A Walk in Malligan Park

Many of you who live in Edmonds are familiar with the marvelous park, that seemed to appear suddenly, on Main across from the Wade James Theatre. It was created by a man named John Malligan who intended to give the park, when complete, to the City of Edmonds. A wonderful sentiment. But here's the rub. The park is in federally protected wetlands, and concerned neighbors objected that Mr. Malligan had not obtained the necessary permits. The City investigated and ordered work on the park halted. Now Mr. Malligan may be required to return the land to its original condition.

I have visited Malligan Park many times since I noticed it last summer. It is truly extraordinary. A path winds its way down from the entrance on Main, to Shell Creek which traverses the length of the park. The path leads to a footbridge crossing the creek, winds into wooded area, and recrosses the creek by another footbridge before returning to Main. Benches are built around tall trees and several park benches are placed so one can sit and listen to the relaxing sounds of the water and creatures.

I love this park; it is small, intimate, and filled with lush vegetation. The winding creek has a waterfall and a swimming hole. When you sit on a lower park bench and look up at Main, you see fallen trees making a criss cross pattern on the hill. I enjoy feeling the cool wetness and smelling the fresh earthiness of the place. The selfish me wants to be able to return again and again and wishes the City could graciously accept this lovely gift.

The naturalist me knows, however, that there are reasons for Federal regulations regarding wetlands. They are meant to protect fragile ecosystems so that creatures living there can thrive. And, they are meant to protect the water that flows through the wetlands and into the Sound. So I'm thankful that the neighbors brought the park to the City's attention.

But I love this park, and I don't want it to be taken away from me. Hmmmm. Is it OK, though, that it be taken away from the creatures who make it their home, as a result of the hundreds of mes who might eventually walk through it, were it a City park?

This is the conflict in my head and there seems to be no resolution. I guess we can't have our wetlands and tread on them too.