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Fort Lawton may become a national park

July 26th, 2011 · 13 Comments

Fort Lawton in Discovery Park may be considered for inclusion in the national park system.  Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., is sponsoring an amendment to the FY Interior-Environment Appropriations bill calling for a U.S. Interior Department study “to determine the suitability and feasibility” of designating the site as part of the Park System.

In an article in the SeattlePI.com, a McDermott aide says the park is in “good condition . . . We’ve talked to the City and they are on board.  The study would simply determine if there is anything at the park that is of national importance or significance that needs to be honored/protected/maintained . . .”

There are other National Park System historical units in our state, including the San Juan National Historic Park. 

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  • pscottcummins

    It would be in better care than it has been under the Seattle Parks Department all these years. 

  • Snarkbark

    Anything to help make it harder for greedy developers to build there is a good thing.

    I am sure there are developers right now dreaming of building multi-million dollar home overlooking the sound on the cliffs above the south beach.

    The RE industry, like the financial industry, are mostly filled with quick buck parasites.

    • Billybibbet

      Discovery Park will NEVER be developed.  It was designated a Seattle CITY PARK in 1973.  Short of the city unloading it (a political hot potato, that I have never seen happen) there will never be any further development of the park.  Have you seen any in the last 38 years?  All I have seen is continued destruction of former military buildings and homes, and made into additional park land…

      Now what is left of Fort Lawton IS to be developed into both low income and market rate housing…that appears inevitable.  Also. many don’t know it, but the VA Medical Center is turning the newer Army Reserve Center building into 40 temporary housing units for patients and families.

      http://kanemanthey.com/documents/Section_F_-_Ft_Lawton.pdf

  • Neighbor

    Then they can charge us for visiting out “national” park too, right?  That’ll go over well.

  • Ben Lukoff

    I assume this only refers to what’s left of the old base, not all of Discovery Park.

    • Billybibbet

      Doubtful, what is left of Fort Lawton is to become homeless and market rate housing.  Pretty much a done deal from what I have seen.  There is nothing particularly historic or noteworthy to save there, that could consistitute a National Park or National Historic Site.

  • Arne

    We need to develop this property. This would be a windfall for the city. Two golf courses one with home sites and the other a natural course that would be environmentally friendly. This would be a better use for all of Seattle. The Magnolia residents that think is their exclusive greenbelt have had it for themselves long enough.   

    • Anon

      How is a golf course environmentally friendly?  If anything, it’s the opposite of that.  You cut down trees and raze natural habitats to the ground.  You then plant non native grasses and other plant species.  And then you waste millions of gallons of water to water it and dump tons of poisonous fertilizers and pesticides to keep grass green in the months it shouldn’t be, all right on the edge of an environmentally sensitive shoreline.

      And then there’s the fact that the general population wouldn’t be able to utilize it.  Either because of cost or exclusivity.  If we are going to do anything, let’s put some real sports fields, like a couple of soccer or baseball fields, which are MUCH smaller and do MUCH less damage to the environment.

      • Arne

        You don’t know shit about golf courses do you. What damage do they do? With a waste treatment plant right there you have recycled water dumb ass. They provide wetlands. Courses now use organic fertilizers.  Wild life love golf courses.  Get a clue loser.

        • Anon

          Wow, your post displays a lot of ignorance that I’ve come to expect from a golfer.

          Yes, they could use recycled waste water, but how many golfers would be turned off knowing they are golfing on what was “poo water” (purple water is actually really safe, but most ignorant people don’t think it is.)

          Ponds in the middle of a fairway are NOT wetlands in an environmental sense.  They tend to not have the water retention nor treatment that a wetland does.  They also don’t have the plantlife that would be necessary for a true wetland.  Believe me, I’ve worked on jobs that were dedicated to fixing water hazards on golf courses.

          And what wildlife loves golf courses?  Canadian geese?  Because what you’re telling me is all the wildlife that hangs out in the park right now would love nothing more than to chop down all the trees, replace it with grass and have people hitting balls all over?  Really?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_XFOHZGENORM7FVY5PSKNHMYNJA Jim

    NOT golf courses and homes, no matter what else happens.  This is not National Park-quality land, but any park  would be better than residential development.   If you want to live on a golf course move to the east side, or maybe Palm Springs…

  • Billybibbet

    The idea of Discovery Park ever having additional homes or turned into a golf course is a non starter…it isn’t going to happen.  It is a city park already.  While making it a national park or national historic site might offer additional protections, it is a long shot, since little that is noteworthy happened in the history of Fort Lawton with two exceptions, the riot in 1944 and show down with native americans in the early 1970s.

    As it is, the park is not at risk of any additional development at present…but we can never say never.

  • cma1

    This is a very misleading headline. As someone familiar with the process, saying it “may become a national park” is like saying any random bill introduced into Congress “may become law.” Only a very, very small percentage do. My guess is the feasibility study won’t even happen for years, since Congress orders the Park Service to do it, but doesn’t provide the money. And the site itself is definitely not national historic site or national historical park (it wouldn’t become an actual national park) quality. I wonder who convinced the Congressman to request this.

    Fort Lawton is already listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This doesn’t actually provide any protection; listing is purely honorific.