH WAYS! A residential area is not the correct choice for this activity. If something like this were to actulaly get established in a PUBLIC park then we can kiss the rest of our forested open spaces good by, because it will be taken as a sign for every capitalist enterprise to get in on the action.

    Comment by Sophista-tiki — 5:35 am July 11, 2012 #

  50. Totally opposed to the GoApe Zipline, and will bring as many people as I can gather to attend the meeting in August.
    Every friend/ neighbor I’ve talked to regarding this horrible idea is opposed and appalled.
    Attendance of 250 is the tip of the iceberg.
    Some of the comments here remind me of the “burn the village to save the village” mentality.
    Great to see so much passion and interest, but I also share another sentiment voiced in the comments about priorities–how come tens of thousands of us aren’t passionate and concerned to this degree over rigged electronic voting machines and blatant attempts by some to thwart legitimate citizens from voting in the upcoming Fall election(s)?

    Comment by IloveWestSeattle — 5:38 am July 11, 2012 #

  51. I have been watching this bee hive (WSB) of activity with much anticipation. At first, I was with the majority of the crowd here and against the zip line. Not in my park! Then my stance was reinforced when I understood the structure of the private company (Go Ape) operating on public land, and how little ($) goes back to the public. Again, not in my park! But I have to say, the idea of a zip line in Lincoln Park really does appeal to me. I love the idea, just not the current proposal. Of course, the people in that meeting last night have no interest in a zip line…they all look like senior citizens. I hope when Go Ape leaves in frustration, we can reconsider a similar structure designed and built by locals.

    Comment by Sbone — 6:02 am July 11, 2012 #

  52. I’m glad I’m not the only one who noticed an age difference. Yes, of course there were people in the 18-40 range, but it seems they are dominated by parents. What about us, who don’t have kids and just want something fun to do? I forgot! Unless we’re dogs or birds, we don’t count.

    The park is not getting leveled, just a section is going to be used for something other than staring at birds. I’m hoping those who are in favor of this will come forward now that the media has started covering it.

    Better yet, please DO put it in another section of the city and watch my generation flock!

    Comment by jedifarfy — 6:06 am July 11, 2012 #

  53. 28, and opposed to the ziplines.

    Comment by DP — 6:10 am July 11, 2012 #

  54. FYI: Sally Bagshaw is Seattle City Council member who chairs Parks and Neighborhoods Committee. Not sure if anyone from her office was there last night, although someone should have been.
    Here is City Council page link and Bagshaw’s email address, that is another way to give input.
    http://www.seattle.gov/council/com_assign.htm#parks
    http://www.seattle.gov/council/Bagshaw/
    sally.bagshaw@seattle.gov

    Comment by Carraig na Splinkeen — 6:43 am July 11, 2012 #

  55. Michelle. If Ziplining is so lame, why worry about it? I mean how much noise will it make? Will EVERYONE ALWAYS be screaming as they have fun? If you people had your way the park would be full of bike trails and lanes for old people in walkers and free adult diapers. This Zipline is NOT the issue. What is the issue is all you liberals stopping any and everyone from doing something YOU don’t like or understand. You preach and demand tolerance unless the topic doesn’t agree with how you want to live.

    Comment by Rob — 6:46 am July 11, 2012 #

  56. I was unable to attend as well. Thanks to all that did, and spoke up, and to WSB for the ongoing coverage.

    .

    It’ll be interesting to see where GoApa goes form here. How are they going to try to continue to “sell” the idea, when so many are so vehemently opposed, to a for profit zipline in any configuration?

    .

    Are they going to revise their plan? Are they going to keep pushing, and pushing, and pushing, as I’ve heard that Wal-Mart does when a community speaks out against a proposed store?

    .

    I think it’s going to get to the point of “What part of NO don’t you understand?“, and just continuing to hold the proper people’s feet to the fire, to make sure this doesn’t go through.

    .

    Also, on the noise thing, as has been addressed extensively in comments related to this, this will certainly be a much more constant, consistent, higher volume, “loudness” than the baseball games, and kids running through the park.

    .

    Also, and I’ve been known to cuss like a Sailor driving his 18-wheeler, on his way to his longshore job, but I can just image there would be a lot of F-bombs and other choice words loudly screamed out by the adrenalized participants.

    .

