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July 13, 2016

Big Rock Park adds nature play area

Photos by Greg Murphy, ELM Environments [enlarge]

The first phase of upgrades at Big Rock Park at 21805 S.E. Eighth St. in Sammamish was completed in June.

New trails, better parking, informal gathering spaces, boardwalks, open space, landscaping and the city's first nature play area with a zip line have been added. The nature play area also has earth mounds and a tunnel, rock climbing and a bird's nest big enough for humans. Artist Karen White designed the nest and it was built by volunteers from Sammamish Parks and Recreation, Sammamish Arts Commission and ArtEAST.

Big Rock Park opened in 2011. The upgrades focused on two acres in the 15.9-acre park, which has wetlands, ponds, trees and a massive rock.

ELM Environments was the prime consultant and landscape architect. In a press release, ELM said the park uses ecology and geology for play activities designed to stimulate brain development, motor skills and perception.

Other team members include Signal Architecture + Research, design; Newton Street Study Group, cognitive science; Robert Foley Associates, civil engineer; Paul Brothers, contractor; and Lund Opsahl structural engineer.

A team of students from Lake Washington School District's Tesla STEM High School created an environmental education program and interpretive signage in partnership with Sammamish Parks and Recreation. The team will install an electric car charging station if grant funding is obtained.

Parks and Recreation developed the park master plan, which includes future work.

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