Monday, February 27, 2012

Cruising South Lake Washington

This area of Lake Washington includes the waterfront of Seattle’s Seward Park and Rainier Valley, unincorporated Bryn Mawr-Skyway, southwest Mercer Island and Renton. The area’s most notable mansions are on Mercer Island and include Paul Allen’s campus/compound and sports stars’, Mike Holmgren’s and Michael Chang’s, former homes. The previous 2/25/12 post has more information on these homes. The 2/23/12 post has a viewing guide for Paul Allen’s campus/compound. The 2/21/12 post has information on some of the other more notable homes. Information on Seward Park and Andrews Bay are in the above post.
There is a sunken forest between the southeast corner of Seward Park and Paul Allen’s place on Mercer Island. These ancient underwater forests were created 1,000 to 3,000 years ago by landslides. The tops of the trees are 30 to 60 feet below the surface.
View of Mercer Island in the fall from south Lake Washington
The south end of Lake Washington has the feel of a separate 1.5 by 3/4 miles lake. It is popular for sailing, water skiing, wake boarding and tubing. There are beautiful views of Mount Rainier.
Southwest Waterfront and Mount Rainier
The inland areas near the waterfront in Rainier Valley and Bryn Mawr-Skyway on southwest Lake Washington are some of the poorest in the area. The waterfront homes are less expensive than other areas on Lake Washington. The homes are closer together and to the water compared to the mansions in LW 130 HomesThe western shore south of Seward Park has the $3 million dollar home of Seattle’s famous welfare-recipient waterfront-resident that was featured in a Seattle Mansions postThe southern shoreline of homes has the look and feel of many ocean-beach communities. Parties on the waterfront, decks and docks are common.
The Renton Airport and the Cedar River at the southern end of the lake are the boundary between Bryn Mawr-Skyway and Renton. The Cedar River and the Sammamish River at the north end are the main tributaries for Lake Washington. Before the locks and ship canals where built the lake was 9 to 12 feet higher and water from the lake flowed out (where the Cedar River now flows in) to the Duwamish River.
Coulon Park (full name “Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park”) is a popular boaters’ launch and day visit stop. With eight launch lanes, it is the largest boat launch site on the lake. The small harbor has protected day moorage for about 50 boats. The park is 57 acres with an excellent lake swimming and beach area, picnic grounds and shelters, play fields and courts, etc. Ivars and Kidd Valley food concessions are adjacent to the docks.
(This is the sixth chapter [go to next chapter] of our “Lake Washington Cruising” article. The chapters are being posted in reverse order. When all chapters are posted they will be in order in this blog with the first chapter at the top. I will be posting approximately one chapter per week. You can read and print an abbreviated pdf version of the entire article.)

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