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Where have I been all summer? - Luke McGuff

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October 14th, 2015


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09:00 am - Where have I been all summer?

I’ve just finished a seasonal job with King County Parks; the job title was “Parks Specialist I.” Generally, seasonals work in a specific resource or management area all summer long. However, I was hired by the volunteer program to help in their restoration projects. The work was about half with volunteers groups, ranging in size from two or three up to forty and more, and in age from middle-schoolers up to retirees. The other half of the time was after-care of projects: weeding, watering, and monitoring; or clearing and preparing areas for fall planting. This work took me and my coworker literally all over King County.

There are several reasons why this is about the best job I could have had at this time. As I said above, we worked with a wide variety of volunteers, of different ages and races. We worked with different organizations, including Mountains to Sound Greenway, Friends of the Cedar River Watershed, Student Conservation Association, AmeriCorps and others. It also gave me direct field experience in a wide variety of different types of restoration projects. We worked in old pastures, floodplains, old farms, urban parks, regional trails, and second-growth forest, and from mountain sides to lowland bogs.

Here is a complete (I hope) list of the parks I worked in between April and October. The pictures below were taken during volunteer events.

Furthest:

  • North: Sammammish River Trail in Bothell.
  • South: Bass Lake Complex NA, south of Black Diamond.
  • East: Tanner Landing, east of North Bend.
    Taken during a Mountains to Sound coordinated event at Tanner Landing.

    Taken during a Mountains to Sound coordinated event at Tanner Landing.

  • West: Maury Island Marine Park, Vashon Island.

Urban parks and trails:

  • Renton Park
    The folks who worked on Renton Park one day. In the front are two of  my coworkers, Lina and Kirstie.

    The folks who worked on Renton Park one day. In the front are two of my coworkers, Lina and Kirstie.

  • Five Mile Lake Park
  • Sammammish River Trail, Redmond
  • Sammammish River Trail, Bothell
  • Northshore Athletic Fields
    Derby Creek is a cold-water tributary to the Sammammish river, making it very important for salmon. Daylighting and restoring it would improve salmon habitat for miles. Stakeholders include King County (numerous departments), Snoqualmie tribe, WA state departments, and others. Striding up the bank in the center of the picture is my boss, Tina.

    Derby Creek is a cold-water tributary to the Sammammish river, making it very important for salmon. Daylighting and restoring it would improve salmon habitat for miles. Stakeholders include King County (numerous departments), Snoqualmie tribe, WA state departments, and others. Striding up the bank in the center of the picture is my boss, Tina.

Watershed Parks:

    Snoqualmie River:</p>
    • Tanner Landing
    • Three Forks Natural Area [NA] (Scott Property)
    • Chinook Bend
      Anna, volunteer coordinator for Mountains to Sound, explains the lands they&apos;re protecting, and the role the Snoqualmie River plays in that preservation.

      Anna, volunteer coordinator for Mountains to Sound, explains the lands they’re protecting, and the role the Snoqualmie River plays in that preservation.

     
    Cedar River:

    • Dorre Donn Reach NA
    • Belmondo Reach
    • Cedar Grove
    • Cavanaugh Pond
      A Boeing volunteer at Cavanaugh pond holds up a blackberry root.

      A Boeing volunteer at Cavanaugh pond holds up a blackberry root.

     
    Green River:

    • Green River NA
    • Whitney Bridge Park
    • Flaming Geyser NA
    • Metzler
    • Bass Lake Complex Natural Area

     
    Bear Creek:

    • Upper, Middle, and Lower Bear Creek Natural Areas
      The President of the Water Tenders explains the importance of Bear Creek to salmon habitat (another cold water tributary to a larger river).

      The President of the Water Tenders explains the importance of Bear Creek to salmon habitat (another cold water tributary to a larger river).

     
    Issaquah Creek:

    • Log Cabin Reach NA
      A group of middle schoolers from the Tahoma School District being planting a field at Log Cabin, a natural area on Issaquah Creek.

      A group of middle schoolers from the Tahoma School District being planting a field at Log Cabin, a natural area on Issaquah Creek.

 
Wetlands:

  • Carnation Marsh
  • Log Cabin
  • Queen’s Bog (Klahanie Park)
    Queen&apos;s Bog is the oldest bog in King County, and is in about the best shape. It&apos;s being degraded by rainwater runoff from the nearby sprawl housing projects. This picture shows part of the acre that burned this summer when a recreational fire got out of hand.

    Queen’s Bog is the oldest bog in King County, and is in about the best shape. It’s being degraded by rainwater runoff from the nearby sprawl housing projects. This picture shows part of the acre that burned this summer when a recreational fire got out of hand.

 
Working forests:

  • Taylor Mountain Forest
  • Danville-Georgetown Open Space
  • McGarvey Park Open Space
    A group of students celebrate cutting several dozen suckers from a Big Leaf Maple stump.

    A group of students celebrate cutting several dozen suckers from a Big Leaf Maple stump.

 
Miscellaneous Parks:

  • Soaring Eagle Regional Park
  • Duthie Hill Park (where the volunteer program office was located)

All in all, it was about the best summer I’ve ever had. The working conditions — particularly during the height of the heat waves and drought — were sometimes grueling, but the work was always worthwhile. We worked in some of the most remote and beautiful areas of King County. Our “lunchrooms” were along nearby rivers and creeks. Almost all the time we felt like we weren’t working at all. I often daydreamed of writing blog posts about it while it was happening, but alas, I was often too tired to do much more than just read when I got home.

Now it’s on to the next adventure.

Mirrored from Nature Intrudes. Please comment over there.


 


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