Treetop ziplining at Lincoln Park? City mulls commercial partnership

(UPDATED SUNDAY AFTERNOON with opponents launching Facebook page)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Ziplining from treetop to treetop is a hot ticket for vacationers in various spots around the U.S., and elsewhere in the world.

Now it might be coming to a forested public park near you.

WSB has learned that the Seattle Parks Department is talking with a private company called Go Ape about installing a “Treetop Adventure Course,” including ziplining and “Tarzan swings,” at West Seattle’s Lincoln Park.

According to a PowerPoint presentation circulated by the company and shown to us by a source, Go Ape would charge around $55 a person ($35 for youth, its website says) for a 2+-hour turn, with sessions launching up to 14 people every half-hour.

The proposal has yet to be announced publicly, but the Parks Department has been considering it since at least March, according to e-mail chains last summer, according to documents also forwarded to us, and the first open public presentation is planned for a community-group meeting next month.

Here’s a map from the Go Ape PowerPoint showing where in Lincoln Park they want to build the facility:

In addition to ropes, wires, platforms, ladders, and other components in the trees, it would include a “cabin” for the operation, and also fences around “access points” to keep them secure during offhours.

Seattle Parks’ point person for partnerships, Charles Ng, is on vacation, so we obtained some information through spokesperson Karen O’Connor, who noted that the proposed location is near a developed section of the park, with a baseball field and horseshoe pit.

Go Ape started in the United Kingdom, where it has more than two dozen courses (mapped on their UK website). They expanded to the U.S. two years ago and have three installations right now – in Indianapolis, Williamsburg (Virginia), and Rockville (Maryland).

Its website describes what it offers as:

We take one lush, green forest and a healthy dose of breathtaking scenery; blend with a smattering of treetop high wires, tricky crossings (using ladders, walkways, bridges and tunnels made of wood, rope and super-strong wire) and wind-in-your-face zip lines; finished off with a mega dose of people in search of their inner Tarzan.

We then equip people with harnesses, pulleys and carabiners, give them a 30 minute safety briefing and training and let them loose into the forest canopy, free to fly on zip lines and swing through the trees.

The website also links to this promotional/explanatory video via YouTube:

A page on the company website geared toward prospective partners says the company will:

*Provide ALL capital investment for the program
*Design, build and operate the high ropes course in an environmentally sensitive manner
*Recruit, train and manage all staffing for the operation of the course
*Completely indemnify our park partners of ALL course responsibility
*Maintain an insurance policy that is 10X the industry standard
*Market and advertise the program to ensure financial success
*Provide you with an exciting new activity for your park and a new revenue stream

According to the Go Ape PowerPoint made for Seattle presentations, the “capital investment” here would be half a million dollars.

After learning about this last night, including some indication that Parks was moving toward some community outreachs, we checked with the presidents of the two nearest neighborhood councils.

Deb Barker of the Morgan Community Association said she first heard from Parks in March about trying to schedule a presentation, but couldn’t coordinate one before the July 18th meeting (7 pm, lower-level meeting room at The Kenney [WSB sponsor]). Bruce Butterfield of the Fauntleroy Community Association, which represents the area closest to the proposed facility, said FCA had not been contacted yet, but he’s planning to contact Parks.

According to Parks spokesperson O’Connor, a partnership proposal like this also would have to go before the Board of Parks Commissioners and ultimately to the City Council. She said the Partnerships division hoped to do that before year’s end, and also mentioned they hope to schedule a general community meeting about the Go Ape proposal this summer.

We asked whether an environmental review might be required, particularly given the park’s reputation for wildlife – especially winged wildlife like eagles, owls, and bats – and she wasn’t sure. Parks’ Partnership policy, however, does include:

3.2.8 – The proposed activity should not adversely impact Parks’ facilities or parkland, including wildlife habitat.

Caught in a budget crunch, Parks has been exploring more partnerships the past few years; another forested West Seattle park, Camp Long, opened a “ropes challenge course” last fall, in partnership with Washington State University 4-H. Go Ape’s PowerPoint promises that it will donate 900 tickets each year to “underserved local residents” and will facilitate an annual fundraiser for an unspecified local nonprofit.

8:41 PM UPDATE: We’ve received yet more documents related to the project. One of them reveals that this has been in the works since last August – and also includes the amount of revenue the city is supposed to get from this: $40,000 to $65,000 a year. Here’s the document that’s taken from (which includes many more details, including the “outreach strategy”); in case you can’t open the PDF, here is the cut-and-pasted text:

Treetop Adventure Course – Lincoln Park Project Summary

What – On August 12, 2011, Seattle Parks selected Go Ape as part of their Expression of Interest selection process for the development and operation of a treetop adventure course in its park system. In its proposal, GO Ape selected Lincoln Park as its preferred location for the new treetop adventure course. Go Ape will operate an eco-educational outdoor experience that will provide visitors with 2-3 hours of outdoor fun and exercise while navigating through the treetops. The course will include a variety obstacles, all blended within the forest across 6 to 9 acres at Lincoln Park.

For more information on the Go Ape Treetop Adventure Course and business, please view the following Introduction to Go Ape video:

Who – Go Ape is owned and operated by Dan & Jenny D’Agostino and Chris Swallow. Go Ape is the world’s leader in the development and operation of environmentally sensitive aerial courses. Since 2002, Go Ape has developed 28 courses and over 2.5 million people have safely taken part in the experience. Go Ape currently operates a course at Rock Creek Regional Park in Rockville, Maryland, on land owned by the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) and is expanding across the county.

When – Go Ape and Seattle Parks are currently developing their outreach strategy to local civic groups, elected officials, community stakeholders, and neighbors surrounding the park area. Once the outreach process is complete, Go Ape hopes to begin development in late Spring 2013, which will take approximately 4-6 weeks.

Where – The course will be located in the woods within Lincoln Park. The majority of course activities will take place 30-50 feet within the treetops. Go Ape does not require the exclusive use of the park land and no existing park activities will be disrupted during development or course operations.

How – Go Ape will self-finance all project developments, with no resource requirement from Seattle Parks. Go Ape estimates that over $40 to 65k per year will be provided to Seattle Parks as a result of the operation of the course.

Community Concerns – Seattle Parks will implement an extensive public involvement plan that includes contacting and notifying key stakeholders/ community groups and public meetings to gather feedback and comments about this project throughout this summer and early fall. Go Ape has also taken deliberate efforts to mitigate any community concerns with our development and operations. The following are the few concerns we initially hear from interested community members and the mitigation measures we have developed to resolve these concerns during the last 10 years of our operation.

Traffic¬ – Go Ape deliberately manages course usage to limit traffic and burden on the park infrastructure. Go Ape caps sessions to every half hour on weekends, hourly on weekdays – sessions are limited to 14 people to reduce traffic and burden on parking infrastructure. 88 percent of Go Ape visitors book in advance reducing walk-ups. The surrounding community should only expect an increase in 4 to 5 car arrivals per appointment time.

Environment – Go Ape hires an outside contractor to perform an environmental management plan that is approved by the Lincoln Park Manager to ensure proper management of the natural area. Go Ape inspects the trees on a routine basis and yearly by an independent arborist. Go Ape uses no heavy machinery during our builds nor requires the felling of any mature trees. Go Ape also works with the park to coordinate the removal of non-native invasive plants and organize park clean-ups.

Parking – Due to Go Ape’s managed use of the course, parking needs are minimal with only 25 parking spaces required.

Noise – The only noise produced at Go Ape are the sounds of families and friends enjoying the treetop adventure trail experience. Due to the large size of Lincoln Park, the trail will be oriented towards the back of the woods where customers will not be heard from existing park usage areas.

Summary of Benefits –
• An annual revenue share of 40 to 65k/ year to Seattle Parks
• Go Ape completely indemnifies Seattle Parks and the City of Seattle of all course responsibility
• Go Ape will actively manage the health of the trees and park land, with annual independent arborist review, organized park cleanups and non-native invasive plant removal
• Educational signage will be displayed on the course to inform visitors on the importance of conservation and local ecology
• A new outdoor adventure amenity for park visitors, with over 500 free tickets provided to Seattle programs, charitable organizations, low income and underserved youth
• Work with Seattle Schools to provide some level of free or low costs access to the course
• As a physical activity, Go Ape will promote health and wellness in the local Seattle community
• The course is accessible to 95% of the special needs community
• 12 new and well-rewarded jobs will be provided to local residents
• Work with Parks to partner and collaborate in potential sponsorship and support of other programs and services

We will be following up on all this, on a variety of fronts, tomorrow.

FRIDAY MORNING NOTE: Many have asked who to send feedback to about this – whatever you think about it, pro or con or otherwise. Though there is no formally announced public process so far, we did put together a list in the comment section of some of those accountable along the way – here’s a direct link to that, in case you miss it there.

SUNDAY AFTERNOON NOTE: Opponents have launched a Facebook page.

256 Replies to "Treetop ziplining at Lincoln Park? City mulls commercial partnership"

  • Ex-Westwood Resident June 28, 2012 (3:26 pm)


  • Grundle June 28, 2012 (3:29 pm)

    This is outrageous. There is no excuse for turning our parks into carnival concessions.

  • A. June 28, 2012 (3:29 pm)

    This sounds like a blast and I would love to see something like this in our neighborhood!

  • m June 28, 2012 (3:29 pm)

    Thank you, WSB, for the very thorough notification on this.

  • Owl Family June 28, 2012 (3:31 pm)

    No, no, and can I just say NO!!

  • amnesiak June 28, 2012 (3:36 pm)

    I am unable to attend the July 18th meeting. If another WSBer would be so kind as to take my feedback:

    I am lucky enough to live within walking distance from the park. However, most are not. What would the parking impact be? On a busy day, 14 people every half hour for two hours plus a minimum half-hour overlap = 70 people. That’s probably about 30 cars and I think more than a full slate of baseball games take. The parking lot is full with baseball, so I think this would put more cars in the lot than it is designed for. Where would the staffers park?

    Would we be allowed to run or walk underneath the course or would it be closed off?

    Are they going to establish a security fund in the event that they decide to withdraw business? I don’t want seattle parks to be stuck with a cleanup bill or safety hazard in that event.

    How does the insurance protect the bystander?

    Thanks in advance, neighbors.

  • West Seattle luv June 28, 2012 (3:56 pm)

    Noooo! Lincoln park is such a peaceful place. I would no so sad to see something like this get put into a naturally beautiful place. You don’t need a zip line to enjoy the beauty of Lincoln park. And traffic would get nuts!

  • Dennis Cheasebro June 28, 2012 (3:56 pm)

    Heck no! Turning the most peaceful part of our beautiful park into an amusement park is a very bad idea!

    “The proposed activity should not adversely impact Parks’ facilities or parkland, including wildlife habitat.” Who do they think they’re kidding?

    On a sunny weekend the parking lot and the parking strip on the street already fill to overflowing (I often have to go elsewhere), so where are these adventure-seekers supposed to park?

  • bridge to somewhere June 28, 2012 (4:23 pm)

    I believe this was proposed at an Eastside park (parks?) earlier this year, but I think it was rejected because neighbors determined this would detract from that park and petitioned against it.

  • cruzer June 28, 2012 (4:37 pm)

    NO zipline at Lincoln Park please.

  • Casey June 28, 2012 (4:37 pm)

    All zip lines are typically in “naturally beautiful” places..that’s the attraction. I think a zip line at one of the mountains would be so much more cool then Lincoln park!

  • Teresa June 28, 2012 (4:40 pm)

    What? Completely agree with Dennis. “should not adversely impact” is way too vague for my liking. Anytime you put wires, ladders, harnesses, bridges and fences you impact the things that naturally live there. Lincoln Park is a gem that should not be disturbed. I would get behind some kind of community petition or other way to voice opposition to this. Thanks WSB for keeping us in the loop!

  • Trileigh June 28, 2012 (4:40 pm)

    I know this area well. It is prime owl and Cooper’s Hawk habitat, and I would absolutely not want to have their hunting grounds—nor the nesting places and foraging areas of any other species—disturbed by this proposed project. The idea that a private, for-profit company could come in, do construction, restrict the public from entering a part of the park, and benefit financially from this protected natural area is astounding to me. No “mega dose of people” is appropriate here; there’s plenty of natural adventure to be had in Lincoln Park in its current quiet state. (And Tarzan made his own way through the forest without commercial help!)

