Monday, August 20, 2012
Geese Poop Park?
When opponents of fence removal at Swingset Park expressed concerns about the possible influx of interlopers to the park once the fence was down, they were probably thinking of Capitol Hillites, residents of the Central District, and other such inlanders. And when marshaling their arguments, the proponents of fence removal were clearly focused on the benefits of providing greater access to the water and not the other thing (providing greater access to the land).
But in what's certainly an ironic case of unintended consequences, it seems that the primary new users of Swingset Park—now that the fence is gone—are Canada Geese. The missing fence, a longtime “visual barrier” to the water, turns out to have also been (at least for our avian summer visitors) a too-tall physical barrier between the Lake and the shore. With the fence now history, the geese have discovered the park---and they're loving it.
Of course there are some nasty implications to this turn of events. Geese poop now pretty much covers the grassy area of Swingset Park to a depth of ten or fifteen feet inland from the water. As you might expect, this situation has not gone unnoticed, especially by those who wander into the area to check out the shoreline, admire the new view, walk the dog, sunbathe, or launch one of those kayaks that the anti-fence forces perhaps thought would become a fixture of the park (actually, we've yet to see any kayak launchings, but we're not on site 24/7 either).
Anyway, some residents are concerned. One of them, Bill Allen, in an email to other neighbors and the Madison Park Community Council, has suggest that Seattle Parks erect a low-level wrought-iron fence that would impose a physical barrier but not create a visual barrier. Say, isn't that something we once recommended? It was considered a too-expensive option at the time, so we suspect that is still the case. No word yet on whether Seattle Parks is willing to reopen the issue.
For those who have yet to go down and enjoy the ambiance of Swingset Park in its new mode, we suggest a visit. From the sidewalk, at least, the view is great. If you want to get a closer look, however, we can only advise: watch your step!
[Photos by William Allen]