A group of neighbors have volunteered to help develop and improve the Yesler Swamp Trail through the wetland located at the corner of NE 41st and Surber Drive – just beneath the tangle of blackberry vines. The area serves as fishing grounds for the nearby resident bald eagles and a breeding ground for water fowl. This trail is part of the larger Union Bay Natural Area Trail that in turn links to Foster Island and the Arboretum, a marvelous natural area within the confines of the city. This portion of the trail winds down through the wetlands of the Yesler Creek outlet, skirts a lagoon that connects with Union Bay, passes an active beaver hut, wanders around native plantings and returns near the parking lot of the Center for Urban Horticulture.
Several years ago, University of Washington faculty and students established the existing trail, cleared invasive plants, planted native flora and proposed an all-weather upgrade to the trail. The University is planning further student projects for planting native plants and clearing invasives and has enlisted community volunteers to use hand tools to remove invasive plants. Allowing the community to interact with this natural space will make the people feel more natural and act in a natural way enhancing the preservation and security of the area. Upgrading the trail will improve security in the area, encourage volunteers to continue to control the blackberry, ivy and other invasive plants and make the area more hospitable for native animals.
However the University does not have the monetary resources to make a formal architectural plan or build the upgrade of this trail. This group of neighbors are therefore seeking support to create an all-weather, handicap-accessible resource for our community. We are engaging the City of Seattle, the Laurelhurst Community Club, the Audubon Society and other community groups for advice and support. We hope to fund the planning and construction of a boardwalk over the part of the trail that is submerged part of the year and also build a view point from which to watch wildlife. This effort will require a larger community support with donation of time and money.