Mar

24

One of the joys of owning waterfront real estate is your proximity to the beauty and recreation made possible by the water itself. However, in a generally small portion of waterfront locations there is the potential for floods. Waterfront property owners in these locations have long been able to rely on flood insurance for peace of mind and for help when the worst happens.  But last year the 2012 Biggert-Waters law went into effect, which left some homeowners reeling over flood insurance premium increases. Thankfully, Congress has crafted and passed the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act to help waterfront property owners by correcting the problems that the Biggert-Waters law created.

Why the Biggert-Waters Law Was Created

The National Flood Insurance Program is run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which oversees dozens of private insurance companies that offer flood insurance coverage to waterfront property owners. In the past, the income from premiums failed to cover the program’s costs during years in which widespread major flooding occurred. In fact, after the U.S. was hit by Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma in 2005, FEMA had to temporarily stop making payments on legitimate claims due to lack of funds. The Biggert-Waters law set out to address the National Flood Insurance Program’s $24 billion debt by gradually phasing out flood insurance policy subsidies.  But when the law was enacted, it became apparent that for many waterfront homeowners the effect was not gradual at all.

How the New Act Helps Waterfront Property Owners

The Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act will implement the following:

  • –     Set a limit on annual flood insurance premium rate increases
  • –     Repeal the “property sales trigger” that allowed higher premiums to be set when property was sold, which Realtors feared was depressing the value of some waterfront real estate
  • –     Repeal the “new policy sales trigger,” which allowed higher premiums to be set if a waterfront property owner chose a different policy or went to a different insurance provider for coverage
  • –     Refund premiums to homeowners who overpaid when then the 2012 Biggert-Waters law went into effect

This new act will still address the concerns of the original Biggert-Waters law, but will do so in a way that is more manageable to those who live on the waterfront. The focus is on making this a gradual transition that affected homeowners can plan for, rather than an unexpectedly large bill that is immediately due.

What This Means for You

This new law, which is expected to be signed by the President when it reaches the White House, will still result in eliminating subsidies and addressing debt created by the National Flood Insurance Program. However, existing waterfront property owners in the Seattle area and those who are buying waterfront real estate will still benefit from the program as it is gradually phased out rather than being suddenly taken away. You’ll have peace of mind knowing that not only are you covered by flood insurance, if you are in an area where you even desire to have flood insurance, but you will also be better able to afford insurance in the future for your waterfront home.

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Mar

10

A free workshop offered by the Environmental Science Center gives Seattle area residents a chance to learn more about the design principles that can improve water quality in nearby creeks, lakes, and Puget Sound. Everything from how storm water flows through your waterfront property to the products you use to maintain your yard can directly influence the health of the recreational areas and wildlife habitat that make up the local waterfront.

A Lifetime Impact from Two Hours of Learning

On Saturday, March 29, the Environmental Science Center, SvR Design Company, and Sustainable Burien are offering a free workshop from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. in the Burien Community Center. Registration is required for the session, which will be led by SvR Design Company principal Peg Staeheli, PLA, LEED AP. She will explain what is meant by low-impact design and how adopting these principles can lessen your carbon footprint as well as help the overall health of local waterfront environments. What you learn at this session can have a lifelong impact on how you see your role in the local watershed.

Why You Should Be “Stepping Lightly” on Puget Sound

Workshop organizers use the phrase “stepping lightly” as a reference to leaving a smaller carbon footprint, or environmental impact, on the world around you. For those with waterfront property, having clean water and healthy wildlife nearby enhances the pleasure of living so close to a lake or Puget Sound, but even those who don’t have a daily front-row seat from their waterfront homes will surely appreciate the availability of clean drinking water and abundant salmon and other seafood. Making environmentally friendly choices, like using natural pesticides and organic fertilizer and using native plants in your landscaping, can minimize the footprint you make and reduce the pollution and toxic chemicals in the local watershed.

Being Green Can Save You Greenbacks

Learning about and following low-impact principles can save you money. Chemical fertilizers are easy to come by, and the Center for Watershed Protection says that while 50% of homeowners use them as a routine part of lawn care, only 10-20% of homeowners actually test their soil to see if fertilizers are needed. The rest are pouring money along with toxic chemicals down the drainage pipe! When putting in landscaping around your home, pick plants that are native to the Seattle area which will not only be less costly than more exotic options, they also won’t require as much watering and caretaking to flourish. Carefully designing your landscape to manage and collect rainwater can also reduce your utility bills, either through creating rain gardens that allow water to more thoroughly seep into your soil or by collecting water in rain barrels to water your garden at a later date.

Waterfront Residents Benefit from Low-Impact Design

As you can see, there are financial and environmental reasons to incorporate low-impact design into your waterfront property. The free workshop on March 29 is a great opportunity to learn more about the principles that can help you save money and ensure the long-term health of the local watershed.

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Feb

10

People may assume that managing and developing the land along Puget Sound and nearby lakes should mainly be the concern of those who own waterfront real estate, but Seattle Mayor Ed Murray clearly sees it as a priority for the entire community. The Mayor recently announced the establishment of a new Office of the Waterfront and appointed Jared Smith as the program director to coordinate city initiatives along the water’s edge, including projects that impact the city’s transportation, planning and development, parks, and public utilities departments. But why is the mayor putting so much effort into such a geographically small portion of the city? In a word, impact.

During the 2013 mayoral race, Seattle Times columnist Jonathan Martin stated that the waterfront would become “the most lasting legacy of the next Seattle mayor,” citing the nearly $1 billion the city has earmarked for development activities along its shoreline in addition to the funds already being directed to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct. The strength of Murray’s appointees shows that the Office of the Waterfront is gearing up to have a decisive impact on Seattle’s waterfront. Smith previously led operations for a company responsible for design and technical work for the new Highway 99 tunnel. The mayor also pulled from the ranks of those who worked on Safeco Field, appointing Ken Johnsen and Victor Oblas as project manager for the seawall and chief construction engineer, respectively.

The Office of the Waterfront will be positioned to make decisions that will reverberate throughout the downtown and waterfront areas. As rough plans and concepts become finalized and new guidelines are established for redevelopment along waterways, those who own waterfront real estate may be subject to new covenants prohibiting buildings that exceed certain heights or don’t meet population density standards. And all Seattle residents will likely be interested in the “new” 20 acres of public land that will become available on Puget Sound’s deep water port when the viaduct comes down in 2016. That open land creates an opportunity for pocket beaches, promenades, and green space that will enable more locals and tourists to take part in the many fun activities to be found along Seattle’s waterfront.

