UW Community Gathers to Celebrate the Completion of the Yesler Swamp Boardwalk

Fred Hoffer, Zac Mallon, and Kat Cerny-Chipman by entrance to Yesler Swamp
Donna Rodger
Fred Hoffer, Zac Mallon, and Kat Cerny-Chipman by entrance to Yesler Swamp

Despite the damp conditions, the UW community gathered on Sunday, October 16, with family, friends, and neighbors to celebrate the opening of the Yesler Swamp boardwalk. Construction of the ADA-accessible boardwalk began in 2010 and was completed this summer, allowing visitors to enjoy a peaceful and dry walk through the swamp. The 6.4-acre Yesler Swamp provides some of the last remaining swamp habitat on Lake Washington. Wildlife enthusiasts can find over 100 species of birds, as well as a beaver lodge, amphibians and fish. Yesler swamp has recently been recognized in the Seattle Times and UW Today.

Fred Hoyt, Interim Director of UW Botanic Gardens, Lisa Graumlich, Dean of the College of the Environment, and Carol Arnold of the Friends of Yesler Swamp spoke at the ceremony. All three noted the dedicated work of the many stakeholders in the project and the benefits of providing the boardwalk as an asset to students and the greater community. The project came to fruition from the hard work of a diverse group of stakeholders. These included UW Botanic Gardens faculty, staff, and students, the Friends of Yesler Swamp, the Washington Conservation Corps, and hundreds of volunteers. Funding for the boardwalk was made possible with grants from the City of Seattle Department of Neighborhoods, King Conservation District, the Peach Foundation, Seattle Parks Foundation, the Stimson Bullitt Park Excellence Fund, and private donors. In all nearly $500,000 was raised to complete the project.

After the kudos and toasts had been given, professor Kern Ewing led guests on a tour of the swamp. Kern has led UW Restoration Ecology Network Capstone student groups in restoring the swamp since 2000. Willow and other native species plantings have transformed the former sea of reed canarygrass and blackberry to the forested wetland it is today. In the bustle and daily grind of life in Seattle, Yesler Swamp provides an easily accessible quiet and serene escape. Yesler Swamp is located at the east end of the Center for Urban Horticulture; it is free and open to the public.

Photo gallery from opening celebration:

Photos by Donna Rodger