Seahurst Park, Burien

In the 1970s, it was common practice to pave over the upper beach at a waterfront park. People wanted grassy play areas with great views and access by car to the water’s edge. Seahurst Park in Burien, with its nearly mile-long shoreline, was no exception.

Drag the sliders to see Seahurst Park before and after waterfront restoration.
Burien’s Seahurst Park had nearly a mile of seawalls and bulkheads.

When the land was converted from private ownership to a city park in 1975, it came with extensive concrete and rock seawalls. More hard armor was added in the 1980s. By the turn of the century, the seawalls were failing and armor-induced erosion had lowered the beach by more than a meter.

Seahurst Park is a model of urban shoreline restoration.

City officials and community members saw an opportunity to restore the natural landscape and reverse some of the damage done to the natural habitat. After much work to secure funding, the restoration effort began in 2005.

The project, which continued until 2014, involved removing the seawalls, replenishing lost beach with sand and gravel, regrading, and revegetation with native plants. The beach has now been reconnected to the forest, and the shoreline is more welcoming to marine life and human visitors alike.