Dreaming of Landscapes Has Moved!

Leave a comment

Dreaming of Landscapes has moved to its new self hosted space. You can find it at binglestudios.com.


My First Article in Washington

Leave a comment

          This past August, I took over as the editor of the Washington Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (WASLA) newsletter. I have not been writing much as I have adjusted to the shift from writer to editor. I returned to the realm of writing this month with the publication of an article in the WASLA newsletter on a design charrette WASLA hosted in the small town of Wilkeson, Washington. I am reposting the complete article below because it is only available through WASLA’s emailed newsletter.

Wilkeson Charrette

Photo of Wilkeson, WA by Allisa Carlson, PLA, LEED AP

On a rainy October weekend, WASLA and the National Park Service Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program (NPS) came together to create a vision for the development of the Town of Wilkeson’s historic and natural resources. Wilkeson is a town of 477 residents in rural Pierce County. The town is historically significant as a source of sandstone, coal and coke in the late 19th and early 20th century. The charrette focused on the remains of Wilkeson’s coke ovens and the development of the site around them into a regional park.

Between 1890 and 1930, Wilkeson had 160 coke ovens producing coke for use in steel production. Today, 30 coke ovens remain in various states of decay. The Town of Wilkeson owns the land around the coke ovens and would like to develop the site into a premier regional park that:

  • Restores, preserves and protects the historic coke ovens
  • Provides educational opportunities (Washington State’s longest operating school is in Wilkeson)
  • Supports a variety of community events (The town currently uses the site for hand car and lawn mower races)
  • Meets basic park user needs for safety, accessibility and enjoyment

Participants met on October 19th for a tour of the site provided by Wilkeson’s mayor Donna Hogerhuis and the National Park liaison Bryan Bowden. Everyone then adjourned to the local Eagles Lodge for dinner and a meet-and-greet with local residents. Highlights included a prime rib or vegetarian lasagna dinner and a tour of the Eagles Lodge meeting hall and poker room. The evening wrapped up with a presentation by Mayor Hogerhuis on the history of Wilkeson. Participants then broke up to spend the night with local residents, in the Wilkeson fire station and a local motel.

Participants reconvened at 7am in the Eagles Lodge for breakfast before kicking off the charrette at 8. The charrette was broken into four teams: the Interpretation Team, the Community Events Team, the Trails Team and the Master Plan Team. The charrette began with participants and residents jumping between each group to generate ideas. Then each team settled down to generate a set of drawings and documents the city could use in the future.

The Interpretation Team developed a number of suggestions to preserve the coke ovens and provided educational and interpretational opportunities. The team suggested creating a full size model of the coke ovens that visitors could explore and touch. A barrier would surround the existing coke ovens to limit damage from human interaction. The team also developed a list of significant spots in the park and town. They generated an interpretation outline for these spots and a signage system to create a unified experience.

The Community Events Team explored ways to support the town’s existing and future use of the space. This centered on an amphitheater that would provide space for the current hand cart and lawn mower races. The amphitheater could also serve as a space for future concerts, bike rides and other events.

The trails and connectivity team proposed a series of trails that would provide access to the interpretive stops and community event spaces. The team also proposed connecting the park trail system into the Foothills Trail via a trail through town. Currently, the Foothills Trail ends on Wilkeson’s north boundary and does not continue through town. The team also proposed future connections to a possible museum at the Wilkeson Quarry.

Finally, the master plan team tied all of the pieces together. Their plan highlighted each proposal and provided a cohesive vision for the park. WASLA, NPS and the Town of Wilkeson were very pleased with all the products produced by the landscape architects, students and volunteers. The Town of Wilkeson plans to use these documents and vision as a critical piece of their grant application to develop Coke Oven Park. WASLA would like to wish the Town of Wilkeson the best of luck and thank them for the opportunity to work on this project. WASLA would also like to thank the landscape architects, students, volunteers, and residents who made this project possible.

Master Plan Photo by Allisa Carlson, PLA, LEED AP

Landscape Architects
Don Benson (WASLA President, Event Co-coordinator), Jan Swattherthwaite, Bronwen Carpenter, Matt Mathes, Ned Gulbran, Bob Droll, Andy Mitton, Jim Brennan, Allisa Carlson

Local Parties
Bryan Bowden (National Park Service, Event Co-Coordinator), Buzz Grant (Foothills Trail Coalition President), Greg Griffith (Washington State Historic Preservation Office), Hollie Rogge (Pierce County Parks and Recreation)

Jordan Monez (ASLA), Laura Barker (National Parks Volunteer), Logan Bingle (ASLA), Ole Sleipness (ASLA, WSU Professor

AJ Babauta (WSU, landscape architecture), Bryan Inglin (WSU, landscape architecture), Jeff Hall (WSU, landscape architecture), Jonathan Dingman (WSU, landscape architecture), Jonathan Duran (WSU, landscape architecture), Lucas Vannice (WSU, landscape architecture), Nick Boyce (UW, landscape architecture), Toree Miller (WSU, interior design), Wuttiporn Taksinvarajam (UW, landscape architecture)

Becky Gilbert (Former Town Council), Betty LaCrosse (Resident), Bill Summers (Eagles Lodge Trustee & Booster Club President), Chris Lyons (Distillery Owner), Donna Hogerhuis (Mayor), Florence Fabiani (Wilkeson Historical Society), Jeff Sellers (Former Town Council), Kathy James (Town Planner), Keith Quimby (Distillery Owner), Lisa Grace (Wilkeson Elementary Teacher), Mark Thompson (Civil Engineer), Nick Hedman (Town Council), Robert Bean (Saloon Owner), Sherrian Robertson (Wilkeson Historical Society), Sue Hallin (Town Council), Sunny Bean (Saloon Owner), Trisha Summers (Wilkeson Council Member)



A Fourth of July Adventure in the Cascade Mountains

Leave a comment

Tree covered cliffs hang over Dorothy Lake.

For the Fourth of July, I went for a hike into the Cascade’s Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest to Dorothy Lake. From a forest service road, a 1.8 mile trail winds past waterfalls, through conifer forests and over rapids to the 2 mile long Dorothy Lake, 3000 feet above sea level. The Lake sits in a bowl of cliffs and tress carved by ancient glaciers. Today, the only hint of glaciers are the snows on nearby Big Snow Mountain. The alpine lake route is much loved by anglers, urbanites from nearby Bellevue and families trying to tame their energetic children. For those looking for an overnight back-packing trip, the trail continues past Dorothy Lake and ascends another ridge to a second pair of lakes where camp grounds allow overnight stays in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.

A spectacular view down Dorothy Lake to Big Snow Mountain from the log jammed mouth of the lake’s out flow

Planning a trip to the Cascade Mountains and want to learn more.

To learn more about the Dorothy Lake Trail visit here

To learn more about the Alpine Lakes Wilderness visit here

For general information on hiking in Washington visit here

Like this post and want to see more? Take a moment to like, comment and/or follow.

%d bloggers like this: