AUBURN, Wash. – April 5, 2012 – Accompanied by volunteers, staff members, elected officials and nature lovers, the City of Auburn proudly opened the newly-constructed elevated boardwalk in the emerging Auburn Environmental Park on April 5. The nearly 1,200 foot wetlands boardwalk provides visitors with a unique opportunity to visit, relax, observe, and experience all that the park has to offer.
The boardwalk starts at the bird observation tower, and extends nearly 1,200 feet to a new park entrance on West Main Street. The elevated, wooden boardwalk is the first segment of a larger trail network envisioned by the City that will provide visitors with a year-round opportunity to experience the park’s diverse wetland habitats.
Visitors with a keen eye will be able to observe a wide variety of emergent, open water, and wetland forest birds and wildlife as they move through different wetland habitats along the boardwalk. The boardwalk design utilizes a pin pile foundation system to minimize impacts to the wetlands and has three platform areas where benches and interpretive signage is installed so that visitors can stroll, or sit and relax, and learn about the plants and animals that are likely to be encountered in the park.
Funding for development of the Auburn Environmental Park, including the design and construction of the wetlands boardwalk, was provided by a $572,000 Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program grant awarded to the City in 2007 by the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Funding Board (formerly the Washington Interagency Committee for Outdoor Recreation) and the grant is administered by project partners at the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office.
“We are truly fortunate in Washington State to not only have incredible close-to-home recreational opportunities in places like Auburn’s Environmental Park but also to have leaders like Senator Joe Fain and Representatives Mark Hargrove and Pat Sullivan who protect Washington’s natural heritage for our kids and grandkids,” said Joanna Grist, executive director of the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition which advocates for the WWRP.
In order to complete the project, community volunteers pitched in hundreds of hours towards construction and planting projects, including one Eagle Scout project and one single volunteer logging over 200 hours alone. Auburn businesses and organizations also donated materials, services or cash to purchase signage, benches, bicycle racks, tables, trash receptacle and trees.
“We could not have pulled this off without such a giving community,” said Auburn Mayor Pete Lewis. “It’s the heart of this community that steps up when called that makes Auburn such a great place to live.”
The park and boardwalk have many well-thought out features such as:
- Existing ADA-accessible viewing platform on the bird tower;
- The boardwalk, approach ramps and platforms all meet ADA accessibility criteria;
- Interpretive signage mounts were designed to ensure signs are positioned at a height and angle to be readable to all; and
- One of the two new picnic tables is designed for wheel chair accessibility
- Pin pile foundation design minimized impacts to the wetlands during construction;
- Pervious pavement used for the accessible parking stall and surface walkways;
- Benches and picnic tables are constructed from recycled composite material;
- Native landscaping at park entrances and;
- The 21 bicycle rack spaces (which is 3-times the number of parking stalls) encourages bicycle access
About the Auburn Environmental Park
The Auburn Environmental Park (AEP) is an innovative project that seeks to create a regionally significant open space in an urbanized area that offers opportunities for wetland ecosystem restoration, fish and wildlife enhancement, water quality improvement, economic development, storm water detention and flood control, public education, and recreation. For more information, visit the AEP webpage.
About Washington Wildlife & Recreation Coalition
The Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition is a non-profit citizens group founded in a historic bipartisan effort by former Governors Dan Evans and Mike Lowry. Our members consist of a diverse group of over 250 organizations representing conservation, business, recreation, hunting, fishing, farming, and community interests. The Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program (WWRP) has provided over $660 million in state capital funding for over 1,000 park, trail, wildlife habitat and working farm projects across Washington State. For more information, visit www.WildlifeRecreation.org.