Brightwater News – Alpha Hill update, Grandfather’s Wisdom returns, and more!

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October 6, 2023

October 6, 2023

Alpha Hill protection project starts in 2024

Over the next year, visitors to the Brightwater Trails Area will see a transformation in Alpha Hill, a large landform that towers over the South Wetscape area. The transformation is necessary to help control erosion. Project work will start in 2024 so new plantings have a better chance of establishing their roots and surviving in this landscape.

Alpha Hill is a very steep landform. It was not designed to be part of the regularly used, formal trail system. Runoff from the hill ends up in Little Bear Creek, which supports multiple endangered salmon species

Installing a landscape buffer, fencing, and rock wall around the base of Alpha Hill is designed to prevent erosion that can affect Little Bear Creek. Adding vegetation will help to soften the current appearance of the hill. It will also slow and filter runoff into Little Bear Creek, while providing wildlife habitat and improving drought tolerance. The image below shows an example of how landscaping and fencing can complement the surrounding trails area.

This shows what Alpha Hill may look like once the project is complete. A person walks next to a hill with a rock wall, fence, and landscaping.

This conceptual image shows what Alpha Hill may look like once the project is complete.

This project will not change access to the three miles of maintained trails at Brightwater. You will still be able to enjoy the trails year-round.

To learn more, visit our Brightwater Treatment Plant Projects web page. You can contact Emily Berry at 206-848-0698 or with questions or concerns.

Grandfather’s Wisdom returns to the trails

Grandfather's Wisdom has returned to the public trails area at the Brightwater Treatment Plant in Woodinville. The old-growth cedar art piece was removed in 2021 to be restored. You can view the art along the trail near Delta Pond in the South Wetscape area. Be sure to check it out the next time you are on the trails!

Local artist Andrea Wilbur-Sigo modeled the piece after a traditional Native longhouse. It includes carved motifs featuring Killer Whale, Octopus, and Thunderbird and celebrates the First Peoples of the Puget Sound. Alongside 4Culture, WTD helps to create spaces that are meaningful and accessible to the public. Read this interview to learn how the artist created Grandfather's Wisdom and watch a video of Grandfather’s Wisdom’s reinstallation in July.

An old-growth cedar sculpture featuring carvings that honor Coast Salish peoples and traditions pn the side of a grassy hill.

Grandfather's Wisdom was created by artist Andrea Wilbur-Sigo. It is an old-growth cedar art piece that honors Coast Salish peoples and traditions. You can view the newly restored art installation along the trail in the South Wetscape area.

Looking to get outside this fall?

King County Wastewater Treatment Division (WTD) helps people enjoy the outdoors when we can create public access spaces near treatment plants, pump stations, and regulator stations. Mitigation funding for some major projects may fund other park and recreation opportunities.

When WTD creates outdoor access, we design spaces for people of all ages and abilities, and for wild visitors. We rely on our human visitors to make sure everyone feels welcome and safe in these spaces. 

Here are some ways you can help when enjoying the Brightwater trails:

Keep your furry friend under control

Dogs must be on leash in many parks and outdoor spaces, including King County WTD’s public access areas. Leashing your dogs is a good practice to make sure everyone can enjoy the trails.

Pick up your furry friend’s poo

In Snohomish County, where WTD’s Brightwater Trails Area welcomes people and dogs, dogs produce 63 tons of poo every day! Bacteria and other pathogens can wash off on yards, streets, and trails into waterways, affecting fish and mammals.

If you bring your dog to the trail, you must pick up dog poo to protect our creeks, streams, rivers, and Puget Sound. Make sure you put the used bag in the garbage! WTD’s Brightwater Trails Area features receptacles at multiple location. If you can’t find a garbage disposal nearby, take the waste home for disposal.

A white A frame sign stands next to a trail. The sign reminds trail users to leash their dogs and pick up and dispose of their dog's poop.

Have you noticed our new signs? Remember to leash your dog and pick up your dog's poop to protect wildlife and other trail users.

Watch for other trail users

If you are running or walking, you can let people know you will be passing, and on which side. If you walk your dog, watch for other people and animals, and take care when passing them.

Share the outdoors with wild neighbors

Brightwater Treatment Plant welcomes a variety of wildlife to the stormwater ponds and natural area, which serve as a learning lab for classes and programs. From dragonflies to birds and mammals, Brightwater offers a rich opportunity for people to see and learn about local wildlife. The Brightwater trails area offers some great options for everyone to explore scenic, shaded landscapes and spot birds, beavers, and deer that live on the grounds.

A duck with a black and white head, black back, white chest, brown belly, and yellow eyes floats in the water.

A hooded merganser floats calmly in the pond, waiting to dive for its next meal.

Explore new spaces nearby

If you are looking for more places to recreate nearby, we encourage you to follow along with the design and construction of Snohomish County’s Carousel Ranch Park! This future park is directly north of the Brightwater grounds. It will feature several sports fields, an off-leash dog park, walking trails, and more! Visit Snohomish County’s website to learn more.