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and other visitors is leaky and the toilets which can actually flood while plumbing is currently being repaired, are outdated.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.