Juanita Bay Park - Past, Present and How You Can Help Preserve it for the Future

Juanita Bay Park is one of the largest and most loved passive parks in Kirkland. Not only do Kirklanders enjoy it, but people from around the region visit it because of the lovely setting and because of the abundant and varied wildlife. Due to the large wetland area, it is a fabulous urban wildlife sanctuary that supports over 200 species of birds and numerous species of mammals, amphibians, reptiles, insects and fish. Some of these animals reside there all year and others are there only temporarily for they stop there on their migration routes. There is always something new and interesting to see in the park!

History

Originally the wetland area was part of the lake, but in 1916 when the Montlake Cut was dug, the lake lowered about 9 feet. In the early 30’s Guy Ferrar bought the land and built a 9-hole golf course. (Golfers may be interested in knowing that a Kirkland native, Joanne Gunderson Carner, who learned to play on this course is honored in the World Golf Hall of Fame.) In the 70’s the land was slated for residential development, but luckily the city council and Kirkland residents were eager to save it. A couple of park bonds successfully passed in the 70’s and 80’s that enabled the City to purchase the “old golf course” and wetlands. Over the years the City acquired additional properties in Forbes Valley that now make the entire park over 120 acres.

Present

Over the years, invasive plants such as Himalayan blackberries moved in and took over large areas in the wetland buffer and in the upper wooded area. Today a number of restoration projects are underway to remove many of the invasive species and to replant the areas with a large variety of native vegetation. More than 7,200 new plants have been placed in the last few years that will benefit the wildlife in the park by providing better habitat and a more diverse menu. Those plants will help attract even more birds! The restoration work is being done by The Green Kirkland Partnership which consists of the City, volunteers, community groups, EarthCorps, businesses and by a couple of Native Plant Society groups. To read more about the Green Kirkland Partnership, please Google Kirkland Parks or go to http://www.kirklandwa.gov/depart/parks/Green_Kirkland_Partnership.htm.

What you can do

There are several ways you can help us. If you would like to do actual restoration work, you would be most welcome to join us at a work event. On the website above you can view a schedule of the upcoming events. We welcome individuals, groups, clubs, schools, businesses………anyone who would like to help! If an individual, business or a group would like to maintain a section of the park on an on-going basis, we could arrange for that. If someone would like to donate financially to the restoration effort, it would be most appreciated for plantings and EarthCorps work require money. If there is some other way you would like to help, please let us know and we will try to make it work.

What else you can do:

Take a guided tour with a park expert. Tours are the 1st Sunday of each month and begin at 1 pm.

Check out this link and see some of the wonderful birds in the park
https://picasaweb.google.com/109362300901503409626/WildlifeOfJuanitaBayParkKirklandWA?feat=directlink#. Photos by Mick Thompson.

Look at Kirkland’s Wildlife of Juanita Bay, a very nice book, by Aaron Baggenstos.
If you have any questions about the park, please contact me at nonaganz@frontier.com.

Lastly, enjoy the park!
Nona Ganz
Steward, Juanita Bay Park