Restoring the Natural Areas at EC Hughes

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EC Hughes Playground is located along SW Holden Street near Chief Sealth High School

As we enter the new year of 2023, DNDA will begin a new journey with E.C. Hughes Park! This is the newest restoration site added to our contract with the Green Seattle Partnership.

One of our goals is to engage local community members to work in areas like this that have been unstewarded for many years. Despite the poor condition of its natural area, EC Hughes offers a variety of recreational opportunities and stunning mountain views. Currently the park includes multiple ballfields, a children’s play area, a basketball court, and space for grilling and picnicking.

A fairly small and tucked away area within the West Seattle neighborhood, EC Hughes is located along SW Holden Street and near Chief Sealth High School. The park was named for Elwood Clarke Hughes, who lived from 1855-1918. Hughes was a lawyer and past president of the Seattle School Board.

DNDA’s plan is to start invasive species removal on the slope located on the west side of the park. This area is a mix of invasive trees, shrubs, and ground cover plants.

It is in these areas that invasive species — species not native to the local ecosystem — outcompete the native plants. This is a problem in many of the parks & greenspaces in Seattle and an ongoing challenge affecting ecosystems worldwide. Many invasive species have quick growth rates, high seed dispersal ability, and a wide range of climate and soil they can tolerate. This leads them to taking over ecosystems, shading out native species and stunting their growth and survival. This severely limits biodiversity and the health of the forest.

Progress at this site will be a serious undertaking, as thick blackberry (Rubus armeniacus) and ivy (Hedera helix) cover most of the approximately 30,000 square feet of natural area. Once we have cleared enough space from invasive removal, we plan to reintroduce native species that will help with long term forest health and biodiversity.

We hope you found this little walkthrough informative and perhaps an enticement to get out of the house! This worksite gives us hope and excitement to host a larger footprint of various group events and individual volunteers throughout the new year. If you would like to learn more about the other parks and greenspaces which host events, let us know! If any of this has inspired you, come join us! We host volunteer events every Tuesday and Saturday!

-Written by DNDA Environmental Engagement Specialist Nat Safka