Checking In On Duck Island After The Illegal Skate Park

April 8, 2019 11:03am
Courtesy of Green Seattle Partnership

It has been nearly two years since Green Lake’s Duck Island received an unwanted addition – a skate park. The park was created illegally and torn down shortly after. (For more on that story, see our previous posts.) Since then, thousand of dollars have been poured into restoration of Green Lake’s tiny island that is home to a variety of animals. We chatted with Michael Yadrick, Plant Ecologist with Seattle Parks and Recreation’s Natural Resources Unit and Green Seattle Partnership to find out more about what is happening on Duck Island now.

SG: What actions have been taken to restore Duck Island after the damages caused by the illegal skate park?
MY: Seattle Parks and Recreation crews have been accessing the island via Whaler and docks provided by Green Lake Small Craft Center. They broke the skate park into pieces using a portable jack hammer that was plugged into a generator. They removed all the debris by hand, and then they transported the debris to a floating dock. After getting the debris off the island, crews disposed of the debris at an approved dumpsite. This demolition took four days, crews were challenged by the weight load and ferrying material across the water.
In the summer of 2018, the Seattle Parks Natural Area Crew spent a week at the island removing non-native invasive plants like Himalayan blackberry, English ivy and English holly. The crew returned last month to plant native trees and shrubs.

Native plants were recently planted on Duck Island.
Photo courtesy of Green Seattle Partnership

SG: Are wildlife returning to the island?
MY: Yes, wildlife use the island extensively for the isolated shoreline habitat.

SG: How long until the island returns to the way it was before the skate park was constructed?
MY:The island is better than before the skate park was constructed. With the removal of the skate park debris and control of non-native invasive weeds, the Seattle Parks Natural Area Crew then installed more than 600 native forest plants on the island to help build more diverse wildlife habitat. This phase of the project was completed in early March. We will return this summer for a few days of aftercare and litter removal.

SG: Are people returning to the island?
MY: Yes, but we have put up signs asking people to stay off the island. 

SG: What has the cost been from the Green Seattle Partnership to help restore the island?
MY: Cost for removal – $6,296
Restoration efforts – $26,969.56

Editor’s Note: The city sued a Seattle-based skateboarding shop for damages of $30,000, which, according to a Curbed Seattle article the shop paid but denied any involvement of construction of the park.

SG: Anything else you would like to add?
MY:This was a team effort and not a traditional project due to limited access across the water. We could not have done it without the support from Seattle Parks and Recreation’s Green Lake Small Craft Center. Our crew lead got his boater’s license in the process, and we took safety very seriously while transporting tools, debris, plants and materials across the lake. We are grateful to be the ones to protect and steward this special place into the future.