A segment of the new boardwalk.
Wendy Gibble/UW
A segment of the new boardwalk.

Yesler Swamp, part of the Union Bay Natural Area along Lake Washington that is managed by UW Botanic Gardens, has a newly completed, fully accessible boardwalk trail that loops throughout the wetland, offering opportunities for birdwatching, exercise and a chance to experience nature in the heart of the city.

Restoration work on the 6-acre swamp began more than 15 years ago as part of a UW capstone course taught by Kern Ewing, a professor in environmental and forest sciences. The swamp was overrun with invasive plants, including reed canary grass and English ivy, and a stronghold of Himalayan blackberry made most of the area impassable.

Those initial plantings took hold, grew tall and served as a starting point for robust restoration work. Now, swamp-loving conifers and other native shrubs thrive in the area that has far fewer invasive plants than a decade ago.

“I think people assume a natural area will just heal itself, but in a city, that just doesn’t happen,” Ewing said. “There’s always going to be some restoration needed in Yesler Swamp. It’s great, because we wanted a project that would have an ongoing need, and to involve students in meeting that need.”

Read more at UW Today »