Creating new public access beaches and stimulating growth and development along Puget Sound will not only increase the interest in and value of waterfront property, it will provide more beauty and pleasure for everyone in the greater community. Having such a vibrant, vital area so closely tied to the city’s downtown will not only boost tourism but, when done in a thoughtful and deliberate way, will mitigate potential negative impacts that increased tourism may have on residents. Small wonder, then, that the mayor has made waterfront development such a priority.

As Martin wrote in his column, “This is a think-big moment for Seattle.” It’s also an exciting time for anyone interested in Seattle waterfront real estate.

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Jan

31

As football fans everywhere look forward to a Seattle Seahawks/Denver Broncos Super Bowl, real estate experts are again pitting the two cities against each other in terms of their burgeoning real estate markets. Yes, it’s time for a hard-fought Real Estate Super Bowl.

Last year, Seattle dominated categories like median household income and education level. 58% of Seattleites over age 25 have a bachelor’s degree or higher, versus 45% of Denver residents. The teams were almost neck-and-neck in population (612,916 for Seattle; 604,356 for Denver) and average square footage (1622 for Seattle, 1671 for Denver). Forty-nine extra square feet doesn’t equate to a lot of yardage for Denver, but the Mile-High City did surge ahead in categories like average lot size (6250 vs. Seattle’s 5500) and number of homes for sale near the city’s football stadium (299 vs. Seattle’s 194). It was indeed a close contest overall.

This year will be another close call. According to projections, Denver’s “players” move the fastest—the median number of days a home spends on the market is just 18 days in Denver, vs. 32 in Seattle. Seattle, however, has the most valuable players, if you measure value in terms of a home’s selling price: Seattle’s average home price is $285,849, compared to $259,000 for Denver. Seattle also has significantly more veteran players—it has a higher ratio of existing homes on the market compared to new construction. This kind of matchup should make for a riveting Real Estate Super Bowl. Who will come out ahead?

To make an accurate prediction, it’s necessary to look beyond figures and investigate more subjective categories. Seattle leads in two such areas: coaching staff and home-field advantage. Seattle’s superior coaching staff consists of real estate agents who are deeply knowledgeable and totally committed to finding buyers the home of their dreams.

Seattle’s home-field advantage is equally impressive. While the football Super Bowl is taking place at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, the Real Estate Super Bowl takes place on the home field of each competing city, and the Seattle waterfront home field is considerably more appealing than Denver’s. Ocean views and a wide variety of bay and lakeside homes put the Emerald City decisively ahead. Only in Seattle can home buyers find stunning properties overlooking Puget Sound, and amazing waterfront houses bordering Lake Washington and the other breathtaking bodies of water that dot the Seattle metro area. This is going to be the game clincher for Seattle.

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Jan

21

An organization for the waterfront neighborhood of Lake Burien filed an appeal this week against Washington State Department of Ecology (DOE) and city of Burien. For years, DOE and Burien worked on negotiations that would update the city’s shoreline. While work began in 2008, disagreements kept it from moving forward. It was not until 2012, when the Burien Working Shoreline Group mediated, that DOE and Burien reached and approved an agreement in 2013.

The Shoreline Master Program

In 1971, Washington enacted the Shoreline Management Act. This required cities and counties with waterfront property to instate rules about the lakes, rivers, and other water bodies. Each city has a unique Shoreline Master Program that fulfills this. Due to old regulations, Washington and DOE asked the cities to update their program to meet today’s more modern needs. This updating is to be completed in a number of steps including:
• Shoreline and land use inventory such as transportation and public use sites
• Shoreline function identification
• Policy and regulation development
• Ecological shoreline analyzed with restoration ideas
• Shoreline Master Programs for each county and city with junctions working together
• Updates submitted to DOE for approval

Proposed Changes to Burien’s Shoreline Master Program

There are five and a half miles of waterfront land in the city of Burien. The last time Burien’s Shoreline Master Program was altered was in 1993 when it became incorporated. Burien first approved a proposed update that had followed a long local review. The city took inventory of land and collaborated with waterfront property owners, environmental agencies, and tribes among many other groups. This all occurred in 2010 and DOE did not approve of all the changes. Four issues became the prime point of interest:
• Regulations to manage Ordinary High Water Mark in new developments
• New renovations and maintenance of existing homes
• Changes to Shoreline Permit Matrix
• Water quality and Nonpoint Pollution

Burien Working Shoreline Group

After lengthy negotiations between DOE and the city of Burien showed no results, the Burien Working Shoreline Group formed. This group is comprised of local residents. It researched the issues and came up with a recommendation based on findings. Both the city and DOE agreed with the recommendation and the Burien Working Shoreline Group re-wrote the proposal to reflect this. The Shoreline Master Program was then approved in October of 2013.

Burien Shoreline Master Program Appeal

Details of the appeal have yet to be released, however, it is one of Lake Burien’s neighborhood groups that filed along with specific individuals. If past issues are taken into consideration, some of the points in the appeal may be:
• Public access concerns of existing waterfront home owners to privately enclosed Lake Burien
• Perhaps Puget Sound access relative to private property
• Incentives and/or condition to provide access

The Growth Management Hearings board will hear the appeal in May 2014. Until then, the project is again on hold. DOE, the city of Burien, and waterfront owners are hopeful the Shoreline Master Program issues will resolve and become enacted soon.

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Dec

31

Seattle is composed of rich and diverse communities that offer their own holiday celebrations. While many people are celebrating around the downtown area, waterfront houses have family-friendly activities to help you celebrate as well. Whether you want to watch a light tour, take a cruise on Puget Sound, or venture on the Great Ferris Wheel, you can find Christmas fun along the waterfront that appeals to everyone.

Ride the Ducks Light Tour

Originally crafted for use in World War II, the Ducks are part automobile, part boat. The Ride the Ducks Tour takes you on a drive around highlighted parts of Seattle and then through the Lake Union waterfront area by boat. After Thanksgiving, the company offers a Holiday Duck Tour to view Seattle’s best-decorated areas such as Westlake Center and Toyland Village by Pier 57. Along with lights, you will enjoy the outgoing fun personality of your tour Captain. He will have you singing classic Christmas tunes like ‘Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer’ while sharing holiday facts. This tour lasts 40 minutes and is available for all ages.

Christmas Ship Festival

Since 1949, the Christmas Ship Festival has been cruising the Puget Sound waterfront communities to offer a relaxing celebration. There are three ways to celebrate: aboard a cruise ship, on your own boat, or from the shore. While aboard ship, you will listen to a choir as they carol to each of the 45 waterfront communities. Tours are available that include dinner or, for the younger crowd, morning Santa brunches. If you have your own boat, you can add lights and join in the Christmas Ship Parade. Each year, Seattle aims to have the largest floating holiday parade in the world. You can help make this a success while enjoying the view of lights from the water. The combination of the night waters and twinkling shore is made for memories.

