The Unfulfilled Promise of a Wetlands Preserve in North SeaTac Park

Tub Lake Bog, located inside North SeaTac Park, is a rare sphagnum peat moss bog and an important natural aquifer recharge resource for our area. It's long been recommended as a local wetlands preserve.

But, despite these recommendations, and despite the fact that the City of SeaTac Parks and Recreation Plan outlines a policy objective of preserving the area surrounding the Lake as a natural wetland and increasing opportunities for public enjoyment of the area, the Port of Seattle has recommended placing 340,000 square feet of aviation supportive use inside the park, right up against the boundary of the lake. (
Port of Seattle Real Estate Strategic Plan, 2020, p. 15, https://www.portseattle.org/sites/default/files/2021-10/2020_Real_Estate_Strategic_Plan.pdf)

Below, is a selection of quotes on this subject from some of the planning documents from the 1970s through the 2020s that have recommended creating a wetlands preserve here:

SeaTac Communities Plan - working draft, 4/22/75

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1xyn2VJhLbgFMZjlgzhJTW441y2xa2dhh/view?usp=share_link

According to the Highline Community Plan, the SeaTac Communities Plan (STCP) was adopted by the Port of Seattle and King County as Ordinance 2883. On the subject of Tub Lake bog it states:

  • "The area surrounding Tub Lake should be a wetland preserve; development for community recreation should allow only the Miller Creek footpath and, if suitable, a public swimming area." (page 405 of the pdf)

  • "Tub Lake Wetlands Preserve: Establishment of a wetlands preserve and nature area in conjunction with the Tub Lake expansion. Improvements will be limited to nature trails, selected wetlands plantings and other passive natural elements." (page 569 of the pdf)


Highline Communities Plan - Nov 1977

https://kingcounty.gov/~/media/depts/executive/performance-strategy-budget/regional-planning/2016CompPlanUpdate/Subarea-and-CommPlans/Community-Plans/Highline_Community_Plan_1977_Nov-compressed.ashx?la=en

  • "The North and South acquisition areas (added note: North SeaTac Park is in the north acquisition area) are planned to develop in primarily recreational uses, i.e., golf course, trails, wetland preservation, equestrian area, and additional park and recreational facilities" (page 16)

  • Tub Lake Wetlands Preserve: Establishment of a wetlands preserve and nature area in conjunction with the Tub Lake Expansion (D10). Improvement will be limited to nature trails, selected wetland plantings, and other passive natural elements (Page 106)


North SeaTac Park Master Plan Update, 1987

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1hiPFhoI3K-iGmEaLDbdNoeRxaUabw62E/view?usp=share_link (starts on page 63 of the pdf)

  • "Regarding the North acquisition area, the SeaTac Communities Plan supports these policies: The area around Tub Lake should be reserved for wetlands and development along Miller Creek should be limited to a footpath; Sunset Park playfield should remain in its present active use;" (page 72-73 of the pdf)

  • "Tub Lake and the portion of Miller Creek between 136th and 146th should be restored and provided with nature trails..." (page 116 of the pdf)

  • Characterizes a large area in the southwest corner of the park site associated with Tub Lake and its tributaries and surrounding wetlands as a "protection area" suitable only for passive uses "such as trails, boardwalks, nature viewing and interpretive opportunities." (pages 42-43)


North SeaTac Park Master Plan, 6/26/1992

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1hiPFhoI3K-iGmEaLDbdNoeRxaUabw62E/view?usp=share_link

  • Gives the park size as 230 acres - about 10 acres larger than its current footprint. (page 1 in document, which is on page 7 of the pdf)

  • Characterizes a large area in the southwest corner of the park site associated with Tub Lake and its tributaries and surrounding wetlands as a "protection area" suitable only for passive uses "such as trails, boardwalks, nature viewing and interpretive opportunities." (pages 42-43)

  • Lists a number of trails that "will cross through the park, linking together recreation experiences and activity areas." These include "nature trails and boardwalks associated with the special environment of Tub Lake and its drainage ways." (pages 11-12 of the pdf)

  • "Prior to the development of this master plan, there were two previous park plans developed for an area of approximately 420 acres directly north of SeaTac International Airport. The first plan, The North SeaTac Park Plan was prepared by Jongejan/Gerrard/McNeil, Inc. in 1979 and the second, the North SeaTac Park Master Plan Update (Draft) was prepared by Triangle Associates and Jones & Jones in 1987." (page 16 of the pdf)

The City of SeaTac Parks, Recreation, and Open Space Plan, Nov 2020

https://www.seatacwa.gov/home/showpublisheddocument/29886/637449988467230000

Recommends preserving the area surrounding Tub Lake as a natural wetland and notes opportunities for boardwalks, wildlife viewing, and other public access for enjoyment of this resources.

  • “Objective 7B Preserve the area surrounding Tub Lake as a natural wetland and increase opportunities for public enjoyment of the area. SeaTac Parks, Recreation, and Open Space Plan – Inventory and Management November 2020 15 Tub Lake is a natural peat bog existing since prehistoric times and a valuable resource for natural aquifer recharge. It has opportunities for interpretive interaction, passive use boardwalks, and wildlife viewing. As such, it should be preserved and protected.” (pages 14-15 in the document, pages 17-18 in the pdf)

info@KCTreeEquity.org

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