Location: Carkeek Park, Seattle, Washington, 98177, USA (Lat: 47.703616, Lon: -122.363752)
Date: June 3, 2012
Time: 3:30 PM – 5:30 PM
Weather Conditions: Cloudy, temperature in the high 50s to low 60s (°F)
Summary of Observations: Followed the Piper’s Creek Trail from the 103rd St entrance down to the Wetland Trail and back up. The trail begins in a grassy neighborhood park, winds down through a temperate rainforest and follows Piper's Creek down to a wetlands and, eventually, a beach. The trail was pretty busy today; I saw a lot of families, runners and dogs.
Temperate rainforest here dominated by Red Alders and Bigleaf Maples, also some Douglas Firs, Western Hemlocks and Western Redcedars. I also saw what I have identified as a Lodgepole Pine near the start of the trail. I identified this a lodgepole due to its clustered pollen cones and egg-shaped seed cones.
For the majority of the trail, understory was comprised of very abundant Salmonberry that had gone to fruit. Also a lot of Vine Maple, Devil’s Club, Horsetails, Sword Fern, Lady Fern and Bracken Fern. Thimbleberry (flowering), Red-Osier Dogwood (flowering), also common, though less abundant. Even less common were Snowberry (not flowering) and Indian Plum (not flowering). For a short stretch of the trail near Piper’s Orchard, Black Twinberry (gone to fruit), Nootka Roses (flowering), Dull Oregon Grape and Pacific Ninebark (flowering) dominated the understory vegetation.
Lots of groundcover wildflowers in bloom right now: including two species having small yellow flowers, which I identified as Creeping Buttercups and Large-Leaved Avens, as well as Youth-on-Age (Piggyback plant). Also lots of English Daisies flowering in the grassy field at the trailhead. In addition to the more common plants here, I saw a very large Skunk Cabbage in the muddy ground near Piper’s Creek. Also, saw a colony of Artists Conch on a fallen log- I think it was a Western Redcedar log. Lastly, I saw evidence of Spittlebugs on the Horsetails and Large-Leaved Avens. Until recently, I had no idea those foamy deposits were made from bugs.
• I noticed a lot of invasive English Ivy on the slopes at the start of the trail (near the parking lot of 103rd St), and some climbing up the Alders near these slopes. However, I didn’t see much ivy as I made my way down to the beach. I’m guessing there has been a lot of restoration work done to remove the ivy along the creek. Since the lower entrance to the park (where I began on the trail) directly borders a neighborhood, and a lot of the ivy I noticed was near what looked like an apartment complex, I’m wondering how being so close to private property in an urban setting affects restoration efforts.
• After my hike, I looked up a bit about the park’s history. The old-growth forest was clear-cut in the early 1900s (explaining the mature Maple-Alder succession present today), before Carkeek Park was a park. Most of the park was acquired by the city in the 1920s, though it served a variety of different purposes before evolving into the park we see today. Because Carkeek Park is mostly in a ravine, it was never very highly developed, but parts of it were used as farmland, pasture, outdoor venue space, and a sewage treatment plant. It wasn’t really until the 1970s that it became a true park.
1. Alnus rubra (Red Alder)
2. Acer macrophyllum (Bigleaf Maple)
3. Tsuga heterophylla (Western Hemlock)
4. Thuja plicata (Western Redcedar)
5. Pseudotsuga menziesii (Douglas Fir)
6. Pinus contorta (Lodgepole Pine)
7. Acer circinatum (Vine Maple)
8. Rubus spectabilis (Salmonberry)
9. Symphoricarpos albus (Common Snowberry)
10. Rubus parviflorus (Thimbleberry)
11. Lonicera involucrate (Black Twinberry)
12. Cornus sericea (Red Osier Dogwood)
13. Physocarpus capitatus (Pacific Ninebark)
14. Oemleria cerasiformis (Indian Plum)
15. Mahonia nervosa (Dull Oregon Grape)
16. Rosa nutkana (Nootka Rose)
17. Oplopanax horridus (Devils Club)
18. Polystichum munitum (Western Sword Fern)
19. Athyrium filix-femina (Western Lady Fern)
20. Pteridium aquilinum (Bracken Fern)
21. Genus Equisetum (Horsetails)
22. Ranunculus repens (Creeping Buttercup)
23. Geum macrophyllum (Large-Leaved Avens)
24. Tolmiea diplomenziesii (Piggyback Plant/Youth-on-Age)
25. Bellis perennis (Daisy)
26. Ganoderma applanatum (Artist's Bracket)
27. Lysichiton americanus (Western Skunk Cabbage)
28. Philaenus spumarius (Meadow Spittlebug)
29. Hedera helix (Common/English Ivy)