Friday, June 17, 2011

Mercer Slough Nature Park

The Blueberry Farm, with the blueberry field in the middle distance & Downtown Bellevue on the horizon.

 Bridge across Mercer Slough.

 Mercer Slough, blueberry field at left.

Trail through the wetland.

Rubus spectabilis (Salmon Berry)

Betula papyrifera (Paper Birch)

Lysichiton americanum (Skunk Cabbage)

Salix hookeriana (Hooker's Willow)

A large blueberry bush (Vaccinium corymbosum) growing wild at right, with Cornus stolonifera (Red-twig Dogwood) Populus balsamifera ssp. trichocarpa (Black Cottonwood) & Betula papyrifera (Paper Birch) behind. Photos taken in April 2011

Mercer Slough Nature Park covers 320 acres in the City of Bellevue, just a short drive across Lake Washington from Seattle on Interstate 90.  The slough runs under I-90 as it empties into Lake Washington.  Easy access to the park can be found very near the freeway on Bellevue Way SE, the 1st Bellevue exit, at the Blueberry Farm.  According to the Heritage Trail sign pictured above, 'Contruction of the Chittenden Locks in 1916 lowered Lake Washington’s water level about ten feet.  When farmers discovered the newly-exposed peat soils around Mercer Slough, its landscape quickly changed to a patchwork of crop fields.  Ernest Van Tyne established this this blueberry farm in 1947.  Today the field is a public asset managed by the City of Bellevue Parks Department.  Bring your family to the farm each summer from mid-July to mid-September to enjoy the fun of U-pick blueberries.'  The package design for Overlake Blueberries was a familiar sight to me, in the frozen food section of Seattle supermarkets, when I was a child.  It shows a view of the original Lake Washington Floating Bridge, looking east from Seattle.  The bridge was completed in 1940, enabling the development of the suburbs that now make up the Eastside.  Before that, passenger ferries crossed the lake.  The Mercer Slough wetlands are beautiful at any time of year, filled with birds & native plants.  Park infrastructure was designed by Jones and Jones Architects and Landscape Architects of Seattle.

1 comment:

elaine rickett said...

Beautifully unusual pics.