    Mike

    Comment by miws — 6:58 am July 11, 2012 #

  57. Let’s not overstate the hissing and booing.
    I was there and this was a VERY CIVIL meeting of concerned neighbors, especially given how much emotion there is about this issue and how frustrated neighbors were to learn this has been planned in secret for 11 months. In the beginning of the meeting there was a brief surge of emotion in the room when the parks department started to describe how they want to use the August 10 public meeting at Lincoln Park to “chalk out the course layout” and show it. Unintentionally (I assume) it made it sound like more of a done-deal, which is not a good strategy in a room of 250 frustrated neighbors.
    But from there forward, the meeting was VERY civil. Especially given that the neighborhood had been shown such disrespect by NEVER being consulted as this plan progressed, I think we were pretty respectful.

    Comment by Tom — 7:03 am July 11, 2012 #

  58. I worked for ten years at a not-for-profit organization which is intimately involved with Parks. I have seen exactly how bad a manager of resources, people and public money Parks is. They have layers and layers of unnecessary middle management. Just cutting a few of these jobs and creating efficiency and productivity of remaining staff would save more a year than the zipline would bring in. Parks is an appalling waster of money and resources and they work very hard to keep things murky and bureaucratic in order to not have to change. There needs to be a lot more scrutiny of Parks’ inner workings. From what I’ve personally witnessed, there’s one heck of a piece of journalistic investigation and reportage waiting to happen about Parks and its middle and upper management practices.

    Comment by Scooterista — 7:14 am July 11, 2012 #

  59. Rob, agism isn’t cute. I have no idea why it’s okay to ridicule and stereotype people based on their age. And this is the same community that regularly howls about discrimination against other groups (LBGT, people of color, etc.) Funny, that.
    .
    Meanwhile, thanks for those who attended and spoke out against the zipline! (25% of the park to corporate bird-habitat-destroying people? WTH?)

    Comment by Kayleigh — 7:23 am July 11, 2012 #

  60. Actually, the people at the meeting were very articulate and polite overall. Methinks that the true hissers are the ones who are accusing them of being hissers. People love and cherish Lincoln Park, and they expressed that yesterday in a most genuine manner.

    Comment by gatewooder — 7:32 am July 11, 2012 #

  61. I, too, was very happy that Bruce stood up and told the crowd that it was an FCA meeting and if they booed and hissed during the parks presentation time there would be no comment time. That shut them down and made the rest of the meeting much better.

    Dana, T and other supporters. While zip lines and ropes courses are amazingly fun activities and I support them wholeheartedly, Lincoln park is not the correct location for them. I won’t go through the whole issue, but Go Ape loves the location for it’s very pristine condition. The portion of the park they want to use is the most undisturbed area and most important to wildlife in the park. That section has nesting owls (barred and hoot), Cooper’s hawks, bald eagles, Peregrine falcons, pileated woodpeckers and more.

    A zip line and ropes course is simply not compatible with the wildlife in that park and we would lose it all. Far too high a cost for the the meager amount the parks would get from this.

    Comment by Jordan — 7:47 am July 11, 2012 #

  62. What is next, HUNTING at the park with a permit $ to the parks dept ?

    Put the Zip Line on Mercer Island…

    Comment by Tofu Tom — 7:48 am July 11, 2012 #

  63. People are throwing around a “$65,000″ figure as new Park revenue from the venture.

    How is revenue increased if “A Parks spokesperson told WSB that Go Ape would not be charged rent for its use of Lincoln Park land and trees.”

    and the only payback I’ve heard of is bartering — that they’ll give up to $50,000 worth of TICKETS free (valued at their highest price, too, but over what time frame? The next 100 years?)

    Comment by NikkiTaMere — 7:50 am July 11, 2012 #

  64. I for one think this is a good idea. But with the immature, agressive hissing and booing at the meeting there is no way I would have “voiced my opinion”.
    People get soooo rude and angry. Over AN IDEA. Parks has not made any deals and it takes a long time and work from the city to actually implement something – go ask Marination Station.
    This is “No change to park” deja vu.
    Sad.

    Comment by yo — 7:53 am July 11, 2012 #

  65. How about Hiawatha Park? JUST KIDDING! Thank you WSB for the great reporting and to all who showed up. Let’s keep this out of our parks.

    Comment by Admiral resident — 8:11 am July 11, 2012 #

  66. Has anyone taken a look at the new zipline & ropes course which just opened at Northwest Trek? Here’s a video: http://bonneylake-sumner.patch.com/articles/video-northwest-trek-getting-ready-to-open-zipline-4bc0f46c#youtube_video-10591333

    I wasn’t able to find any details online regarding how many acres it covers.

