Friday, July 6, 2012

West Seattle Herald coverage

Just in from the West Seattle Herald:
A proposed ropes and zip line course that would be installed in Lincoln Park has met with opposition from the community. Last August Seattle Parks selected a 10 year old company from the United Kingdom called Go Ape to begin the development of a proposal for a six to 9 acre area in the park that would combine rope ladders, zip lines, rope bridges, trapezes and swings. The company operates 27 such parks in the U.K. and three so far in the U.S. 
Concerns about disturbing the natural environment of the park have arisen with a Facebook page called Stop the Go Ape Zip line being established as a rallying point. The company has faced opposition before, and their plans were halted in two U.K locations.A blog page called Preserve Lincoln Park has been created by West Seattle resident Mark Ahlness where more discussion and updates can be found. So far people commenting seem to be opposed based on the impact to the trees, animal habitat, potential noise and the disruption of the serenity of the park. Calls for slogans, T-Shirts and emailing Parks officials and company owners to protest are being discussed.
Read the entire article...


  1. (I tried to post this before to no apparent avail, but now that I am a member I expect it will show up on this blog)

    I posted the below comments to the above West Seattle Herald article that I thought would be worth re-posting here:

    I have to add some critically important points to the above article. There is no mention in the article of the price the British Go Ape corporation charges to take a turn on their tree top ziplines, swings, etc. They charge $55 for adults and $35 for a kid. They say that they will give some free tickets to some disadvantaged kids, but you can be sure that most kids who don't have $35 who are watching the rich kids play in the trees won't get one of those free tickets. The free tickets are merely tokenism to distract from the exclusive nature of this operation and the harm it will to do our priceless natural area.

    They also claim they will do some invasive weed removal - more tokenism. They will certainly do more to degrade this uniquely intact bit of wild than any handful of weeding events will make up for. Other Go Ape operations have left the areas under them denuded of vegetation.

    Another point, this Go Ape corporation looked at all of Seattle's parks and chose this spot in Lincoln Park to site their contraptions in the trees. The reason they chose this spot is that it is the most pristine spot left in Seattle, that would make the best backdrop for their “Tarzan Theme Park”. I did the vegetation survey in Lincoln for the Seattle Parks Department 12 years ago and, on a volunteer basis, I have been weeding the weeds and monitoring the vegetation since then. I can attest that this spot has more of the diversity of indigenous vegetation that was here before European settlement than any other park in Seattle, and with it about our richest diversity of our least common birds.

    What Go Ape would do is take the last, best remnant of our local “Eden”, that I would argue is worth more than any amount of money, and turn it into a commercial operation that they profit from. Then they would externalize the costs, so both our human community and the natural community here would pay the price for it. They would then send the profits out of our community to Britain. Between the added need for garbage collection that the parks department would pay for, and the cost that Go Ape saves in free parking spots they take from Seattle residents, there would be far more than $40,000 to $65,000 in costs to Seattle that the Go Ape corporation says they will give Seattle in revenue from this operation. That would not count the tens of millions of dollars worth of damage they would do to our most valuable of natural areas.

    The whole concept of commercializing this last, best bit of Eden, comes from a mentality that nature has no value, that you need to make money off of it before it has value. It is the mentality that “undeveloped” land us unused and useless.

  2. I agree totally. This forest is a precious rarity that most cities would give anything to have. How short-sighted to sell it off for a few bucks. What would this say about our city? To ruin a forest in favor of the recreation equivalent of junk-food is not worthy of Seattle.

  3. I totally agree. I also feel that one of the ways to fight it is to acknowledge the funding difficulties the parks are having and see if there is a constructive way to address that. Ie don't just fight 'em, join 'em.