  • csw June 28, 2012 (4:40 pm)

    Absolutely NOT!!! Lincoln is a quiet peaceful place. It our own little forest in the city. This is a place to come and relax and enjoy nature. Absolutely not a place for a zip line.

  • mrsB June 28, 2012 (4:46 pm)

    This is a PUBLIC Park and no part of it should be taken away for a private profit venture.

  • Klk June 28, 2012 (4:48 pm)

    No thanks. I wouldn’t be opposed to a small cafe or restaurant though. Or a small fenced in off leash area.

  • Traci June 28, 2012 (4:52 pm)

    No, no, no.

  • No. June 28, 2012 (4:52 pm)

    Dear God no. NO.

  • IloveWestSeattle June 28, 2012 (5:03 pm)

    “Don’t it always seem to go
    You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone,
    you pave Paradise and put up a friggin’ zipline.”

    (to paraphrase the great Joni Mitchell)

  • Jiggers June 28, 2012 (5:08 pm)

    A big HELL NO!Go up to Olympic National Park and do it there. Not here.

  • Jwws June 28, 2012 (5:08 pm)

    Horrible idea. Let’s preserve our parks and nature, who wants idiots zip lining through while on a nature walk in one of our few city gems. Put a zip line by the ferris wheel for all the touristas to enjoy

  • melanie June 28, 2012 (5:09 pm)

    On a good day in Lincoln Park there is not enough parking. You have families with children parking on Fauntleroy and crossing without crosswalks. There are only two in the entire stretch. We don’t need the limited parking that we do have being taken up by employees and paying guests.

  • clark5080 June 28, 2012 (5:21 pm)

    Why we have a ropes course at Camp Long why do we need to add one to Lincoln

  • karen June 28, 2012 (5:26 pm)

    horrible idea!

  • Faith4 June 28, 2012 (5:28 pm)

    Agree with everyone as this is a natural habitat for wildlife that would be greatly distressed by lines in the trees and all the rest that will go with it. More than the average amount of people coming for a thrill ride, more noise. We need to keep what we have left as so much is disappearing. I cannot recall if the owls in the park are protected or not??? I wonder if there is a national organization – National Wildlife Federation or such that could help out with this to help protect our wildlife and park. Let this in, there will be more to come and we will eventually lose what we all so much enjoy. All the extra people tramping through the eco-system, etc. No thanks.

  • MP June 28, 2012 (5:29 pm)


  • Cole June 28, 2012 (5:31 pm)

    Ziplines in natural settings are wonderful family fun, but Lincoln Park is not the setting for it for all the reasons above, particularly since LP’s habitat would be disrupted and the traffic and parking would be huge hassles.

  • 2 Much Whine June 28, 2012 (5:32 pm)

    It drives me nuts when any suggestion of change or growth is met with resistance but I have got to agree with the naysayers on this one – it’s just not a good place for this for so many reasons. I could see it being a much better fit somewhere around the East side of Camp Long but even then it just doesn’t feel right. I’m not going too ape about this proposal. Maybe they could set up the zipline around the Chihuly Glass House at the Seattle Center?

  • RH June 28, 2012 (5:50 pm)

    Bad idea. Can we start a West Seattle petition to keep the zip line out?

  • snowball June 28, 2012 (5:51 pm)

    I’m glad to see that others share my feelings on this. How can they say that it won’t disturb wildlife?? Especially all the different birds that nest there, as Trileigh pointed out. The character and charm of West Seattle is really changing – first high rise apartment/condo buildings, now a zipline in the public park?? Geeesh. What’s next?

  • melanie June 28, 2012 (5:52 pm)

    Tracy, you have done an awesome job of reporting this. I don’t think many people knew about it. It is so important, thank you!

  • Kayleigh June 28, 2012 (5:53 pm)

    You’ve got to be kidding me. NO, thank you.

  • Dee June 28, 2012 (5:55 pm)

    Completely crazy idea for a public park. Did the zip line on the Big Island on private property owned by a large well known company.

  • harmonic June 28, 2012 (5:57 pm)

    I’ll buck the trend here. Fun! But then maybe my favorite summer place will turn into the Alki summer cruise Zone #2. So I’ll have to think about it more

  • dhg June 28, 2012 (6:02 pm)

    Bad idea. The park is a public park not a profit center. We enjoy walks through the woods watching the birds (including owls(!)). It is quiet and peaceful. If a zip line company wants to start a business, let them buy property and plant their own damn trees.

  • Jennie June 28, 2012 (6:04 pm)

    No way. You can take a short drive up to Camano Island to get this thrill by folks that did it on their own private property.

    Go there instead.

  • Lindsey June 28, 2012 (6:10 pm)

    This makes me so sad. As a person who visits Lincoln Park for a run or walk at least 4 times a week, I would be upset to have the peaceful habitat disturbed. Not only would the construction of the zip lines and Tarzan swings impact the creatures that live in the park, but I would imagine the ongoing disturbance of humans zipping in and out of the trees would be negatively impact the wildlife. High in the trees is where they currently go for refuge, so we shouldn’t take that away from the animals. On top of that we already have issues with people disrespecting the public park areas when they become overly busy (like Alki Beach on a sunny day). I’d like to keep this forested area within the city as undisturbed as possible. We have no need for an activity like this within our park.

  • Cascadianone June 28, 2012 (6:15 pm)

    They should really move this to the Central Business District instead! Zip-line down from the roof of the Columbia Tower to the Smith Tower! It could be all the rage for tourists and you’d only be bothering the Pigeons!

    Seriously though, instead of turning Lincoln Park into Amusement Park, how about this company rebuild the old Luna Park and put a zipline over the water out there???

  • CandrewB June 28, 2012 (6:24 pm)

    Maybe we should ask the Marination folks how likely this is before we get too upset.

  • joan bateman June 28, 2012 (6:25 pm)

    I think there is a better use of precious city dollars than this proposal.

    Examples would be planting more trees, monitoring existing dying or dead trees, or limiting Parks budget and putting the money into Streets and paving a few pot holes, or doing a better job repaving existing streets that need it.

    Once the land is turned over to commercial ventures, it will be very hard for future generations to recapture disappearing natural areas.

    Is that the legacy we want to leave?

    Joan Bateman

  • Steve Wagener June 28, 2012 (6:27 pm)

    NO! NO! NO!

  • Lincoln park neighbor June 28, 2012 (6:27 pm)

    That is horrible!!!!! No please, don’t ruin our park. If it goes through I will sabotage it every night.

  • smokeycretin9 June 28, 2012 (6:34 pm)

    What about the owls?

  • Chuck and Sally's Van Man June 28, 2012 (6:37 pm)

    (Note: Tried this earlier, made an edit and it never appeared…) This is a BAD IDEA. Noise pollution (I want to hear bird song, not screaming kids and even adults), wildlife displacement (say goodbye to owls, hawks and even our eagles), and overuse/overcrowding of our resources. The park should be a place of tranquility–not a Disney ride. Not. A. Fan.

  • datamuse June 28, 2012 (6:44 pm)

    So…this means you’ll all be voting FOR the next parks levy, right?

  • Kathleen June 28, 2012 (6:54 pm)

    I am flabergasted that the parks department would even consider such a thing. To give up a prime piece of a prime park for a comercial venture that will decimate the very nature that makes the park so special.

  • Harold Reems June 28, 2012 (6:56 pm)

    Bad idea, I understand ziplining can be quite boring:

  • LivesinWS June 28, 2012 (7:13 pm)

    No. Nyet. Nein. Non.

    This is the city park version of grazing sheep on wilderness lands.

    The place for ziplining is in areas already full of man-made crap. Do it downtown.

  • Bill at Duwamish Head June 28, 2012 (7:17 pm)

    I think a zip line from the top of the space needle to the tip of Duwamish Head would be a whole lot more exciting. No parking here at Duwamish either, we would need shuttle busses.
    Lincoln Park?
    Bad Idea.
    Thank You.

  • Karen June 28, 2012 (7:21 pm)

    This is a disaster in the making. NO NO NO
    Traffic, danger, disruption of peace and serenity
    for all, nothing good to come out of this

  • Carol June 28, 2012 (7:23 pm)

    For all the reasons people have already listed I too say NO! I don’t see where anyone has mentioned the ferry traffic that must line up along Fauntleroy Way and what an attraction like this would do to that. What the heck is going on with the “planners” in this town? The Fun Forest Amusement Park gets torn down at Seattle Center and then they want to spread this kind of amusement to our city parks….our oases of nature where we go to escape from all the hubbub of city life? We’ve got a giant ferris wheel on the waterfront….and now some NY City design firm is trying to talk our city fathers into putting various “misting fountains” and water features along our “new waterfront” once the viaduct comes down. Really!? Is anyone seriously considering a misting fountain in SEATTLE? WHY oh WHY doesn’t the city ever consult the people who live here for ideas on development?

  • Richard June 28, 2012 (7:26 pm)


    The bastardization of our waterfront is bad enough with that carney ride.

  • The Jack June 28, 2012 (7:27 pm)

    Put a zipline from where the viaduct now ends and wrap around to the Great Wheel and use the $$$ to pay for the tunnel!!!!!

  • datamuse June 28, 2012 (7:28 pm)

    Carol, might be because when they do, the response is inevitably “Keep things exactly the way they are, even though the parks [in this case] have no money.”
    I’m not crazy about the zipline either, but did y’all miss the part where the Parks Department is scrambling to do things like empty the garbage cans? They’re pretty clearly doing this to get some money coming in. God knows it won’t be from taxes.
    I’m looking forward to the Ferris Wheel. The London Eye is awesome, I love that we’re going to have something like it here.
    (Oh, with regard to Fun Forest, they tore it down because NOBODY WENT THERE. I worked at Bumbershoot for seven years and even when there were hundreds of thousands of people at Seattle Center the Fun Forest was practically deserted. Tearing it down for something else was sensible.)

  • JayDee June 28, 2012 (7:31 pm)

    Lincoln Park is small…thanks to the respectfulness that most treat it with it seems to more wild than it is. Now imagine an exuberant zipliner shouting their excitement. Think you might hear it? Let’s can this idea and be honest with the citizens about parks…they cost money to maintain, and that means taxes from the general fund or the council’s off-the-books property tax initiatives. “We have to destroy the village to save it” ideas won’t fly.

  • ttt June 28, 2012 (7:50 pm)

    This is a horrible idea.

  • datamuse June 28, 2012 (7:57 pm)

    WHY oh WHY doesn’t the city ever consult the people who live here for ideas on development?
    You mean, like the Opportunity Fund projects WSB wrote up two days ago?
    The bastardization of our waterfront is bad enough with that carney ride.
    Yeah, god forbid anybody should want to put some sort of amusement park or carnival along the water. Oh wait…

  • Mike June 28, 2012 (8:00 pm)

    How’s the city able to afford the liability of this? I thought they are broke. If not, I suggest they fix streets, add garbage cans/recycle bins, CLEAN THE PARK!

    • WSB June 28, 2012 (8:12 pm)

      Mike – the liability, according to the Go Ape powerpoint, goes like this: “Landowners are indemnified of any liability. Insurance policy is 10 times industry standard.”

  • Woodsman June 28, 2012 (8:03 pm)

    How about a zip line from West Seattle to downtown, commuters can bypass the bridge!

  • Cascadianone June 28, 2012 (8:04 pm)

    I’m serious when I said rebuild Luna Park, but can we get the Parks people to just MOVE THIS THING to a more appropriate place? Is there other park space that would work better???

  • Mike June 28, 2012 (8:14 pm)


    • WSB June 28, 2012 (8:34 pm)

      Dear commenters: We’ve received yet more information, including a document indicating this actually has been in the works since last August:

      On August 12, 2011, Seattle Parks selected Go Ape as part of their Expression of Interest selection process for the development and operation of a treetop adventure course in its park system. In its proposal, GO Ape selected Lincoln Park as its preferred location for the new treetop adventure course …

      and noting that the revenue Parks will get from it will be “$40,000 to $65,000 a year.” I will upload the document and add to the story momentarily. – TR

  • timh2o June 28, 2012 (8:29 pm)

    They already have a zip line, my kids played on it last night. No more.