    Comment by hopey — 8:20 am July 11, 2012 #

  67. Google Go Ape Zip Line and just the sound alone is enough to make small creatures flee and large creatures, (us) go “ape”. I cannot even imagine the agony people in the neighborhood would have to endure listening to this all day long, not even taking in to count the yells of the participants………ugh.

    Comment by KB — 8:20 am July 11, 2012 #

  68. Point of clarification, I stated I work for the Kenney Activites Department not that I was the Activities Director. Just so you know. Charlie Austin

    Comment by Charlie Austin — 8:28 am July 11, 2012 #

  69. Thanks, Charlie. Will amend. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 8:34 am July 11, 2012 #

  70. People who think the GoApe zipline sounds like a fun new way to recreate at Lincoln Park might be unaware that the cost will be somewhere in the ballpark of $55 per use for adults, and $35 for children. It can’t be compared to a financially accessible community use like swimming (or even skate parks).

    Comment by Lyanda — 8:36 am July 11, 2012 #

  71. I’m very concerned about the precedent and policy. Each time the City needs additional revenue, will they sell off parts of parks to raise it. What does this mean in the future? After a zipline, will the City add bungee jumping, ski boats, restaurants or a resort? How about logging the place for a few bucks? Lots of potential capital in these ideas.

    An intrusive activity, such as, ziplines belongs elsewhere and not in a community park.

    Comment by Robert F Flor — 8:38 am July 11, 2012 #

  72. Seems like a VERY vocal opposition – but I doubt they represent the majority.

    I say put it up for a public vote, and then we’ll see where the chips fall.

    The reality is that the zip line in minimally invasive. Yes, its invasive – but lets get real, the impact is on par with the playgrounds, trails, etc. that already exist in the park.

    I think the best evidence is how communities who already have zip-lines feel about their partnerships with Go Ape. From what I understand, its a resoundingly positive feeling.

    Comment by 33Pete — 8:43 am July 11, 2012 #

  73. One comment on the age remarks. And caveat/confession, your editor here is 52. In five years of covering hundreds of community meetings, I would say that the majority of people who get involved are in the middle-aged – or older – realm. And I would also say that they tend to be overwhelmingly thrilled when others, of any age but especially younger people, show up to join in. Whatever the cause, whatever your age, take a little time and show up to volunteer, to organize, to fact-find, to speak out, to speak up. I have written before that I was completely guilty of having no knowledge of what was happening in my community during our early years here, in the ’90s. I worked 10, 11 hours a day in a TV newsroom downtown, came home, went out to look at the water …. then after our son was born in 1996, hanging out with him dominated the off-hours. That was no excuse, however. Carolyn and Billy Stauffer, for example, co-chair Highland Park Action Committee, and have led meetings while baby-wearing (or while they had a toddler running around the not-in-use half of HP Improvement Club). One of their predecessors as HPAC chair was Dorsol Plants, who is a US Army veteran and has run for City Council, too, and I don’t think he’s hit 30 yet. Anyway, before I ramble further, please be kind to each other WRT age – and whatever yours, care for your community the best you can, and know that people who show up because they care should be celebrated, whatever their age, wherever they stand on an issue … I meantime hope we are somewhat atoning for non-involvement in younger years by providing info about many issues, many groups, etc., here … TR

    Comment by WSB — 8:55 am July 11, 2012 #

  74. The impact of building this course is what’s important–not demographics, not political bias, not hissing, not personal feelings.
    Old growth canopy + tree top zipline. Once it’s in, it cannot be undone. It will impact the canopy forever.
    We rarely consider the true, total cost of our ideas–everything from outsourcing to tax plans–we seem to be a remarkable thought-free engine of change. In this case, the outcry, from every corner is STOP:think. What is the true short and long term cost & ROI of this plan. You simply cannot make a change this large from the confines of an office cube. It cannot, must not be done.

    Comment by Cass Nevada — 8:55 am July 11, 2012 #

  75. Rob, don’t bash liberals. I consider myself fairly liberal, but also want something fun to do in my own neighborhood. :P

    33Pete, based on the comments about kids, noise, nad parking, I wouldn’t put it past some (NOT ALL) to ask the parks to get rid of all equipment. How dare they have fun here when there are perfectly good parks in other parts of the city!

    Comment by jedifarfy — 8:59 am July 11, 2012 #

  76. Good momentum set last night and received information on where to get more info. The challenge now is to keep up the opposition at the Parks’ meetings coming up in August and in the fall. See you there!

