Wilderness Restored at Boeing Creek Park


Oliver Girouard

Boeing Creek Park is just a stone’s throw away from SCC’s Automotive Department, with tennis courts, fields, a dog park and hiking trails. Scores of lichen cover the fir and madrona trees and green moss rests everywhere not already overgrown by ferns and Oregon grape bushes. Along one of the many hiking trails people could study or have a picnic by Hidden Lake, but recently the City of Shoreline has removed the dam holding back the lake and restored the creek to its original state as it was over 100 years ago.

According to the Washington Trails Association, William Boeing, founder of the aerospace Boeing Company, bought land in the 1920s where Boeing Creek Park is today and created Hidden Lake to be a private fishing spot. Later in life, Boeing donated his land including the lake to the City of Shoreline, where the city would later have to replace the failed lake dam in 1996. “Hidden Lake went away for about twenty years between the ‘70s and the ‘90s. I think it was called Hidden Valley” says prior Hidden Lake project manager, John Featherstone. The city would decide in May 2016 to remove the dam entirely and begin the Hidden Lake Dam Removal project in 2022.

The removal of the lake was decided for several reasons. According to the dam removal overview posted by the City of Shoreline, Hidden Lake acted as the perfect basin for sediment from runoff and from 2002-2013 cost the city $600,000 to dredge the lake. Sediment can upset ecosystems when it contains too many nutrients or toxic chemicals from roadways. Removing the lake will also decrease the safety concerns of erosion and flooding, along with the added benefit of allowing fish such as cutthroat trout and salmon to better traverse the creek.

The dam removal project is finishing its first phase which includes removing the dam, constructing a boardwalk along parts of the creek and planting native plants in the now-empty lakebed. The second phase will begin in the summer of 2024 and will involve replacing the
culverts under Innis Arden Way.

John Featherstone, who was the project manager from 2016-2020, says the first phase has a budget of 2 million and is in its final month of work. “We’re still waiting for some final work on the plantings, some signage, and some other improvements so we’re probably about a month away from it being officially complete.”

The boardwalk has already been built, constructed of sweet-smelling cedar plants and a view of the new creekbed. The new gangly plants have signs posted around them, warning people not to trample on them. “One thing that we’re really trying to get the word out about is the plantings that are out there right now are very young and vulnerable and so if they get trampled on too much by people or dogs they are going to die and it won’t be as nice a place.”

While there are many signs protecting the plants from parkgoers, there is a lack of signs protecting parkgoers from the treacherous closed trail that goes Southeast of the boardwalk labeled the Hidden Lake Loop Trail. Parts of the trail have washed away, while other parts look as though one step could cause a small landslide. “Speaking on behalf of the city I would say that [The Hidden Lake Loop Trail] is closed and anyone who enters there does it at their own risk.”


However, the closed trail in question lacks proper signage or warnings except for a graffitied sign up by the sports fields which sits too far away from the trailhead to be of much use. Featherstone says The Hidden Lake Loop Trail is outside of the dam removal project and isn’t planned to be rebuilt. Parkgoers should be careful or avoid it entirely.

“I think the park itself is a hidden gem. It’s one the only places in the city that I’ve found you’re outside of the city” says Featherstone. Here is the most current map of Boeing Creek Park.