National Electrical Safety Month: Power Lines on Trees


Some would say that spring is simply the most delightful time of the year here in Seattle (and frankly, it’s hard to disagree!). As trees and shrubs begin to blossom, it may be tempting to go outside and start trimming. Before you break out the shears, there are a few safety tips to keep in mind. We reached out to City Light’s arboriculturist and resident tree buff Heidi Narte for tips on how to keep your pines, maples and family safe around power lines.


Here are a few of Heidi’s handy safety tips:

  • Keep kids safe – make sure their play activities don’t include trees near power lines. Trees touching power lines may become energized, causing a dangerous situation for kids climbing in them, swinging in them or otherwise playing in them.


  • Heading out into your yard to prune trees and shrubs? Make sure you, your tools and the branches you want to prune are a safe distance from power lines. If the branches you’re pruning or your tools make contact with a power line, you could receive an electrical shock injury which can result in significant burns or even death. Branches, tools and you should be at least 10 feet from distribution power lines and 21 feet from high voltage transmission lines.


  • See a tree or branch touching a power line? Trees touching power lines may be energized and safety hazards. If you’re not sure whether a tree could cause an issue, give us a call and we’ll check it out!


If you have questions about power lines near trees, email or call (206) 386-1733 to check in with an arborist. For more information on how to keep your trees safe around power lines, check out the latest issue of Light Reading!

You’ve found a baby bird … now what?

It’s happening all around the city. Our feathered friends are busy raising their young, and you may very well encounter a baby bird out of the nest that may — or may not — need a helping hand. But how do you know if you should help?

Check out this handy flowchart to help you determine if you should help that baby bird or leave it be. And remember — if you’re in Seattle and you see an animal in distress, call the Seattle Animal Shelter at 206-386-PETS (7387). Visit us online at for more information.

Spring break staycationing with Seattle Parks and Recreation

Ah, spring break. You’re picturing yourself on a beach in Mexico. Or hiking in the Grand Canyon. You’re looking at airline and hotel prices and…wait. You’re not going anywhere.

Perhaps you can’t afford to go out of town for spring break or maybe you can’t escape the 8-5. Don’t you worry, friend. There are PLENTY of breathtaking and memorable activities to embark on right here. In fact, we don’t know why you’d ever want to leave!

Presenting your Go-To Guide for Seattle Spring Break Staycations

You are: Staycationing with friends

Alki Beach

Playing tourist in Seattle never goes out of style, especially if you’ve got friends in town. Take the opportunity to show off our magnificent city to the out-of-towners.

Here’s how: Head to Pike Place Market in the morning, peruse the displays and buy some of the plumpest, freshest fruit for breakfast. Making a stop at the Daily Dozen Doughnut Company is also highly recommended. Take your goods to Victor Steinbrueck Park and dine while enjoying one of the best views in the city. Victor Steinbrueck Park captures the essence of Seattle. It celebrates our Native American heritage and offers glimpses of the Olympic Mountains and ferry boats. Allow plenty of time for your friends to take Instagram photos.

Next, hop, skip and jump on down to the waterfront and catch a ride to Alki Beach on the Water Taxi. Most people don’t expect Seattle to have a California-esque boardwalk and beach, and they’ll truly appreciate the city’s diversity. Let your guests marvel at the city skyline from the west side of the sound, and then treat them to ice cream, nachos or fine seafood along the boardwalk.

You are: Staycationing with your significant other

Marshall Park

No matter how long we’ve lived in Seattle, the city still has the ability to take our breath away. One of our favorite spots for romance is the top of Queen Anne Hill. Head over to Northwest Seattle with your honey and be prepared to fall in love all over again.

Here’s how: Wait ‘til an hour or so before sunset and begin your outing at Marshall Park. This little oasis offers gorgeous views of the Sound and includes a memorial to Betty Bowen, a well-loved matron of the arts. In fact, prominent Northwest artists such as Morris Graves, Margaret Tompkins, Victor Steinbrueck, Guy Anderson, Charles Stokes and Kenneth Callahan have done some unsigned work cast in the concrete walkway enclosing the park. Take a short stroll and guess whose artwork is whose.

Next, cross the street and throw down a blanket in Parsons Gardens. Take a few minutes to lay on your backs and admire all of the gorgeous colors and plants in the garden. With its secluded location and whimsical atmosphere, this park screams romance.

