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July 9, 2012 at 4:00 PM

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Zip line proposed in Lincoln Park

An outrageous proposal

Thanks to The Times for its article on July 4, “Looking askance at zip-line plans,” [NWWednesday], regarding the Seattle Park Department’s consideration of a proposal to commercialize and privatize part of Lincoln Park with a zip line.

We are outraged that the Park Department, entrusted to preserve and protect our parks, would even consider such a plan and that they would keep it a secret for almost a year.

Lincoln Park is one of our jewels, with its magnificent setting on Puget Sound and its abundant natural vegetation and wildlife. It is sacred space to us — a place to be deeply refreshed and recharged. It must not be endangered and polluted with such a spurious moneymaking scheme.

Nothing feeds our souls and lifts our spirits quite like nature; our parks, which offer us spiritual riches, must not be transgressed and violated for “thirty pieces of silver.”

— Mary Parlato Gunderson, Seattle

Stating the facts

Park users are unwilling to pay more to support their parks. Lincoln Park gives us a specific example of how this plays out when the funding isn’t there, and someone thinks creatively. One park user suggested that a zip line privileged the few at the cost of all those who’d rather have a quiet, peaceful park without the intrusion of those who might make noise.

As users are unwilling to fill the hole left in the budget, and as that hole is roughly $70,000 deep, let’s look at what will happen to your quiet, peaceful park if you remain unwilling to face reality or enter the spirit of compromise and negotiation.

The park will close, and chain-link fences will be built across the entrances, and the park will no longer be either maintained or patrolled; the park will begin to attract vandals; the park will become a haven for homeless people; the park will develop a well-deserved reputation as a dangerous place, where crime is common; and the park will become a dump site for anything that someone doesn’t feel like taking to the transfer station.

Think I’m overstating the facts? Ask your local ranger what happens to large pieces of unpatrolled, unmaintained, undeveloped, urban woodland. One zip line, in a small area of Lincoln Park, could save it for you. Or you could stand on your principles, lose your park, and put bars on your windows.

— Caroline Briggs, Kirkland

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