    • WSB June 28, 2012 (8:38 pm)

      Tim – that zipline is ground level. and in a standalone play area (my kid rode it a time or two more than a few years ago) – these would be “treetop” per all the project material.

  • westseattledood June 28, 2012 (8:32 pm)

    Discovery Park in Magnolia seems more size appropriate. Especially around the old housing units…fewer nests, etc. LP is just way too small. Zipline is a fun idea though.

  • miws June 28, 2012 (8:32 pm)

    I understand the strain on Parks with the budget cuts and all, but I really don’t like the thought of this either.


    As someone stated, upthread, it’ll be much noisier. I realize there’s already plenty of noise at the baseball fields when games are going on, and noise form kids in the wading pool, and other play areas, but can foresee (forhear?) a significant amount more noise, with adults hootin’ and hollerin’ as they “zip” along.


    I like 2MW’s idea, and others, and will expand on them by suggesting a zipline from the Chihuly Museum, down to the Ferris Wheel. Or, one contained in the grounds at The Seattle Center, following the path of the old Skyride. ;-)



  • Carol June 28, 2012 (8:35 pm)

    If our tax dollars aren’t enough to keep our city parks trash cans emptied, why not try something simple like a small fee for parking at the city parks? I’d gladly pay to park at Lincoln Park or any other city park rather than bring in “amusements” to these natural areas. As to the Fun Forest (datamuse), I have attended Folklife every year for many years and every time I walked through the Fun Forest area it was filled with families with small children having a blast on the rides. This year, when I walked pass the Chihuly Glass Garden IT was very sparsely populated….and there was no sound of children’s’ laughter.

  • Harold Reems June 28, 2012 (8:38 pm)

    Well said Carol……………

  • Kadoo June 28, 2012 (8:39 pm)

    No way should a zipline be in Lincoln Park. And they’d better not try to put it in Discovery Park either! It would destroy the peace of the park.

  • Laurie June 28, 2012 (8:41 pm)

    Support our parks – the taxes are NOT that much per citizen, and we need to protect the forests and habitat. NO ZIPLINE.


  • Brian June 28, 2012 (8:53 pm)

    If Seattle Parks enforced the current laws in relation to dogs on the beach,leash and poop laws, they could make some money for their budget shortfall. We don’t need a commercial enterprise to ruin the park. What’s next? McDonalds Drive-thru?

  • Mike June 28, 2012 (8:55 pm)

    “Completely indemnify our park partners of ALL course responsibility” does not mean the city is free and clear of paying insurance liability for potential lawsuits. That wee $65k a year is bunk.

  • scout 1 June 28, 2012 (9:25 pm)

    I hope this does not happen.

  • johnnyblegs June 28, 2012 (9:27 pm)

    This sounds really obnoxious & it’d ruin the experience of Lincoln Park. West Seattle is not Disneyland!

  • Carole June 28, 2012 (9:52 pm)

    I have ziplined up in Victoria BC and while it was great fun, the BC course was a 45 minute ride outside downtown Victoria, far from residential property, etc., with 10 people max per group, each group sent up at one hour intervals. I cannot conceive of this being offered at Lincoln Park, with the accompanying noise and the visual blight of the staging sites in addition to all the other negatives folks have pointed out. The group size and the frequency alone will diminish the experience. Big fat NO! Who do we contact to oppose this and why has the public not been notified of this poroposal before if this has been floating around since last August?

    • WSB June 28, 2012 (10:04 pm)

      Carole – Regarding comments. While I don’t have formal information yet on the recommended chain of commenting, here are a few key people along the way, for anyone who wants to say something about this – whether positive, negative, or otherwise:

      Charles Ng, Parks’ Partnerships leader (though as I wrote, his voice mail says he’s out till after the holiday) –

      Christopher Williams is Parks’ longtime “acting” superintendent.

      Sally Bagshaw chairs the City Council’s Parks and Neighborhoods Committee – which would have to consider the proposal before it went to the full council, though that is the last stop along the line –

      Tom Rasmussen, the only City Councilmember who lives in West Seattle, is a member of that committee –

      Of course you can cc the mayor as well, since the Parks Dept. reports to him:

      Diana Kincaid chairs the Board of Park Commissioners, a citizen-comprised advisory board – correspondence goes through coordinator Sandy Brooks,

  • Gary June 28, 2012 (9:55 pm)

    What a terrible idea. I have been luxuriating in the wonders of Lincoln since I was about 7, and that’s more than half a century ago. One of the great things about it is how natural and serene it is still is — even when there’s a lot of people. But putting a lot of mechanical crap in the park to charge thrill-seekers money seems an abomination to the whole concept of Lincoln Park, let alone the loss of wildlife it would cause.

  • MMB June 28, 2012 (9:58 pm)


  • NW Momma June 28, 2012 (10:02 pm)

    Add it to Seattle Center, please. The tourists will LOVE it.

  • Chuck and Sally's Van Man June 28, 2012 (10:10 pm)

    After a quick scan of the 81 responses, I think we’ve reached a milestone here on the WSB: unanimous or near-unanimous rejection of this idea. Nicely done people! Group hug?

  • Denise June 28, 2012 (10:13 pm)

    This is a horrible idea.
    Thank you WSB for giving all of us this opportunity to voice.
    So glad we mostly seem to agree on this one!
    Keep Lincoln Park a serene place, not only for us and the wildlife, but even more for the people in the coming generations. They are going to need quiet, peaceful places to connect with nature even more than we do. They will be living in a world that is much more developed, and noisy, and stressful. We have already used up so much. Let’s leave them Lincoln Park. They will need it. And the animals, too.

  • WTF June 28, 2012 (10:23 pm)

    NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO!

  • Tbone June 28, 2012 (10:35 pm)

    What a horrid idea!

  • NOWAY June 28, 2012 (10:36 pm)

    I’m with WTF. NO!!!!! Think of the wildlife alone. What about the Eagles and owls? It will disturb their habitat!! This is not right. What’s next yurts? Parks are sacred. Take the mess somewhere else. NO!!!!!

  • Machel Spence June 28, 2012 (10:57 pm)

    Booooooooooooooooo, worst idea EVER for Lincoln Park! Go downtown and ride the flippin ferris wheel if you want entertainment. The ecosystem there is extremely amazing and fragile and might I add very small…adding something like this would be like installing a carnival in the middle of the redwoods!! Horrible, horrible IDEA! I would also gladly pay to park there rather than having something as obnoxious as that installed. The company can put all the environmental spins they want on it…it will still be more noise and foot traffic through that lovely area. NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

  • Vanessa June 28, 2012 (10:59 pm)

    Please no!!!!!!!! Go outside of the city. No,no, hell no!

  • enviromaven June 28, 2012 (11:11 pm)

    No way! The wildlife habitat and beauty of LP make it a unique part of the city. A treetop zipline is an insult to the everyone who appreciates that. I’m happy to pay for parking, too, if that helps fund maintenance. Put the zipline on the Alki/Harbor Ave. side of the water.

  • dsa June 28, 2012 (11:19 pm)

    They get dumber and dumber. This time they got conned for a promise of a measly 65k.

  • Not a chance! June 28, 2012 (11:27 pm)

    They only need 25 parking spots? That’s about a third of the spots in the upper lot! I do not welcome a zipline business in our parks. I agree on the pay for parking aspect. But NO ZIPLINE!!! Do you really want to hear people screaming OH SH-T as they fly over your picnic? 6-9 acres is A LOT!!!

  • bada-bing June 28, 2012 (11:35 pm)

    We wouldn’t want ziplines to spoil this pristine wilderness untouched by amusement amenities like playgrounds, a swimming pool, baseball and soccer fields, horseshoe pits, picnic areas, plus packs of screaming children and large parking lots, would we?
    Oh wait…

  • Jiggers June 28, 2012 (11:48 pm)

    $65,000 in revenue a year to permanently scar the park and displace the wildlife that has lived there for years? a JOKE! I’m not a tree hugger, but I do have common sense. There is absolutely NO benefit whatsoever so beat it. How about I displace you from your homes and zip along your rooftops? Not in my backyard! The community has spoken here.

  • Neighborly June 28, 2012 (11:51 pm)

    Lincoln Park soothes my soul. We climb trees, watch wildlife, find perfect sticks, look for fairies and secret passages. Nature and imagination thrive here, and it’s perfect. I hope to help preserve this for future generations by preventing this development.

  • fauntleroy fairy June 29, 2012 (12:05 am)

    This city would sell their soul to make an extra buck. The fact that it has even been on the table since last August and not immediately dismissed is disturbing enough! Make those calls and send those emails!

    The name of the company “Go Ape” pretty much says it all and their zip line does not belong in a gorgeous park like Lincoln Park!

  • Julia June 29, 2012 (12:24 am)


  • Melissa June 29, 2012 (12:46 am)

    I agree with all of the “No” votes. Not because the Park is currently “pristine” in its entirety, but because this project proposes to ruin what is left of the semi-“pristine” part of it. It IS a multi-purpose park, but there are huge swaths of it that are left for nothing more than walking through and that is what makes it a magical place. There is no good reason for destroying the feeling that you get when you walk into the “forest” and you can forget that you are in the middle of a city. I moved here several years ago and Lincoln Park has always been one of the things that I most enjoyed about Seattle. I still feel the same way.

    But turning to the hard part of the equation, which is how do we who are so vehemently opposed need to give the City Council and the Parks Dept. the means of filling their budget gaps. I do always vote for park levies and I will do so in the future, but in order to help them in the immediate future, I suggest that those of us opposed push hard for a small parking charge to be implemented in order to fill that budget hole. Even at $1.00 per car, we would easily surpass the $65K figure quickly – and those of us who have the money can decide to pay more each time to help out even more.

    There will be those who contend that the charge will make the streets more crowded with those seeking to avoid the fee. Well, there will be some of those people who make that choice, but given how little parking there is now (as has been noted), I think it’s much more likely that people will pay even if they don’t like it. And there will still be those of us who are glad to pay given that that is a reasonable price to pay to keeo Lincoln Park as it is now.

    And for those who contend that it will be cost prohibitive to lower income folks, I just don’t buy it. First, they can still choose to park on the street or walk or bus it or bike it. Second, most people, even lower income folks who are driving cars to get to the local park, have the $1.00 to pay.

    If someone else has other fund raising ideas, we should discuss, but it needs to be something other than concession stands and turning our WS prize into an amusement park and drive out the wildlife and those who value the quality of life that Lincoln Park provides.

  • Cascadianone June 29, 2012 (2:43 am)

    Yeah, really surprising that we all hate the idea so much. The next step is agreeing how to stop or shift it somewhere else!

  • petert June 29, 2012 (5:09 am)

    If they want a zipline, why don’t they arrange for a couple of artificial poles to be set up along the downtown Seattle waqterfront ? I mean, the place is already a circus, especially with the addition of the ferris wheel.

    A zipline in Lincoln Park is a stupid idea.

  • petert June 29, 2012 (5:11 am)

    You know, the more I think about it, the more I’m convinced the city increasingly doesn’t give a hang about what West Seattle wants, or needs.

    I think it’s time we secede.

  • Mack June 29, 2012 (6:14 am)

    If the city could profit from this, this is a good idea. Lincoln Park would be a great location for BMX bike races too.

  • cclarue June 29, 2012 (6:54 am)

    The revenue created is one city employees salary per year. This is crazy. NO NO and NO. Get the budget team their brains back please. This is beyond obsurd.

  • Dale June 29, 2012 (7:03 am)

    Sounds like monkey business.

  • A June 29, 2012 (7:17 am)

    Volunteer Park would be a better location for this.

  • Craig June 29, 2012 (7:27 am)

    Very bad idea! I vote we eliminate the many wasted and costly government positions that are coming up with or even considering such dumb ideas.

  • 2 Much Whine June 29, 2012 (7:41 am)

    More government genius at work. Let’s do a little math. The Parks Dept. will get $40 to $65K per year in revenue. That’s at very best enough to fund one person to empty garbage cans. Go ape will get. . . . . wait for it. . . . . over $2.5M. Of course they have costs to recoup so it’s not all profit but I think $2.5M is a conservative number based on the following random numbers I pulled out of thin air (or from what’s been published):
    28 people per hour
    8 hours per day (likely higher)
    5 days per week (260 total days, again conservative)
    average of $45 per person (mix of kids and adults)
    That’s $2,620,800.
    I don’t even know why I bothered to do the math, (and don’t bother to refute it because I know my logic is flawed on many levels), it’s a stupid idea. PERIOD.

