Capehart Forest Restoration

The Capehart forest restoration project

The Capehart Forest restoration project represents one of the largest and most exciting additions to Discovery Parks open space in recent memory.  Since the early 60’s the 30-acre site has been filled with over 60 prefabricated military homes and owned by the Navy. With its security fencing, no-trespassing signs, and very central location, it represented a significant detraction from the Park as a place to enjoy the out of doors.

Thanks to the support and advocacy of members of Friends, the City was able to purchase this site from the Navy for use as public park space in 2010 for approximately $13 million. Since the City took ownership, all manmade structures have been demolished and removed. Intensive restoration efforts have been focused on the cleared site, primarily by volunteer planting crews working with Green Seattle Partnership. Many thousands of native shrubs and trees have been planted in an effort to build high-quality forested wildlife habitat. Although temporary fencing continues to surround the site, it is scheduled to be opened to the public by late 2018 or early 2019. In the meantime, progress continues on the construction of two public access trails running through the site which connect the North parking lot, Daybreak Star and the South Bluff trail. Signage along the trails will remind visitors to stay on the trail and to keep their dogs leashed. Several other improvements to the sites wildlife habitat potential are also planned. Funding for these projects has been made available thru the Seattle Parks Foundation and the City’s Department of Neighborhoods grant program.

Support Discovery Park’s largest restoration project!

Contact the Friends of Discovery Park to volunteer or donate to this project through the Seattle Parks Foundation.

History of Capehart Purchase & Restoration

The Capehart Parcel was purchased by the City from the Navy for $11.1 million. The money came from a combination of state and county grants as well as proceeds from the sale of surplus City property.  The Navy decided to sell the property so as to relocate its military personnel closer to their Everett Base.  The City initially took possession of the eastern portion of the parcel, and removed the children’s play structures, the NEX Mini-Mart, and the Maintenance Building 750 that were located there.  As of January, 2010, the tenants had vacated the houses.  In May, abatement of the houses began and, by July, the houses had been demolished and the rubble removed. The City was responsible for removing the remaining infrastructure (utilities, roads, foundations) once acquisition of the property was completed.  On July 21, 2010, Forest City advised the City that they were ready for a site inspection. Once that was approved, the Navy conveyed the property to Forest City PNW Military Communities, LLC who then conveyed it to the City of Seattle. This occured on October 20, 2010 and the City now owns the entire site.  The City chose a Consulting Firm, ESA Adolfson, to design the restoration of the site. They presented several design options, and a public meeting was held on November 10, 2010 to present these options. See the link below to the City webpage for details and Notes from the meeting.


After many months of discussion, design review, plan revisions, and finally acceptance of construction documents, the Capehart Restoration Project went out to bid, with a deadline of August 24, 2011.


The winning bid for the Discovery Park Capehart Restoration Project was submitted by AGR Contracting Inc., a local contractor with a history of public works and restoration projects. They have received a notice to proceed by Parks, and work will begin immediately.

October 2011 

the Consulting Firm ESA Adolfson was let go as they were not meeting expectations. Approximately $40,000 will be saved and will be used to purchase more plants for the site.

The Contractor AGR installed security and erosion control measures, demolished the hard surfaces and exported it to recycle.Installation of new plants began mid-November. The project was scheduled to be completed by December 2011, but work continued into early 2012. A large section of the planting was done incorrectly – the trees were placed too close together – however the Park Department did not require the Contractor to correct their mistake. Additionally, approximately 4,000 too many trees were purchased. At the insistence of Friends of Discovery Park, these trees were planted elsewhere in Discovery Park (Parks wanted to send them to Magnuson Park.)Plant establishment will be carried out over the next couple of years. The Contractor guarantees warranty and establishment through 2012 i.e. they will water the plants and supposedly replace any that die.Illinois Ave was left paved where it passes through the Capehart site, however we have been “promised” it will be removed in the future. Also, a “spur” road with bollards was incorrectly created at the original entrance off of Discovery Park Blvd (Utah Ave) – this also will need to be removed in the future.Eventually the entire site will be restored to native habitat. The Seattle Parks and Green Spaces levy which was approved by the voters in 2008, had $1 million ear-maked for Capehart Restoration. An additional $600,000 came from the West Point Settlement Agreement Fund.

January 2013

– The Contract with AGR ended on March 13, 2013. We have asked that they not be paid until they replace the plants that have died, which is part of their Contract. However to date, DPR has not enforced other conditions of the Contract. 

March 2014 

– The site will continue to be closed to the public and the fence maintained for another year or 2. The residual roadbed of Illinois Ave is in the process of being removed. More understory plants will be planted on the site.Capehart Site Restoration.

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