Even those on the shore can take part in the Christmas Ship Festival. Each waterfront community in the Puget Sound area offers a place to view the boats as they pass by. You will hear a 20-minute session of Christmas caroling from the ship and others on land. There is a hospitality tent and a large bonfire to keep you warm as you mingle with others.

Ferris Wheel for the New Year

The Great Ferris Wheel has recently been added to the attractions in downtown Seattle waterfront. While it is currently open, you can bring in the New Year with a special dinner and ride. There is an early and late dinner, each taking place at The Fisherman’s with a three-course meal and party favors. Then, you can sip some champagne while you take in the night views and celebrations from the Ferris Wheel. This is a great way to ring in the New Year while admiring the views of waterfront homes and activity. Photos are included with your purchase.

Seattle’s diverse landscape gives you opportunity to celebrate the holidays in a way other cities cannot. When you want take in the holiday waterfront, options are available for everyone. Make it a romantic evening on the Great Wheel or enjoy the lights with your entire family. The Seattle waterfront can helps you create memories to last whether you are looking for a waterfront home or evening out.

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Dec

5

As one of the largest and most diverse cities in the Pacific Northwest, Seattle is both a forward-looking city and a city with a rich and vibrant history to its name. While much of the city’s history is centered around people and events, it’s also important to note the area’s unique geography has had its own role to play. Now, that crossroads between the past and the future is being brought to the fore with major changes to Seattle waterfront’s seawall, known as the Elliot Bay Seawall. Here’s a taste of where the Seawall came from and what it’s going to be like in the future.

History of the Seawall

Seattle has always been a city with a close relationship to the sea. Early on, when Seattle was still just a settlement, there were miles of sandy beaches, forested bluffs, marshes and shoreline separating the waterfront from the water. As the city grew, it became clear that a few isolated piers wouldn’t be enough to protect and support the bustling waterfront, from the businesses to the waterfront houses . The seawall was first started back in 1916, with significant construction occurring between 1934 and 1936. Thanks to a solid seawall and a level shoreline, the greater Seattle metropolitan area became a shipping and industry hub in the Northwest.

Deterioration in the Seawall

The Seawall played a huge part in the success of Seattle. Unfortunately, the wall itself has deteriorated over the course of more than 70 years. Largely built from old piles of timber in the first place, the wall has major infrastructure problems that need to be addressed. In particular, it has fallen prey to gribbles, which are very small marine borers that eat and hollow out the wood of the seawall. It’s been a victim of water erosion from the tides, as well as the simple fact that it’s been around for decades. Recognizing that the Seawall might not be able to carry on its job, the city is launching a project to restore and add new functionality to the seawall along the waterfront.

Coming Changes to the Seawall

Dubbed the Core Projects, Seattle can expect to see a brand-new promenade for pedestrians, a two-way track for cyclists, and a new Alaskan Way Viaduct that’s being designed to handle all kinds of traffic via tunnel and ground-level streets. Other features of the changes include some new paths and parks, multiple rebuilt public piers, and more. The brand-new seawall is being designed to last for 75 years, and it will stand up to current earthquake standards. The wall is also going to be built in such a way to accommodate nature and the environment, with the restoration of a functional salmon migration corridor and other considerations intended to minimize the environmental impact of the seawall.

It’s a great time to be living and working on the Seattle waterfront. These changes show that even as the city moves forward, everything it does is rooted in a proud and enduring legacy.

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Nov

21

If anyone were to tell you that the greater Seattle metropolitan area doesn’t have a thriving waterfront community, all you would have to do to prove them wrong is mention the new housing projects that are on their way. The fact is, among Seattle’s many biggest attractions and perks, the city’s proximity to water features like Lake Washington and Puget Sound is a huge boon. Homeowners in the area have plenty to appreciate about the lively nature of the waterfront, including a wide variety of quality parks, shops, restaurants, gardens, and one of a kind landmarks and features. Fortunately, the development of new housing makes it possible for more people to enjoy one of the best things Seattle has to offer.

Upcoming Housing Projects

The two major housing projects in Seattle include a seven-story apartment building and a 16-story residential building, both on picturesque waterfront sites. It’s important to note that the location of the seven-story building was just recently the home of one of the oldest businesses in Seattle. Known as Argens Safe and Lock Company, the business has been in operation since 1880, founded by immigrant Henry Argens. Fortunately, it’s a unique opportunity to live in a fantastic location that residents simply didn’t have access to for more than 100 years.

The Housing Plans

Following the decision to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct with a 26-block promenade, real estate developers weren’t far behind with interest in capitalizing on the newfound opportunity. The companies in charge of these two new waterfront home projects are Goodman Real Estate and Mack Urban. The two developers aren’t strangers to waterfront property development, with Goodman having leased a building of 16 stories that was fully leased within seven months after completion. For the upcoming project, Goodman is planning to tear down the mid-20th century Argens building to allow for construction of brand new apartments, mostly one bedroom units.

Preparing for the Future

What does all of this mean for people interested in waterfront property in the Seattle area? It means that now is a great time to look into finding some space there, because demand is sure to be high. For those who have always thought about buying a home on the waterfront, leasing a unit in an upcoming waterfront residential building is a good way to test it out and see how you like it. The whole affair is also indicative of the fact that Seattle is continuously rebuilding itself, with old buildings and developments making way for new ones. For better or worse, the Seattle waterfront scene keeps changing, bringing with it plenty of attractive opportunities for new experiences.

In the end, the seven-story project at 80 S. Main St. and the 16-story project at 1301 Western Ave. represent the potential to enjoy features in a location that you couldn’t have come by until now. You can rest assured that the waterfront community in Seattle continues to evolve, thrive, and eventually, to reinvent itself in new and exciting ways.

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Oct

21

There’s a lot about the city of Seattle that’s special, but one of its most exciting and enduring features is the presence of so many pristine lakes and other bodies of water. From Lake Washington to Puget Sound, the greater Seattle Metropolitan Area offers a lot to appreciate when it comes to owning a waterfront home. Waterfront property owners get the benefits of a gorgeous view, a convenient new mode of transportation, and close access to downtown Seattle and a thriving business district. One good example of life in a waterfront community is an upcoming family event in the spirit of Halloween.

Trick or Treat

Kids have it good in Seattle. Not only do the little ones get the opportunity to trick or treat days ahead of Halloween, but they also have a wide variety of places to visit. On Sunday, October 27, from 11 AM to 5 PM, trick-or-treaters can visit the Seattle waterfront and get candy from the businesses there for free. The businesses that will be participating are located between Ferry Terminal and Bell Harbor Conference Center. On top of the free candy, the trick-or-treaters and their families can enjoy free parking on the street because it’s on a Sunday.