  • Melinda Grant June 29, 2012 (7:43 am)

    No, no, and can’t I just say NO?!!!
    Mr. and Mrs. Swainson’s Thrush

  • Judy P June 29, 2012 (7:45 am)

    What I have not yet seen expressed is sorry about the significant crack in the partnership between Seattle Parks and the citizenry. When did planners come to us to float this and similar ideas? When have they scheduled a public meeting? Seattle Parks asks a lot of us, from pulling weeds and organizing work parties to talking up sealife on the beach. And we respond with thousands of volunteer hours, year after year. But the department has failed miserably this time to hold up its part of the bargain. Shame!

  • DCo June 29, 2012 (7:50 am)

    This is a horrible idea. Please NO

  • Ann June 29, 2012 (7:53 am)

    I love ziplining but not in Lincoln Park. If you want to put it in a city park why not Discovery Park? Ziplining requires stanchions and towers. I just can’t imagine these standing in Lincoln Park. This would probably drive away the eagles, owls and other wildlife. Please leave this park alone. Anyway, where does all the money come from in a supposedly bad economy. Certainly, the taxpayers would have to assume part of the responsibility. Fix the streets instead.

  • Trileigh June 29, 2012 (7:56 am)

    Tracy, thank you so much for publishing the contact information for the people who might be able to help stop this. I’ll be writing to all of them.

    I notice that nowhere in Go Ape’s promotional materials do they address wildlife impacts. I believe them that trees might not be significantly damaged, but there’s no mention of the inevitable disruptions to birds and other wildlife. As noted by a previous commenter, the upper canopy is where many animals can go to escape human activity – in addition to nesting and other critical activities, of course.

    And by the way: “only” 25 parking spaces needed? That’s a significant increase over the parking available now.

    Finally, they say they’re doing outreach – but no one contacted the WSB, our main source of neighborhood information? A resident alerted the WSB, not someone from the City or the company. There’s so much about this proposal that doesn’t sit well.

    • WSB June 29, 2012 (8:29 am)

      Regarding outreach – it’s not even that we weren’t contacted. We don’t wait to be contacted – we are always actively looking, listening, reading the fine print on agendas for groups and committees large and small, reading the public notices posted in various places online, and often get and report first word of interesting things that way. This has not been mentioned in ANY media; there has been no news release, there’s no page for the project on the city website. As soon as I heard about this late Thursday, I combed the web with a multitude of possible terms, including the city website, thinking I had to have missed something, this must have been posted somewhere, even if “buried” in a page somewhere so that someone could say that, technically, “well, it was THERE.” Nope. Go to and look for yourself – Go Ape, GoApe, zipline, treetop.
      When Parks partnered with 4H for the ropes course at Camp Long, there was tons of public discussion way in advance, and it was a proposal much different from this one – a smaller installation, a nonprofit organization, something to be used for a variety of groups, not as a commercial per-person-admission attraction. The “public outreach” started in 2010 – here’s one of our stories:
      The first phase of the ropes course opened more than a year later. Here we are talking about something that apparently has been in Parks’ hands for almost a year and according to the various e-mails that have been included in some of what’s been sent to us as we continue to investigate – not by Parks, by others – the only outside discussion I can find is that some of the e-mail trails indicate that for some reason the Camp Long Advisory Council was consulted about this a couple months ago and asked to vouch for it and may have someone with Parks at the Morgan Community Association presentation in three weeks.

  • schwaggy June 29, 2012 (8:24 am)

    No. No, and No. Oh, and No.
    Please let me know where to show up to demonstrate my complete disdain for this idea. We can lock ourselves to the trees to show solidarity.

  • Neal Chism June 29, 2012 (8:25 am)


  • 35this35mph June 29, 2012 (8:26 am)

    Yeah. No.

  • admiral mom June 29, 2012 (8:31 am)

    No. The company is welcome to purchase private land to run their business on. I promise to drive there every time I want to spend $300 to take my family ziplining (which, by the way will be never).
    This is a public space – no way.

  • miws June 29, 2012 (8:40 am)

    I just told a friend, who was born and raised in WS, but has been away from there for many years, i believe, about this proposal. The conversation evolved into the mixing public parks with corporate entities aspect.


    He said that the next thing would be ads on trees. I mentioned “Yeah, this owl brought to you by….”.


    I then suggested the next step would be the squirrels wearing little T-shirts with corporate logos on them! :-)



  • Park Lover June 29, 2012 (8:50 am)

    The obstacles/ziplines are not even the ugliest part of this proposal. The ugliest part is the chain-linked fences that will surround the equipment when not in use, and all of the signs that say, “Keep Out” and “No trespassing.” Go walk around Camp Long and see how fences and nasty “no trespassing” signs make you feel. We must fight this.

  • dsa June 29, 2012 (8:57 am)

    Actually no amount of cash will change my mind on this matter.

  • The Velvet Bulldog June 29, 2012 (8:57 am)

    Thanks WSB, for bringing this to our attention. And props to Melissa for the well-reasoned comment. None of our park areas are particularly “pristine” anymore, and municipalities can’t afford to stay ahead of invasive species that are threatening what’s left.

    Ziplining has been a way for many remote areas to encourage “eco-tourism” and has helped them financially. That said, (and I’ve never been on a Zipline so I’m making assumptions here) I have to wonder how much wildlife appreciation is happening as you’re cruising along in a state of terror/excitement, whatever.

    We definitely need some revenue for our remaining park/wildlife areas, but I also don’t believe any kind of disruptive installation is the way to go.

    I wish I DID know what a good resolution would be.

  • anonyme June 29, 2012 (9:09 am)


    Pretty unanimous, looks like.

  • sun*e June 29, 2012 (9:13 am)

    Comment by Woodsman: “How about a zip line from West Seattle to downtown, commuters can bypass the bridge!”
    LOL! Thanks for the chuckle!

  • mpento June 29, 2012 (9:26 am)


  • Velo_nut June 29, 2012 (9:30 am)

    Wait… We cant have a bicycle race at Lincoln Park but you want to bring in a Zip Line????

  • natinstl June 29, 2012 (9:41 am)

    Just fired off a letter to all the parties mentioned. I would encourage everyone else to do so also.

  • heylady June 29, 2012 (9:44 am)

    I imagine there are people like me who live in Seattle who are not really city people. I can bear it because of our beautiful parks like Lincoln which is closest to my home. A walk in the peaceful woods or along the beautiful waterfront adds to the quality of my life and balances out all the concrete, noise, traffic, crime and other urban elements that I don’t like. You want a good, tax paying citizen who maintains their property and adds value to the community? Give her a place to go when she wants peace. I am not that worried, though. We fought off the paid parking, we can certainly win this one. Rally, all!

  • mrsB June 29, 2012 (9:46 am)

    Secession for sure ;-)

  • geronimo June 29, 2012 (9:51 am)

    GoApe is a UK company with one site in the US (

    We ran into them at a castle in Scotland while on vacation a couple of weeks ago and the juxtaposition
    of the commercial operation with it’s loud logo in an historic classical setting was really noteworthy. I wrote it off as being a British peculiarity and never thought it was coming here soon.

    • WSB June 29, 2012 (9:54 am)

      Thanks, Geronimo. We do have that information in the story (and there is a bit of additional company info in the document we added last night at the end of the story). They now have three U.S. sites – Wikipedia must be lagging – in Indiana, Virginia, and Maryland. – Tracy

  • WsEd June 29, 2012 (10:01 am)

    There has got to be some financial malfeasance going on in this city. I get that tax revenues are tied to the economy. However my property value keeps going down while my property tax goes up. I voted for the levies for fire and schools and parks so I am not complaining about the taxes. I cannot fathom that local governments thought the free ride on fake money would last forever and never planned for a rainy day. There is a fundamental problem with this short term style of resource management. Essential services need to come first, but we are constantly blindsided by pet projects pushed on us by the rich and powerful. Paul Allens school at SLU. The new stadium which I would love, but make the investors pay for it and all the improvements required full stop.

    I am sure there are others I have forgotten. As individuals we have to manage our money. If you don’t pay your mortgage the bank forecloses on you. So you might want the flashy car but you need to take care of business first. The politicos in this city are enamored with shiny objects at the cost of basic services.

    We need an initiative to force proper financial management and make sure that no resources are devoted to new shiny objects until essential services are paid for. Potholes over pet projects. Even the hippie Mcginn has been bought and paid for.

    Zip lines are cool but not on land I pay taxes to maintain.

  • bettytheyeti June 29, 2012 (10:06 am)

    I was so outraged when I read this post yesterday and full of invectives for the Parks Department that I had to walk away from the computer. The comments had reached 56 now at 125. Thanks WSB for providing the emails addresses for the folks bring this asinine money scheme to Lincoln Park.
    The Parks dept can barely keep garbage cans at Alki in control.
    A quick review of the comments point clearly why this is WRONG on so many levels.
    I am prepared to go Ape Sh** on Go Ape!
    GO APE . . . GO AWAY!

  • No zips No Pay Parking June 29, 2012 (10:17 am)

    I agree the zip line is a horrible idea. But I also do not want to pay for parking in LP lots. We have 2 kids and no extra cash. Going to WS parks is one of the greatest activities our family can do for free, and it should stay that way. Fauntleroy is a very busy street with too few crosswalks. When the lots are full on nice days it can be quite treacherous to cross with little kids, bikes, and arms full of their beach things. Cars don’t stop and traffic is long when the ferry unloads. I am more than happy to have portions of my tax dollars allocated to the parks, but I do not want to be nickled and dimed every day in a parking lot when we go to enjoy the water, mountains, and get some fresh air. And I believe the fee parking was considered before, and the cost of monitoring and enforcing pay lots outweighed the revenue.

  • Faith4 June 29, 2012 (10:19 am)

    I wonder if the news media has picked up on this yet?

    I hope everyone writes to the links provided above so we can do all we can to stop this & save our park. If they manage to get this through, we will lose our pristine park & no telling what else they will think of. “Since we have the zip line, now we need this and that because of….” It could turn into an amusement type park rather than what we have now! Let’s rally and write to the links above & whomever else you think of that we can contact to stop this….conservation groups, etc.

    • WSB June 29, 2012 (10:29 am)

      Hi, Faith4 – in case you’re new here – WSB *is* “news media” – the most-read news publication in West Seattle (and a notable readership outside as well), journalist-owned/operated/staffed. Other news organizations look here at least a few times a day (per our logs) and follow us on Twitter, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see at least one pick up on the story – two TV stations picked up the coyote-hunter story the other day, though they did it as “aggressive coyotes roaming West Seattle” instead of “you can pay a federal agent to come to your neighborhood and take out a coyote.” We also are one of the founding members of the Seattle Times partnership network (no ownership or money involved – it’s more a mutual-linkage association) and this was linked on the Times’ home page last night. – TR

  • sgs June 29, 2012 (10:51 am)

    Almost cried when I read this: “Due to the large size of Lincoln Park, the trail will be oriented towards the back of the woods where customers will not be heard from existing park usage areas.”

    What? The noise of the laughing children won’t be heard at the baseball fields, but I actually use the “back of the woods” more than I use the fields. Go Ape doesn’t understand how the park is used. Keep the peace please.

    I’m writing my letters now.

  • quiz June 29, 2012 (11:01 am)

    This is a joke, right? I hope so.

  • miws June 29, 2012 (11:01 am)

    I wish I DID know what a good resolution would be.


    The corporate logo’d T-shirts on the squirrels, silly! ;-P



  • WorldCitizen June 29, 2012 (11:13 am)

    I LOVE the idea of a zipline…through downtown.

  • Trileigh June 29, 2012 (11:30 am)

    WSB, thanks again for your amazing coverage and being so proactive about the issues that are critical to us all. I looked on the Seattle Times website both last night and today for a link to or mention of this story, but haven’t been able to find one; could you share the link? And do you think it would be helpful for us to write letters to the Times as well as to the others you gave us addresses for above?

