Photo depicting a canoe family carrying their canoe out of the water at Alki Beach.

NEWS GLEAMS | Northwest Native Canoe Center Coming to Lake Union; Free Entry to State Parks Nov. 24

A roundup of news and announcements we don’t want to get lost in the fast-churning news cycle!

by Vee Hua 華婷婷

Photo depicting a canoe family carrying their canoe out of the water at Alki Beach.
A canoe family carries their canoe out of the water and onto land at Alki Beach during Paddle to Muckleshoot on July 30, 2023. (Photo: Alex Garland)

Northwest Native Canoe Center Coming Soon to Lake Union

Earlier this fall, initial designs were released for the Canoe Carving House at the future Northwest Native Canoe Center, which will begin construction in late 2023 or early 2024 in Lake Union. The long-running project began in 1996 with an initial study of the park at South Lake Union and has since become a collaboration between Seattle Parks and Recreation, the United Indians of All Tribes (UIATF), and multiple other community partners. The site’s current designs have been created by a design team at the architectural firm Jones & Jones.

“This first phase of the Northwest Native Canoe Center (the Canoe Carving House) has been a dream of ours for many years,” said Mike Tulee, executive director of UIATF, via a press release from the City of Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation. “The facility fits directly into our mission and will provide educational and cultural opportunities that reconnect Indigenous people to their heritage and will strengthen their sense of belonging.”

Once the Native Canoe Center is completed, planned activities that UIATF has outlined include Native American carvers-in-residence; support and services for Intertribal Canoe Journeys; hands-on canoe experiences, floating classrooms, and interpretive programs; workshops and demonstrations focused on Native American heritage; job training for youth in maritime carpentry or food service; special events for Indigenous communities including canoe blessings, dancing, drumming, arts markets, and feasts; and educational and cultural programs to promote health and wellness for the greater Seattle Native population.

UIATF had requested land in South Lake Union as early as the 1970s, and the evolution of the project now includes an architectural build-out that includes a Canoe Carving House and a Welcome House, which will include interactive educational displays, a gift shop, a catering kitchen, and a multi-use space for community events.

Development for the second phase will continue after UIATF raises the remaining funds. Those who wish to contribute can visit their website.

Photo depicting the entrance sign to Nisqually State Park featuring both the Washington State Parks and Nisqually Indian Tribe logos, with text in English and a Native language, against a backdrop of bare trees.
The new entrance sign telegraphs the State-tribal partnership to manage the new state park. (Photo courtesy of Washington State Parks.)

Admission to Washington State Parks Is Free on Nov. 24

On Nov. 24, all 130 of Washington’s state parks will be open for a free day. A Discover Pass is usually required to access state parks and recreation lands — at a rate of $35 a year or $11.50 a day — but is waived on free entry days. A full list of every state park and recreation area is available on the Washington State Parks website.

Nearby parks in King and Pierce County, which remain open for the winter, include the following:

