History of the bench at the Swan Pond:
The bench was added to the Swan Pond in the spring of 1989. This was several years after the Bloedels established the foundation that turned their estate into the Reserve.
The bench is on the northwest corner of the Swan Pond. It is just steps from the Visitor Center, but secluded as it is, it feels like it’s in a different world.
This year’s interns’ project was to improve the path and the outlook by making it more accessible and inviting. This picture shows the path layout.
There was an additional factor to consider. With time, the views of the Swan Pond and the Mid Pond were obstructed by trees growing from the west bank.
One was a cedar and the other was a hemlock. As you can see in this picture, the cedar is down and the hemlock is leaning at an angle.
Just as important was the fact that across the pond, on the east bank, there were two hemlocks leaning towards Mrs. Bloedel’s bench. While they weren’t a significant view obstruction, they were tall enough to be a safety hazard.
To facilitate the interns’ project, the Reserve assigned two arborists to remove the trees which presented visual or safety problems. Thus the intern project this year became a joint project.
Felling a large tree – preliminary steps:
The disposition plan for the cedar was to pull it to the east pond bank and secure it. By doing this, it provides additional habitat. In the above photo, a duck is already investigating before the cedar has been moved.
Preparing to pull the cedar over to the pond bank:
Winching logs up the pond bank
Building up the surface of the outlook required aggregate be brought in. The interns used wheelbarrows for this. The next step was compacting. This is done with a motor-driven plate compactor. Compacting is an important step. A compacted subsurface is much more durable than an uncompacted surface. A compacted surface does not erode nearly as quickly when it is exposed to a lot of rain– and rain is a certainty here.
A rock border was installed, soil was added to the bank, plants were placed and planted:
The path was finished off with fresh bark:
The new plants:
The renovated outlook:
Bloedel Reserve Certified Arborists: