Wedgwood’s Wildlife

Throughout northeast Seattle there are many ravines, big and small, with creeks running eastward down to their outlets at Lake Washington.  As can be seen throughout the city, there are possum, raccoon and coyotes living in Wedgwood’s ravines.   It has been rumored that deer live in the wooded ravines, as well.

In the early 1900s the Wedgwood area was thinly populated, quiet and dark at night due to lack of road development and the absence of electricity.  People like Joe Surber who had a homestead claim in the village of Yesler which later became Laurelhurst, used to go hunting in what is now the Wedgwood neighborhood.

The Wedgwood Community Council has proposed an Inverness Ravine Trail.

The Maple Creek Ravine is Y-shaped with a creek at the bottom.

Wedgwood’s large Y-shaped Maple Creek Ravine, located east of 40th Ave NE, was first platted and named Manhattan Heights by developers in 1890 — two men who probably would have filled in the ravine if they had had the ability to do so.  Fortunately the future-Wedgwood area was too remote.  The lots in the ironically-named Manhattan Heights did not sell and the development plan failed.  The area was left untouched, to be preserved by later residents with a concern for the pristine stream and woods.

In the 1920s the ravine was preserved by early landowners who appreciated the natural environment.  In the 1960s, after a last-stand by housewives known as the Day of the Apron Ladies, residents along Maple Creek began to take the first legal actions to prevent the expansion of the road and to prevent dumping of debris into the ravine.  In the 1990s Maple Creek Ravine residents began putting their property into a land conservancy so that no later developments would threaten the ravine.

Yesler Swamp January 2015

Yesler Swamp is at the south end of Laurelhurst on Union Bay.

Volunteers of the Friends of Yesler Swamp conservation group told me that deer have sometimes been seen at the water’s edge on Union Bay at the Center for Urban Horticulture site in what is now Laurelhurst.  They believe that deer live throughout northeast Seattle and as far north as Wedgwood, with its many ravines and wooded areas.

On July 5, 2016 a bus traveler took the photo below, of a deer in the parking lot of the Rite Aid store at 8500 35th Ave NE in Wedgwood’s main business district.  On July 19th deer sightings were reported at the Union Bay Natural area (where Laurelhurst meets the water).  The staff at the Center for Urban Horticulture thought it was the same deer as had been sighted in Wedgwood, whom they called Lefty because the deer’s left antler is slightly higher than on the right.

UPDATE:  Later in July 2016, Lefty the Deer was seen grazing in Laurelhurst with good photos posted on the Union Bay Watch blog page.  Then as of October 2016 the Union Bay Watch photographer saw Lefty in the Arboretum, a denser natural area overlooking Lake Washington where Lefty has plenty of room to roam.

Our thanks to Kristin for this photo of a deer in the parking lot of Rite Aid at 8500 35th Ave NE in Wedgwood's main business district.

Our thanks to Kristin for this photo of a deer in the parking lot of Rite Aid at 8500 35th Ave NE in Wedgwood’s main business district, July 5, 2016.

About Wedgwood in Seattle History

Valarie is a volunteer history writer for neighborhood history in Seattle, Washington.
This entry was posted in Maple Creek ravine, Nature and wildlife and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Wedgwood’s Wildlife

  1. I love this, Valarie! I can just picture my old stomping grounds way back when!

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