  • Bridle Trails State Park (Kirkland): Considered one of the top equestrian parks west of the Mississippi, it also includes opportunities for birdwatching, hiking, geocaching, and metal detecting.
  • Cutts Island Marine State Park (Gig Harbor): An island that is only reachable by boat, which offers opportunities for beach exploration, birdwatching, boating, fishing, kayaking, paddleboarding, and other water sports.
  • Dash Point State Park (Federal Way): A forest oasis with a beach and ample opportunity for camping, kayaking, mountain biking, and birdwatching, tucked between two urban hubs.
  • Eagle Island Marine State Park (Anderson Island): An island with views of Mount Rainier, plus beaches with seals and plenty of opportunity for boating.
  • Flaming Geyser State Park (Auburn): A park full of interpretive activities, plus hiking, birdwatching, fishing, kayaking, swimming, and fun for the whole family.
  • Joemma Beach State Park (Lakebay): A park accessible by boat or car, with opportunities for boating and watersports of all kinds, as well as hiking, metal detecting, and more. Camping is presently closed for the winter.
  • Kanaskat-Palmer State Park (Ravensdale): A camping park near the Green River, with opportunities for fishing, hiking, bird watching, metal detecting, boating, and biking.
  • Kopachuck State Park (Gig Harbor): A site for a wide array of activities, including beach exploration, biking, bird watching, boating, fishing, year-round camping, and much more.
  • Lake Sammamish State Park (Issaquah): A large park for a number of activities. Part of the park, including the beach, is currently closed due to construction.
  • Nisqually State Park (Eatonville): The newest addition to Washington State Parks — the first in a decade, and created in collaboration with the Nisqually Tribe — contains 1,280 acres of hiking, horseback riding, and more. Though open for visitors, this park is currently still in development.
  • Nolte State Park (Enumclaw): A day-use park near the Green River, with opportunities for bird watching, boating, fishing, biking, hiking, and interpretive activities.
  • Olallie State Park (North Bend): A large state park with opportunities to view waterfalls, hike, bike, rock climb, and connect to the larger Palouse to Cascades State Park Trail.
  • Palouse to Cascades State Park Trail: A 287-mile cross-state trail that contains a number of environments, flora and fauna, from the forests of Western Washington to the arid desert landscapes of Eastern Washington.
  • Penrose Point State Park (Lakebay): A 237-acre marine park with rich forests and nearly two miles of saltwater shoreline, shaded campsites, and opportunities for crabbing, shellfishing, biking, hiking, metal detecting, and watersports galore. The Penrose Point Trail is presently closed due to erosion.
  • Saint Edward State Park (Kenmore): A day-use park with large lawns and forested trails, plus opportunities for fishing, boating, birdwatching, and more. Impressive Romanesque Revival-style brick architecture is also visible on the site.
  • Squak Mountain State Park (Issaquah): A large forested area with opportunities for birdwatching, hiking, horseback riding, geocaching, metal detecting, and interpretive activities.

Another park located in King County but closed for the winter is Federation Forest State Park in Enumclaw, Washington.

Washington State also has other days for free entry at State Parks, which are:

  • Jan. 1: First Day Hikes; New Year’s Day
  • Jan. 16 : Martin Luther King Jr. Day
  • March 9: Billy Frank Junior’s Birthday
  • March 19: State Parks’ 110th Birthday
  • April 22: Earth Day
  • June 10: National Get Outdoors Day
  • June 11: Free Fishing Day
  • June 19: Juneteenth
  • Sept. 23: National Public Lands Day
  • Oct. 10: World Mental Health Day
  • Nov. 11: Veterans Day
  • Nov. 25: Autumn Day

Photo depicting the Washington State Capitol building exterior on a gray day.
Image of the Washington State Capitol building is attributed to SounderBruce (under a Creative Commons, CC BY-SA 2.0 license).

Gov. Jay Inslee Signs Executive Order to Expand Plain Language Policy for Government Agencies

Gov. Jay Inslee has signed Executive Order 23-02, which aims to create more equity through language, by mandating that government agencies adopt a Plain Language policy. This would require that plain language writing and design principles are incorporated in the most-viewed public-facing materials created by government agencies, so as to minimize confusing, overly bureaucratic language, as well as improve accessibility through multiple languages and accessibility tools for those who require screen readers or other tools

“Any complexity adds to inequity,” Inslee remarked at a July 2021 meeting about digital equity. “The more complex [something is], the more challenging because of language or disability to navigate [a system], you’re just putting up more U-turns and dead ends.”

The executive order also requires that certain government employees will take plain language training and the Department of Enterprise Services will update its plain language curriculum. These improvements are also part of the statewide Pro-Equity Anti-Racism (PEAR) approach, which calls for language support around the 230 languages spoken throughout the state.

Washington is one of a few states nationwide that has adopted plain language principles over time. The new executive order updates one from 2005, signed in by then-Gov. Christine Gregoire, which was limited to fewer agencies; it also builds off of the Plain Language Act of 2010, signed by former President Barack Obama.

Vee Hua 華婷婷 (they/them) is a writer, filmmaker, and organizer with semi-nomadic tendencies. Much of their work unifies their metaphysical interests with their belief that art can positively transform the self and society. They are the editor-in-chief of REDEFINE, a co-chair of the Seattle Arts Commission, and a film educator at the interdisciplinary community hub, Northwest Film Forum, where they previously served as executive director and played a key role in making the space more welcoming and accessible for diverse audiences. After a recent stint as the interim managing editor at South Seattle Emerald, they are moving into production on their feature film, Reckless Spirits, which is a metaphysical, multilingual POC buddy comedy. Learn more about them at

📸 Featured Image: A canoe family carries their canoe out of the water and onto land at Alki Beach during Paddle to Muckleshoot on July 30, 2023. (Photo: Alex Garland)

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