    Comment by sgs — 8:59 am July 11, 2012 #

  77. The Parks department’s claims that people want new ways to recreate is a bit of a red herring here, isn’t it? *If* the course were free, then Parks truly would be allowing people a new way to recreate. But the fact that it costs money to participate, and further, you can do zip lining for a fee in other parts of the county, show that Parks isn’t really enabling people recreate differently.
    .
    I really don’t blame GoApe for anything–they are a business and they are entitled to try to expand. If they find a sucker government to give them public land for a small fee, then so be it. It’s just surprising that the city of Seattle woudl be such a sucker. Very, very strange.

    Comment by bridge to somewhere — 9:05 am July 11, 2012 #

  78. comparing all parents to the HPAC chairs is not fair- we can’t all be superheroes- :)
    I have made an effort to attend public meetings with a toddler/ preschooler in tow. (and 2 parents to intervene when necessary). a few community meetings at youngstown, some at delridge library, some at SSCC. and some without a kid: design review meetings, one of those meetings at the sw precinct, neighborhood meetings…
    bringing a kid to a meeting always brought dirty looks from the ‘older than parent of small child age’ people (no matter the behaviour of the child). so.. coming home from work to turn around and leave for various meetings all the time- through dinner and bedtime just feels like too much.
    when they reach ‘home-alone’ age I’ll see you there.
    great to see such an amazing turnout- thank you all for going. and the comments from the Go Ape rep. on Kiro7 were interesting. I am glad Stuart Wechsler was there to add comment; we’ve really enjoyed his owl prowls at Lincoln park. I plan to express my disappointment in this proposal directly to city council, etc.

    Comment by sam-c — 9:24 am July 11, 2012 #

  79. The problem is not zip lines per se. If GoApe wanted to buy some private land in West Seattle and put up their private, for-profit venture on their own dime, I’m sure the community would stand behind them. Or even if the city had some unused land in need of reclamation – like an unused parcel along the Duwamish superfund site – the community could easily get behind that.
    .
    But that’s not what is being proposed. The issue here is that we’d be taking a jewel of a public space, currently available to anyone and used daily by many, and then fencing it off, charging a huge fee for the public to access, and still using public funds for maintenance of the facility and surrounding area — all for a pittance from the company being given this windfall. You don’t take away public land, currently enjoyed by thousands, and give it away to private business without upsetting the true owners of that land.

    Comment by Huindekmi — 9:25 am July 11, 2012 #

  80. Some comments have compared being opposed to the zip-line to being opposed to DESC, developers, etc.
    .
    No – this is VERY different because the Park belongs to the city, and the Parks department appears willing to simply GIVE AWAY a chunk of it, because the company is putting up something that seems cool to some people.
    .
    If the Parks department needs money, and they were considering SELLING the necessary 6 acres, they could get 30 million dollars for it! If they were considering something like that, there’d still be opponents, but if the pro argument is that Parks needs the $60,000, that’s absurd.
    .
    The value of what is being given away is so very huge that one has to wonder if there is graft somewhere along the line behind the scenes. I hate wondering that about our city, but really, this is a humongous give-away.This is not some under-used crappy bit of land that nobody is really using. And it’s not at all like what happened in Magnuson where the Park dept was trying to figure out how to use a building, and gave it to a private company.
    .
    It’s not even an area that has other businesses that would benefit from an increase in customers.
    .
    It’s not like the skate parks at all, unless there is a skate park that costs $50 for a couple hours.
    .
    For those who think a zip-course sounds like a fun recreational opportunity, well, I don’t disagree. If this was being built on PRIVATE land, I wouldn’t oppose it. I’d probably go. But that’s true of a lot of private businesses. If it was their land, it’d be their decision how to put it to use. But it’s NOT private land.It’s a public park.
    .
    Thanks to all who turned out to oppose the idea.
    .

    Comment by Lura Ercolano — 9:26 am July 11, 2012 #

  81. I think the problem with their proposal breaks down into two separate parts:

    1. Corporate takeover. One example given last night concerning changes in the parks was a skatepark added in Ballard. What would the reaction have been if we had built the skatepark and then handed it off to some corporate entity that would run it as a for-profit enterprise? The same goes here. Those trees were planted 90 yrs ago, our City set aside the land and it has been cultivated for 90 years. To now hand some corporate enterprise control of a few acres and allow them free use of the land, the parking and the facilities is unacceptable.

    2. Ecological impact. This is a refuge not just for people but for wildlife. The “sound envelope” of people in the canopy would reduce the number of birds that would live there.

