Walking Tour of New Zealand Focal Forest in Washington Park Arboretum

Join FSOP as we tour the newly opened New Zealand Focal Forest in the Washington Park Arboretum on September 28th, at 10 a.m. We will meet at the Japanese Garden parking lot and the tour will last about 2 hours. Andy Mitton, FSOP board member and The Berger Partnership's landscape architect for the project, will lead the tour. They will talk about the forest's design and its relationship to the other forests in the Pacific Connections Garden. We'll also talk about the Olmsted Brothers legacy in Washington Park and the Arboretum.

According to Seattle Parks and Recreation, the New Zealand Forest is the first of five eco-geographic forests to be fully completed in the Arboretum’s Pacific Connections Garden, which will someday cover 14 acres in Washington Park and include forests from Cascadia, Chile, Australia, and China, in addition to the New Zealand forest. Within the New Zealand Forest, there are seven vegetation zones: two southern beech (Nothofagus) forests, three shrublands, and two alpine grasslands. These vegetation zones are found in mid- to high-elevation zones on the South Island of New Zealand.

The Washington Park Arboretum was designed in 1936 by James Frederick Dawson, a senior partner in the Olmsted Brothers firm. Dawson had worked extensively in Seattle, including playing a major role in implementing John Charles Olmsted's landscape plan for the Alaska-Yukon Pacific Exposition held on the University of Washington campus in 1909. The Seattle Garden Club brought Dawson to Seattle in 1935 to prepare plans that Works Progress Administration workers could use to develop the Arboretum.

For more information about the New Zealand Forest see:

*The Seattle Parks and Recreation website,
*“Planting the New Zealand Forest,” in the summer 2013 issue of the Washington Park Arboretum Bulletin, and
*"Inside Washington Park Arboretum’s New Zealand Focal Forest" in Seattle Met.

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Olmsted Brothers plan for Washington Park Arboretum, 1936. Courtesy Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site, National Park Service

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Trails in the New Zealand Focal Forest. Courtesy Arboretum Foundation.

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New Zealand Focal Forest. Courtesy The Berger Partnership.

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New Zealand Focal Forest. Courtesy The Berger Partnership.