Exploring our parks: Blue Heron Park in Lake Forest Park

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Photo by Mary Jo Heller
By Mary Jo Heller

A word about the parks of Lake Forest Park and Shoreline: this is not an attempt at history, really. That you can find that on either city’s website. It is just a look at what is in a park, and why you would want to go. Parks are a major part of being a city and should be used. First you have to know they’re there.

I had been to Third Place Books, the Starbucks on Bothell Way, and even biked along the Burke Gilman, but was unaware of Blue Heron Park, tucked away across the street from Starbucks. 

Photo by Mary Jo Heller
This is another Lake Forest Park "pocket park," with four parking spaces - and a concrete bike rack that fits with the theme of the park, but isn't very useful. This seemingly new park was created from the 1989 King County Open Space Bond, although it looks as though it has recently been updated. 

The bark and plantings look new, and the logs that seem as though they have fallen along the path are actually "strewn" about the plantings to make it seem more natural. It works. 

Photo by Mary Jo Heller
This half acre is a great setting with several recycled material benches to sit and watch nature hidden away from Lake City Way, just a block away. There are signs explaining this endeavor toward stewardship: the chemical free nature of the park, the salmon spawning, even the recycled benches. 

McAleer Creek in Blue Heron.
Photo by Mary Jo Heller
McAleer Creek runs through here too, as it does in several other parks, and salmon have been seen from the bridge. The signs say that blue herons have been seen here too along the creek, although they weren't fishing today. The creek is clearly visible, and the bridge that runs across it is quite fun. The bright yellow disks make you smile as you walk along. Eyes onto the creek? Mod yellow leaves?

Path to meadow
Photo by Mary Jo Heller
Entering through a tunnel of trees, you will find another short path to a meadow area. It seems as through elves might have pointed out that way and then run ahead and out the other path from the meadow. Just enough room for a few children to play, (about 40 X 40) this is not a large enough space to even throw a frisbee. On a nice sunny day, however, just sitting on the grass surrounded by trees on all sides is tranquil enough.

The new Blue Heron Bridge.
Photo by Mary Jo Heller
Come across the Burke Gilman on your bike, grab a Starbucks, and sit and relax. Stay long enough to see if the herons might land, looking for food. This is nesting season, though, so if you drove and brought a dog, it might be best to leave her in the car. We looked up but didn't see any nests; then again, we are awfully close to the road.

You won't find many other spectators with so few parking places, although it is ADA accessible. This park is also great as a biking destination. As with the other parks in Lake Forest Park I've visited, there are no bathroom facilities.

The city of Lake Forest Park has info on the park here.

And if you are intrigued by blue herons, there are many great sites and YouTube videos.

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