    Comment by dhg — 9:30 am July 11, 2012 #

  82. “If they find a sucker government to give them public land for a small fee, then so be it. It’s just surprising that the city of Seattle woudl be such a sucker.”

    Or the city may actually want to offer a service in the parks that people would use and which would draw more people to the parks. Amazing.

    I know radical thinking that people may want something new, fun and exciting to do in the parks.

    Comment by 33Pete — 9:32 am July 11, 2012 #

  83. Parks’ behavior doesn’t surprise me. They are just following McSchwinn’s playbook, which is based on the belief that he and his cronies (including the department heads he appointed) are all-knowing and omnipotent, and to whom us peons should cowtow to while handing over blank checks (basketball stadium anyone?). I can’t wait to vote the jerk out of office and elect a mayor who puts the needs and values of the citizens of this city above his/her own ego.

    Comment by DelridgeV — 9:38 am July 11, 2012 #

  84. If there is no one in the forest to hear a sound , if a tree falls dose it make a sound? Or do the screaming zip liners even make this a ask able question? On a side thought they should make one spiraling down in front of Snoqualmie Falls no noise, except of coarse the water.

    Comment by Norman — 9:40 am July 11, 2012 #

  85. Thanks neighbors! I (32) could not make it out, but am proud of our community for standing up and saying no. Lincoln Park is a serene setting as of right now- don’t change it if it ain’t broke. Charge cars a small fee to park- i can just ride my bike any way.

    Comment by andy — 9:40 am July 11, 2012 #

  86. I was totally impressed with the Fauntleroy Community Association. In a short time they pulled together a thoughtful and specific presentation addressing specific RCW’s and Park philosophy combined with speakers with significant credentials. I was also impressed that they forced the crowd to follow the rules and not be unruly. I am proud to live in this neighborhood with such thoughtful and considerate representatives. Thanks to all for being there – it was wonderful to see such strong neighborhood response

    Comment by Linda Naismith — 9:43 am July 11, 2012 #

  87. It’s not safe for children, but it is apt for this discussion:

    http://www.southparkstudios.com/full-episodes/s16e06-i-should-have-never-gone-ziplining

    Comment by WSMom — 9:45 am July 11, 2012 #

  88. One can only hope that the Go Ape rep went home and sent out an email back to the UK saying it’s best to just cut their losses and begin the search in some other city. The opposition this company faces is overwhelming.
    As to the parks dept. perhaps this could be a useful teaching tool for management. This should trigger an internal investigation and review.

    Comment by Neighbor — 9:50 am July 11, 2012 #

  89. I also don’t feel this is like skate parks. Skate parks are great places for kids to play where it is safe, and also free. When the kids do it elsewhere, all us adults complain about it. The kids like to skate in the parks because of the social aspects, not to mention the parks are designed to be optimal for skaters. Everyone wins.

    The zip line idea is merely a money grab. At about $50 how often do you think Seattle resident kids are going to be doing this? Once a year? Maybe twice? Most probably not at all. The point is that this facility does not meet any existing demand. Swimming pools, baseball fields, and skate parks are meeting existing community recreation needs for free, or for low fees.

    I am amazed that this is being proposed, all to generate a mere $60k per year or so.

    Seattle Parks has no business pursuing these kinds of commercial operations. Leave our parks alone.

    Comment by Grundle — 10:07 am July 11, 2012 #

  90. Thanks to all who attended the FCA board meeting last night. Just to be clear, this was our usual 2nd Tuesday of every month community board meeting. After learning from the WSB just under 2 weeks ago about this proposal, we set about trying to find more information. We decided to change our usual monthly agenda to be solely focused on this zip line proposal – providing our due diligence to our Fauntleroy community in providing accurate information that we had gleaned thus far and providing an opportunity for our community to weigh in to the FCA where they stood on the proposal. We invited Charles Ng and any parks representative who wanted to attend, but again, this was our monthly board meeting – parks had never up to that point, communicated with us in any manner about the proposal, we reached out to them. We gave them 10 minutes at the beginning of the meeting to provide an overview of their project. (Like we do with any guest at our monthly board meeting.) The FCA board meeting was for the FCA and the community, Parks had noted in an email sent out by acting superintendent Christopher Williams that they would be hosting community meetings “early to mid-August”. Kim Petram

    Comment by Kim Petram — 10:13 am July 11, 2012 #

  91. @33Pete: Seattle’s parks are the people’s parks, and you can see on this site (and in public comments) the people’s overwhelming opposition to it. Even if you think it’s a good idea, you have to respect the fact that a majority of citizens appear not to want to provide this concession in the park. You do believe in the public’s voice, don’t you?

