Licorice Fern News – New Trails


Homestead Trail

We have two new gravel trails

Our Homestead Trail leads from the entrance, past the tools and work area, down to an overlook above Thornton Creek. To get to the creek itself, you must still negotiate a rougher trail.

The 130th Street Trail follows the level of the extension of NE 130th Street to an overlook down into the Natural Area. Under two big-leaf maples  you can view the creek, trees, and birds..


130th Street Trail


IMG_2821 Workparty at the 130th Street Overlook

Summer Community Clean-up – Saturday 10-2

Come have a hotdog, soft drinks and hear what’s in the works for your neighborhood nature preserve. All ages welcome. The cleanup will involve making repairs to trails and bridges and making sure that the many recently planted native plants get some help for the summer. No planting this time. Fun for kids. Free tours and plant/animal ID. Come when you can. Help or just visit.

Saturday June 21 10AM-2PM .


Directions: The entrance is at 1100 NE 130th Street (2 blocks off 15th Avenue NE), bottom of the hill.
If you use Interstate 5, exit at Northgate Way or 130th Street NE and drive east to 15th Avenue NE, then find 130th Street NE off 15th Avenue NE.

Parking: At the top of the hill on near the corner of 12th Avenue NE and NE 130th Street (off 15th Avenue NE).
There is no parking space down by the entrance, walk just one block down..

N edge of TCP#1 - Downstream look at the creek, near low-water

Our Thornton Creek

Natural Area Entrance – – Kiosk here soon!

Help us Plant — Two Saturdays

Hello Neighbors,

Do come down and work with us:

WHEN? Saturdays March 1 and March 8 10AM-1PM we’ll be working on planting trees and shrubs, and placing wood chips around our plantings to control weeds and hold moisture for the coming dry summer.

WHY?  We have about 100 potted plants and trees that need to go in the ground this Spring. They will grow for tens to hundreds of years creating a new native forest for us and the wildlife.

HOW?  We have all the tools, and we know where the trees and shrubs should be planted.  You come with your energy, no experience needed.

WHERE?  1100 NE 130th Street, 2 blocks off 15th Avenue NE. The trail entrance is at the bottom of the hill on NE 130th Street, 1 block from the top-of-hill parking.   Maps here.

PRE-REGISTER — Not required, we just want your participation.  For Saturday March 1 register here.  For Saturday March 8 register here.

I look forward to working with you.

 Dass Adams     Chair, Friends of Licorice Fern Natural Area on Thornton Creek

206-227-3864   LFNA entrance in June

Fall News from Licorice Fern

Big news this Fall, Licorice Fern Natural Area is getting serious attention from city agencies.

Contract Restoration Started:
Just started this month is restoration of one acre of steep slopes, paid for by the Seattle Parks Department, and performed by the work crew of contractor Frank Maduzia.  The crew will be removing the invasive weeds, installing anti-erosion measures, and planting a wide variety of native plants.  These areas, on the south boundaries of the Natural Area, are steep enough so our volunteers have left them alone.  If you visit, you can see the first area they have worked on, down the slope from the big woodchip piles at the end of NE 130th Street.  The work is scheduled to complete by mid-November.

Grant Support Coming?
We are optimistic that we will be awarded a major grant from King Conservation District, that will support planting 500 conifer trees (cedars, Sitka spruce, and hemlock) throughout the Natural Area , and also support training of groups of students in restoration techniques.  This will be a major boost toward reaching our long-term goals as detailed in the Plan.

School Workparties:
This week is our first workparty and training session with our long-time partner school, University Prep. About 30 middle-school students will visit Licorice Fern for their first workparty and orientation.  Over the school year three other groups of UPrep students will have the opportunity to get outdoors, get their shoes muddy, and do some good work for our forest.

Public Workparties:
We are nearing planting season (November, December) and we will be posting neighborhood workparty announcements on the Green Seattle Partnership’s Volunteer Schedule  Come on out to meet neighbors and enjoy our local forest.

Volunteer at the Fern!

It’s summer, it’s hot and the trees are thirsty.

Baby trees and tender young plants fresh need watering and fresh mulching to keep them moist.

To learn how to water and mulch, please contact KELLY DOLE.

Saturday Workparty at Licorice Fern

Please join us anytime 10AM – 1PM Saturday February 23 at 1100 NE 130th Street (via 15th Avenue NE) for our twice-monthly workparty.
You aren’t required to “work”, but we would like to show off our hundreds of newly planted trees and shrubs (marked with yellow flagging tape).
Do bring waterproof footwear, as most of the trails are muddy.
We’ll have hot chocolate and snacks.  Gloves and tools provided.
See you Saturday,

Fern5-green rotated

Dass Adams for Friends of Licorice Fern Natural Area

2012 Year in Review — Licorice Fern Natural Area


The Friends of Licorice Fern Natural Area’s purpose is to re-forest this 8-acre canyon after its traumatic logging in the early 1900’s and the invasion of exotic plants that prevent big trees from starting.  We are guided by the techniques and support of the Green Seattle Partnership and the Parks Department.  Our long-term plan document guides our work.120921_011


We progress toward the long-term goal through volunteer service.  Our workparties are open to the public, usually second and fourth Saturdays.  In 2012 we held about 18 workparties.  Our University Prep School work parties had 30-40 young workers, and the United Way Day of Caring workparty had about 30 adult volunteers.  Many of our announced workparties attracted only 2 or 3 volunteers.

Clearing and Planting

Clearing invasive ivy and blackberries occupied many of those volunteer hours.  Once an area is cleared, we plant native shrubs and trees that will be the basis for the new “natural” forest  In 2012 we planted about 200 including about 40 trees (Douglas fir, western red cedar, and Sitka spruce) and 120 native shrubs such as indian plum, ninebark,  snowberry, Oregon grape.


Trail maintenance is important to give access to areas for work. Visitors need walkable trails for exploring. In wet winter months the trails near the creek are very muddy in spots, with logs or boards to walk on.
For summer months, newly planted shrubs and trees in the drier areas need hand-watering for at least the first summer.  The Parks Department has supplied us with an 1100 gallon plastic water cistern.  The piping needed to get the water to the plants will be installed for the 2013 summer.
Tool storage is convenient in the large steel JoBox toolbox that the Parks department has installed on site.


We are a small core of workers and supporters (see the Steering Committee list on the website ).  We were supported in 2012 by a $500 anonymous contribution, which bought plants and trees, refreshments, tools, and paid for many trips to the hardware store.  This tiny budget does not allow for hiring specialty crews, posting proper signage, or purchasing larger numbers of plants and trees.


Thanks to all the loyal volunteers and workparty attenders for a good solid year of accomplishment.


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