Finally, walk down to famed Kerry Park and watch the sun go down over our sparkling city. This is the perfect opportunity to gaze into your loved one’s eyes and silently congratulate each other on choosing the greatest city in the world for settling down.

You are: Staycationing with kids

Golden Gardens Park

When staycationing with kids, it’s important to have plenty of activities planned. We have a few suggestions to keep the kiddos entertained while school’s out.

Here’s how: Bring the whole family over to Magnuson Park and take part in a variety of Earth Day activities on April 18. Let the kids burn off some energy in the Magnuson Series Earth Day run. The Kids’ Dash kicks off at 9:45 a.m. but there are longer races too. For registration details, go here. After the race, head to the Magnuson Children’s Garden for 2015 Family Days. From 10 a.m.-2 p.m. there will be special art projects for kids and other nature activities.

In the evening, head over to Golden Gardens and build a fire in one of the designated fire pits. Let the kids build sand castles or play some beach volleyball before roasting hot dogs and marshmallows for dinner.

In need of more structured activities for the kids? Seattle Parks Youth Appreciation Week coincides with spring break. Our community centers will be hosting teen events April 13-18. For details, visit the Seattle Parks Teens website in early April.

You are: Staycationing alone

Maple Leaf Reservoir Park
Photo by Futoshi Kobayashi Photographer

If you’re working a chaotic job, going to school or running around five days a week, sometimes nothing sounds better than finding some peace and quiet.

Here’s how: Find tranquility and gather your thoughts along one of our dozens of nature trails. Our resident trail expert recommends these paths, but there are many others to choose from. Pick your trail and then locate a nearby coffee shop. Fill you travel mug with local joe and set out on your journey.

Not seeking total silence? Set your sights on popular walking destinations, like the pathway around Green Lake Park or Maple Leaf Reservoir.

In the evening, grab a bite at one of the many eateries along Bell Street Park or Occidental Square. Reflect on your day, appreciate the variety of landscape in the beautiful Emerald City and then say cheers to yourself.

Where to find breathtaking blooms across the city

Spring has come early to Seattle. The sun has been shining. Birds have been chirping. And Twitter is chock-full of flower photos.

After a dark winter, nothing lifts the spirit like a bed full of seasonal blooms. We asked some of our senior gardeners for the best places to spot splashes of color in our parks.

Grab your iced coffee and stop by to smell the daffodils, camellias, flowering cherry trees… well, you get it.


Volunteer Park
Go because: There’s a heady scent of Daphne and Sarcococca in the air. Follow your nose and be lead to tucked-away beds full of blooming camellias, flowering quince and Dawn Viburnum. If it rains, you can always pop into the Volunteer Park Conservatory and warm up surrounded by tropical flowering plants from around the world.

Recommendation from: Jody Blecksmith, Senior Gardener, Volunteer Park


Hamilton Viewpoint Park
Go because: The park offers spectacular views of Elliott Bay and downtown Seattle, and the garden  landscape features Kousa dogwood,  flowering cherry, rhododendron and seasonal color display beds full of daffodils in the spring.


Lincoln Park
Go because: You can find occasional flowering cherries or plum trees and beds of large rhododendron, witch hazel and camellia. The resident native flowering current, hazelnut and Indian plum also bloom early.


Bar-S Playground
Go because: There is large planting of Shirofugen flowering cherry trees and it’s almost baseball season! Take in a game or two at the park’s ballfields.

Alki Beach
Go because: There are so many reasons to visit Alki Beach. In the spring, seasonal display beds all along the sandy beach feature daffodils.


Cormorant Cove
Go because: This lovely waterfront garden park on Puget Sound has beautiful plantings year-round and the views are breathtaking.

Recommandations from: Phil Renfrow, District Gardener, Southwest


Seward Park
Go because: Flowering cherry trees line Lake Washington Boulevard leading into the entrance of the park and surround the bathhouse. Tulips, daffodils and alliums should bloom at the park entrance later this season.

Recommendation from: Jeanne Schollmeyer, Senior Gardener, Southeast

Washington Park Arboretum’s Azalea Way
Go because: The 3-mile roundtrip trail is lined with many flowering, colorful trees and shrubs. It’s a beautiful option for springtime exercise.

Green Lake Park
Go because: The 2.8-mile path around the lake will take you on a tour of flowering dogwoods, flowering cherry trees, daffodils and resident wildlife.

Recommendations by: Kevin Schmidt, Senior Gardener, Northeast