    Comment by bridge to somewhere — 10:23 am July 11, 2012 #

  92. Scooterista’s comment about Parks is really interesting. This could be the perfect time for an investigation of its middle and upper management practices.

    The zipline issue certainly calls into question how Parks arrives at decisions.

    How are they resolving less conspicuous issues that can have similar profound environmental impacts?

    Scooterista and others who know the internal workings of Parks, I hope you do contact the press (including the WSB!) about this to see if there’s an even bigger story here.

    Comment by ws_suzanne — 10:36 am July 11, 2012 #

  93. Why not close off the park and save it from human “contamination” altogether? The actual sounds of people enjoying themselves -how selfish and plebian!

    I’m a Seattle native, and something has gone very, very wrong in this city.

    Comment by G — 10:37 am July 11, 2012 #

  94. For those who are interested in a quick take on Parks management, their org charts are online, in the right sidebar of this page:
    .
    http://www.seattle.gov/parks/administration.htm
    .
    Partnerships (the reps who were there last night) reports directly to the superintendent, according to this chart:
    .
    http://www.seattle.gov/parks/Contact/orgchart_sup.pdf
    .
    TR

    Comment by WSB — 10:42 am July 11, 2012 #

  95. Last night’s meeting was amazing and inspiring.
    Well done Fauntleroy Community Association! All the presenters were articulate and focused. The crowd was VERY polite and attentive. (Well said, Tom and Gatewooder on the civility.) There was an initial emotional outburst, but things settled down very quickly when Bruce cautioned the group to be orderly and more respectful.

    To Rob and the others who ask “how much noise can a zip line make?” This one YouTube video demonstrates well the sound of the zip line and the shouts of the participants and onlookers. Now imagine there being 5 of these zip lines in our park.

    http://youtu.be/6g4C0rFaVt0

    .

    This conflict with Go Ape is happening all throughout Britain and even Australia. The following was written by a resident of the Village of Rivington, in Lancashire, England. She’s speaking to a resident near Sydney, Australia in July of 2009.

    Good luck in your fight against Go Ape. What they have done in Rivington has been a complete and utter disgrace. They couldn’t have found a more unsuitable place if they tried. It used to be a lovely walk along that footpath. You could sit by the reservoir and enjoy the peace and quiet except for the birds. Now all you hear is shouting, screaming and swearing. They have chopped trees down illegally, thus driving the wildlife away. All with the blessing of spineless, money grabbing Chorley council, who passed this application without proper public consultation.

    http://www.leverpark.co.uk/2009/07/go-ape-protest-in-australia/

    .

    No Zipline in Lincoln Park! ~z

    .

    Comment by zephyr — 10:59 am July 11, 2012 #

  96. TUNE IN “RIGHT NOW” to hear Tracy Record on KIRO’s ROSS AND BURBANK Show. KIRO-FM is at 97.3FM She’s on at 11am

    Comment by Bruce Butterfield — 11:03 am July 11, 2012 #

  97. Just because its “in the city” doesn’t mean every nook and cranny has to become action packed doucheville…

    .

    Best comment so far, of all the hundreds on this topic, over the last couple of weeks! :-D

    .

    Mike

    Comment by miws — 11:09 am July 11, 2012 #

  98. The parks partnership lady says “…Chalk out..” and then gets cut off by audience’s heckles and yells. These rude people probably consider themselves progressive but they sound just like a bunch of TEA partiers. This is not a majority I want to be part of.

    Comment by sane citizen — 11:18 am July 11, 2012 #

  99. “@33Pete: Seattle’s parks are the people’s parks, and you can see on this site (and in public comments) the people’s overwhelming opposition to it. Even if you think it’s a good idea, you have to respect the fact that a majority of citizens appear not to want to provide this concession in the park. You do believe in the public’s voice, don’t you?”

    I absolutely believe in the public’s voice – and if you actually read my posts you would see that is exactly what I proposed (“I say put it up for a public vote, and then we’ll see where the chips fall.”)

    You contention that “a majority of citizens” don’t want this in the park is akin to the occupy movement claiming that the less than 1/10 of 1% of them speak for the “99%”. Its just not reality, or at least not based on any facts.

