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Southwest Park, Edmonds — March 2007

By Dan Paquette

Many of our urban forests suffered damage during the storms in November and December. Southwest Park in Edmonds is a Snohomish County Park that has been cleaned up sufficiently so that folks can get around and enjoy the forest. Thanks go to Gary Smith and Jean Yee for providing background and a plant list for this hike.

From the parking area, let’s make a clock-wise loop, beginning at the signage where trails seem to begin. Note that the chain saws have been at work. I counted 85 rings on a 16-inch trunk of Alder. Up the trail, kind of stay to the left at junctions except where a trail would take you out to the road. There’s a lot of Sambucus racemosa (Elderberry) and Rubus spectabilis (Salmonberry). Poking out from fallen Alder and Maple leaves are the bright green basal leaves of Claytonia – probably C. siberica (Siberian miner’s lettuce). Other obvious signs of new life can be seen on the branches of Oemleria cerasiformis (Indian Plum). Many bud scales have already opened in early February, and the leaves and white flowers should be showing off soon.

The park has many hemlock and Douglas firs, but located near a brown sign, you may note a conifer with a differently shaped crown. This Abies grandis (Grand Fir) was measured and found to be about 130 feet tall. Its sleek canopy makes it seem even taller. Past the fir, notice some of these large alders. Some are seven to eight feet in circumference at breast height. As you begin to complete the loop, pass under a downed hemlock over the trail which is about 125 feet long.

Finally, at the end of the trail, where it comes out at the road just before the parking lot, you may notice a small rotten log with a very bright greenish white growth. Among the bright colored mosses is the liverwort, Lophocolea bidentata. The leaves look like tank tops hanging from two clothes pins. Notice the little white filaments with little crosses on top. These are opened capsules and the spores have taken their leave.

To reach Southwest Park, take Highway 99 into Lynnwood. At 196th Street, turn to the west. Go west until you reach 76th Ave and turn right (north). Go north until you reach Olympic View Drive and then turn to the left (west). The small parking area is on the left just beyond the 180th Street turnoff.

Updated: July 3, 2016
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