Thornton Creek Alliance
Thornton Creek Watershed Restoration Successes Tour
Find map numbers in text below for more information.
First--acquire a road map of Seattle and vicinity....
Ready? Start at Meadowbrook Community Center (Just south of 35th Ave. NE and NE 110th St.).
From Meadowbrook Community Center, travel north on 35th to NE 110th. Travel west on NE 110th. At 30th Ave. NE, turn left to travel south past Nathan Hale High School. Road curves around and becomes Ravenna Ave NE. Follow Ravenna Ave NE to NE 98th St. and turn right. Park on the street. (1 Willow Creek) Willow Creek,a daylighted tributary, has become an integral element of the landscape around a business, also setting up an environment that is conducive to focusing on one's health.
Continue west on NE 98th and cross Lake City Way. View the steep ravine and the south fork of Thornton Creek on the right. Parks Dept. owns the slope. Stair and bridge crossing provides better viewing. Travel west on 98th to 15th Ave NE. Turn right on to 15th Ave NE. Travel north on 15th to Northgate Way. As you cross the bridge on 15th, you're on the south fork of Thornton Creek. At Northgate Way, turn left. View Victory Creek park next to the QFC store. Again, a natural space is incorporated into a commercial setting, making it a friendlier place to shop, with space for children to play.
Travel west on Northgate Way to12th Ave NE. Turn left. Travel south on 12th to NE 108th. Turn right on to NE 108th. Travel west on NE 108th, crossing Victory Creek. Confluence with Thornton Creek is on your left where Parks acquired property. When you reach Roosevelt, turn left. Travel south on Roosevelt to NE 105th. At NE 105th turn right and travel west (road narrows).
View northeast portion of Thornton Creek Park 6, frog ponds, on the northeast corner of NE 105th St. and 8th Ave NE. View the mural done by Olympic View elementary school students on NE 105th St. just east of 5th Ave. NE. At 5th Avenue NE, turn left on to 5th and travel south to NE 103rd. Turn left at NE 103rd and park in the Northgate Professional Center parking lot. (2) Thornton Creek Park 6 trail and stabilization projects is the next stop. This site demonstrates combinations of various natural solutions to erosion control: willow staking, thatched branches, vegetation, boulders, woody debris, etc. Turn left out of parking lot, and turn right at the light to travel west on NE 103rd. Pass the transit station and turn left at 1st Ave NE. Travel south on 1st. View on the right the surge pond connecting to NSCC drain system and culvert taking I-5 runoff near the Park and Ride. At NE 92nd St., turn right, go over the freeway and travel west to College Way.
Turn right at College Way and travel north to the northernmost entrance to North Seattle Community College. Turn right on NE 100th into campus and park down near entrance to wetland. (3) North Campus Wetland is the next stop to view newly formed pond and plantings. This site resolves drainage problems for the city while providing significant habitat for birds, frogs, and small mammals. It provides an outdoor study site for biology and environmental students at the college as well as a passive park for the neighborhood.
From campus, turn right on to College Way. Travel north across Northgate Way. Road becomes Meridian. Follow Meridian north to NE 122nd. Turn right. Travel east on NE 122nd to 1st Ave NE. Turn left onto 1st. Pass Lakeside. At NE 149th, turn left. Travel west on NE 149th until you reach Meridian again. It will become NE 150th. View to the south end is of Twin Ponds park.
(4 Ronald Bog Park)Follow Meridian northward to NE 175th St. Turn right on NE 175th. Turn right into entrance of Ronald Bog Park . Park in parking lot for next stop. View the culvert and channel taking runoff from arterials, and Ronald Bog Pond. Sediment and pollution removal and water detention are provided along with habitat and a park for the community. From Ronald Bog parking lot, turn right on to NE 175th. Travel east to 5th Ave NE. Turn right and travel south on 5th Ave NE to NE 148th. View Twin Ponds on the way. Travel east to 8th Ave NE and turn right and head south again.