    • WSB June 29, 2012 (11:44 am)

      It was in the local news section last night – might have been there earlier too but I only checked fairly late in the evening. They rotate links when they feel like it, and they also choose them as they see fit (they monitor their 50-plus partners’ sites continuously). I’m sure they are well aware of this story now but they make their own editorial decisions … they could be working on their own version of it for all I know, or not (“partnership” doesn’t involve conferring). Certainly as with ANYTHING, anyone who thinks some other news outlet should be covering something can certainly contact them. – TR

  • skeeter June 29, 2012 (11:44 am)

    I’m not opposed to the zipline idea. It sounds kinda fun.

    Background: I am a West Seattle resident. I use Lincoln Park on a fairly regular basis. I walk the trails. I picnic. I play on the playground. I launch my kayak from the beach. I know where several of the geocaches in the park are. And I love that little zipline in place right now. I guess you could say I’m a “big kid.”

    Our parks are for enjoyment. Lincoln Park is pretty developed. It is not a nature preserve. It is full of playfields, trails, picnic shelters, bathrooms, and so on. Heck, it even has a swimming pool. Every time I go there, I see people having fun recreating. I love it. If there were no playfields, trails, restrooms, picnic shelters, not as many people would be there having fun.

    If the zipline creates a fun experience and has a minimal effect on the environment, I support it. Creating fun activities close to the city is a good thing. I see the zipline as another park feature. Some people will come to picnic. Some will come to hike. Some will come to play baseball. Some will come to ride the new zipline.

    I wonder if 50 (???) years ago some people thought that building picnic shelters and playfields was a really, really bad idea. Now look at all the people having fun in the picnic shelters and playfields.

    Again – Lincoln Park is NOT a nature preserve. It is a park with developments/improvements that we all enjoy. I really don’t see the zipline as any different. I bet a LOT more trees were cut down building the pool than you’d have to cut down to build a zipline. This zipline sounds like an idea that is consistent with the purpose of parks – for people to come out and have an enjoyable outdoor experience.

    Just because a zipline would not increase YOUR personal enjoyment of the park does not mean it would not create an opportunity for more folks to come out and experience a new feature of the park. I think this is an idea worth exploring.

  • Brian June 29, 2012 (11:50 am)

    “Due to the large size of Lincoln Park”? Really? The park is long on it’s north/south axis, but east/west is is considerably more narrow. I have lived in the neighborhood above the park for 12 years now, and my kids have grown up there. We know every trail, every play structure, as we are there every single day. To put a commercial operation such as this in a public area for such a meager financial return is short-sighted and reflective of the utter lack of communication between the Parks Department and their user community. There is no place for this kind of concession on our public land, and I am appalled that the discussions have gotten as far as they have without solicitation of public comment. Carol and Carole above have made all of the salient points against this idea for me, so just count me as another voice of protest against the zip line.

  • westseattledood June 29, 2012 (12:48 pm)

    Hold on. Different, slightly revised opinion given a top projection of $65000 and the precise location. That IS the owls’ nesting zone and sound carries. The zipline could be a fun money maker, I thought. But I thought it would be three to four times that! Parks employees sense of process and analysis of benefits vs. costs really blows. No other way to say it without getting caught in the cussing filter.

    I encourage those who brought up the idea to get moving: Organize before the July 18 meeting. Begin by picking a couple of dates and times to meet at the LP parking lot if nobody offers a sizeable meeting location. Somebody sport for copying costs or make homemade signs for pre-July 18 meeting(s) and start stapling. Create an email address and post information on the forums page with where to write objections. Not everyone reads comments.


    And I think all park visitors should prepare to shell out small fees for parking. It will not be much. If that is the choice we are given then let’s look forward seven generations – of owls and eagles and more, yes?

  • 2 Much Whine June 29, 2012 (12:53 pm)

    skeeter, I actually agree with some of the points you make but the big difference I see is that picnic shelters, ball fields and a lot of the other activities can be shared by everyone for little to no out of pocket expense – this proposal would cost a family of four $180 every time they want to enjoy it. Don’t you think you’d launch your kayak elsewhere if you had to pay $20 every time you wanted to do it? If not, maybe that’s how they could pay for the $40 – $65K they’d get each year – kayak launching fees. . . .I’m not trying to be snarky but I see a big difference between how the park is enjoyed now and what this proposal suggests.

  • WsEd June 29, 2012 (1:09 pm)


    You are missing the point. The protest is more about private companies making money off of public land than the installation of a zip line. The small amount of “potential revenue” they are offering is a joke. If they were willing to do a 50% “revenue” share then it may be worth the time. I say revenue because there are lots of ways to hide profit.

    I am sick of private ventures de-risking by using public infrastructure and then complaining about their tax base. This company can “go ape” themselves.

    If it was run by 4h as with other similar proposals and insured a good revenue sharing provision I would not be as opposed. But as a private company they should go find private land and leave public parks alone.

  • skeeter June 29, 2012 (1:18 pm)

    2 Much – agreed, the zipline experience is expensive. I’m not sure the kayak launch comparison is valid. Would I pay $20 to launch my kayak from Lincoln Park? Probably not – I would launch somewhere else for free. A city-owned kayak launch (beach), unlike a zipline, does not require a reservations system, a team of employees doing training, equipment maintenance, liability insurance, etc. So it’s kinda apples and oranges.

    But if people’s objection to the zipline is the inaccessible price, that is a valid concern. My guess is that this company has done market research, and they have concluded that the demographics support this price point.

  • buddy June 29, 2012 (1:20 pm)

    Noise. I can hear kids playing baseball from the staircase on Thistle. On a calm day, I can hear them from my house on California Ave. Sound from the zipliners should carry even further than sound from the ballfields since the zipliners will be higher up. So I doubt that “customers will not be heard from existing park usage areas.” I bet I’ll hear them from my house.

  • skeeter June 29, 2012 (1:24 pm)


    Should Alki Kayak, a private company operating in a Seattle Park, also “go find private land and leave public parks alone?”

    I see a lot of people having fun at Alki Kayak.

    Now… how much revenue sharing is fair to the taxpayers? Okay, there you’ve got valid concern. The taxpayers own this asset. If a private company wants to profit from it, then the taxpayers should get a decent return on their asset. I’m in agreement with you there.

  • naturelover June 29, 2012 (1:36 pm)

    A lot of good points have been made agaist this idea; just wanted to add another vote. I am strongly opposed to turning our beautiful natural saltwater park/big trees forest area into a carnival-type setting; doesn’t matter how much money it would generate for the city. At first read I thought this was a joke and hope that it isn’t being seriously considered by anyone with any sense. Really–with all our owls and eagles? Can’t they have a space for themselves without humans building more stuff to intrude into their territory? Not to mention the parking issues and commercialism of one of the city’s nicest parks.

  • dcn June 29, 2012 (1:50 pm)

    Lincoln Park is a multi-use park. However, the biggest reason not to put in a zipline is that it will put humans up at the level where the bird species live. No other use of Lincoln Park does this. The impact of the activity and noise on birds who nest there would be impossible to determine in advance. My guess is that many birds would choose to nest elsewhere.

    Lincoln Park is a very special city park. As a human, I can handle the extra noise and visual pollution the zipline would add. But we don’t know if the birds in the park would be able to adapt to it. The benefit in $$ to the park system is small in comparison to the damage this zipline might do to the tree canopy habitat for birds.

    Thanks again, WSB, for reporting on this huge and extremely distressing story.

  • Tom June 29, 2012 (1:53 pm)

    I have a better idea – why not a zipline from the water tower on 35th to points North, like Ballard and downtown Seattle. That way the monorail supporters would finally get their wish and Lincoln Park would remain pristine, sort of.

  • T-Rex June 29, 2012 (1:58 pm)

    NO NO NO!!

    For once, we all agree on something! How cool is that?
    Now, we all ban together, get involved and tell everyone that could be responsible for this horrible idea, not no but HELL NO!

    I was shocked when I read this and I have emailed all of my West Seattle friends and encouraged them too get activily involved in making sure this does not happen.

    I have emailed GoApe as well.

  • WsEd June 29, 2012 (2:01 pm)


    Big difference between Alki Kayak and the zipline. These guys want to install permanent and obtrusive infrastructure for their business on private land.

    People use public resources for business all the time which they pay for through permits. Hot dog carts are similar to the temporary nature of the physical part of Alki Kayaks business as an example.

    Would you be ok with a mechanic renting space in the park and putting in a garage to service super cars in a pristine park for only those who can afford it.

    The zipline requires use of a public right of way that you already pay to access. This is at a level that the current permitting process for businesses in the public right of way obviously doesn’t cover. So they want a special contract that they pay almost nothing for.

    Try going out to the national forest and doing this. Part of the idea of these west seattle parks was that they were donated with the understanding that they would remain protected land. Go look at the history of Lincoln and Schmdtz parks.

    And one last point. I am tired of these milk toast politicians and city officials who don’t have any creative problem solving ability looking to outside interests to fix everything. Sometimes you have to do the hard work yourself.

  • Faith4 June 29, 2012 (2:32 pm)

    Thanks TR. I did not know how far reaching our wonderful blog was. Thanks for this great resource.

  • Woodsman June 29, 2012 (2:44 pm)

    If the zip liners want to pay for a thrill ride I’ll take them on a motorcycle ride through the city! I’ll only charge them half price! When they get home they can tell their family they survived the streets of Seattle. I’ll even have a picture taken of them almost crapping their pants whenever we have some close calls! I say lets set up zip lines around the new tunnel so we can save some tolls. Don’t worry everyone who doesn’t want the zip line your government will put it in for you just that reason! Seattle sucks!!!!!!!!!!

  • waterworld June 29, 2012 (3:01 pm)

    I too am completely opposed to this. A handful of folks have mentioned that ziplining is fun and the park is not a “pristine” wildlife preserve. I agree that ziplining is fun. But the notion that this would not have a significant environmental impact is nuts. The course would include multiple platforms and lines smack in the middle of one of the stands of older, taller evergreens where owls nest, and not far from where the eagles nest. Unlike ball fields and play areas, ziplines put the people and their noise up in the trees where the birds nest and take shelter.

    If this were private property, it wouldn’t be our business, but it’s not. It’s a park, and in addition to the wonderful facilities for recreation (most of it free), we are fortunate to have an area that is large enough and has enough tree cover to attract eagles and owls and other birds. We would be insane to invite a private company to build a relatively large and loud facility on the peoples’ parkland, to allow them to use our limited natural resources to make a couple million a year, and on top of it, trade away some of the remaining wildlife habitat inside the city limits for a measly $40,000 to $65,000 a year.

    I hope others are writing to the parks department and city council members that Tracy named above and planning to attend the public meetings coming up to let the City and the Parks Department know how we feel about this proposal.

  • dancingkat June 29, 2012 (3:19 pm)

    This makes me want to cry…..I grew up and live in WS and have spent many, many wonderful days at Lincoln Park. How could this even seem like a good idea?!!! Parks are precious green space in a city gone concrete and need to be cherished for the calming, natural beauty they provide in this challenging world we live in. I for one go there to decompress and enjoy natures glory, not experience an amusement ride. Wrong location. Just all around wrong……

  • BB June 29, 2012 (3:21 pm)

    This is awesome…! The park isn’t a wilderness park…it is an active recreational park. It already has play fields, pools, playgrounds, picnic areas, park shelters and two parking lots. I live across the street from the park and have two children that would adore this. Kudos to the Parks Department for coming up with a really cool addition to Lincoln Park.

  • Trileigh June 29, 2012 (3:26 pm)

    Waterworld, that’s a great comment, thank you.
    I’ve just written to the representatives given by Tracy above. I hope they’re getting deluged!

  • skeeter June 29, 2012 (3:28 pm)

    WsEd asks:

    “Would you be ok with a mechanic renting space in the park and putting in a garage to service super cars in a pristine park for only those who can afford it.”

    Skeeter answers:

    I would not support a garage/car repair facility in Lincoln Park. It would not enhance people’s experience of the park.

    A zipline activity, however, would enhance some people’s experience of the park. (Admittedly, it would detract from other’s experience.)

    The relevant question is whether the benefits of the zipline exceed the drawbacks. This is a valid question we should explore. If hundreds of people are going to have lots of fun and the existing park users are still able to enjoy the park and the wildlife is not damaged then it sounds like a good idea.

