Reclaiming Paradise Union Bay Natural Area

Seattle, Washington

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It’s the city’s most exquisite garbage dump—well, former dump. The grasslands, ponds, and Lake Washington shoreline of the Union Bay Natural Area (UBNA), or “the fill” as it is known by regular visitors, is a sanctuary for birds, a place to see painted turtles sunning themselves, and spy great blue herons sneaking up on their fishy prey. Known by long-term locals as “garbage bay,” this once-glorious wetland area was used as a waste site by the city of Seattle and the University of Washington. The dump was filled and capped in 1966, the first step toward restoring a rank trash heap back into something spectacular. Here, on a warm late summer day, goldfinches and warblers flit from thistle to fescue, towering cottonwoods cast a welcome shade, and the irksomely invasive but oh-so-pretty purple loosestrife spills at the edges of ponds in lavender pools.
Nature in the City: Seattle

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Nature in the City: Seattle

by Maria Dolan & Kathryn True (The Mountaineers Books)

It’s the city’s most exquisite garbage dump—well, former dump. The grasslands, ponds, and Lake Washington shoreline of the Union Bay Natural Area (UBNA), or “the fill” as it is known by regular visitors, is a sanctuary for birds, a place to see painted turtles sunning themselves, and spy great blue herons sneaking up on their fishy prey. Known by long-term locals as “garbage bay,” this once-glorious wetland area was used as a waste site by the city of Seattle and the University of Washington.

The dump was filled and capped in 1966, the first step toward restoring a rank trash heap back into something spectacular. Here, on a warm late summer day, goldfinches and warblers flit from thistle to fescue, towering cottonwoods cast a welcome shade, and the irksomely invasive but oh-so-pretty purple loosestrife spills at the edges of ponds in lavender pools.

©  Maria Dolan & Kathryn True/The Mountaineers Books. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Nature Trips
Nearby City: Seattle
Season: Year-round
Driving Directions: Directions to Reclaiming Paradise: Union Bay Natural Area

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Apr 2018