Other Festive Events

As if several hours of free candy from businesses along the waterfront weren’t enough, there are more events happening in the area. You can dedicate your weekend to the Halloween holiday by stopping by the Seattle Aquarium. The aquarium is putting on a special event called Aquarium Halloween 2013, and it features fun events like underwater pumpkin carving, face painting, games, and more. Also on October 27, from 11 AM to 1 PM, is a Seattle Fire Department show and tell. It’s clear that there’s no shortage of activity and festivities in downtown Seattle along the waterfront this year.

The Seattle Waterfront

The Seattle waterfront is one of the most memorable and captivating neighborhoods in Seattle. Along with the Seattle Aquarium, it features a variety of restaurants, souvenir shops, and more. You can experience one of the greatest pleasures of having access to the waterfront by simply walking along the pier and admiring the view of Elliott Bay. You can get even more up close to the water view by taking a scenic ferry ride. It calls to mind the kind of view that a waterfront home owner can enjoy every day, as well as the kind of convenience they get to visit Seattle’s bustling downtown business communities.

 

Along with some truly breathtaking views, residential waterfront property in Seattle offers several perks, including peace, prestige, and easy access to the action through transportation like the King County Water Taxi or ferries. With the ability to tap into a thriving and generous business community, waterfront residents can easily take advantage of some of the greatest benefits that Seattle has to offer. Be sure to take advantage of the one of them yourself when October 27 rolls around. Early trick or treating and Aquarium Halloween 2013 are just some of the many events that remind people why Seattle is a fantastic place to live.

 

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Sep

25

There’s no doubt that people come to the Seattle area because they love the sights. For a city with such dense urban development, as well as luxury waterfront real estate, the greater Seattle metropolitan area features a staggering variety of natural sights and wonders that locals and tourists alike can enjoy. From boat tours on one of the community’s many bodies of water to peeks at exotic plants in the botanical gardens, celebration of nature is a fixture of Seattle culture. One of the enduring and historically significant sites in the Seattle area is Burien’s Three Tree Point Indian Trail. Here’s what makes this such a memorable feature.

Historical Three Tree Point Community

If you want a sense of how majestic waterfront land in Seattle can be, start by visiting the Burien Indian Trail in the Three Tree Point luxury waterfront community. This secluded and quaint waterfront community lies on the west-facing shores of gorgeous Puget Sound, located in Burien. Historically, the trail hearkens back to an era before there were roads, when there were just narrow public walkways between homes. Summer home vacationers would visit the community, arriving at a long-gone dock by the tip of Three Tree Point on Seattle’s Mosquito Fleet boats. This path was reportedly once approximately followed by Native Americans as a shoreline passage around the point too, though accounts of that vary. People have unearthed artifacts in this area during construction projects, marking the Burien Indian Trail as a natural historical marker for Seattle’s past.

The View from Burien Indian Trail

History buffs might enjoy the trail for its association with the history of Seattle and the Pacific Northwest, but nature lovers will have plenty to appreciate as well. As you pass by each waterfront home in this neighborhood, with some above the trail and others below it, you’ll spy Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountain range. You’ll also see an incredible view of the beach on the south side trail, as well as a more tree-filtered view on the longer north side. Perhaps one of the most exciting aspects of the trail is that you could have a completely different experience on the way back during a round trip journey. It’s always a unique adventure traversing this trail.

The Real Estate Around Burien Indian Trail

For those who like to witness luxury, there’s nothing quite like the waterfront property in this community that lies nestled against Puget Sound. There are lower waterfront lots and upper water view lots lining the six-foot wide public trail, including some Puget Sound homes that can be accessed from the road above to the personal solitude at the water’s edge by walking the trail or by using stairs and trams. Some homes are lavish beach houses perched a short distance from the water. This is an affluent and friendly community that’s sure to capture your imagination. For those enjoying life in Three Tree Point, they can walk the beach at low tide and walk the forested trail at high tide. So many options to stroll, visit neighbors, exercise, and show guests around.

Clearly, the view and access you get from the Burien Indian Trail is something entirely unique to the area. Few places can combine history, nature, and luxury into such a comprehensive Seattle experience. Whether you’re just visiting or you’ve lived here for a while and haven’t had a chance to walk the Burien Indian Trail yourself, you owe it to yourself to give it a try. It’s a refreshing experience unlike any other.

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Sep

10

Generally, even among waterfront real estate, there isn’t much that’s noteworthy enough about a single property to warrant its own blog post. Here’s an exception. There is a newly available waterfront estate on the sandy beachfront of Puget Sound that spans 5.5 acres, as well as more than 50 years of history. Historically, it was named “Kewn” after the Gaelic word for a “peaceful place in the forest” and the Skagit Indian word for “peaceful lady”. This theme of peace is well represented by the estate, which offers unprecedented privacy and quiet. It’s comfortably nestled between the exclusive Three Tree Point and Seahurst waterfront communities.

Features of the Puget Sound Estate

Even along the waterfront, few properties can compete with this massive estate. Available on the Puget Sound waterfront just 15 minutes from downtown Seattle, the estate overlooks the Puget sound, the Olympic Mountain range, and more than 200 feet of low bank sandy beach. Across the full 5.5 acres, you’ll find rare trees, ponds, waterfalls, and other gorgeous natural features. More than just for viewing, the estate accommodates an active lifestyle making it easier than ever to go boating, hike in the mountains, walk along the shoreline, and more.

The Home Itself

Overlooking a promontory is the house itself, an 8000-square-foot wonder with a Mid Century Modern style. It has 9 bedrooms, 8 bathrooms, two garages, and some iconic architectural features. One such feature is its curved wall of glass along the west side, perfect for viewing Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains. It also includes a separate 1500 square foot cabin that’s situated just beyond the water’s edge, which provides an even greater sense of solitude and peace. Perhaps it’s a happy coincidence, but this home known for peace is not located within the flight pattern of the airport, despite the airport being only 10 minutes away. There’s really nothing like this marvel of construction and natural beauty.

Historical Documents

What really sets this estate apart from the wide variety of waterfront houses in Seattle is its history. As made evident by historical documents from more than a half century ago, the estate was once home to the world-renowned Kewn Gardens, which was designed by Fred Cole. He is remembered for his famous Butchart Gardens in Victoria, but in Seattle, he’s certainly remembered for his iconic contribution to the Seattle waterfront landscape. Even today, the estate offers a covered patio and walking garden that’s full of exotic plants like giant rhododendrons, azaleas, and a variety of rare trees.