  • public administrator June 29, 2012 (3:41 pm)

    For many of the aforementioned reasons by other commenters, allowing a commercial vendor to construct a zip line at Lincoln Park is not compatible to other users or park resources. Why is it only until now that this is made public?

    I have volunteered nearly 100 hours with EarthCorps to help restore the trails and hillsides at Lincoln Park. The city actively sought to encourage such citizen stewardship for local parks and now I ask them to be better stewards themselves by turning down this proposal.

  • Carole June 29, 2012 (4:08 pm)

    I agree with westseattledood – need to get a physical presence to oppose this, not just post on the blog. I am sending my comments to the contacts wsb listed. Please post if someone is setting up a meeting pre-July 18 – when and where…

    And perhaps wsb or someone could capture all these comments and send hard copy to the same contact points, as a visual demonstration of opposition.

  • kim June 29, 2012 (4:17 pm)

    Designed by the Olmsted Brothers; shelters and seawalls created as a back to work project during the depression; pool created by the community and paid for by the Colman’s from an existing water hole used as a swimming site since the 20’s or earlier; nesting site for owls and eagles among many birds and waterfoul; old growth forests. Lincoln Park is a city draw as it is. It was designed as a park and should be left as a park. I go to Whistler for my zip-line thrills.

  • timh2o June 29, 2012 (6:04 pm)

    WSB, I know the zipline thats in the kids area is just a kids toy, I was kidding.
    I want to propose a little choo choo going around the park.

  • Bad seattle June 29, 2012 (6:22 pm)

    Lincoln Park is the most inappropriate location for this type of activity. I will join all the No forces. I am pretty sure the parks dept can figure out ways to make their budget work otherwise.

  • LongTimer WS June 29, 2012 (7:15 pm)


  • WS Neighbor June 29, 2012 (7:18 pm)

    Try the fabulous new zipline on Camano Island, just north of Everett.

    Leave Lincoln Park alone – FOREVER!!!!!

  • DCo June 29, 2012 (7:58 pm)

    Emails sent to voice my concern about this. Thanks for the links.

  • Trileigh June 29, 2012 (8:16 pm)

    BB, I don’t doubt that many kids would love to play in one of these facilities. But every time an adult takes two kids there, it would cost $125, and although some families may be able to pay that for 2 hours of entertainment, many others won’t be able to afford such a price. Providing this commercial opportunity for families with more disposable income means taking away from the quiet environment that provides free relaxation in nature for all of us.
    It’s so important for children (maybe especially urban children) to know that there are plenty of ways to play in nature that don’t require money or fancy equipment. In our wonderful Lincoln Park, there are lots of climbable trees and lots of logs to balance on or to make seesaws or forts out of. Kids can have fun being active while also using their imaginations – for free.

  • BB June 29, 2012 (8:55 pm)

    I have lived across from Lincoln Park for 11 years by the south parking lot and it is not quiet! Hello…giant blow up bouncy structures that are allowed for parties full of shrieking children for HOURS!
    They are proposing this by the ballfield/horseshoe area which is not a quiet part of the park. If they were proposing it on the bluff trail I would agree with you. This is a very large park and it can accomodate active areas and more quiet trail areas… I think it could add some challenging fun activities for pre-teens and teens. Which is a lot better than the underage drinking that went on for years in the park.
    Who says that parents have to go with the kids? Two kids would be $70.

  • BB June 29, 2012 (9:07 pm)


    You might have missed this part;

    500 free tickets provided to Seattle programs, charitable organizations, low income and underserved youth
    • Work with Seattle Schools to provide some level of free or low costs access to the course

    • WSB June 29, 2012 (10:21 pm)

      Under 18s are not allowed to use it unaccompanied, says the FAQ on the company’s main site:

      Can my under 18 yr old go through the course alone?

      No, an adult (over 18 years old) must accompany them on the course (not from the trails below) and accept responsibility for ensuring that any minors in his or her care complete the course in accordance with the specific safety rules and advice given by Go Ape instructors. Adults will need to sign a disclaimer accepting personal responsibility for supervising their own safety and the safety of any under 18 year olds in their care. One participating adult can supervise EITHER two under 18 year olds (where one or both children are 10-15 years old) OR up to five 16-17 year olds.

  • M. June 29, 2012 (10:55 pm)

    No way.

  • DHG June 29, 2012 (11:13 pm)

    Go Ape is not offering much cash for the use of the park. I think we’d get a better offer from the Westin. A modest 200 room facility with killer views would pay better. Or, hey!, Central Park has its own Tavern on the Green, we could copy that!

    I think our feathered friends are stressed enough without canopy climbers.

  • zephyr June 29, 2012 (11:36 pm)

    As a longtime user and lover of Lincoln Park, I am adamantly opposed to this ropes course and zipline proposal for our park. I do enjoy ropes courses and see their benefit, just not in Lincoln Park.

    I am concerned about losing the serenity in the wooded areas of the park. There is lots of activity in the picnic areas, beaches, and ballfields. Yet the woods have always been a refuge from that hustle and bustle. Many trails lace the forest and invite walking, running and exploring — away from the crowds. This proposed ropes course would affect 6-8 acres of those woods in one of the quieter parts of the park.

    I would hate for traditional users who enjoy this bit of wildness to be cut off from that quietude. So much of the park is open and fairly heavily used at times. These tranquil wild spots are all the more special for their bit of remoteness.

    According to Go Ape’s presentation, there will be a significant volume of folks rotating through these woods. It’s not just an occasional use, but more like a constant ongoing presence. Voices will carry from the tree tops. People will be having fun and shouting to each other. I am sure that they will have to have a high enough volume of traffic to make their project feasible and profitable.

    I too am rather stunned that this proposal has been bouncing around the city for months without more notice and input from actual park users. I would like to hear a good explanation from our parks department or the city for the lack/inadequacy of communication. ~z

    • WSB June 30, 2012 (12:17 am)

      Zephyr – That is a major question for me as I continue to follow up on this, too. I tried to reach Councilmember Sally Bagshaw, chair of the council’s Parks Committee, today, to see if she had heard about this at all, among other questions, and heard back from a staffer that she — like the Parks Dept. Partnerships point person – is out till the week after the 4th. (With the holiday at midweek this year, I suspect many people, gov’t and otherwise, to be out of the office next week.) The staffer said it was news to her, though. Again, the council’s formal role in the process, so far as I have found, comes fairly late in the game, yet this seems to be a potentially precedent-setting type of project, the kind of thing you might expect decisionmakers (and the public) to be consulted about much sooner. – TR

  • visitor June 29, 2012 (11:37 pm)

    Some members of the city council parks committee are enamored of private funds coming to the rescue of the parks budget gap. When the executive branch is weak or ineffective (or inexperienced), the council can set the agenda. If this project has been in the works for months, you can be sure there are others, too. In small ways, the transition has already started. These are the types of things to remember in the ballot box.

  • Brian June 30, 2012 (12:17 am)

    BB…I find it almost inconceivable that you are supporting this if you truly live where you claim to live? Challenging fun activities for teens and pre-teens? Why not challenge those teens and pre-teens to enjoy the park for what it is…an unspoiled oasis in the middle of a bustling metropolis with abundant wildlife, access to the water, and the chance to commune with nature? All too often we believe that our children need to be force-fed Nintendo experiences with screams and special effects, which the folks at GoApe would have you believe they provide, at a premium cost, on public land. You, my friend, are missing the point in spectacular fashion.

  • Shari Kruse June 30, 2012 (6:45 am)

    Lincoln Park is fragile as is. This endeavor will further erode this very special place. NO… just NO! There are other ways the city could generate $45 to $65K a year for parks. This is not a good idea.

  • BB June 30, 2012 (8:18 am)

    I truly do live in the row of Tudors by the south parking lot. We and our neighbors care deeply about the park. We are the ones who worked with the SW precinct and the Parks Department to get the underage drinking and subsequent vanadalism to Parks strutures under contol. That is the reason there are gates and boulders at the south parking lot. There are regular patrols by the police and a security guard that locks the gates at night. It used to be that from Prom night to Labor Day their were large crowds of teenagers partying in the Park. They spray painted Park structures, there was broken beer bottles in children’s play areas, there were gang fights and even gun shots. We and our neighbors worked for two years to get the City to DO something. I am deeply invested in Lincoln Park.
    My children have played in that Park their whole lives with imagination and respect for all the creatures that live there. They tide pool, collect shells, built forts from drift woods and collect eagle feathers. I am not missing the point..I get it. This is a 135 acre park and the proposal is for 1 acre!! That is less than 1 percent of the Park. You all are over-stating the impacts and acting like this is going to destroy the park. Did you watch the video…this is nothing remotely like video games (which MY children are not allowed) This is an outdoor experience within the tree canopy…it is an athletic challenge. This is an active recreational park with swimming, soccer, baseball and play grounds. I think it is an appropiate use and will be attending any public meetings supporting it…looking forward to seeing you all there.

  • idiocracy June 30, 2012 (8:32 am)

    If the Parks Departmentment wants a revenue generating venture in West Seattle, they should revisit driving range plans. Nixed a good idea prematurely, but have been considering an awful one for almost a year?

  • BB June 30, 2012 (8:35 am)

    Before somebody jumps all over me…the ground portion is one acre. The course is 6 to 8 acres..or 6 percent of the Park.

  • Pat June 30, 2012 (8:37 am)

    Actually, the facility would use up to 10 acres of canopy space – the “1 acre” figure applies only to ground space. There would be more than 50 people at a time up there.

  • 2 Much Whine June 30, 2012 (9:47 am)

    BB, read the proposal. It says 6-9 acres, not 1 acre. That’s closer to almost 7% of the park. Your enthusiasm for this proposal baffles me but you’ll ultimately be impacted by this more than many of us so be careful what you wish for. It doesn’t appear to have a chance but so many things that don’t happen anyway – maybe you’ll get your wish.

  • Sharon June 30, 2012 (10:32 am)

    The Friends of Lincoln Park (FLiP) has been working for a number of years now to protect and restore the 80 acres of mature urban forest that are a part of a 135 acre treasure. As a volunteer, that work has truly deepened my appreciation of Lincoln. Lincoln provides an amazing resource to the West Seattle community, with many community activities. An opportunity to experience the natural world is one of those resources. While the forests are certainly not pristine, they are home to the greatest diversity of native plants in the city and to an amazing collection of wildlife, including many bird species. The GoApe proposal will make about 10% (6-8 acres of canopy) of that forest totally inhospitable for nesting and foraging birds. What GoApe proposes is not a nature oriented exploration of the canopy. It’s an adrenaline laced adventure. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not opposed to adventure. But, the presence of screaming, thrill seeking people in the canopy of one of the best urban forests in the city is not compatible with nesting birds or with our experience of the natural world. The Parks Department policy on partnering with outside agencies explicitly states that harm to wildlife is a contraindication to partnership. Case closed!

    • WSB June 30, 2012 (11:08 am)

      For those just checking back on this, or seeing it for the first time, we are working on the first followup and expect to publish that sometime Monday. – TR

  • miws June 30, 2012 (12:07 pm)

    BB, even if the total area impacted by the physical presence of the zip-line, were just one acre, the auditory impact would still travel much farther, as others and myself have already suggested.


    One of Lincoln Parks most attractive attributes, is its diversity. There’s the wonderful views, from the beach area, and the forested areas, and open, grassy areas, of the upper park. There’s several shelters, and place to BBQ. There’s the ball fields, wading pool, and other play areas.


    On any given day, a visitor may want to go down to the beach, listen to the waves, and watch the ferries glide across the water between Fauntleroy, Vashon, Southworth, and back.


    On another day, they might want visit the upper park, and enjoy the view of the water, ferries, Vashon, and Kitsap Peninsula, framed by the tree canopy. Maybe they want to go deeper into the forested part, and enjoy listening to the birds, and to the wind rustling the trees, with only a faint, and relatively unobtrusive sound of the kids at play.


    As I stated above, the sound of the hootin’ and hollerin’ is sure to carry much farther, likely throughout most of the Park.

  • idiocracy June 30, 2012 (1:37 pm)

    If you want an adrenaline rush in the city, go to our local non-profit, SANCA, to Emerald City Trapeze, to Seattle Bouldering Project, to Stone Gardens, to Parkour Visions, etc.