Turn left at NE 147th and take this curved road to the end for a stop at Paramount Park Wetland (5). Walk east from the parking area, and turn right on the foot path after you cross the creek. A frog pond and wetland habitat have been restored in a large neighborhood park that showcases various habitat zones from upland woodlands to marsh. Come back out NE 147th to 8th Ave NE. Turn left and travel south on 8th to NE 145th. As you turn left on to NE 145th (again, heavy traffic area) try to view the new wetland in the Thornton Creek Golf Course on Little's Creek through the chain link fence on the south side of the road to your right. The new pond allows the rest of the course to stay drier, resolves downstream flooding problems, and is providing habitat for a variety of wildlife, including bald eagles.
Get into the right lane and turn right when you get to 15th Ave NE. Travel south on 15th to NE 135th. View Little's Creek crossing. Turn right, into the golf course at NE 135th. Follow NE 135th to 11th Ave. NE, turn left, then turn right on NE 133rd. Turn left on 10th Ave. NE, and park next to the P-Patch for the next site (6). Take the trail on foot from the P-Patch sign down to Thornton Creek. This reach has one of the largest areas of concentrated native shrubs in the watershed, and consequently one of the highest populations of macroinvertebrates. Trout are usually found here. Neighbors have continued restoration efforts in the natural area on the east side of 10th Avenue also and have sighted a coyote there.
Take 10th Ave NE to NE 125th. Turn left on NE Roosevelt, which will become NE 125th St. Travel east on NE 125th. Turn right on to 26th Ave NE. As you travel south it will become Hiram. Veer to the southeast. Park on the street on NE 120th. Walk south on Lake City Way to the Homewood Park sign between Denny's and Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants. Follow the trail down. The north fork of Thornton Creek here shows success of neighbors retaining a wide buffer zone on their properties all the way to the protected natural area. It is one of the few places you can find the native band-tailed pigeon and downy woodpeckers.
From Homewood, follow NE 120th to Lake City Way. Turn right on to Lake City Way and then turn left at NE 117th. Follow NE 117th eastward and watch to the left (north) for view of an old fish ladder. Travel east on NE 117th, follow it east and bear right. Turn left on NE 115th St. Follow NE 115th to 34th Ave NE. Take a left on to NE 34th, head north and cross north fork again of Thornton Creek. Owners here are working on conservation easements to protect the corridor. Follow 34th to 35th Ave NE. Turn right on to 35th Ave NE and head south. Note that the confluence of Little Brook & Thornton is just behind the houses between NE 115th St. and NE 113th St.
Continue south on 35th returning to Meadowbrook Community Center parking lot. Park and walk on the walkway behind the community center and parallel to the creeklet, and follow the trail along the hillside. This is the Meadowbrook wetland restoration site, where volunteers working with the Seattle Parks Dept. daylighted the spring-fed creeklet, and planted native vegetation along it and on the hillside above. Listen here for Pacific chorus frogs on warm evenings. Now walk east across 35th Ave. to visit the restoration efforts at (7 Meadowbrook Detention Pond) . This site integrates protected habitat for birds and fish, while controlling peak water flows and removing sediments and other pollutants.
Back in the car, from the parking lot travel south on 35th to NE 105th. Turn left and travel east on NE 105th. Pass "Thornton Creek Corner" restoration project (8). Neighbors used new techniques for stabilization that included the use of a cut tree, using the branches to deflect the energy of the water, and jute matting around native plantings. Travel east on NE 105th all the way to Sand Point Way NE.
Turn right and go south on Sand Point Way. At the junction with 95th, on the west side of Sand Point Way, are two Parks Department open space acquisitions. TCA Stream Care efforts have reforested the portion on the north and created a small frog pond.(9 Matthews Beach) Travel a short distance more to Matthews Beach entrance (left). that diverts a creeklet to provide cooler, less turbulent waters for coho and chinook to rear, and enhances wildlife habitat and wetlands.
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