Experience Lake Washington’s largest contiguous freshwater wetlands via canoe and learn how the City of Bellevue, a “City in a Park,” embraces our natural environment. We will take one of Seattle’s floating bridges (made of concrete pontoons and governed by wind and wave forces) to Bellevue’s Enatai Beach Park boathouse, and we will guide paddlers into the main waterway that bisects the remarkable Mercer Slough Nature Park that encompasses 320 acres of unique riparian sanctuary.
Bellevue, across Lake Washington from Seattle, has become its high-tech neighbor to the east. Once considered a suburb of Seattle, Bellevue has developed into its own dense urban center and is ethnically diverse. Bellevue outpaces its neighboring cities in parks and open space, assembling a 2,700-acre park system (in 70 years) that provides more than 18 acres of parks/open space per 1,000 residents.
In a rapidly growing city where former light industrial areas are becoming new transit-oriented mixed-use development hubs, a key challenge is continuing to create a “City in a Park” character in neighborhoods that previously had no parkland while actively expanding the city’s Lake-to-Lake Greenway park system.
The Mercer Slough Nature Park is an example of the ongoing incremental investment in acquiring public open space while the land is still available and creating parks close to urban centers. The Mercer Slough Nature Park is located within a mile of downtown Bellevue. While paddling leisurely through the park, a haven to more than 170 animal species, there will be ample opportunities for bird watching, wildlife viewing, and learning about Bellevue’s challenges and successes.
Please note: Participants should be able to swim and get in/out of a canoe. Dress accordingly; synthetic quick dry clothing, sun protection, and shoes suitable for walking that can get wet are recommended.