Bicyclists who ride out the Cedar River Trail have another place to pause, enjoy the river and learn a few things about our natural environment.
Seattle Public Utilities, in partnership with the Friends of the Cedar River Watershed, created the small trail-side park at their Van Ness Natural Area.
It’s located about 4 miles upstream from Ron Regis Park, and about a mile downstream from Cedar Grove Road. It’s at the end of a short trail that meets the rail trail and heads to a river overlook.
This will be a nice shady spot on a summer day, although it was drippy when I stumbled across it earlier this week.
The signs were created by Seattle artist and naturalist Denise Dahm. You may have seen her work throughout the Mountains to Sound Greenway, among other locations.
The signs explain how a long stretch of the Cedar River runs unfettered, making for good spawning habitat for salmon. Another sign tells how the upland Cedar River Watershed, beyond the Landsburg dam, is closed to the public to ensure its safety as Seattle’s water supply. A third sign tells about efforts to protect the river in the Habitat Conservation Plan.
King County also has acquired quite a few tracts along the river to be protected as natural areas.
One of the most popular is the Cavanaugh Pond Natural Area, a 44-acre tract located next to the Riverbend Mobile Home and RV Park, less than a mile upstream from Ron Regis. The trail leads to a nice riverbank to watch salmon swimming upstream, and the 14 acre pond always has some waterfowl in it.
The Ricardi Reach and Cedar Grove natural areas are located in between Van Ness and Cavanaugh Pond natural areas. Further upstream, after the Cedar River Trail turns to gravel, you’ll have the Big Bend and Landsburg Reach natural areas.
Keep your eyes open for the small, blue natural area signs that note these locations.