Other historical documents showcase its beauty through artistic renderings that represent a snapshot in time. Every once in a while, it’s fun to stop and take a look at a property with such a history behind it. The estate was owned by the same family for over 100 years, so there’s no question that this particular estate is a once in a lifetime opportunity. From its prominent history within the Seattle area to its incredible amenities and features, there’s no question that “Kewn” is a waterfront estate worthy of its renown.

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Aug

13

There’s an issue being discussed by the city of Bellevue and Washington State’s Department of Ecology. At stake is Bellevue’s shoreline plan, which is a document that outlines how to protect the city’s bodies of water, including Lake Washington, Lake Sammamish, and Phantom Lake. While there’s nothing objectionable in the intent of the plan, which is to protect the lakes within Bellevue’s borders, it’s become a problem with waterfront property homeowners who feel that certain provisions would create an unnecessary and unfair restriction on the usage of their own property.

The Waterfront Property Shoreline Plan

What was contained in the shoreline plan that irked many owners of waterfront houses along Lake Sammamish? In an early draft of the plan, the Department of Ecology asked for clear criteria for a property owner to show that an erosion-control structure is necessary in order to protect a home. It also called for limits on a process that could exempt property owners from some regulations. The Shoreline Master Program must be approved by Ecology before it will become law, which is where the conflict is coming in. Homeowners are worried the new plan would overly complicate the process of remodeling their homes or building new features like patios and docks, as it requires new houses to be situated at least 50 feet from the water and creates a 25-feet “vegetation conservation area” where native plants must be retained or replaced as needed.

Further Conflict

While existing homes are usually grandfathered in to their existing footprints, the plan still seems too invasive and controlling for many Lake Sammamish property owners, because of the onerous restrictions on new construction. This backlash led to the proposal being rewritten by Bellevue’s Planning Commission, which shook up and reformed appointments of many waterfront property-rights advocates. The inevitable problem was that the state Department of Ecology not only didn’t agree with the changes, but actually viewed many of them as violations of state regulations and was irritated at not being kept informed of the changes as they occurred. In fact, officials cited 101 elements of the plan that they deemed out of compliance.

Communication and Compromise on the Waterfront

Ultimately, the key to a future where these bodies of water and happy waterfront real estate owners can peacefully coexist is dependent on communication and compromise. While it’s not too pressing of an issue for existing homeowners who don’t feel the need to do any major remodels or near-water construction projects, the fact remains that the proposal would put major burdens on future waterfront property buyers. Since owning property along the lake is a fixture of the Seattle community, it’s really up to the Bellevue Planning Commission and Washington’s Department of Ecology to work out a compromise that won’t alienate existing and future homeowners along the water but will still get the job of protecting the water done right. On the positive side, both the Planning Commission in Bellevue and Ecology are prepared to reinitiate communication with each other on the proposal until the issue is resolved. In the end, both sides hope it will be better for everybody, including waterfront homeowners.

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Jul

30

The beautiful waterfront real estate community of Pine Lake has a new story to tell. Today, Pine Lake itself is considered ground zero for a new infestation of the invasive species identified as Red Swamp Crayfish. Pine Lake is a small body of water just 40 feet deep and located roughly 20 miles to the east of Seattle. Picture the shores of this area, populated with gorgeous waterfront property, a series of docks, and vibrant waterfront activity. Now imagine the devastation that could be wrought on the delicate ecosystem of this Northwest community. The Red Swamp Crayfish is causing problems that current and prospective owners of waterfront houses in the greater Seattle metropolitan area need to keep in mind.

How It Happened

The problem began as these crawfish migrated north from their native habitat on the Gulf Coast and in Southeastern United States, leapfrogging from Northwestern lake to Northwestern lake and encroaching on the native species of fish like bass or trout. Bass and trout fishermen in Pine Lake rely on a healthy supply of fish, and the ecosystem balance has now shifted to the point where Red Swamp Crayfish have outnumbered the hometown species of crayfish known as signal crayfish. Over the course of 13 years, it’s changed from a 1 to 1 ratio to a ratio of 5 or 10 to 1 today, a catastrophic shift for the native species.

Why It’s Harmful

The invasion is having an impact on both the ecology of the area and the local economy, making it personal for the many waterfront home owners in Pine Lake and other Seattle lakefront communities. Specifically, the Red Swamp Crawfish has an adverse effect on other lake species, eating tadpoles and fish eggs while reproducing more quickly and prolifically than other species like the signal crayfish. They also consume the plants that provide cover for young fish, leaving them more vulnerable to predation. Over time, the accumulation of Red Swamp Crayfish is leading to a huge disruption of the ecosystem, while damaging the diversity and unique charm of the waterfront.

What Can Be Done

On the positive side, the infestation has been met with swift opposition by a wide range of responders. Many who have a home on the waterfront have joined in on the campaign to either eradicate the Red Swamp Crayfish entirely, or to at least drive their numbers back down to sustainable levels. In order to accomplish this, waterfront homeowners in Pine Lake are setting a huge number of traps in the water. Pine Lake residents are encouraged to tally how many they catch and so far, the residents have seen their efforts pay off with more than 500 Red Swamp Crayfish caught just this year. There’s additional good fortune in the fact that residents can enjoy the crawfish they catch in a range of enjoyable dishes, including everything from crayfish pie to crayfish bakes.

While the epicenter of the problem might be Pine Lake, there are actually nine other Washington State lakes with their own Red Swamp Crayfish infestation. It’s up to all of these waterfront communities to be vigilant in containing this threat to their properties and the attractive natural wonder of Seattle and Washington’s lakes.

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Jul

16

One of the most picturesque and exciting features of the Seattle area is its trademark waterfront real estate, complete with floating homes and houseboats. The city’s Lake Union and Portage Bay neighborhoods are home to a thriving community of waterfront houses and homeowners. These homeowners enjoy a fantastic view of Seattle water, as well as easy access to downtown Seattle. Even better, the area is privy to highlights that aren’t found elsewhere, such as Lake Union Park’s FarmBoat floating market. This attraction, held on the historic steamship known as Virginia V, has a storied tradition and a lot of charm.

A Brief History of FarmBoat Floating Market
When it comes to Seattle’s sites, waterfront attractions boast some of the longest histories around, and the FarmBoat Floating Market is no exception. The market is held aboard the long-lived Virginia V and docked at Lake Union Park Wharf, where it harkens back to another age. Around the turn of the 20th century, shipping vessels of steam and sails were the transportation of choice for agricultural goods. Hundreds of ships just like the Virginia V used to travel to and from Puget Sound to move farm goods around before there were trucks and highways. A floating time capsule, the Virginia V captures that unique old-world atmosphere and makes it available to Seattle locals and tourists alike.

The Attraction of Lake Union’s FarmBoat Floating Market
Like the water taxi and water-based firefighters, the floating market is a distinct fixture of the waterfront community. Market visitors can stop by the FarmBoat Floating Market to browse local produce and specialty foods, enjoy a scenic lunch, and even pick up a bit more knowledge about this fascinating bit of Seattle history, such as how the Virginia V once transported farm products from Vashon Island to Pike Place Market way back in 1922. In terms of local heritage and tradition, the FarmBoat Floating Market does a great job of shedding some light on this interesting locale. Even better, the entire experience is available free of charge, which is always a draw when trying to decide which of Seattle’s many attractions to see.

Placing FarmBoat Floating Market in Context
Lake Union FarmBoat Floating Market is managed by the Urban Public Waterfront Association, or UPWA. This organization is a non-profit with the mission of connecting people to the local maritime environment through water-centric events and activities. This alone shows how big a role the waterfront plays in Seattle’s culture and historical traditions. Ultimately, the Floating Market is a great choice for learning more about the area and experiencing what draws people to Seattle’s waterfront property. Whether visitors want to see the FarmBoat Floating Market as a slice of Seattle’s waterfront community, as a living relic of a bygone era, as a compelling shopping destination, or as a great vantage point for admiring Lake Union and the distinctive downtown Seattle skyline, FarmBoat Floating Market is a destination of choice. It has earned its place as a one of a kind attraction in Seattle.

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Jun

3

Waterfront property in Seattle is one of the most attractive features of the area. Who else but waterfront homeowners have the chance to skip a horrendous commute and get to work by water taxi? Who else gets a gorgeous lake view that’s right outside the window? Who else has the luxury of being accessible to fireboats in the event of a fire? Yet despite all of these advantages, one persistent difficulty facing the waterfront real estate owner is the possibility of a flood. That’s why recent discussions and decisions about flood insurance policies are important to understand.

Extension of National Flood Insurance Program
Last July, the National Association of Realtors hailed the federal government’s decision to extend the National Flood Insurance Program, or NFIP. The NFIP, originally created in 1968, was a response to the need for some kind of national flood insurance, as typical homeowner’s insurance doesn’t cover flooding, hurricanes, tropical storms, or heavy rains. The extension is positive because it will continue its function as a means for people with waterfront property to remain insured in the event of a flood. However, the most recent extension came with some changes that current or future owners of waterfront houses should know.

Changes to the NFIP
The Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, is responsible for responding to disasters like floods. Unfortunately, officials from FEMA recently explained that there will be increases in premiums and rate structures in order to help the agency get on more solid financial ground. Because of a high number of catastrophic storms in the recent past, FEMA has a debt load of $24 billion to overcome. One change will be on “severe repetitive loss properties,” which are the ones in the most dangerous position of having repeated loss due to flooding. About 600,000 current owners of a primary residence won’t see increases until their policy lapses or they sell to someone else. These are the properties with subsidies. About 80 percent of flood policies aren’t subsidized, so they won’t see any changes aside from routine rate increases each year.

What the Changes Mean to You
These changes are hardly a cause for alarm. Unless your home is located within a Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) area, you’ll continue to have a highly affordable flood insurance rate. In fact, half of all flood policy claims are found in just five metropolitan areas, which are New Orleans, Houston, Tampa, Miami, and New York. That means your likelihood of a flooding problem in a waterfront home off of Lake Washington or Puget Sound is probably quite low. Even so, it’s important to note that these changes are coming and react accordingly. As a buyer, you should focus on waterfront real estate located outside of any FIRMs. Current owners should take stock of what their situation is, keeping in mind that most changes will be phased in gradually starting in 2014. Sellers simply need to remember to disclose information about these changes to any buyers.

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May

20

Beautiful waterfront home for sale with scenic views.

New Burien Three Tree Point WaterHavens listing

Just a few months ago, there was an online auction house for a 1927-vintage fireboat “Alki.” This special boat was the senior member of four boats that comprised the Seattle Fire Department’s Marine Emergency Response Team. This boat had served the Seattle community well, but it had reached the point where it couldn’t keep up with the demands of modern technology and became an icon for a bygone era instead. While it was a bittersweet time for Seattleites to see a boat with an 86-year history go, it’s just one more reminder of what makes waterfront real estate in Seattle such a special feature of the Washington metropolis. How many other places can boast water-based traffic like water taxis and fireboats?

Retiring the Fireboat “Alki”
The retirement of “Alki” coincided with the recent acquisition of some new boats. “Engine One” was added to the fleet in 2006, and “Leschi” was built in 2007. In addition, the “Chief Seattle” was renovated and given an additional twenty years, making it possible to auction off one of the most enduring pieces of Seattle history. Like most things above 80 years of age, the fireboat could boast plenty of interesting stories, such as the time it was able to help save a commercial sea captain’s home below Magnolia Bluff. The most important part of the story was that the “Alki” was able to get the job done when firefighters on land weren’t able to reach the flames. With plenty of stories like that all along the coast, it was like the waterfront community had to say goodbye to an old friend.

Fireboats for West Seattle Waterfront Real Estate
Along the waterfront coastline is a thriving community full of condos, homes, public parks, shops, and restaurants. Because land traffic can only come from the other direction, water-based firefighters are a staple of various Seattle communities that border Lake Washington and the Puget Sound. These fireboats are even more important for waterfront homeowners with properties that don’t have direct drive-up access. For example, some waterfront houses are walk-down or tram-accessed properties, both of which are difficult to reach quickly from land in the case of an emergency.

The Future of Fireboats
Because of the two new boats and the retrofitted “Chief Seattle,” even more security is now provided for Seattle area waterfront property. Unlike the “Alki,” which was still using decades-old technology for firefighting, the new fireboats are a major step forward in speed and power, as well as the major upgrades to the “Chief Seattle.” For fires, speed and power are often the deciding factor in how much damage can be avoided, and fortunately, the “Leschi” doesn’t disappoint. Stationed in Fire Station 5 on Elliott Bay, this primary firefighting vessel can travel at 14 knots and fight fires with 22,000 gallons of water per minute. While the “Marine One” is about half as long as the “Leschi,” it can actually travel more than twice as fast, making it a fast attack option. With new technology on the fireboats, it can only be even safer now for waterfront real estate owners.

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May

6

    Elegant living room with stunning puget sound views in Seattle area home for sale.

Water views from Seattle area home for sale.

Getting around Seattle is one of the biggest concerns for a lot of local residents. Traffic can get pretty congested along the major thoroughfares. Many commuters would probably relish the prospect of being able to skip all of that traffic on the road and arrive at work or home almost immediately, but that is obviously not something that’s possible for most Seattle drivers. Fortunately for some lucky Seattleites, however, it just so happens that there is an enticing transportation option for residents in West Seattle. While those living on the east side generally have to rely on either the toll-bridge Interstate 520 or non-toll I-90 to get downtown, West Seattle residents are able to cut across Elliot Bay on the King County Water Taxi.