    Remember, just because you are vocal and in your face does not mean you are in the majority – not by a long shot. Put it up for a vote and lets see how it turns out. If its against the plan, so be it (I like Lincoln park how it is, so I am not going to be too disappointed; that siad, I think the zipline would make it more appealing).

    What I am not willing to do is let a reactionary, mob mentality prevail.

    Comment by 33Pete — 11:41 am July 11, 2012 #

  100. Just in – Parks says the proposal has been withdrawn. http://westseattleblog.com/?p=115000

    Comment by WSB — 12:03 pm July 11, 2012 #

  101. That’s FANTASTIC news! They decided to cut their losses. I wonder if Parks or Go Ape pulled the plug.

    I hope they don’t try this in a different neighborhood that’s more vulnerable. We need to watch for it and speak out on their behalf as well. This might not be completely over.

    Comment by ws_s — 12:15 pm July 11, 2012 #

  102. @33Pete: your attempt to characterize opposition to this proposal as akin to the “99%” of the Occupy Wallstreet movement is a stretch. In fact, Parks is required to get feedback from the public, and they use public forums and presentations to do so. In the mechanism they have chosen to get feedback, the feedback was almost completely negative. Your propoal to put this kind of thing to a vote is reasonable, but I’m just saying that Parks is required to get feedback and this kind of event is how they get feedback presently; if you have an issue with that, talk to the Seattle City Council about changing the rules Parks operates under, don’t criticize the public for participating.
    .
    In any event, it’s a moot point here because we now know that via the process Parks follows, the public voted “no.”

    Comment by bridge to somewhere — 12:16 pm July 11, 2012 #

  103. I am very concerned that Go Ape had a rep at this community meeting, which is going to be one of several. They must have flown someone out for the meeting. This means two things to me:
    .
    1) Go Ape is very invested in this going forward–enough to fly in a rep at a “small” community meeting. Not surprising, since they stand to gain so much from a zip line in LP.
    .
    2) Parks must have invited Go Ape to this meeting, so they are invested in moving forward with this plan. They are well beyond the initial stage of “information-gathering.” I think they are sold on the idea, and we are just a hurdle to be overcome.
    .
    Go Ape has faced opposition before, and were probably reassuring park officials that they’ll get beyond the local outrage phase and it’ll all be fine. We do need to keep up the pressure, and show that this is not just a few NIMBY people protesting this. Most city residents have no idea how unique and precious LP is, nor how much we would lose if a zip line is put in.
    .
    Thanks, WSB, for responding to my earlier comment. I was asking if the small size of LP was brought up at the meeting. I know the WSB has covered all the issues (including size) on earlier posts, all of which I’ve read with horror. LP is way too small for it to accommodate a zip line, without destroying what makes the park such a sanctuary for so both people and animals.
    .
    Dr. Tucker’s letter, which is posted on the preserve LP website (http://preservelincolnpark.blogspot.com/) is brilliant in laying out all the problems for both birds and people with putting a loud recreational activity in the canopy. It is very different than the other activities that currently exist at ground level. I am also not opposed to zip lines. But they should be placed in large parks that are not so environmentally sensitive, and not in a one-of-a-kind urban location like Lincoln Park.
    .
    I also agree with the environmental justice concept that Dr. Tucker outlines. The very young, elderly, disabled, and poor (except for a few free tickets to mollify the public) would be excluded from the Go Ape experience. At the same time, the aspects of the park these groups can enjoy, like tranquility and wildlife, would be destroyed.
    .
    I bought a house in West Seattle, because I want to be able to raise my son in an area with non-developed green spaces. LP is an oasis in the city. Some have commented that if we want green places to go to, to move out to the suburbs. But what makes Seattle such a special city is that we do have these wilderness spaces in town. Not many, which is why we need to protect the ones we do have.

    Comment by dcn — 12:19 pm July 11, 2012 #

  104. Hallelujah! Proposal withdrawn!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Regarding “age of attendees ” could you be describing the stake holders? The same who are actually being assessed on the Pro Park Levies to pay for this folly.

    Yes I believe Go Ape is in cahoots with cruise line to bring $$ to their bottom line. Really not feasible any other way. Bus loads of folks self-incarcerated with others on a ship looking for diversion.

    @those who actually believed the Zip Line to be a good idea at the proposed site, you have clearly missed the point. The proverbial gorilla in the room. What is so egregious, IS that they chose the most pristine fragile part of the park.

    @TR and WSB staff a hearty thank you. Really could not have happened without you!

