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Scriber Lake

By Brenda Senturia

Scriber Lake is a small peat bog wetland just a half hour north of Seattle. It is hard to believe there is a beautiful lake with a walking trail nestled in among the malls and busy streets in this area of Lynnwood. Spring is in the air in March in Puget Sound, but most trails are still very muddy and most wildflower blooms are still to come. But wet feet are not a problem here - the trail around Scriber Lake is either sawdust, boardwalk, or asphalt. This is an excellent place for a family walk. It also offers excellent birding. I saw or heard 20 species in less than an hour.

The trail begins right at the parking lot and is easily spotted. In this area there are large White Pines, Western Red-Cedars, and Douglas Firs. Take the route circling left around the lake. According to the interpretive signs, the spaghnum moss which forms peat bogs is building up from the lake margins. Salal is found in the understory. Red Alder and Willows are the dominant trees. Red-osier Dogwood is recognizable by its red branches. Salmonberry dominates the moderately wet spots.

As is true of most city habitats, introduced species are found along with native plants. New shoots of Reed-canary Grass were already coming up in February. Evergreen and Himalayan Blackberry are also found. Creeping Buttercup is common in the understory. There are large areas of Hardhack (Spirea) and some Labrador Tea on the right as you approach the boardwalk overlooking the lake. This plant is found in the acidic conditions which are characteristic of bogs. From the boardwalk you may be able to see at least 5 species of waterbirds - Pied-billed Grebes, a pair of Hooded Mergansers, Ring-necked Ducks, Bufflehead, and Mallards. The Mallards are used to handouts and will approach to within a few feet if they think you might have something for them.

Continue along the lake edge passing a slough on your left. This is perfect habitat for Wood Ducks and nesting boxes are present, but I haven’t seen them. There are numerous short spurs from the main trail - some to views of the lake and others to access points from the surrounding streets. Continue around the lake. Look for Licorice Fern, Deer Fern, Wood Fern, Sword Fern, and Lady Fern (mostly last year’s brown fronds). The distance around is about 1/2 mile.

To reach Scriber Lake, take I-5 north to Exit 181B (Lynnwood - 196th St, SW). Take a left after exiting and then another left onto 196th St. SW. Go 1.6 miles to Scriber Lake Rd. (Office Depot on corner). Turn left here and then take the next left onto 198th SW. In a few hundred yards you will see the park entrance on the left. There are restrooms at the parking lot.

Updated: July 3, 2016
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