From 10 a.m. – Noon on Saturday, Feb. 9 you may see a bunch of people walking up and down the stairs at Burien’s Eagle Landing Park – all part of Feet First’s ‘Stairway Walks Day‘ – an event featuring 15 simultaneous walks across the region to celebrate our valuable legacy of 650 publicly accessible stairways.
If you’re at all interested though, you’d best RSVP quickly, as there are only 20 openings – RSVP online for free at www.stairwaywalksday.brownpapertickets.com.
“These stairs, many of them more than 100 years old, form a network of “scenic byways” for neighborhood discovery – a priceless asset for outdoor fun, fitness and health,” reads an announcement. “The stairway routes featured on Stairway Walks Day are from Cathy and Jake Jaramillo’s new book Seattle Stairway Walks: An Up-and-Down Guide to City Neighborhoods. The book is intended to help urban adventurers discover and appreciate the beautiful greenspaces, history, art and architecture that make up the vivid fabric of our neighborhoods.”
According to the city’s website:
Eagle Landing Park, with its shoreline access, 247 feet of beach, 2 acres of tidelands, and 6 acres of wooded uplands, is a new member of Burien’s developing park system. The goal of the park is to “provide an open space where community education and access are in harmony with habitat and critical areas preservation. . . .” The park entrance is at the west end of SW 149th St. The park contains an eagle nest viewpoint, interpretive trail, and five-car paved parking lot. The quarter-mile trail from the parking lot to the beach drops 275 feet in elevation. The park contains many native plants, mammals, and birds.
Early History and the Branson Family
In the early 1900s, the land known as Eagle Landing Park belonged to the Branson family. The Branson property was part of a 200-acre parcel owned by the Seahurst Land Company, which supplied water to local residents from springs on the property. The original Branson estate was a 9-acre wooded waterfront residential lot. In 1915, a relative of the owner built a residence in the northern portion of the property, which was upgraded and expanded in the 1930s. A county road through the property was platted but never built, and has been vacated since 1935. The property was logged about 90 years ago, when much of the timber in Burien, Seahurst, and Gregory Heights was felled to supply wood for America’s Liberty Ships in World War I.
The steeply sloped property sits atop two geologic units – glacial lake clay and silt below, and glacial outwash sand and gravel above – both deposited during glaciation of Puget Sound in the last Ice Age. Springs trickle from the hillside at an elevation of about 50 feet. The area has a long history of slope instability, according to oral history and the topographic features of the site.
“Stairways are truly the scenic byways to neighborhoods, and we’re always curious about what’s at the top – or the bottom,” said author and Feet First Neighborhood Walking Ambassador Cathy Jaramillo, “They get you to, and between, places you’d probably never know about otherwise. We’re excited about celebrating them with so many people on Stairway Walks Day!”
Feet First Executive Director Lisa Quinn adds, “Stairways provide a great way to exercise and improve health and get to know a neighborhood. Stairway Walks Day encourages people to explore the Puget Sound region’s unique and beautiful neighborhoods by walking.”
Here are the details:
WHAT: Stairway Walks Day!
WHERE: Eagle Landing Park Stairs, located at 14641 25th Ave. SW (map below).
WHEN: All walks start at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 9. Please RSVP for detailed instructions about the meet up location here.
INFO: Extraordinary Eagle Landing Park sits right above the Sound in a quiet, woodsy residential part of Burien. The single up-and-down trail passes a viewing area where you can search for the eagle’s nest somewhere high among the Douglas Firs. We’ll quickly reach the one major stairway, which is the fourth-longest of all Seattle stairs. Its unique steel structure floats through the trees, above the fragile and slipping hillside. At the bottom, we’ll be treated to views of Vashon and Maury Islands across the Sound, and Three Tree Point southward down the beach. After you finish, you’ll find lots of eating, drinking and strolling opportunities in revitalized Olde Burien.
RSVP: For more information about Stairway Walks Day, please contact Darcy Edmunds by emailing [email protected] or calling 206-652-2310, ext. 5. Space is limited to 20 people per walk. Please RSVP in advance at www.feetfirst.org or www.stairwaywalksday.brownpapertickets.com.
WALK LEADER: WABI Burien
DISTANCE: 0.4 miles: 289 steps down and 289 steps up
More about Feet First
Since 2001, Feet First has worked to ensure that all communities in Washington are walkable. Walking is a vital transportation mode that connects communities, reduces pollution, improves health and physical fitness, and allows people to explore their natural environment.