Field Notes: Now that’s local!

30-foot logs from a Douglas Fir removed from Lakewood Park for safety reasons
One Douglas fir produced these 30-foot logs

During this time of being thankful and reflecting on what we love and value, it should come as no surprise that we here at King County Parks love the trees in our “big backyard.”

And our resourceful staff have found ways for the trees in our parks to keep on giving, even after they’re no longer standing.

Here’s a recent example:

Back in 2011, as part of the construction of Technology Access Foundation’s amazing new Bethaday Community Learning Space in Lakewood Park, our arborist, Troy, evaluated the trees near where the building was being built to make sure they were all healthy. He found one 80-foot-tall Douglas fir that was diseased and recommended removing it before it posed a safety risk. Although it was sick, this beauty of a tree was kind enough to yield two 30-foot logs, which our skilled Backcountry Trails Crew sawed in half and prepped for future use.

Lakewood Park bridge
Lakewood Park bridge

Well, over the past year, that one tree led to not only one trail bridge, but to THREE!

The first bridge is in Lakewood Park, the very park from which the tree came. Built by the staff that takes care of the parks in the unincorporated White Center, Skyway, and Renton areas, the 30-foot-long bridge spans what was a steep crossing over a creek, making it safe and accessible for people and eliminating potential damage to the creek bed.

Maplewood Park salvaged wood bridge in progress
Maplewood Park salvaged wood bridge in progress

The second bridge is in the 45-acre Maplewood Park near Renton and covers a small creek that was proving difficult to cross. In addition to using wood from that big ol’ Doug fir, staff used our portable wood mill and salvaged trees that had blown down in a storm. So that means they didn’t need to use any new wood to build this 22-foot bridge!

You can find the third bridge at White Center Heights Park. The 15-foot-long span connects to the park’s natural area, and once again, thanks to our crafty field staff, the wood for this bridge came from that big Doug fir and other salvaged trees.

One more salvaged-wood bridge, White Center Heights Park
One more salvaged-wood bridge, White Center Heights Park

So the spirit of that one tree now lives on in three nearby parks, demonstrating the true meaning of “locally-sourced” wood! Thank you, dear Doug Fir, thank you.

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