Twelve years of Forest Restoration at Hamlin Park and volunteers still welcome

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Volunteers of all ages helped with the 2011 forest restoration project

By Oliver Moffat

November 2023 marks twelve years of volunteer forest-restoration work in Hamlin Park. In 2011 EarthCorps and neighborhood volunteers restored a quarter acre of the forest understory. Volunteer-led forest restoration work continues today with work parties managed by the Green Shoreline Partnership.

In 2007, the city of Shoreline hired Seattle Urban Nature (who would later change their name to EarthCorps) to study the ecology of Hamlin Park. 

The study found that approximately 15 acres throughout the forest of Hamlin Park were devoid of understory vegetation. Experimental test plots found the causes were likely poor soil pH, trampling by visitors, and sandy soils lacking coarse woody debris to retain moisture. 

Twelve years after the EarthCorp restoration project, the understory inside the exclosure is vibrant and alive with a diverse understory of native plants. 
EarthCorps recommended that new restoration efforts be fenced off with an exclosure wherever possible to protect plant installations from trampling and other disturbances.

Based on learnings from these studies, the City of Shoreline hired EarthCorps to restore the quarter-acre site located at the top of the hill above the playground. 

In November of 2011, EarthCorps recruited volunteers from the neighborhood to plant more than 3,400 native species (3,207 ground-covers, 139 shrubs, and 60 trees) in the quarter-acre area. Volunteers of all ages helped with the planting, and a fence was installed around the project area to protect it.

The remnants of the fence still stand at the site above the playground. As you walk the perimeter of the exclosure, you notice the contrast between the green and vibrant understory within the exclosure, and the lack of vegetation in the surrounding areas.

Volunteers can help plant native trees, shrubs and groundcovers
on Green Shoreline Day, Saturday, December 2nd

In 2017, a volunteer-led stewardship team started working to restore the forest at the north end of the park. The eight acre parcel at the north end of the park was donated to King County in 1939 and developed into ballfields with resources from the WPA. 

After the ballfields were abandoned nearly twenty years ago, the site became overrun with noxious weeds such as Scotch broom and Himalayan blackberry. With regular volunteer work parties, the community has restored a half acre of the site and are in the process of restoring another half acre.

Stewards will be hosting work parties at parks across the city on Green Shoreline Day, Saturday, December 2, 2023. 

The Hamlin crew will have more than 300 native trees, shrubs and groundcovers to plant across a half acre site. Neighbors interested in participating can find more information and sign up online HERE


Anonymous,  November 15, 2023 at 12:25 PM  

The part on the north end of Hamlin Park was purchased from Seattle Public Utilities by the City of Shoreline, it was not part of the King County park transferred to the City of Shoreline when it was incorporated.

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