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The Thornton Creek Watershed Action Plan is now available online at:

Read recent letters to the Seattle Press regarding creekside trails.

Are you a Creekside property owner? Take a moment & check out the Creekside Owners Survey.


The City faces a dilemma. Should the habitat of Thornton Creek and its tributaries be protected and enhanced... or should trails be built for people? Do trails and habitat really mix? Much of the land along the creek is flat wetlands and habitat to mammals, insects, reptiles and plants. Some of the land along the creek bank is steep and unstable. Slides may result.... damaging both upland property and the creek. Trees and brush shade the creek to cool the water and drop insects to feed the fish. People drop trash.

Meanwhile, Seattle Public Utilities has invested at least three years and a great deal of money to develop a plan for the Thornton Creek watershed, to preserve the natural habitat necessary in order to encourage the return of salmon. At the same time, there are also those in the City (Parks Dept.) who would like increased public access along the creek. Each camp has its proponents. Indeed, the City has a dilemma.

Yet for generations now, creekside owners at their own choice (and their own expense) have been quietly preserving the creek and its habitat.


The Creekside Owners Protective Association has begun circulating a survey to hear creekside owners own thoughts about their segments of creek. Creekside owners tend to stay put—an average of 20+ years. Here is how some feel:

"You can hear it with our windows open, there is a heron that some-times visits and an occasional raccoon. To have a creek running through one's property is a special joy understood only by those who share it."

"Off the 'Beaten Path'....Native trees, shrubs and plants...Hearing the waters...seeing wildlife."

"We purchased this home because of the creek. It offers a slice of calm after a busy day. We are interested in preserving our section of the creek and the habitat it provides."


The City Parks Department has aggressively purchased land in Thornton Creek ravines, with little thought (nor funds) for future maintenance. The result today? At one street end access point (NE 17th at NE 98th Street), residents are upset.

One resident estimates that foot traffic has gone from 2-3 visitors per weekend day to about 40. Vegetation is trampled, trees cut down and people loiter at the entrance to the woods, hanging out with beer and loud music. Break-ins, garbage and lawn damage have become common-place.

The water is considered "waters of the State", but the underlying land (the creek-bed and the banks) is owned by the adjoining property owner. When individuals.... as well as City employees.... walk in the creek, they are walking on private property (and someone's yard).


We riparian owners will be the focus of new laws and the spending of millions of dollars.  We will need a strong unified voice to insure that our interests do not get overlooked, dismissed, or run over. Whether as a creekside property owner or as a concerned neighbor, your support is needed.

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