Letter to the editor: Parks survey ignores Brackett’s Landing, underwater park


I recently took the Edmonds Parks/Rec survey about how people use parks and was dismayed to find that there were close to no questions about beach use and no comment section for, “what may we have forgotten to ask”?

I use Brackett’s Landing beach specifically to swim and view our underwater park at least three times per week. As one of only a few state underwater parks, this is a huge natural resource and the beaches protecting it therefore should be a huge focus of parks yet, the survey didn’t ask questions about the Edmonds beaches that might have better captured their high use and user impacts on these sensitive areas.

Brackett’s is extremely special in that it is tended (cleaned and improved) by a well-seasoned curator (Bruce Higgens) and many volunteers. It also was established in 1970 by city ordinance as a Marine Preserve and Sanctuary! Today divers and swimmers alike flock to this underwater park because it simply is one of the best to observe abundant and diverse sea life. However, the outdoor shower used daily by divers, swimmers and other visitors is leaky and the toilets which can actually flood while plumbing is currently being repaired, are outdated. Parks staff can barely keep up with trash and the signs meant to protect the resource are fading and scratched. None of these issues were able to be commented upon in this survey.

The city will face the degradation of the underwater park and supporting beach areas specifically for the simple reason that Bruce is heading to retire and there is no plan in place to replace him, upkeep the underwater portion of this park or improve beach areas. Simply stated, there is no larger plan to protect this Marine Sanctuary by funding its maintenance both above and below water. If there was one simple way for the city to positively address a very visible area it would do well to add funding and a long-term plan for this park and other beach areas, as it is considering other ways to focus improvements to our parks in general.

If you care about Edmonds beaches and Brackett’s Landing in particular — you use it for walking, picnicking, beachcombing, sunsetting, photographing, swimming, diving or etc. — then please let the city know you also care about its cleanliness, the state of the facilities and what you can’t see unless you dive or swim: the beauty and health of this fragile Marine Park. Unfortunately, since some of this park is underwater it seems to be getting left behind.

Thank you

Katy Bigelow

  1. I could not agree with you more on the beaches and underwater park. These are all wonderful places to use and go. What a delight to have in our area! Our daughter loved to dive in the underwater park. I loved the beach with our kids and now our grandchildren. The facilities should be updated, funded and maintained so everyone can continue to use for years. Joy in looking out at water and playing in the sand!

  2. Thank you Katy! Brackett’s Landing in particular and our beaches in general are the jewels of Edmonds. The city must prioritize their care and protection.

  3. The EUP must be maintained. People come from all over the country, the world, in fact, just to dive there. I love to hear the divers rave about what they see during their dives, especially the Godzilla-sized ling cods. Or the ecosystems created from sunken boats.

    Brackett’s Landing is my favorite place to swim in the Sound. The bathrooms and showers on the beach must be maintained as well.

  4. Please Parks & Rec, pay attention to these concerns. Scott is right! When I ran my B&B in Edmonds, people came to stay with me from all over just specifically to dive there. In fact, that’s how I found out all about it.

  5. My family regularly use Brackets Landing, especially during low tide. Th critters, algae and other cool stuff is amazing, especially to you get visitors. We have also noticed unkempt bathrooms and outdoor showers. We consider this park special and hope the Parks dept will too.

  6. My boyfriend and I love exploring the area around Brackett’s Landing at the extremely low tides. Seeing purple starfish and other marine life is amazing. We also consider this park special and would love to see it, restrooms and outdoor shower maintained.

  7. I swim there 3-4 times a week! I’ve become a part of the the community that recreates there and have many new friends. The park allows me easy access to world class underwater beauty safely and had saved my sanity this past year. Please, please, please develop a plan for upkeep and protect the long term viability for the joy of so many.

  8. One of the highlights in the greater Salish Sea is the Edmonds Underwater park. I have enjoyed the park and seen firsthand how just protecting a small section of our shared coastline has helped in a greater sense. For anglers, having an area to grow ling cod larger, a small area without crab pots, seeing the black rockfish coming back over the last few years has been extremely exciting for me. There simply aren’t many areas that designed specifically for humans and animals to interact beyond extraction/hunting/fishing. This place serves as a beacon to expand understanding of what beauty is left in Puget Sound, a habitat for future growth and possibly as a metric to see what we have lost. The underwater park deserves basic resources and the city has frankly done a disservice by largely ignoring it to volunteers like Bruce. I hope that future plans include not only protecting the park but expanding this wonderful destination. My friends from the South sound (and elsewhere) all agree that this park serves as a destination for visiting and it remains a shining star in our beautiful city. Let’s protect, and expand the underwater park, becoming an example of positive change for the future.

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