    If you want an adrenaline adventure in nature, well -holy moly!- we are surrounded by magnificent mountains for hiking, skiing, climbing, etc.

    West Seattle does not need an invasive, expensive zipline for entertainment (the current zip in Lincoln and the one at Seward are more than adequate). Build a better playground instead.

    Yeesh! The Olmsted Brothers are rolling in their graves…

  • Chet June 30, 2012 (1:44 pm)

    Do not think posting here or saying you are against this is enough. This company makes their living by destroying local habitats and installing their amusement park ride.

    Writing them is useless. They have a long history of not caring about nature and wildlife.

    Read this.

    This is good advice. We must write and be clear to our officials – this cannot happen.

  • Melanie June 30, 2012 (1:50 pm)

    I have never seen so many comments on the blog before. It is a great thing that we all agree on this. I hope the attendance at the meeting on 7/18 is as overwhelming. The presence at that meeting will outweigh all the e mails. Thank you to all of you who have responded.

  • Pat June 30, 2012 (2:32 pm)

    Chet, that’s a great website you found. Here’s another one from Australia, where the group that formed to oppose Go Ape issued a point-by-point rebuttal of the company’s report:
    This Go Ape company makes $16.5 million a year, much of it from converting treasured public parks around the world to expensive commercial amusement sites. They stand to earn potentially over $1 million more per year from damaging our park so that a thousand people a week (= 12,000 screaming, shouting people in the trees over three summer months) can pay them to use our land. It’s disgraceful that this is even being considered.

  • PK June 30, 2012 (2:58 pm)

    Worst suggestion for use of public park facilities I’ve heard of in a long, long time. Why turn an already overused refuge into a for-profit yahoo amusement park?

  • Trileigh June 30, 2012 (3:08 pm)

    For those wanting more background information, here is Lincoln Park’s official Vegetation Management Plan:
    Among other things, its goals include:
    • “Reduce user-caused adverse impacts to native vegetation, including compaction, trampling, dispersal of weeds and spread of soil pathogens,
    • Expand habitat by linking forested patches and reducing fragmentation caused by informal paths,
    • Discourage off-trail movement, through improved trail system signage, public education and selective elimination of social trails.”
    And here is Seattle Parks and Rec’s official Public Involvement Plan:
    Policy stated in the PIP is:
    • “To invite and encourage direct public involvement in its planning efforts and in
    the review of its funded capital projects and any proposal that would, in the
    judgment of the Superintendent, substantially modify the property’s use or
    • To provide early and thorough notification of proposals and projects, through a variety of means, to users, user groups, neighborhoods, neighborhood groups, and other interested people.
    • When possible, to invite the community’s ideas, e.g., for a park design or a site
    for a new activity, rather than to present a list of options or a proposed design.
    • To complete the process by notifying involved and interested people and groups
    of final decisions, the impact of their input on those decisions, and the reasons for
    I hope we can hear from the City why these policies seem to have been violated in this case.

  • AtotheK June 30, 2012 (3:59 pm)

    A zip line in Lincoln Park! Maybe they could put a roller coaster, and elephant rides, and a Gravitron, too. You’ve got to be kidding me! This idea is absolutely ridiculous. “The only noise produced at Go Ape are the sounds of families and friends enjoying the treetop adventure trail experience.” Yeah, right.

  • zephyr June 30, 2012 (5:45 pm)

    Thanks to all of you who are researching and investigating this proposal. Those recent posts by Chet, Pat & Trileigh were very interesting.
    This one YouTube video demonstrates well the sound of the zip line and the shouts of the participants/onlookers.

    Here’s an interesting comment from someone in Rivington, a small village in the Lancashire, England: What they have done in Rivington has been a complete and utter disgrace.They couldnt 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.

    Hmmm…without proper public consultation. Sounds disturbingly familiar. ~z

  • Mary Twomey June 30, 2012 (7:01 pm)

    What a horrid idea! Lincoln Park is one of the few serene, majestic settings to take a walk in Seattle. What about the eagles and owls?

  • cj June 30, 2012 (9:01 pm)

    This is absolute BS! The park belongs to the public not to some point man at P&R looking to make money on the side. I have watched Lincoln Park decay over the 10 yrs I have known it from poor tree management that disregards the geology of the area to thinning out the trees for sports improvements and every weekend now much of it smells like a giant smoke pit from too many BBQs going all at once. And now they want a partner for profit to a chain and rope business that will likely destroy trees and hurt humans and animals. I go to Lincoln Park for my health [like a lot of people] When its not smoky I can breathe there. Can we please stop with the step by step destruction for profit of West Seattle? Also whats with this them keeping it to them selves for a year considering it with out our input?

  • Sonoma June 30, 2012 (11:36 pm)

    So the city is whoring itself out for a cheap monetary infusion? Awful idea. What’s next, Disney characters roaming the woods. What can we do to stop this idiocy?

  • dcn July 1, 2012 (12:16 am)

    I’ve done some Googling, and for those of you who think this is a proposal that can be easily stopped, it looks like Go Ape has a history of working with local governments to keep the public unaware until the planning process is well underway. Check out these two sites for two parks in the UK:
    There is a comment in there about the city council keeping quiet on the Go Ape plan. I don’t know if this zipline has been built.
    Here’s the other:
    This story sounds so much like Lincoln Park, it’s a little scary, especially since the people were unable to stop the zipline in a “public park that was gifted to the people of the city.” The people there were kept in the dark until it was too late.
    Hopefully it is not too late to stop it here. We need a large, organized, and persistent group to fight this.

  • Nick July 1, 2012 (12:49 am)

    It’s a terrible idea. The tragedy of the Olmstead parks is that they are theaters designed to look like wilderness or countryside. Some people see them and enjoy the respite from the noise and crowding of the city. Others see the empty space and think it can be improved with skating rinks and baseball fields and restaurants and wider roads and museums. In the process they destroy the original park experience.
    To add insult to injury,$65K a year is trivial income for the devastation caused. Are they announcing how much profit the company will make?

  • wswildlife July 1, 2012 (9:17 am)

    Are you kidding me?

    Why is the City even considering this? Lincoln Park is one of the last beautiful, natural settings in Seattle enjoyed by everyone. All kinds of wildlife will certainly be displaced. Certainly the eagles and owls will leave.

    Someone at the City must not be able to understand what their own policy means. The Parks’ Partnership Policy clearly states the following:

    3.2.8 – The proposed activity should not adversely impact Parks’ facilities or parkland, including wildlife habitat.

    Parks needs to follow their own policies, not ignore them. I VOTE NO.

  • dsa July 1, 2012 (9:23 am)

    I’m getting very nervous that I don’t recall seeing any mention against this from any public official elected or otherwise.

    • WSB July 1, 2012 (11:07 am)

      DSA – Re: public officials … I quote a Parks spokesperson, and that spokesperson’s job is not to say yay or nay about anything – it’s the communications/media relations office. The person who is in charge of partnerships, aka the point person on this project, is out until the week after the holiday. So, I learned, is the councilmember who leads the Parks Committee, Sally Bagshaw. There are others I’m going to be trying to reach tomorrow but realistically, I don’t know who is going to be reachable. Otherwise, the question is what officials outside the Parks administrative people working on this had heard about it previously at all. The Bagshaw staffer who replied to my note said she herself hadn’t heard anything about it previously. P.S. If anyone who has sent e-mail or called HAS received a response, you are welcome to share it with us for our followup if you want – – TR

  • The Velvet Bulldog July 1, 2012 (9:51 am)

    It may be of some concern if the installation goes through, or comes near an eagle’s nest. Although Bald Eagles are no longer endangered, they are still subject to laws against disturbance. I’ve been trying to find some info about protections, but it seems like it’s situational as to whether someone can get a permit to “take” an eagle–or disturb a nest.

    Here’s what I’ve come across, if you’re a better online researcher than I and can find more direct info, please do share!

    US Fish & Wildlife Service:

    WA Dept of Fish and Wildlife:

  • Wetone July 1, 2012 (10:29 am)

    Another bad idea from our parks department and the city of seattle. I guarantee that the parks department and city would spend a lot more than 40-65K a year just in damage done by this and insurance they would have to carry. Why don’t they go to Discovery Park ? if they want something in city. Much better area and parking for this sort of thing. Parks Department and City of Seattle’s new motto (Spend a lot get little) they will just raise taxes or find another road to toll to make up for their bad decisions any how. Go Seattle

  • Sylvia Hoffmeyer July 1, 2012 (10:46 am)

    I’m appalled. If there’s an effort to stop this, count me in. After walking in the pristine beauty of the park for 50+ years, refurbishing a bench to honor the memory of my parents who first took me walking there as a little girl and taught me to love and respect nature. It makes me sick.

    It’s a lot of work to organize an effort to stop something like this. I’m happy to help do that.
    The first step Monday a.m. is a call to the mayor’s office. Gee, how did Seattle get a reputation as an environmentally conscious city. Seems more like a disposable amusement park culture to me.

  • The Velvet Bulldog July 1, 2012 (11:38 am)

    Just sent an email to the contact names provided by Tracy, I’ll let you know if/when I get a response.

  • dsa July 1, 2012 (12:04 pm)

    Thanks WSB, but they are all up for election at some point and I do not want to hear from any one of them later “gee I wish we could have done something about that zip line”. I believe some of them whether they are responsible in the chain of command for approving this thing or not should step forward and voice their disapproval now.

    • WSB July 1, 2012 (2:41 pm)

      Thank you, Brian. I’ll write a shorter separate story about that today to precede tomorrow’s followup, and will add it to the body of this one too. – TR

  • Trileigh July 1, 2012 (4:08 pm)

    I just got back from a walk around the proposed Go Ape commercial area, where I heard eagles, Swainson’s thrushes, Cooper’s hawks, nuthatches, chickadees, towhees, robins, and a host of other forest birds. I invite every WSB reader to do the same. You can use the map in Tracy’s article to find the approximate perimeter.
    While you’re walking, imagine that instead of any of those sounds, all you can hear is people screaming and yelling (and swearing, according to a Go Ape neighbor mentioned in one of the links given by a poster above). No birds…and no silence. All day, every single day, for months at a time.
    And the central location of the proposed commercial area means that it will affect an immense portion of the park, so the “sound envelope” of the commercial facility will be huge.

    We should all “like” the Facebook page that Brian set up, and thanks to him we can use that page as well as this one for discussion and sharing links and photos.

  • smith July 1, 2012 (5:35 pm)

    I am sure that no one will ever die while drunkenly accessing the equipment in the middle of the night with bolt cutters and an extension ladder because that stuff never happens.

  • Trileigh July 1, 2012 (6:29 pm)

    Here is the (very hard to find) link to the City’s Use Management Guidelines for Lincoln Park:
    These guidelines state that “Permitted concession activity in Lincoln Park is limited to food vending.” I looked up the City’s definition of ‘concession’ to see whether it applies to the zipline-type operation:
    “5.2 Concession – Any commercial activity in a park that is deemed to be compatible by the Superintendent or his appointed designee with a normal park use for which the right to engage therein has been permitted by a special Department contract.”
    Also, from the City’s general Use Management Guidelines for all city parks:
    “4.3.2 The Department will discourage noisy or otherwise offensive activities which could significantly disturb the recreational enjoyment or threaten the health and safety of other park users. ”
    So it looks to me as if, per existing official guidelines, this use does not fall within the permitted types of activities in Lincoln Park.

  • miws July 1, 2012 (6:39 pm)

    Thank you, Brian!



  • Tracy July 1, 2012 (7:02 pm)

    No, no, no, reference all the other NO’S. Absolutely NEVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • wssinglemom July 1, 2012 (9:07 pm)

    No! No! No! I am new to this area and my son and I have fallen in love with Lincoln Park. Please don’t destroy it. People of all economic backgrounds use this park and appreciate it. Please no.

  • K July 1, 2012 (11:22 pm)


  • Lisa July 1, 2012 (11:39 pm)

    This is a bad, bad idea. How dare the parks dept try to advance discussions so far prior to the public notice. How dare the parks dept go against their own policies. As someone else mentioned…. For profit companies need to find for profit land.

