Carkeek to host 12th annual Festival of Fruit

Autumn is quickly approaching: in two weeks, Carkeek Park will host the annual Festival of Fruit with cider pressing, an apple pie contest, live music and guided tours of the historic orchard. The festival will be on Saturday, September 15 from 10am to 2pm at the Nancy Malmgren Environmental Center (950 NW Carkeek Park Rd).

The free event will kick off with the apple pie contest. Entries for homemade apple pies must be in by 10am, with options to buy pieces of the pies after the winners are announced. There will be a fresh pressed cider stand, with the opportunity for visitors to get their hands dirty on old-fashioned presses. They’ll also have apple experts on hand if you’ve always wondered variety your home apple trees grow.

If you don’t want to enter the contest but still have a knack for making homemade pies, consider donating your creations to the Tillie’s Cafe, which will be selling slices to raise money for ongoing orchard maintenance.

There will also be orchard tours happening throughout the festival, heirloom apple tasting from the orchard, kids’ crafts, live musics and a master gardener clinic.

The Festival of Fruit is put on by The Friends of Piper’s Orchard, a group of volunteers who rescued the historic North Seattle orchard from invasive plants. Their annual festival helps raise awareness and funds to help keep the orchard, planted in the 1890s, alive.

The Festival is sponsored by Friends of Piper’s Orchard, Seattle Parks and Recreation, Carkeek Park Advisory Council, Seattle Tree Fruit Society and City Fruit.

Photo from Friends of Piper’s Orchard

Train hits man at Carkeek Park

Update 11:30 p.m. Seattle Fire says an approximately 50-year-old man was hit by a train, and he was taken to the hospital in stable condition with serious injuries.

Earlier: Firefighters responded to Carkeek Park just after 9:30 p.m. for a “heavy rescue,” and scanner reports say a pedestrian was hit by a train.

The train stopped, and medics responded to attend to the patient, who may have survived the collision. Train traffic through the park — which is a major line between Seattle and Everett — was shut down for about an hour.

Silver posted updates from the fire scanner in the My Ballard Group.

(Photo by the Seattle Fire Department)

Officers on the lookout for off-leash dogs at Carkeek Park

With the salmon spawning at Carkeek Park, Seattle Parks and Animal Control will be conducting emphasis patrols for any off-leash dogs.

Piper’s Creek at Carkeek is a popular salmon viewing spot, and Animal Control says dogs pose both a danger to the salmon and themselves. Salmon poisoning is fatal in 90% of dogs.

So officers are asking everyone to keep their dogs on a leash and out of the creek. Fines can range from $54 to $162.

For those wishing to view salmon in Piper’s Creek, the Salmon Stewards will be at the park every Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. until Dec. 3 to help visitors spot returning salmon and answer questions.

Help out at Ballard’s parks this weekend

If you’re looking to get some exercise and fresh air this weekend, there are two work parties on Saturday, August 19 at local parks that could use volunteers.

At Carkeek Park, there will be a S.T.A.R.S. work party from 9 am to noon. They’ll be working on forest restoration and trail maintenance, and have a variety of tasks they need help with. Gloves and water will be provided, and teens are welcome to go help out. Contact Dale Johnson at 206-362-2980 with any additional questions.

Also on Saturday from 9am to noon is a Ballard Corners Park work party (17th Ave NW & NW 63rd Street). They’ll have a few tools and refreshments, but ask volunteers to bring gloves and extra tools if possible. Contact Gabriella with any questions at or 206-782-3238

Photo courtesy Green Seattle Partnership

Carkeek Park trail rerouting project starts next week

An unstable section of trail in Carkeek Park is being rerouted.

On Monday, August 14, the Seattle Parks and Recreation Trails Program will be rerouting the lower section of Carkeek Park’s Viewlands Trail where it intersects with the Pipers Creek trails.  According to the Seattle Parks department, the existing structure, which was built in 1999, has become unstable due to water damage and slides over the years and has reached the end of its life.

The new trail will have a gentler approach just north of the existing trail and shouldn’t have the same grade and water issues. In a separate project, the department will decommission the stairs and restore that area.

Trails will stay open while work is underway between 8:30 am and 2:45 pm from August 14 to September 15. Seattle Parks says visitors should keep an eye out for vehicles moving materials and supplies along the Pipers Creek Trail during the rerouting work.

Photo of Viewlands Trail by Seattle Parks

Help restore Ballard’s parks at upcoming work parties

There are two forest restoration work parties coming up this weekend at Carkeek Park and Golden Gardens.

On Friday, July 7, Weekday Workers (WEWO) will be at Carkeek Park from 9am to noon doing invasive removal, litter removal, planting, species identification, and tending a plant nursery. To join, meet at the parking lot at the park’s entrance. The organizers ask that volunteers bring water and a snack; gloves and tools will be provided. Contact Loren McElvain at with questions; RSVP here.

On Saturday, July 8, from 9am to noon is the monthly Golden Gardens forest restoration work party. “Give something back to the community by enhancing the forest and making better wildlife habitat,” the organizers write. They’ll provide tools, gloves, and training, and ask that volunteers meet at restroom near parking lot at the dog park. For more information email Doug at or call at (206) 794-4520.