Getting to Seattle
The big benefit for West Seattle residents who want to get to Seattle is that they can get downtown across the water using the King County Water Taxi. This useful service features a direct route from Seacrest Park in West Seattle over to Pier 50 on the downtown Seattle waterfront. The time it takes to cross is only about 10 minutes, and it’s open to people with bicycles for no extra charge. This unique situation is available to West Seattle residents in Puget Sound homes, and it’s one of simplicity and luxury. When passengers in the water taxi arrive at Pier 50 downtown, they can disembark and walk around the streets without having to worry about the cost or inconvenience of parking.

West Seattle Waterfront Real Estate
The waterfront coastline of West Seattle runs along the mouth of Elliot Bay and features gorgeous beaches and a satisfying mix of private property and public parks. Real estate consists of attractive condos and contemporary homes as well as mature homes. While the area of West Seattle itself is an enjoyable expanse in its own right, full of cafes and shops, many residents with a waterfront home in West Seattle have to go to work downtown. Others like the greater variety of shopping or entertainment options downtown. Either way, one of the main attractions of living in West Seattle is the amazing waterfront property, a view of Puget Sound, and the area’s proximity to the heart of Seattle.

Commute from the Waterfront
With so many reasons to travel to downtown Seattle, it’s fortunate that there’s a quick commute option in the King County Water Taxi, but the presence of Puget Sound and Elliot Bay is a double-edged sword. If it were land there instead, residents would have a direct route for driving. Instead, the water taxi service represents the only straight shot from West Seattle to downtown Seattle. Otherwise, residents have to go around using the West Seattle Bridge, which can result in a commute of 45 minutes to an hour during peak traffic hours. On the plus side, West Seattle and its residents in waterfront houses are geographically quite close to downtown, so there are a lot of viable commuting options, and the King County Water Taxi really makes it a great place to settle.

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May

3

The Environmental Science Center, located on the waterfront at Seahurst Park in Burien, has many fun summer programs oriented to living around the water and Puget Sound:

SEAHURST SUMMER SATURDAYS
10am – Noon (except June 8th)

May 18 Animal Detectives
Practice moving like different animals and make up your own track stories. Then hit the trail looking for animal signs (nests, homes, tracks, scat). Each participant will take home their own plaster track.

May 25 Stormwater Adventure!
Play games, explore tools, tell stories, and dance to learn more about the water all around us!

June 1 Science in Action! Fishery Observers
Place yourself in the shoes of a fisheries observer and conduct your own “fish population survey”! Learn about fish from different places and how to count and identify them. Recommended ages: 10 and up.

June 8 Bats, bats, bats! NIGHT PROGRAM 7-9pm
Visit Seahurst Park at night to learn about the bats of the Pacific Northwest. Spend time outside with an expert “bat lady” looking for signs of bats. Don’t forget your flashlight and hiking shoes!

June 15 & 16 Visit ESC at the Burien Wild Strawberry Festival!

June 22 Dog-Eat-Dog World: Food Chains at Seahurst Beach
It’s a rough life in the wild when everyone wants to eat you. Play games and examine marine plankton to look for earth’s most terrifying PREDATORS!! Also, spend time on the beach with naturalists.

June 29 Nature Scavenger Hunt
Explore Seahurst Park with all of your senses! Learn about the diverse life right here in the park and then explore with a fun and educational nature hike.

July 6 Insect Safari
This is your chance to view thousands of insects from all around the world! Then take a short walk around Seahurst Park to learn how to collect and sample for insects.

July 13 Scatology – Odd Digestion
in the Animal Kingdom
Compare human digestion to other animals then look for scat and food sources of animals at Seahurst. Upon returning to the center, learn about digestion in birds of prey by dissecting a real owl pellet!

July 20 Beach Exploration
Your little ones will love learning about what lives at Seahurst Beach through puppets, art, and hands-on exploration! Also, spend time on the beach with a trained naturalist. Recommended ages: 2-6 years, older siblings can join, too.

Burien Three Tree Point Puget Sound Olympic Mountains water view real estate for sale

New Burien Three Tree Point Puget Sound water view WaterHavens listing for sale

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Apr

23

It’s common knowledge that major bodies of water are public property. This was established long ago so that no one person could monopolize crucial water sources. What happens though, when a public lake is completely surrounded by private property? That’s exactly the topic of debate for homeowners and public residents who want access to Lake Burien.

Lake Burien, which is a 44-acre lake in King County, Washington located at the old town center of Burien, is entirely surrounded by private waterfront property owners, creating a serene oasis for them to enjoy. Because their homes surround the lake, they have exclusive access compared to the rest of the town. However, since the lake is considered a public resource, this exclusive access has been a point of contention for a now.

Every now and then, public residents who don’t own the waterfront real estate in Burien request that public access to the lake be created. However, the private owners are concerned about what this could do to the environment. To research the matter, several lakeside property owners hired a team of environmental consultants who did in fact conclude that public access to the lake would “entail significant risk of degradation” and that opening up public access would be “ill-advised.” Some of the reasoning behind this is that the lake is too shallow for increased use. At only 29 feet at its deepest and an average depth of just 13 feet, a large increase in boat, pet, and human traffic would definitely have a big impact on the ecosystem of the lake. Of course, while homeowners understand why the public wants access, the idea of destroying an ecosystem and losing their peace and quiet has caused some concern. Their hope is that the environmental recommendation would prevent any potentially-damaging public access even if lakefront property were to be transitioned into a park.

The Burien waterfront home owners say it’s fine for people to want to come and look at the lake, but it’s the access to the water itself that could be detrimental. In other words, they want to keep boats and other water-born activities limited to the few home owners. This is in an attempt to save its environmental state, since increased access to thousands of people could “irreversibly damage” the lake.

The public has also raised some valid points though, saying opening up a park and perhaps some city-owned lots could bring revenue to the town. A proposal to rezone the area was suggested. There is also a children’s center nearby that had hopes of buying and selling adjacent lake lots in order to improve their own financial situation. These ideas have not yet been approved though.

Obviously, this kind of private control of such a tranquil body of water greatly improves home values in the area, and waterfront land owners of Burien are guaranteed to enjoy peace, quiet, and a beautiful view as well as some very exclusive lakeside access. With approximately 48,000 people residing in the city though, the odds of buying one of these homes to take advantage of those benefits are not great. It is possible that an agreement could be created in the near future. Such a compromise would need to take into account the environmental integrity of the lake as well as the overall good of the community.

