Of course, vandalism in Madrona Woods is older than our restoration effort. But when people focus on improving a place, they tend to notice when others degrade that place. This summary dates from mid-2011 to the present (December 2014). There is no doubt this vandalism will continue, and there is no doubt who the sole perpetrator is. The goal here is to document the vandalism, and keep documenting it in the future.
June 2011: Thanks to Google Street View, the picture shows a healthy small patch of snowberry. FOMW pulled the ivy from this 150 sq. ft. site, and the snowberry that was already there thrived.
January 2013: The second picture shows the exact same site after the vandal removed the snowberry. This is why the word “denuded” is frequently used on this page.
October 2013: we filed a Seattle Parks Dept incident report that summarized the vandalism during the previous 12 months. Nothing was done about this at the time (to our knowledge).
January 2014: we provided more detail:
- A map showing the 4 illegal social trails built by the vandal. In the process of building these trails, he removed dozens of native plants in the process and denuded hundreds of square feet of vegetation.
- Thu, Jan 9 video shows one social trail (ST1 on the map), just before we planted a grand fir in the middle of it.
- Fri, Jan 10 video shows same trail after the vandal removed the grand fir.
February 2014: we met with Seattle Parks Deptartment personnel onsite to show them the vandalism.
March 2014: the Parks Dept. Natual Areas Crew constructed a “rustic fence” at the Grand/Spring kiosk, to block off the worst and most visible vandalism. They also planted native plants in the denuded area. We (FOMW) have continued to revegetate this area now that it is protected by the fence. FOMW thanks Parks and NAC!
April 2014: Within weeks of the fence’s construction, it was vandalized. At the south end of the fence, next to the bridge, the vertical beam was removed and left on the ground. The cross beams were also left lying on the steep slope. We replaced these pieces, but the fence remained fragile and unstable in this spot.
June 2014: During our monthly work party we found and documented further vandalism. First the 4 social trails identified in January 2014 were further constructed, with more vegetation removed and/or damaged. Other vegetation was also removed near the creek:
Above we see dead mock orange that was removed from a spot near the waterfall in the “Hairpin Slope” site (see map for reference). A neighbor caught the vandal in the act of removing these 10 shrubs. After removing the shrubs, the vandal carried them up to a spot on 38th Ave across from 907 38th Ave, then threw them down the slope into the woods.
This shows a recently uprooted sword fern. It was probably removed from the level area next to Spring St, then tossed downhill toward the creek That his typical M.O.: pull and toss downhill. Since the fern still has green fronds, it must have been uprooted during the May/June time frame.
Finally, the vandal has built several more social trails. He has now built and is maintaining a system of over 500 linear feet of illegal social trails. See our updated map.
November 2014: During our October 25 monthly work party we planted east of the fence, next to Madrona Creek. Some volunteers dislodged the loose vertical beam (recall that the vandal broke it originally). We left the beam lying next to the intact part of the fence. Within two days, the beam was gone. Within two weeks, the horizontal pieces were gone as well.
December 2014: Here are some ideas to deter the vandal:
- We need a clear trail map, officially labeled as such to post in each kiosk. This map needs to have the Seattle Parks Department logo on it and it needs to look official. It needs to have our official trail system on it, as recognized by the Parks Department.
- We need a clear posted statement that says (words to the effect of): “Building trails in this Park by removing vegetation is illegal.” Our current posting says “Removing vegetation is illegal,” but of course we volunteers remove vegetation all the time.
- The above may sound stupid, but when the vandal was confronted in June 2014 (see above), his response was: “What’s an illegal social trail?”