Lake Forest Park – “We’re Living the Dream!”

Friday, June 15, 2018

Official ribbon cutting for 5 Acre Woods
Photo courtesy City of Lake Forest Park

By Donna Hawkey

The Lake Forest Park Stewardship Foundation (LFPSF) held a ribbon cutting ceremony at 5 Acre Woods on Saturday, June 9th, in partnership with the City, and handed Deputy Mayor Catherine Stanford a giant $100,000 check from residents!

5 Acre Woods is now an official City park with almost 90% of the total purchase price of $1 million secured; the remaining gap still needs funding by November 2018.

Julian Andersen, President Lake Forest Park Stewardship Foundation, said that while LFP is “living the dream,” he noted that this dream has come true with the help of many.

Deputy Mayor Catherine Stanford and councilmembers
thank the 46th district delegation
Photo by Gary Hawkey

Generous residents made substantial contributions and they are very thankful for that. The support of the 46th District Legislators was also a key factor, and Mayor Deputy Catherine Stanford remarked how lucky the citizens of Lake Forest Park are to have these very supportive elected officials for the 5 Acre Woods project, and also for the many ways they have stepped forward to support other LFP City needs. She stated that this is a hard-working delegation, and further acknowledged the 5 Acre Woods champion efforts made by LFP Councilmember Mark Phillips. 

Besides resident contributions, the purchase price was largely secured – more than 50% of it - through State and the King County Conservation Futures grants. Julian Andersen from LFPSF noted that we thank all the taxpayers of King County for this. 5 Acre Woods belongs to more than the residents of Lake Forest Park – it's a regional asset.

The LFP Stewardship Foundation led the fundraising drive
Photo by Gary Hawkins
 

A recent Tulalip Tribe grant helped to realize that fact, too. Lake Forest Park is also about historic efforts to return the salmon to its streams in higher numbers. These streams run throughout the City and 5 Acre Woods; together residents and educators have been dedicated to preserving them.

Seattle City Light previously owned 5 Acre Woods as surplus land. It was the last undeveloped parcel left in Lake Forest Park and contains a large wildlife corridor that is now protected.

Julian Andersen noted that the Lake Forest Park Stewardship Foundation consistently hears through polls that the residents care most about “being in nature, the trees, and the community. Those are the high values that this project represents,” said Julian. 

Many organizations held employee work days in the park
Photo by Polly Saunders

5 Acre Woods purchase has been diligently led by LFPSF board member, Natalie-Pascale Boisseau. Natalie-Pascale described to residents what keeps her motivated to pursue the strong and steady effort that accomplished the purchase. She said in her usual warm and sincere way, “It’s because you all keep showing up.”

In a City budget primarily made up of property taxes to support its many services, public parks are a bit of luxury. There is a need for residents to step forward and help create and preserve such treasures. This is one big show of residents stepping forward for sure. The LFP Stewardship Foundation had done it before with the purchase of Grace Cole Park which was a model for the 5 Acre Wood City partnership.

With the crush of new development, it is a gift of foresight that was greater than what was known four years ago when the project to purchase 5 Acre Woods began. The land has sensitive areas that cannot be built upon or accessed except by the diverse wildlife living there. It was in jeopardy of partial development that could have disturbed the natural balance that has been untouched for over 40 years.

The achievements of project lead Natalie-Pascale and the entire Stewardship Foundation is what they have done so well in the past – they get the citizens a big win! Many thousands of volunteer hours went into making this purchase of a forest a reality.

Deputy Mayor Stanford holds a photo of volunteers
who worked in the park
Both photos by Gary Hawkey
 
The volume of work added for all the new development and Sound Transit planning also consumes City staff and City Council. However, Mayor Jeff Johnson and the City Council saw the strength of the project and its value to the citizens and were able to offer help in areas where City staff were needed to support the Stewardship Foundation officially. An example of an all-community run non-profit and City government coming together in an innovative partnership!

Residents’ financial help and follow-through are also something that received the attention of LFP City Councilmembers and Senator David Frockt, Representative Gerry Pollet, and Representative Javier Valdez. When residents open up their own pockets and help to build the community too, City officials take notice.

Fundraising is still needed to make 5 Acre Woods into the kind of park and environmental education program necessary for helping to maintain the legacy of Lake Forest Parks’ natural and diverse eco-system. The City will continue to seek other grants for future park development.

Support the LFP Stewardship Foundation in any way you can. If you can’t help close the funding gap, then try to come on out and give a hand during a call for the many monthly workgroup opportunities.

Or a thoughtful last minute Father’s Day gift for that nature loving dad, could be a pledge in time or money to 5 Acre Woods Close the Gap Fund!

Windermere Northlake volunteers blaze a trail
Photo by Polly Saunders
1,000 volunteer hours by 200 individuals have been logged in since January in clearing ivy and creating trails. It’s a lot of work, so many hands make it lighter, and there is always a big smile on someone’s face there to greet you, and usually donated hot coffee and other treats, too.

Honey Bear Bakery has been a long time supporter and provided coffee and treats for this second year.

Also, there has been an increase in organizations such as the Boeing Company, Windermere Northlake, Davido Consulting, Liberty Mutual Insurance, Bastyr University, and the Scouts, scheduling trail-making workgroup and team building events at the site. These kinds of events help solidify and strengthen employee team building – some employees are just meeting for the first time - and say they are having fun!

If you work for an organization that supports volunteer programs and you would like to organize a workgroup date, contact Polly Saunders who is the 5 Acre Woods restoration lead - polly@the saunders.net.

The giant work effort continues and will leave a legacy - about many citizens who make a positive difference - and that is a good thing for all! Please join them, support them and thank them!

To contribute to help close the over 10% fundraising gap, and also to discover more about the over 20-year old Lake Forest Park Stewardship Foundation.

5 Acre Woods is located at the 1900 block of 40th Place NE in Lake Forest Park.



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