Polishing the Jewel of Edith Moulton Park (photos)

 

I’ve always loved Edith Moulton Park, a 26-acre jewel in Juanita and now part of the City of Kirkland. Ever since I moved to the area in 1992, I have enjoyed the wooded trails at the park, along 108th Ave Northeast at NE 136th Street. A path winds through the evergreens, and by deftly balancing on a fallen log, you can cross Juanita Creek. With some imagination, the traffic rushing by on nearby I-405 sounds like a waterfall. Since towering trees shield the view of the freeway, you almost feel like you’re in the wilderness.

From the trail, you can walk down a closed private driveway, past the remnants of an apple orchard, and back to 108th Avenue Northeast. A paved path circles a grassy area, nice for baby strollers, walkers and informal sports.

But I lament that the park is a casualty of the economic downturn and King County’s budget woes. The park fell victim to arson, vandalism and neglect. Once, young teens with toy guns (with plastic bullets that could put an eye out) startled my young son and me. Tree roots are ruining the paved path. A wooden boardwalk rotted, becoming a safety hazard. Picnic shelters were tipped over. Garbage piled up. Thankfully, the county removed the boardwalk and some shelters in the last year, a request from the City of Kirkland during annexation negotiations.

Despite its current state, I have high hopes for the park. When Edith Moulton wrote her will, donating 19 initial acres of land to the county for future generations, she had high hopes as well.

Every child should have access to a little bit of wilderness.

Edith Moulton

There’s reason for optimism. Volunteers, including Inglemoor High School students, neighbors, scouts, and the Totem Lake Neighborhood Association, have pitched in recently. They removed blackberries, brought in gravel for sections of the trail, and more.

With annexation official, the City of Kirkland will keep up the park as it does all other city parks, maintaining trails and mowing regularly during the growing season. Starting July 1, Waste Management will provide regular trash pick up (although the number of garbage cans will decline from one to two).

Regular maintenance comes as a relief to Kristi Tvrdy, who grew up across from the property and knew Edith Moulton as a grandmother figure. Tvrdy’s mother was elemental in the transfer of Edith Moulton’s property to the county, serving as Miss Moulton’s executrix.

“I would just love for the property to be cleaned up and taken care of on a regular basis,” said Tvrdy, now of Redmond.

It’s possible that the park may eventually get more than just maintenance. The City Council has decided to form an “exploratory committee” to look into options for a potential parks funding ballot measure.

Regardless of any ballot measure, here is my modest wish list to polish our neighborhood gem and preserve “a little bit of wilderness:”

  • A bridge over the creek
  • Trail and paved path improvements to prevent erosion and provide safer surfaces
  • Environmental improvements to ensure the health of the creek
  • Safety enhancements along the private driveway
  • New picnic shelters and tables
  • A replacement fence between nearby Helen Keller Elementary and the park
  • A small restroom or even portable toilets.

Other ideas, anyone? Visit the park and send me an email at bramey1@comcast.net with your thoughts!

Directions: From I-405, take the Totem Lake Blvd exit. Turn left onto Totem Lake Blvd. Turn left onto NE 132nd Street. Turn right onto 108th Ave NE. Head down the hill to the park on your right.