Collaboration in Civic Spheres

Archive for the ‘Parks/Recreation’ Category

Wildlife Refuge Locator: Online Guide To Washington, U.S.

by Matt Rosenberg January 28th, 2011

SUMMARY: A U.S. government online compendium provides convenient access on a state-by-state basis to official Web pages of national wildlife refuges. The Web guide to these facilities may be used for day-trip and vacation planning, as background information for visitors, and a research resource. In Washington state, there are 23 national wildlife refuges featuring a wide range of habitats and species.

BACKGROUND: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Wildlife Refuge Locator is an online map-based interface allowing users to click on any of the 50 states for a map-based aggregation of links to official USFWS Web pages of national wildlife refuges in those state. We take a look here at what the database tells us about national wildlife refuges in Washington state.

KEY LINK: National Wildlife Refuge Locator, Washington State, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Drumheller Channels, Columbia National Wildlife Refuge

USER INSTRUCTIONS: From the National Wildlife Refuge Locator hub, which displays a map of all 50 states, click directly on Washington. That will take you to the Locator’s Washington state map page. There, click directly on the typed name of any refuge (not the nearby map dot). You will arrive at a page with an overview of the site, a description of its location and a shortcut to Google Maps for more precise location data and customized directions. Each overview page includes a link to the refuge’s full Web site, for further information.


Washington State has 23 National Wildlife Refuges. Most, though not all, have sections which are open to visitors for hiking and respectful observation of species and natural environments. Overviews of several follow.

Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge on the Olympic Peninsula features a 5.5-mile long spit which can be hiked to the end, where a lighthouse and museum are open to visitors. The refuge gained protected status in 1915 at the behest of President Woodrow Wilson. It has been visited by some 250 recorded species of birds, 41 land mammal and eight marine mammal species. Black Brant geese proliferate in April, and harbor seals give birth to pups at the end of the spit. The refuge is especially popular with families, and is accessed by a short hike through a wooded area.

Willapa National Wildlife Refuge is considered an especially unspoiled estuary. It has more than 260 square miles of water surfaces and varied ecosystems such as salt marshes, tideflats, old growth forest, and coastal dunes and beaches. Brown pelicans, marbled murrelets, bald eagles and great blue herons are on view.

The Julia Butler Hansen Refuge For The Columbia White-Tailed Deer comprises 5,600 acres along the Columbia River in Washington and Oregon. It includes pastures, forested tidal swamps and marshes. In addition to the namesake deer, it is home to wintering birds, elk, river otter, painted turtles, red-legged frogs, nesting eagles and osprey.

Columbia National Wildlife Refuge features cliffs, canyons, lakes and sagebrush grasslands. It was carved out by long-ago fires, ice, floods and volcanic activity, and sits amidst the Drumheller Channelled Scablands, which include the dramatically eroded Drumheller Channels, named a National Natural Landmark. Among bird species prevalent are mallard ducks, Canada geese and tundra swans.

Lynnwood Is Hiring For Rehabbed Rec Center

by Matt Rosenberg November 30th, 2010

SUMMARY: Following city council approval last night of an authorization request, the Lynnwood parks and recreation department will be interviewing candidates in December and January for a wide range of positions to be filled at its newly renovated and expanded community recreation center. Two new positions are Aquatics Assistant Supervisor and Fitness Coordinator. A new position of .875 FTE Senior Lifeguard will also be filled, plus many part-time rec center staff openings. The $25.5 million project is funded through increases in taxes on the use of cable television, telephones, cell phones and pagers.

BACKGROUND: Lynnwood is a fast-growing city of 34,000 in Snohomish County, Wash. The Lynnwood Recreation Center closed in December 2009 for major renovation.

Construction and operations of Lynnwood's expanded rec center is funded by user fees, taxes, and borrowing

It is set to re-open in April, 2010 with twice as much swimming pool space and three times as much fitness space. Improvements will include new leisure and wellness pools, water slide, partially retractable pool roof, new fitness and weight room and group exercise space. The Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts has identified numerous positions to be filled in order to meet state safety requirements, develop and run programs, maintain 99.5 weekly open hours, and generate projected revenues to help fund the facility’s operation. According to a city fact sheet, the renovation and expansion project will cost $25.5 million and will be paid for through a 3% hike in the city’s utility tax on use of phones, cell phones and pagers and a new 1% cable television utility tax, both effective 1/1/09. Permanent financing of the facility’s operations is to be paid for through city borrowing, via 20-25 year general obligation bonds purchased by investors, and through user fees and a solid waste utility tax effective 1/1/10. However, increased property taxes and a business licensing tax – discussed in a mayoral budget memo to the council, were among the new revenue measures approved by the council last night and may result in alterations to the rec center’s long finance plan.

KEY LINK: Recruitment Authorization: Recreation Center Staff, City Council action item approved 11/29/10.


  • The Lynnwood City Council is asked to authorize recruitment for aquatics, fitness and customer service positions at its expanded city Recreation Center which is to re-open in April.
  • New full-time positions to be filled are Aquatics Assistant Supervisor and Fitness Coordinator.
  • A .875 FTE position to be filled is Senior Lifeguard.
  • Numerous part time positions to be filled are for lifeguards, swim instructors, recreation specialists, weight room attendant and customer service clerks.
  • Interviews will occur in December and January, hiring in January, training in February, soft opening of the rec center in mid-March, and opening in April.


Recreation Center Renovation and Expansion Project site, City of Lynnwood.

Public Data Ferret On KOMO 1000: Washington State Race Horse Fatalities

by Matt Rosenberg June 2nd, 2010

Today during the weekly Public Data Ferret radio installment on KOMO 1000 news radio Seattle, we talked about a recent report released on race horse fatalities in Washington state. The original Ferret write up of the report is here.

Last year, there were 16 racing-related fatalities among 6,058 starts reported in 815 races on 91 race days at the state’s sole for-profit horse racing facility, Emerald Downs in Auburn, WA.

The audio of today’s radio discussion is here. The transcript follows.

Brian Calvert: “The state has just released an interesting report on racing injuries and deaths, and how to prevent them. Matt Rosenberg of is with us, where you can use their feature, the Public Data Ferret. And Matt, the Public Data Ferret actually came across a report that deals with horse racing injuries.”

Matt Rosenberg: “We did. Everyone loves a day at the horse races, but if you’ve ever seen a horse take a tumble, and the trailer come to haul them away, you’ve gotta wonder if the horse will survive. So, how often do racing-related horse fatalities occur in our state, and how can they be prevented? It turns out that the Washington Horse Racing Commission monitors that, and they’ve recently released their ‘Equine Safety And Health Report for 2009.’ Now, on the upside, more than 997 out of every 1,000 starts by a racehorse last year in Washington state, at our pre-eminent track, Emerald Downs in Auburn, did not result in a fatality. But on the down side, the racing-related fatality rate per 1000 starts at Emerald Downs reached its highest level yet in 2009, of 2.64.”

Nancy Barrick: “And as you look at these figures, what are you seeing as far as the main problems, the biggest risks for these horses?”

Matt Rosenberg: “Well, they say that muscolo-skeletal injuries are really the big thing. Over eight years that they’ve been keeping track of the data, there’ve been 268 race horse fatalities in Washington state, and seven out of every ten have been caused by injuries to the musculoskeletal system, which includes muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints and bones.”

Brian Calvert: “So Matt, did the report also issue some recommendations perhaps , to prevent these serious injuries or the deaths to the racehorses?”