Photo of Pipers Creek in Carkeek Park, by BlueCanoe (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 ( or GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons

UW study finds microplastics are common on Seattle beaches

A University of Washington student tested levels of microplastics on Puget Sound beaches, and found Carkeek Park had the second highest levels of the 12 beaches surveyed.

Oceanography undergraduate Frances Eshom-Arzadon’s year-long senior thesis research project tested for plastics between 0.3 and 5 millimeters in size, which is smaller than a grain of rice. The materials she found were styrofoam, fibers, fragments, flakes, pieces of film and sponges; the study showed that the most common material found is polar fleece and other synthetic fibers.

Eshom-Arzadon gathered data between November and February, visiting each beach once at the same time in the tidal cycle. The samples were scraped from an area just below the tide line, which she then dried, separated, and recorded.

“All of these beaches are cleaned by volunteer groups, and it’s not clear which are cleaned more regularly,” Eshom-Arzadon told UW News. “Ocean currents can also carry debris to different places, and can affect how much litter you would find in a one-time sampling.”

The highest level of plastics came from Howarth Park in Everett, where she found over 300 pieces per square meter. Second highest was Carkeek, followed by Alki. From the 12 sites she surveyed, Eshom-Arzadon found an average of 1,776 pieces per 3-foot-square sampling plot. The cleanest beaches were Mukilteo Lighthouse Park and Edmonds Marina Beach.

Ballard’s Golden Gardens was also on the list, with the fifth-highest levels of plastics; most of which were also microfibers.

For more on Eshom-Arzadon’s research results, click here.

Graph by Frances Eshom-Arzadon

Pianos in the Parks coming to Carkeek

Pianos in the Parks is starting soon, with one of the pianos planned for Carkeek Park.

The Pianos in the Parks program is being run by arts nonprofit One Reel, and will include 11 artist-designed pianos, placed in Seattle parks and public spaces from July 13 – 30. There will also be six single-day events with music, arts, and educational programs on the weekends in July.

One of the events will be at Carkeek Park on July 15, 10am to 5pm. There will be music from local artists, free youth piano lessons in the morning, yoga classes around the piano, dance lessons and performances by ARC Dance, and the Music Center of the  Northwest’s Instrument Petting Zoo. The piano, designed and painted by artist Rachel Sprague, will be available for the public to play throughout the day.

Pianos in the Parks was founded by Laird Norton Wealth Management, but this is the first year that One Reel is running it. For more information and the full piano line-up, visit the Pianos in the Parks website.

Photo by Laird Norton Wealth Management

Call for submissions for Carkeek Park’s annual Heaven & Earth outdoor art exhibit

Carkeek Park will soon be adorned with temporary outdoor artworks for its ninth annual Heaven & Earth exhibit, and the park council is asking for submissions.

The Carkeek Park Advisory Council (CPAC) and Seattle Parks and Recreation is accepting art piece proposals for five different sites in the 190-acre park, which will be on display from August 5 to October 15. The selected artists will be offered an honorarium of $1000 – $500 upon successful installation of the project, and another $500 upon successful de-installation of projects. The deadline to submit a proposal is June 18, and it’s free to apply.


This year’s theme is “Cultivate/d”. From the organizers:

When we cultivate, we invest our time, energy and resources into an existing environment or relationship (even with ourselves) to foster growth. This may mean working the earth or learning a new skill or reaching out to our neighbors to strengthen our communities. We invite artists to demonstrate what they hope for when they cultivate and/or what they realize as a result of cultivating.

There are five distinct sites at Carkeek Park selected for the Cultivate/d exhibition. Some are open field environments while others are discovered through woodsy paths and lend themselves to more intimate viewing. The park attracts diverse communities for family gatherings, educational opportunities, or social events and is set against a backdrop of the Puget Sound. We invite the artist to contemplate the concept of cultivation as it relates to nature, culture, or personal growth.

We encourage site specific work and will work with chosen artists to find a suitable site and/or you may make a case for a specific site and how it is suitable for your specific artwork.

The organizers say that all art pieces should have minimal impact on the park and leave no trace following removal. The winning five pieces will be chosen by a committee working closely with Seattle Parks, CPAC and the curator, ArtSiteLtd, a professional sculpture installation team. Artists are eligible to apply for the Seattle Arts & Culture smART ventures grant to help develop their art pieces.

The chosen sites are detailed on the Heaven & Earth website. To submit a proposal, click here.

Forest restoration volunteers needed at Carkeek Park this week

The Weekday Warriors (WeWo) are in search of volunteers to help with forest restoration in Carkeek Park this Friday, May 5, from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Activities include invasive removal, litter removal, planting, species identification and tending a plant nursery. Youth younger than high school age must be accompanied by an adult.

Attendees should bring weather appropriate clothing and if desired, water and snack. Gloves and tools will be provided.

Contact Loren McElvain via email at to RSVP and confirm the meeting location.