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Over the years various Forest Stewards have worked together and individually on numerous sections along the Burke-Gilman Trail and in adjacent areas.  Each section has a different "flavor" in terms of the current and historical development along it, the vegetation that existed along it, existing exposure to sun and soil types and other factors that influence how restoration is carried out and what is planted. 

The greening of the Burke-Gilman Trail at Sand Point is creating a more pleasant forest walk, run or bicycle ride for the many people who travel the trail. Increasing the number and variety of native trees and shrubs improves the habitat attracting birds, bats, insects, and perhaps small mammals.  At a much broader level added vegetation will help in the effort to slow global warming by sequestering carbon.

History of the Friends

The Friends of the Burke-Gilman Trail at Sand Point (FBGT @ SP) organization was set up early in 2007. The Center for Spiritual Living (CSL) had cut down a number of mature trees in February to make room for their new sanctuary and expanded parking lot. The building and cars were going to be very close to the trail so the only way to ameliorate the situation was to work with the Seattle Parks Department and Green Seattle Partnership to remove invasive plants such as blackberry and ivy and replace them with native trees and shrubs. FBGT at SP originally had members who were either neighbors very close to the trail or neighbors with special skills in native plant renewal projects.

FBGT at SP applied to the Department of Neighborhoods and received a Small and Simple Grant. These grants are awarded for projects which reconcile groups with different objectives, in this case the neighbors and the CSL. The money paid for plants, hosepipes and several days’ clearing work by Earth Corps. CSL provided water to help establish plants and many CSL members came out to the first work parties. Neighbors also came to clearing and planting work parties, making matching donations of their time and money.

The original goal of the project was quite modest. The objective was to clear and plant the area of Seattle Parks property beside the CSL buildings and their northern car park. However one individual wandered by and thought this was the project for him. He personally, along with the help of many people he has attracted to work with him, cleared a large area by 2010 completing the section from NE 65th St to 40th Ave NE.

About 1000 trees, shrubs and ferns were purchased with money from the Small and Simple Grant. The Washington Native Plant Society (WNPS) has also given grants for buying plants and they have donated plants left over from the WNPS sale. Green Seattle Partnership supplied many plants. Neighbors have donated cash and members of FBGTat SP have themselves purchased native plants for the project.

In the summer of 2008 FBGTat SP applied for and received permission from Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) to clear and plant the street ends at NE 60th St and 53 Ave NE. The initial phase of this project has been completed. Donations were solicited to put a bench and kiosk on this SDOT property close to the trail.

Clearing invasive plants and planting native trees, shrubs and ferns is not the end of the project. The area has to be maintained. It is almost impossible to dig out all the blackberry and ivy roots. And English broom seed and laurel spurge, for example, remain viable in the soil for many years. Weeding will have to be an ongoing process, although it should be less onerous after three years.

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