Christopher and I went on a ride through North SeaTac Park.
I had not visited the site since the community it displaced was demolished and the features of the park were installed. It is an excellent park with miles of old paved roads, paved and unpaved trails, paths, picnic areas, washrooms and bathrooms, several baseball and soccer fields and outdoor basketball courts, a community center, equestrian facilities, a very nice BMX course, a very nice botanical garden, Tub Lake, Some unique public art, and a massive frisbee golf course. The roads from the old neighborhoods are still there with many hiking and biking paths crossing every which way. There are some areas that are relatively remote, nestled in the middle of the old neighborhood blocks and in the various wooded areas scattered through the area.
I suppose if the many neighborhoods had to be demolished in the name of progress, development as a semi-wilderness urban park is a suitable alternative .
In the Pergola at the Botanical Garden
The North SeaTac Disc Golf Course
Chris by a manicured pond in the Botanical Garden.
The park is located north of SeaTac Airport in a noise mitigation zone. Much of the area has reverted to wilderness. A lot of it was wooded even before the houses were removed. There are some remnants of slab foundations scattered around the area but most evidence of it's prior communities is gone, save the roads.
Chris heading into a wooded area.
There is some wildlife, mostly suburban or semi rural, such as hawks, woodpeckers, racoons, squirrels, and such. There are no predatory animals aside from humans, and there weren't that many people.
The park is over 220 acres and connects to or is adjacent to other small undeveloped uninhabited wooded tracts in the area. The Tub Lake Basin is a large heavily wooded area with many gravel trails and single track paths.
Chris and I were speculating that it would be easy to Stealth Camp in the park. Not that we would ever do it because that would be illegal (ahem), but there are so many ideal out of the way obscure areas with stands of trees surrounded by brush and barriers of blackberries, we could set up stealth camps and stay overnight in any of hundreds of spots where no one would ever know we were there.
In the south end of the park away from the majority of the facilities, we only saw three people, and they were on the old roads. We didn't see any "homeless" people or camps, or any kids, or other bicyclists. It was a very nice Sunday, so it would be the time of peak use. Fifty feet off the trails in the thickets is like being in deep wilderness. I wouldn't want to get water from any of the streams or ponds, it is in the drainage basin for the old neighborhoods and the existing surrounding communities so it is likely the water is considerably contaminated. We have filters and disinfection tablets but it's easy enough to fill a couple of water bottles each for a night. The north end of the park has domestic water to fill the bottles from.
There is some air traffic noise from airline jets taking off. I noticed two in three hours. If we were sufficiently sedated it might not be a problem (not that either of us would do so even if we were inclined to camp illegally in a park as such, because alcoholic beverages are illegal in the park as well).
I only live a couple of miles from the park so if we were so inclined, it would be a good proving ground for some of our ideas for stealth camping. We want to do some rainy weather camping so it would be even less likely that there would be anyone around. We'd have virtually all of the park to ourselves. If we weren't being stupid we would never be discovered the way we camp.
It's an inviting area for us to have an overnight adventure, being so close to home and all. If we were to play "catch me if you can" we would certainly win. I wouldn't want to take the chance of course…
Here are a few more pictures I took in the area.
A soccer field in the park.
A stream in the Botanical Garden.
An intriguing art sculpture at one of the entrances to the park. Note the branches protruding from the metal lamp posts.
Edit by Chris 10/06/08
I loved North Sea-Tac park when I lived in south Seattle. It's a great park for moutain biking and leisure riding. The north end of the park get's a lot of foot traffic, but the south end can be an incredible get away for some peace and quite.
I have seen punk kids up to no good, so I'd be leary of people, but mostly it's quite place. There's so many trails you can make countless loops and paths. It's got a good mix of paved pathways, single track, and gravel trails.
There used to be a different BMX course, which is overgrown now, but makes for some great off-road/off-trail practice.
There's also a good part of the area that's wooded with trails, but not part of the park.