    This will destroy habitat. No,no,no!

  • C July 2, 2012 (9:07 am)

    No. Absolutely not. This would not only ruin the park but it would set a horrible precedent. Woodland Park would be next, then Discovery Park, Jefferson, Magnuson, and so on.

  • Melanie July 2, 2012 (9:23 am)

    “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead.

  • Pam July 2, 2012 (11:54 am)

    NO WAY – I enjoy walking through Lincoln Park and only hearing the birds and and the wind in he TREES – I would gladly pay to park for the weekly visits that I go there with the dogs. It will not only spook our native animals but also the dogs that we walk in the park. I would love to participate in a petition to STOP any type of development such as this at the park. Can we make that happen? I am happy to draw one up and get 15 people to start collecting signatures. This should NOT happen!

  • B-squared July 2, 2012 (12:56 pm)

    Wow. This is such a bad idea for so many reasons – most of which have been mentioned above. I plan to send my thoughts on this to the contacts previously mentioned, and to attend whatever planning meetings/opposition rallies that occur. This must be stopped!!

  • Melanie July 2, 2012 (2:05 pm)

    I think it might be a good idea to have a walkthrough of the area before the 7/18 meeting. Anyone with concerns that isn’t familiar with the site might benefit. In particular we should invite Tom Rasmussen and Mayor McGinn.

  • Melanie July 2, 2012 (2:41 pm)

    I hate to be a pest but I was just thinking. In the brochure it shows and small sort of low wooden fence around the facility. We all know that won’t keep the crazies out at night. What does the real fence around it look like?

    • WSB July 2, 2012 (2:51 pm)

      I am compiling photo links from various online sources for the next story. Obviously most folks posting photos online post what they are doing up in the trees, rather than the fences in the ground. Here’s one fence photo from a course in the UK:

  • VBD July 2, 2012 (2:51 pm)

    For those who say this would be fun…. did you even watch the video?? It looks completely lame. They are maybe 10 feet up, and one of the zip-lines shown was shorter than the one currently in the playground. Boring.

    Also note that the video shows a very open forest with little ground cover, brush, or lower branches. The area of the park identified on the map is very dense, and would have to be thinned significantly to accommodate all the stuff. The notion that the impact to the park could be minimized is completely false. Such a construction would be horrible for the area.

    I don’t understand why these sorts of activities are restricted to natural places. Why not urban zip lines? It would be awesome to zip above Columbia street from I-5 to 99!! Or maybe from the top of one stadium to another. Heck, with the new basketball arena deal, why not build it in and sell it as another benefit of locating it in over-crowded SODO?

  • Trileigh July 2, 2012 (4:47 pm)

    Thanks to Tracy’s excellent work, there’s now a Seattle Times reporter who would like to speak to us concerned citizens about this proposed for-profit commercial operation in our park. His name is Javier Panzar, email, phone (desk) 206.464.2253; (cell) 510.421.1386. Please feel free to contact him.

    • WSB July 2, 2012 (4:48 pm)

      Also please note that I have *finally* just gotten answers to some new questions I had for Parks so today’s followup will be published sometime tonight – check back.
      (make that Tuesday morning …)

  • Denise July 2, 2012 (7:02 pm)

    I think the video by GoApe is misleading. It is a training they are showing…much smaller and less invasive then the actual installation would be. Take a look at some of the links to existing ziplines. They are much more intrusive. And all the soft music and talk about the environment on the video…very slick, but nothing like the reality would be.

  • bettytheyeti July 2, 2012 (9:28 pm)

    @Melanie, thanks for encouraging words!

  • Elaine July 3, 2012 (12:30 am)

    People, what’s next? This proposal should indeed be taken seriously, in light of the City’s quiet approach. I am appalled that this idea has even been considered for our precious section of Lincoln Park that hasn’t already been developed for some sort of activity. Why do we feel what is there already “isn’t enough”? This is not an appropriate use of ANY of our local parks, not just Lincoln. I value all of our parks as natural gems, and links to our sanity in a fast growing, crowded city. Find your adrenalin another way. I am all for creative thinking, but this idea is all about money, and we need to stop selling the soul of Seattle for a quick profit. Besides, anyone who has ever experienced a real zip line would realize that Lincoln does not have the terrain for a thrilling ride. If this happens, we will lose our (somewhat) quiet woods to a parade of squealers, hour after hour, with the annoying buzz of the zip line announcing their coming and going overhead for quite a distance. When I rode one in Costa Rica, which does have the terrain for it, I noticed no birds, and no animals in the area of the 16 stations. Hmmmm, wonder why? That there would be minimal impact is laughable, if it weren’t so frightening that this has even a chance of happening. We gotta stop it before it’s too late.

  • Rick July 3, 2012 (5:40 am)

    Put in some bicycle racks and it’s a done deal!

  • Denise July 3, 2012 (7:10 am)

    Elaine – (and everyone)
    check the Facebook page for additional details about organizing an opposition.

  • Trileigh July 3, 2012 (10:57 am)

    Everyone – this is short notice, but the Seattle Times is sending a photographer out TODAY (Tues July 3) at 1:00 to take a tour of the threatened area. She’ll meet us at the central parking lot. I know most folks won’t be able to make it, but if you are able, it would be great if many of us could take the time to come. Bring your stories of wonderful observations in the park!

  • Curiouser July 3, 2012 (11:35 am)

    Birds and critters belong in trees, not people. This commercial activity belongs in some place like Wild Waves, not in Seattle Parks. Even though they say they would indemnify the city of any liability, what happens if a death or serious occurs? From the Go Ape’s web site:

    Is it safe?
    This is the serious part! Go Ape courses are substantial and physically testing treetop adventure courses, which feature various ziplines and obstacles. There is inevitably a risk of injury when undertaking such activities. Participants will be responsible for attaching themselves to the safety system. If you do not attach yourself to the safety system you risk falling, which could result in a serious or fatal injury.

    (I notice they don’t say anything about braking systems.) Liability issues aside, they just don’t belong in our parks. Period.

  • Suzy July 3, 2012 (12:18 pm)

    No! More noise, cars, and less access to the park if you are unwilling to pay a fee and use their zipline. No, thank you. I love Lincoln Park and we picnic there frequently in the summer and walk our dog there year round.

  • Ryan July 3, 2012 (12:45 pm)

    Zipline courses are a major source of entertainment and bring people to beautiful parks all over the world. Why can’t we do that here? Yes, the insurance may be a hinderance and park traffic will increase, but why not take steps to draw people to the outdoors any way possible?
    People who simply don’t want change, try to roll with the punches. Zipline courses are not invasive and act as gateways and magnifying glasses to our outdoor lifestyle.

  • Curiouser July 3, 2012 (12:50 pm)

    Make them provide separate parking for their enterprise!

  • jvc July 3, 2012 (12:57 pm)

    Thank you WSB for your thorough research on this project. I, for one, love the thrill of a zip line! However, Lincon Park is not the appropriate setting. The zip line would disrupt the serenity of the park, upset the wildlife and foliage not to mention the impact on the ferry traffic and parking. NO to Go Ape at Lincoln Park!

  • Thistlemist July 3, 2012 (1:09 pm)

    I have been on two Zipline courses in Costa Rica and frankly, they are not gateways or magnifying glasses to outdoor lifestyles. They are thrill rides. Last thing I was thinking of was the amazing wildlife or flora around me. The real gateway that happens is three to four miles away, where biologist and naturalist take you on guided walkway tours (in the trees on built bridges) with binoculars and encourage as little disturbance as possible. The one pays for the other, but please remember, these are 6,000+ acre preserves that had previously been threatened with all sorts of high impact development, thus, the compromise of income to preservation. The area where the Lake Tahoe Go Ape line went in is vastly different from Lincoln Park. It was surplus land not accessible to the general public that had been logged on many previous occasions. I am in no way against ziplines. I participate in recreation activities that have impacts (dune buggy, snow mobile, skiing) that some find contentious. I feel there is a balance to land use, a time and place for everything. This proposal is just too much for the park and neighborhood. Getting people outside and in a park at any cost is not a sound management ideal for public land (in that case we might as well let four-wheeler’s into the Yosemite Valley).

  • Kerry July 3, 2012 (1:27 pm)

    This is a terrible idea. We can’t let this happen to our beautiful park. I want my children to learn how to appreciate nature for the wonder that it is. I don’t want them to think they going to parks and exploring nature means shoveling loads of money for a few minutes of pleasure. There are countless other more appropriate places for a zipline, Lincoln Park is not one of them.

  • Amy July 3, 2012 (7:26 pm)

    Alki is already a zoo during the summertime – let us have a beautiful peaceful place to enjoy our gorgeous area! No. And, I completely agree with Kerry above. My kid loves Lincoln Park AS IT IS.

  • nmf July 3, 2012 (7:38 pm)

    I don’t really like this idea either, but isn’t it rather odd that a company from the UK is the contractor? Why couldn’t a local company do it?

  • Carol July 4, 2012 (11:09 am)

    Here’s a story about a zip line death in Hawaii:

    Just something else to consider ;-)

  • Lauren July 7, 2012 (6:16 pm)

    I started a facebook group (complete with events, etc.) for those of us who are opposed to it to join together to stop this. Please join.

  • boooooo July 7, 2012 (11:32 pm)

    This is terrible! I want my kids to experience the wonder of nature like man-made pools, parking lots and picnic tables; these things should be preserved! The only way to enjoy nature is by being on the ground NOT in the air. And lest we forget, anything that is for-profit is bad. I really don’t see how something I’m not interested in could or should be enjoyed by anyone else. Keep your fun out of my park, HMPH.

  • Lisa Plymate July 7, 2012 (11:49 pm)

    We are not even allowed to walk our dog on Seattle public park beaches, since they might disturb the wildlife, particularly the birds, as I understand it – yet the same park district that posts this rule is planning to put a privately-run zipline in Lincoln Park?! Appalling!!!
    I live a block from the park and walk in it every day (with my leashed dog). Seattle needs havens for respite like this park. And forget your leash and poop laws, if you allow a zipline in our park!

  • boooooo July 7, 2012 (11:52 pm)

    sweet facebook page!

    “Non-union private for-profit companies erode workers’ rights for all.”

    Contact info REI. Lol, you make all that camping gear yourself?

  • Ginger Michelsons July 8, 2012 (1:45 pm)

    I agree with all the reasons stated by fellow citizens for the ridiculous idea of a carnival ride in Lincoln Park.
    Maybe its time to shed light on who is making these decisions behind the public knowledge. It’s absurd and I will be at the meeting.
    I hope all West Seattle residents will protect their magnificent park

  • Gavin Layton July 10, 2012 (9:02 am)

    Ziplining sounds like fun, and I’ll probably try it some day, though the video from the link above to canopytoursnorthwest was so boring I nearly nodded off – and that was a sales tool.

    I like the idea of putting a zipline down by the Ferris Wheel. Better, in fact, would be to run a zipline above – and following – the track of the monorail. That would ROCK. Shop at Westlake and then “zip” over to the Space Needle…. The Space Needle, hmmmmmm, how about a zipline from the Space Needle to the UW – and one to Alki too? Or from the Columbia Tower to Winslow. Imagine the benefits! This may be the public transportation fix we’ve been looking for!

    The thinking here is way too small. Why should a zip line mess up a perfectly good forest? Put it someplace where you can SEE something. A nine-acre circle in Lincoln Park? ZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzppp – SNORK! ACK!

  • r u kiddnme? July 10, 2012 (4:01 pm)

    What the eff is the matter w our city government? Who in their right minds would even consider something so wrong?

  • Shelley July 11, 2012 (10:07 am)

    Today I watched a pair if Bald Eagles near me in Lincoln Park and I cried. They will move from this park with the noise and disturbances from a Zipline. This is a natural city Park; not an amusement park. Parks Department needs to work to come up with other ideas for their budget. Review your Parks Mission statement!!!

  • Alice Larson July 11, 2012 (11:31 am)

    I was told in a phone converstion this morning with the Seattle City Council offices, that they have CANCELLED this proposal !! Official announcement to come..’soon’…

    • WSB July 11, 2012 (11:35 am)

      And after hearing that rumor two hours ago, we have called/e-mailed everyone we could think of, and no comment yet … TR

Sorry, comment time is over.