Monday, March 7, 2016

Aparkolypse 2015: McCollum Park

Another of Snohomish County's diverse-use properties, McCollum Park (aka McCollum Pioneer Park) has a broad selection of activities and possibilities for local residents.  McCollum's excellent location and variety of choices make up for some glaring and annoying flaws.

Features You Probably Won't Care About

For the purposes of this blog, we're not all that interested in stuff like public transit, but McCollum does offer a substantial park-and-ride. Programs at the Washington State extension emphasize agricultural and gardening learning (beekeeping!) and education about healthy families (food safety, nutrition, etc.). Adopt-a-Stream's Northwest Stream Center Facility "offers room rentals, an interpretive boardwalk, and a variety of educational programs," so that might be worth a look. We were too busy picking blackberries. 


A bit of our family history: the pool is where Aimee learned to swim and natatory endeavors became one of her beloved pastimes. The pool is reservable for your re-creation of Michael Phelps's non-cannibus-related feats. The recently remodeled pool facility is also where the bathrooms are located, so if it is locked up, like it frequently is, you will have to do your business in the inconveniently located portable restrooms. Snohomish County tends to close its restrooms in the cooler months (i.e. seemingly most of them), so this handy chart of bathroom schedules will help you prepare for those particular needs.

There are picnic tables and benches by the playground and scattered throughout the park, though on the west side of the park proper there are reservable picnic facilities, which need to be done by phone at this location.

A somber addition to the park is the DUI Victim Memorial Wall, part of Snohomish County's ongoing efforts to eliminate drunk driving. It stands right next to the picnic facilities.

While we personally didn't investigate it too closely, McCollum also has a BMX bike track which looks pretty cool. The group maintains an active Facebook page, so bike racing enthusiasts have a track to enjoy and an online spot to buy and sell equipment.

Image via McCollum Park BMX Track

We'll start with the complaints: the fields are pretty terrible year-round. In summer the open field is a dusty mass laden with stabby grasses and in the wetter months is a soggy mudfest; it is remarkably useless.
All this picture needs is tumbleweeds
The "ball fields" boast a backstop and that's about it. We did find a stray softball to add to our collection of balls.

Among the good news is that the playground is pretty cool. A soft but not overly-squishy deck cushions any potential trips and falls. The setup is fairly unique and accessible to a range of ages.


As the crow flies, North Creek flows about 11 miles (according to Google Maps) from a random spot in Everett to the Sammamish River in Bothell, generating scenic views and ecologically interesting spots along the way (like the area known as North Creek Park). McCollum Park's gentle walking trail largely follows North Creek before looping around. There are a few educational signs at the trail head and some monuments along the path, along with bird feeders posted high in the trees. The paths are well-maintained and easy to use for strollers and people who aren't training to summit K2. Hikers and other parkgoers can follow this semi-accurate map to make their way around the expanse of the park.

In the right season, hikers will find loaded blackberry bushes on the way back to the playground from the trail. The WSU Extension maintains a demonstration garden for your botanical edification.

                                                                                                            We'll let the reader decide if this says "pool" or "poo!"


We pointed out some vexing flaws in this post, but McCollum Park is pretty cool. Access to some of the best features requires some planning yet is a solid place to drop in and play or go on a lovely little walk. These people pictured below seemed to enjoy it.

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