Vine-cutting event for new arboretum trail

A celebration will be held Sunday for the new 1.2-mile trail through Washington Park Arboretum.

The trail reveals previously hidden plants and a stream that had been underground in pipes and culverts.

“Really special groups of plants were hidden before and now have room to breathe. It’s nice to experience the arboretum in a new way,” said Ray Larson in a press release from the University of Washington. Larson is a curator at UW Botanic Gardens, which cares for the arboretum’s gardens, trees and plants.

The UW, Seattle Parks and Recreation, and the Arboretum Foundation are putting on the event from noon to 3 p.m. along the path, with live music, food trucks, a talk by outdoors writer Craig Romano and a “vine-cutting” ceremony at 1 p.m.

The trail connects to Arboretum Drive, forming a 2.1-mile loop through the arboretum.

The $7.8 million trail and related restoration were completed this winter. The UW said it gives pedestrians, wheelchair users, slow-moving cyclists and families with strollers more ways to explore the arboretum, which has one of the nation’s most diverse plant collections west of the Mississippi River.

The project uncovered a stretch of Arboretum Creek, which flows through a natural wetland. The restoration added about 30,000 native plants. New logs will create wildlife habitat.

Rain gardens and natural filtration berms will filter debris from runoff and help manage flooding.

Elsewhere along the path, hundreds of plants and trees were transplanted, propagated from existing plants and brought in to add to the arboretum’s collections.

The wetland along Lake Washington Boulevard had some footpaths that were underwater by late fall. Now the path and footbridges serve that area, and drainage has been improved. Interpretive signs along the trail highlight plant species, gardens and other features.

The UW said more people have been using the visitor center since the path was completed.

The arboretum is managed by the UW and the city of Seattle, with support from the Arboretum Foundation.

The trail and restoration were funded by the Washington State Department of Transportation as part of the SR 520 bridge construction.

Berger Partnership was the landscape architect and prime consultant, and Ohno Construction was the general contractor. The team also included Hoshide Wanzer Architects, architect (bridges); KPFF Consulting Engineers, civil engineer; Swenson Say Faget, structural engineer; Toole Design Group, trail planning; Anchor Environmental, environmental consultants; and Studio 216, project renderings.

Washington Park Arboretum 

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