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Apr

6

There is a long history in the state of Washington that determines whether or not your particular waterfront property owns its beach out front, especially important on Puget Sound properties with their tidal ranges that can expose large tracts of beach at low tide. Who owns that land? You? The state? It depends.

The answer can be determined through a title search and a correct parcel map. There are properties throughout the Seattle region that fit into both categories: owning the beach, or not. The actual day to day usage of a beach in front of a waterfront property is frankly usually exactly the same whether the beach is owned or not: people without ownership still expect their beach to be quiet and well taken care of by strolling beach walkers, and most people with owned land let beach walkers go through their beach since the courtesy gets reciprocated and it allows the entire community to enjoy waterfront strolls. There are some famous exceptions, including people trying to (illegally) put fences up that become submerged at high tide, but they tend to be in remoter regions and you don’t see that around Seattle.

The Department of Natural Resources provides an informative guide to “Boundaries of State-owned Aquatic Lands” that explains many of these concepts, terms, and related waterfront property rights history. Here’s an excerpt from it:

“Fresh water, such as in lakes or rivers, or marine waters, such as in Puget Sound, are not owned by individuals. Water is managed by the state and protected for the common good. Generally, aquatic lands beneath these waters have been managed that way, too – since statehood.

On November 11, 1889, at statehood, Washington’s aquatic lands became stateowned lands under the Equal Footing Doctrine, which guaranteed new states of the Union the same rights as the original 13. Washington State, through Article XVII of its constitution, asserted ownership to the “beds and shores of all navigable waters in the state…” so that no one could monopolize the major means of transportation, trade or fishing areas. Some other states gave adjacent upland owners a “riparian” right to build over navigable waters, but Washington chose to be a “nonriparian” state – that is, it did not grant that right. It held that aquatic lands are owned by all the people of the state, not individuals.

Although owners of lands abutting stateowned aquatic lands did not receive “riparian” rights at statehood, for more than 80 years they could purchase tidelands or shorelands from the state. In 1971, the sale of the state’s aquatic lands was stopped by the state Legislature. Today, virtually all the bedlands of navigable waters are state owned, as are 30 percent of the tidelands and 75 percent of shorelands in the state. Nonnavigable bodies of water are not owned by the state, and are likely to be connected in title to the abutting upland property.”

Burien Three Tree Point waterfront real estate with Seattle area Puget Sound owned beachfront

Click picture to see this local Three Tree Point waterfront home that owns its 130′ beach

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Dec

29

The Environmental Science Center is hosting its second Moonlight Beach Walk for this winter season. Here’s the scoop:

“Join us on New Year’s Day! Moonlight Beach Walk this Saturday, January 1st, from 7:30-9:30pm at Seahurst Beach in Burien.

Imagine you are on the shoreline at a lovely low tide. Rocks that are covered all year lie exposed to view while the sea denizens remain happily cold and wet in the dark. All around you, people waving flashlights are intently studying the amazing and abundant sea life as local naturalists help you discover the wonders of your Puget Sound shoreline.

Bundle up against the weather and be sure to bring flashlight with good batteries, warm hat and dry gloves, and wading boots (you’ll be in ankle deep water).

For more information, contact Programs@EnvScienceCenter.org or call 206-248-4266.”

Enjoy it if you go. They are always fascinating and will definitely educate you about your own “front yard” if you live on the Sound.

Environmental Science Center logo

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Dec

1

The Environmental Science Center is a deserving local shoreline education organization (I was previously on its Board of Directors), and they are having more of their popular Moonlight Beach Walks this winter. They are fun, entertaining, and unique. Here’s the scoop from ESC:

Don’t miss the Environmental Science Center’s Moonlight Beach Walk this Saturday, December 4th, from 7:30-9:30pm at Seahurst Beach in Burien.

Imagine you are on the shoreline at a lovely low tide. Rocks that are covered all year lie exposed to view while the sea denizens remain happily cold and wet in the dark. All around you, people waving flashlights are intently studying the amazing and abundant sea life as local naturalists help you discover the wonders of your Puget Sound shoreline.

BUNDLE UP AGAINST THE WEATHER AND BE SURE TO BRING: Bright flashlight with good batteries, warm hat and dry gloves, and wading boots (you’ll be in ankle deep water).

For more information, contact Programs@EnvScienceCenter.org or call 206-248-4266.

Environmental Science Center logo

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Jul

6

Supporters of an officially sanctioned clothing-optional beach in the Seattle area gained a little bit of momentum recently, although the parks board of commissioners have placed it as a low priority until there’s a clearer sign of broader support within the community.

There are currently three unofficial nudist beach sites around Seattle located at Magnuson Park, Discovery Park, and the “Secret Beach” of Lake Washington. However, people get asked by police to wear clothing at those beaches from time to time by the beach.
Maybe if there are more 90 degree days locally they’ll get that broader support! 🙂

Click here for Angle Lake SeaTac Seattle waterfront house for sale, lakefront real estate

Angle Lake waterfront home for sale close to Seattle (click photo for info)

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May

30

The King County / Seattle Aquarium Beach Naturalists Program is a great local asset for people that love the shoreline, its critters, and learning about our local Puget Sound ecosystem. The Beach Naturalists are all volunteers, and have gone through an informative multi-week training program held at the Seattle Aquarium before they are let loose on our local public beaches to help casually teach beachcombers young and old about what they are seeing. I was personally a Beach Naturalist for several years and enjoyed both what I learned and what I could teach others. It meshed well with my other volunteer work as a People for Puget Sound community “Pod Leader”, too.

One of the most interesting things about going out to a beach on a Beach Naturalists day is experiencing all of the hidden aspects of beach life that you would likely otherwise just walk on by without ever noticing. Even on a seemingly “barren” gravel beach there is a surprising amount of life under every little rock. And on beaches where large boulders are strewn about, the variety and intensity of sea life exposed at low tides is exceptional.

Definitely check it out; you’ll learn a lot and every visit afterwards to your own front yard or to a local beach will have more depth.

Resources:
Beach Naturalists Program
Beach Naturalists’ schedule on local public beaches

Seattle Aquarium logo for Beach Naturalists Program

Seattle Aquarium Beach Naturalists Program

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Jul

17

Nutria, the beaver-like rodents from South America, are on the rise again in some Portage Bay and Lake Washington areas. They were introduced to Washington and Oregon in the 1930s for fur production, but like many such experiments they got wild and “went wild” breeding and multiplying outside of fur trappers’ control. Considering that their natural predators include alligators and caiman, no wonder they do fairly well here!

Nutria can be trapped and exterminated, which some folks are doing since they can act like moles and tear up valuable shoreline. Some government agencies are looking to get more involved in a wider and more coordinated program to rid the area of this non-native species, but those plans are in the early formative stages.

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