    Comment by bettytheyeti — 12:26 pm July 11, 2012 #

  105. I am so glad they are not going forward with this asinine idea. My husband (31) and I (28) love action, have enjoyed zip line fun many a time, but cannot fathom what a horrible and destructive idea this was.
    Thank you to everyone who was present last night and sealed the fate of this plan.
    Thank you thank you thank you!

    Comment by Elizagrace — 12:54 pm July 11, 2012 #

  106. I was at the meeting. I think some of comments were written by individuals who did not attend. The hiss/boo occurred at the beginning, was called out by Bruce and did not reoccur. There was a broad age range represented, not everyone can attend a meeting on short notice. I’m relieved that parks has cancelled the project; however, parks has a lot of explaining to do about their conduct of this proposal, beginning with acting superintendent Christopher Williams who is the direct supervisor of Rebecca Salinas, Manager of Partnerships and business resources and Charles Ng. I spoke with Ms Salinas after the meeting and she stated that she was unaware of the parking problem and had not been in the neighborhood. She also said we would be given the FACTS at the meeting next week. One of the ? Raised is the size of the other parks so effusively described by Ms Salinas. One of them is Freedom Park in Williamsburg VA, a part of the greater Williamsburg tourist complex.. It is 600 plus acres and a mecca for mountain biking. The other is the famous Rock Creek Park, National Park service, in Wash D.C. It is a complex of 2000
    Acres with golf course, equestrian trails,sports venues, tennis stadium (major event site) nature center, planetarium, outdoor concert venue, picnic and playgrounds and the path of a major traffic thoroughfare , the Rock Creek & Potomac Parkway.
    These places are really great comparators for our 234 acre
    Woodland of Lincoln Park. I believe someone should be held accountable for such egregious conduct by the parks department in spending any time and taxpayer money in considering the Go Ape proposal. Write to all of the city council
    (and the mayor if you think it will do any good), especially Sally
    Bagshaw chair of parks and neighborhoods committee. We need to prevent another expensive waste of scarce resources by these folks at parks.

    Comment by Peggy — 4:24 pm July 11, 2012 #

  107. So…folks who supported this…I have to ask.
    .
    If you really thought this was such a good idea, then why didn’t you go to the meeting and say so?
    .
    It seems a bit churlish to complain about those who did expressing their opinions (and griping about their ages? REALLY? Do your grandmothers know your opinion of older people?) when it doesn’t look like any of you showed up to represent the other side.
    .
    Personally, I didn’t have a dog in this fight–I thought it was a dumb idea but was more concerned about what it said about Parks administration than the impact on Lincoln Park itself, though that would’ve been significant–but it’s not like the meeting was closed to anyone who wanted to go. So if you really wanted it, why didn’t you?

    Comment by datamuse — 6:07 pm July 11, 2012 #

  108. Tonights 10pm news !!!
    Said the Seattle Parks Dept. has DROPPED plans for a Zip Line “concession” in Lincoln Park…
    It’s time to celebrate !!!!
    What a fantastic mobilization of amazing people, graphics, presentations, outreach, etc. I am so proud to have been a part of it.
    Let me know where the party will be!!!

    Comment by Vicki Pardee — 11:46 pm July 11, 2012 #

  109. Hi, Vicki. We reported the decision here at noon –
    .
    http://westseattleblog.com/2012/07/bulletin-lincoln-park-zipline-proposal-scrapped-says-parks
    .
    In the comments on that story so far, some have suggested “celebrating” by joining in this weekend’s Friends of Lincoln Park cleanup/invasive-removal session … TR

    Comment by WSB — 11:53 pm July 11, 2012 #

  110. I would like to now focus on an investigation into Parks. Their public involvement is absolutely non existent. Maybe some public disclosure requests for emails and communications would be revealing.

    Comment by Baymo — 7:27 am July 13, 2012 #

  111. Actually I have a public-disclosure request in to them, as of the start of this week. But the material I’m seeking, says the response, won’t be available for a couple weeks. Stay tuned. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 8:10 am July 13, 2012 #

  112. I hadn’t heard of this until now, thanks to everyone who went to the meeting to oppose this! I really can’t believe this was being considered. Ruining a natural resource for something that could be put into place anywhere seems extremely shortsighted.

    Parks Dept: When I got my license renewed I bought the Discover Pass. Maybe start charging for parking at the various parks, but then also try to get something like the Discover Pass going, so that those of us interested could pay for a year’s worth ahead of time.

    Comment by Ian Page-Echols — 12:09 pm July 13, 2012 #

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