Golden Gardens Park closing early as part of Seattle Parks pilot program

The gates at Golden Gardens Park will be shutting an hour and a half earlier for the next nine months as part of a pilot to mitigate public safety issues.

Seattle Parks and Recreation is changing the hours from 4 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. to 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. The changes went into effect on Wednesday, June 23. According to Seattle Parks, the modified-hours pilot will last 270 days, at which point the department will re-evaluate the park’s operating hours.

Seattle Parks says the change is intended “to help mitigate an increase in public safety issues and illegal activity at the park, including acts of violence, excessive noise violations, illegal fires, illegal parking, un-permitted events, and blocked access for emergency vehicles.”

The parks department has implemented a number of new strategies to discourage illegal behaviors at the park, including the following (from Seattle Parks):

  • Public education: To clarify and publicize beach fire rules and other park rules, we are using our website and social media resources, sandwich-board signs at the park, and most recently, two large electronic reader-boards stating that fires are allowed in authorized firepits only, and the time by which fires must be extinguished.  (Reader-board messaging may change to reflect updates.)
  • Enhanced staffing: Five staff are on the beach nightly. They remind park users that fires can be in firepits only and must be extinguished by 9:30 p.m.; remind park users that amplified music is prohibited; pick up litter; clean and restock restrooms.
  • Reduced hours for fires: Staff extinguish beach fires by 9:30 nightly.
  • Park entry: Staff deny vehicles entry when the parking lot is full.
  • SPD coordination: We stay in close communication and strategize with SPD regarding efforts to enforce laws and prevent illegal behaviors. A new Memorandum of Agreement between SPR and SPD, in effect May 30, is expected to enhance enforcement efforts.
  • Ambient encouragement: We installed trailers with clusters of powerful LED lights to discourage illegal activities by brightly illuminating the beach at 9:30 p.m. each night.

The department says that despite these combined efforts, they’ve heard increasing concerns from community members about illegal activities at the park.

Fires are still permitted at Golden Gardens beach within the designated fire rings. Seattle Parks asks that people only burn clean wood and douse fires completely before leaving. Fire pits are unlocked at 4 p.m. daily, and all fires must be extinguished by 9:30 p.m. with visitors leaving by 10 p.m. Seattle Parks staff will be at the beach to manage and assist putting out fires at 9:30 p.m. Beach fire rules are available here.

Photo: Seattle Parks on Flickr

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