Yost Park bridge closed after damage from falling tree

A large alder tree has fallen in Yost Park, damaging bridge #4, the City of Edmonds said Monday. The bridge will remain closed while the city’s park maintenance team evaluates and assesses the damage. This bridge closure is in addition to bridge #6, which is closed indefinitely, the city said.

Signs have been posted throughout the park to assist in guiding park visitors to take alternate trail routes. See the map for locations of the closures.

  1. I saw the recent damage to bridge #4. The handrails are severely bent from the fallen tree. I can not see any visible damage to bridge #6, but it has been closed “indefinitely” for about a year. What is the issue with bridge #6 and what is the repair plan? And why has it been closed “indefinitely”? Lack of budget to repair? I hope bridge #4 is not closed indefinitely as well, it provides access to a very nice trail in the park.

  2. The closed trails are not only inconvenient. The plywood roadblocks and related signage all over the park are unsightly as well. There is also a “Keep Out” sign on another plywood sign that has been there for years, even though access there has long been blocked. A misguided campaign of 4×4 posts and plastic laminated signs advising visitors to stay on trails has fallen apart, with some of the posts strewn along the trails. The signs have disappeared, probably covered under detritus. Meanwhile, dangerous dead and dying trees loom over the main thoroughfare through the park, transited by scores of visitors every day. Limbs and trunks fall with some frequency, yet no effort has ever been made to mitigate this danger. Yost Park gets short shrift when it comes to maintenance and repair, even though it generates income from the pool and various wilderness day camp groups.

    1. It’s very sad. But it seems that for a rather long time, frothy, feel-good projects have had preference. If we could have spent the time and money that went into the asinine bike lanes on 9th, I expect Yost Park could have been cleaned up. Yes, they’re different funding sources, but they do indicate the city’s priorities.

      Or perhaps the labor/money/time that’s going to snarl Christmas season shopping by trimming the trees around the fountain could go into the park?

  3. Never fear all good citizens of Edmonds. Just last night our City Council voted to spend $250,000 to hire another consultant to tell us what is wrong with Shell Creek and what we should do about it. Never mind we have a highly knowledgeable local citizen who could do all this for the city for free and be happy doing it; but why not waste another quarter million $’s when the opportunity presents itself? After all, we are Edmonds, and chock full of over advantaged rich people to foot the bills. There is always money to study the problems, but getting the staff and money to actually fix the problems seems to be a constant issue in our fair city. Somehow this just does not all add up. I wonder how many trees could be removed and bridges repaired for 250K?

  4. Unless I am missing something on bridge #6 there is one lonely plank needing replacement and yes it has been over a year since they closed it down.
    Now let’s hope bridge #4 does not suffer the same fate of benign neglect.
    This is a jewel of a park and it’s a shame to see it slowly degrade as the parks department watches passively. This lack of will to maintain our parks is disappointing to say the least.
    We can and should do better. Let’s hope a few of our tax dollars get to work on this.

  5. As part of our ongoing budgeting process, it would be interesting to see a graph showing the amount of money that has been spent by the city to pay for consultants over the past 5 years. Is this an increasing trend? A good point has been made: much of this money could be used to actual do meaningful work rather than kicking problems down the road while doing studies.
    Having had years of management experience in corporate America, I have observed that consultants often make no attempt to come up with *simple* solutions. They have a vested interest showing value for their high fees by creating lots of studies, surveys, and complex solutions. Managers also use consultants to avoid making hard decisions and to avoid taking responsibility for their decisions. I find it hard to believe that we don’t have local experience to deal with the Yost questions. Spending a quarter of a million dollars to study this creek is mind boggling.

  6. I agree with Chris Walton. Having high paid consultants for every issue has to stop. We as a city can figure out how to handle a downed tree and a broken bridge with staff and interested and passionate citizens. An arborist could walk the trails in a day and write a report. There is already a battalion of local volunteers who have been removing invasive species from the park that have first hand knowledge of stream movement and potential tree hazards. Lean into the local know-how and can-do spirit. If allowed, staff, citizen volunteers and donations could handle these issues for the price of the proposed consulting before the spring bloom. But maybe that’s just too “small town feel” for “Everyone’s Edmonds.”

  7. I do agree with all that is said about consultants and their fees and the necessity for needing them with everything. With Yost Park other than the engineering of the possible new creek etc. you are all right citizens and volunteers could help with cleaning it out but the only thing I wonder about is liability? I agree that the concept of ” A barn raising” is awesome. It sounds great bring your chainsaws and trucks and go for it. I of course love this idea but will the city allow this? If waivers were signed possibly? I don’t know. I do think that with this wooded park that falling trees will always be an issue. As it is now basically the city, and its citizens are aware of the danger of falling trees which is probably why we are not allowed into the park. On the other hand being aware of the danger and the city doing nothing is this an enticement? Any attorneys out there to comment on what can we do what can’t we do and what liability does our city have for let’s say campers, people who go in anyway? All of it?

  8. 250k does seem like a pretty high fee for engineering services related to a few footbridges. Is the scope to entirely redesign the park or just structural design for the foot bridges?

  9. Just to clarify a couple things (though I’m just an observer). The park is open.. A couple bridges are closed, one because the bank beneath it is unstable. Repairing it is not just a matter of replacing a few boards. The other is closed because a dead tree fell and took out the railing and maybe compromised its structure. These closed bridges (the one has been closed for a couple years now), make it necessary to circumnavigate through some parts of the park. As for dangerous trees and branches, Yost Park is full of them. They regularly fall over the trails. These are mostly alders, which are the first trees to come into destabilized areas as they can fix nitrogen from the atmosphere, making disturbed areas more habitable for other species. I don’t think it would be feasible to remove all the dangerous trees from the park. However, there are easily identifiable dangerous trees and limbs overhanging the main thoroughfare that is used daily by scores of visitors, including, cyclists, parents with strollers, dog walkers, birders, etc. The evidence of multiple deadly tree and branch falls is easy to see along the sides of the path, where the trees have been dragged. It’s really quite beyond my comprehension why the city doesn’t do something about these trees and branches.

  10. Thanks for this clarification, Vince. I heard it was closed. Now I know the reality of the situation in Yost Park.

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