Thoughts on local parks | Letter to the editor

Relocating the bike skills area [BSA] to Deane’s Children’s Park, within Island Crest Park [ICP] will merely relocate its problems, and then some. The costs to this environmentally sensitive area — its wildlife, botanicals, regular users, and even “downstream” properties and neighbors — will be high and wide-ranging.

A sampling:

1) Unauthorized trail- and jump-making has already occurred in ICP. A few rogue riders quickly and disproportionately damage sensitive slopes, vegetation, and tree root zones, despite warning signs from Parks personnel.

2) ICP is habitat to songbirds, owls, woodpeckers, deer, and more. Development will encroach upon and compromise habitat.

3) The proposed BSA comprises a drainage field on a slope break; loss of pervious surface due to soil compaction and loss of stabilizing vegetation will increase downstream erosion, slips, slides, and flooding in ICP and properties to the west.

4) Safety and loss of use for walkers will result from increased bicycle traffic on single file trails, with multiple blind curves, as cyclists enter and exit ICP.

5) Island Crest Way is unsafe access. My spouse, an experienced cyclist, was repeatedly heckled and bullied by ICW motorists, and now avoids it.

6) Most of us love the roar of the crowd at an Islander baseball game, heard as far west as 84th Ave SE, but… a BSA may be just too loud.

Though important, I’m not addressing the acknowledged recreational needs of Island youth, or how those needs are best met.

Nor am I speaking to whether our built-out, finite land mass can reasonably accommodate such a specialized recreational area.

Rather, I urge fellow Islanders to consider that, no matter the perceived value of having an Island BSA, the cost to this gem of undeveloped parkland is simply too steep.

Jennifer Vincent, Mercer Island