Shorewood Park

11830 28th Ave. SW

Shorewood Park offers 3.4 acres of wooded, neighborhood parkland including a short, leisurely walking trail. It is actively maintained by volunteers from the neighborhood and the Shorewood-on-the-Sound Community Club.

Park History

Shorewood Park forms the southern boundary of the Shorewood School grounds. This north-Burien elementary school was built as a 10-room facility in 1951. By 1963, Shorewood was the largest elementary school in the Highline District.

When the ground was leveled to build the school and adjoining playground, the head of the ravine (in which the current park lies) was filled in. This was a major project involving complex engineering work. The ravine's natural drainage was diverted west and under 28th Ave SW. Previously, during severe storms and “gully washers," accumulated stormwater would shoot down the ravine, rushing over a small earthen dam which bisected the park and dumping mud and debris in the cul-de-sac below.

Originally, the Shorewood Park property was owned by a Mr. Wallace, who resided on Vashon Island. King County purchased the land from Wallace, turning it into Highline Neighborhood Park No. 4. It was added to the King County Parks Department’s list of active Forward Thrust projects in April, 1971. 

There was debate about what to do with the new park. There was a lot of junk and debris on the property—piles of lumber and bricks, an old car, wagon wheels—and the County decided to keep it as an unenclosed park. There was also a small house or cabin in the park, which the County rented out. There was a rough road into the park on which one could drive (and turnaround) at least as far as the dam, and also a small wooden bridge which spanned the gully and even connected to 26th Avenue SW.

Outdoor Education: Camp Waskowitz

Shorewood Park has been used by schoolchildren for decades as an outdoor classroom. Here they learned to identify native plants and trees, build campfires, learn camp songs, and hone their outdoor cooking skills in preparation for a week at Camp Waskowitz. The high point of these sessions was always the visit by Harry Lemon, known affectionately as “Mr. Conservation.” Mr. Lemon, one of the Highline School District's first teachers, was an expert on conservation and ecology. His introduction usually went: “You've all seen a fuzzy peach; well, now you've met a Harry Lemon!” Mr. Lemon helped instill the conservation ethic and a love of the outdoors in the hearts of thousands of Highline District students who attended his classes and Camp Waskowitz.

Mr. Lemon was Highline School District's first naturalist in the Outdoor Education program centered around Camp Waskowitz. After retiring from teaching in 1963, he spent the next 12 years as a resident Outdoor Education staff member. He made frequent trips into the woods, Shorewood Park, and other forested places to teach students love and reverence for all living things. 

Camp Waskowitz, a nationally acclaimed outdoor classroom in the Cascade Mountains near North Bend, was acquired by the Highline School District in 1957. More than just a camp for kids, Waskowitz offered an education in nature, outdoor survival, and conservation. 

Updated April 2, 2020