You probably remember the brief but fiery controversy last year when a Parks Department briefing paper posited the possibility of dramatic changes in the rules regarding beach fires at Alki and Golden Gardens. Eventually, the idea was tabled, and the Parks Board — now chaired by Alki resident Jackie Ramels — asked for a post-summer update on how things were going. That update is finally scheduled to happen at tomorrow night’s Parks Board meeting, and the briefing paper has just been posted on the Parks Department website. In short, no changes are planned/proposed for this summer at either beach – but the department is going ahead with plans to seek a vendor to sell “clean-burning firewood” so that fire-ring users will have that option. The briefing paper also includes myriad stats on how many fires and problems occurred at both beaches last summer, and includes this overview:
Certain behaviors continue to be a challenge including parking at Golden Gardens, alcohol consumption at both parks, and burning of inappropriate material that cause hazards and illegal fires. Parks staff is effective at eliminating illegal fires when they occur and report that most people are cooperative when it is pointed out that alcohol is not permitted. The Seattle Police Department (SPD) is contacted regarding incidents such as fights and significant parking issues. Overall, the beach fire program was successful in preventing illegal fires, use of illegal burn materials and enhancing the general adherence to park rules.
The briefing paper says beach-fire “program” costs at Alki this past summer totaled more than $27,000, while Golden Gardens costs were more than triple that. (For comparison’s sake, Alki had five fire rings last summer, GG had 13.) Tomorrow night’s Parks Board meeting, by the way, is at 7 pm, parks HQ in Denny Park downtown; this is NOT an action item – just a briefing.