On Saturday morning, former high school science teacher and Edmonds Parks Board member Bill Phillips led a group of more than a dozen interested citizens on a tour of Edmonds’ waterfront parks, a legacy he played a key role in shaping during his 20 years on the Parks Board during the 1960s and ’70s.
Along the way, the 92-year-old Phillips regaled the group with stories of how the land that is now Brackett’s Landing was formerly home to a shingle mill, and how he and others worked with the shingle mill interests to acquire the land for a park.
“We first named it Sunset Park,” said Phillips, “but it was changed to recognize it as the place where Edmonds founder George Brackett first stepped out of his canoe. Personally, I wish we’d kept the name as Sunset Park.”
As the group moved along the waterfront beaches and marina, Phillips kept up a running commentary of how the waterfront evolved from an unbroken row of smokestacks and mills to the mix of park, public and marina space of today, and the key roles played by various former mayors, councilmembers and regular citizens without whom it wouldn’t have happened.
Phillips was joined by fellow former Edmonds-Woodway science teacher John Cooke, who used these parks extensively as an outdoor classroom with his biology students. The more his students learned about Edmonds’ shoreline and marsh areas, the more they wanted to do something to help preserve this for future generations. This gave rise to the current Students Saving Salmon group, which is playing an active role in the efforts now underway to re-open the Edmonds Marsh and its tributary creeks to spawning salmon (see My Edmonds News article here).