Recently, we were among those CC’d on a letter from Friends of Hicklin Lake to the King County Parks Department. The letter voiced numerous concerns about the park, particularly regarding its use for disc golf. Christie True, who leads Natural Resources and Parks, has responded to the same mailing list with inline answers to concerns voiced by the citizens’ group (which are in bold, inbetween her answers):
Thank you for your e-mail sharing your concerns about the use of King County’s Lakewood Park and Hicklin Lake by the disc golf community. As you mention, Lakewood Park is a public park and is open to all users for both passive and active recreational activities.
As a general overview of Lakewood Parks and its may features and uses, you may know that it is unique in that it is the home of the only disc golf course (established in 1989) in the King County park system. In addition to the public disc golf course, Lakewood Park has three picnic shelters, a playground area, restrooms, walking path around Hicklin Lake and is the new home of the Technology Access Foundation Learning Center (TAF).
Lakewood Park is used by the local community on a daily basis, as well as the site of community picnics and events, church groups, family picnics and reunions. Many of the community events are not charged for the use of the park. The new concession at Lakewood Park sells disc golf equipment as well as snacks and beverages and is open to the public. The Parks and Recreation Division (Parks) receives revenue each month from the new concessionaire and also receives revenue from user fees for picnics and other activities.
I would like to take this opportunity to respond to each of your concerns which I have provided below:
Is politics controlling reality in our local park? That seems to be evident, where one group of players is allowed to take over a public park for their benefit. Their web site notes “every nook and cranny of the park” has been utilized.
From our observations we find the following:
This King County public park is Lakewood Park/Hicklin Lake, located in the heart of White Center, and has been turned into a single sport arena, remaining a “park” in name only.
Lakewood Park is used by the local community on a daily basis, as well as the site of community picnics and events, church groups, family picnics and reunions throughout the year.
The disc golf community has given countless hours to volunteer projects over the years. In addition, they work with the local school district offering disc golf classes to the middle and high school students.
King County personnel defend, with lame embarrassing excuses, both of the illegal activities which occur in connection with this sport and the environmental damage to the park landscape.
Many of the illegal activities that occur at the park cannot be resolved by Parks alone as we do not have legal enforcement authority and must rely on other King County agencies, such as the King County Sheriff and Animal Control, to enforce King County regulations.
The exchange continues ahead – again, what’s in bold is what was voiced by Friends of Hicklin Lake: Read the rest of this entry »