History of FHNA (archived)

It started simply enough. Friends and neighbors started talking in 1990 about how to take better care of the natural resources in the area. Taking a cue from the Denny Creek Watershed that runs under Finn Hill, the initial suggestion was to create a group called the Denny Creek Alliance. It’s mission: care for plants, animals, and the landscape of the area.

Another thought came to the fore. Instrumental to the success of such a goal were the residents themselves. And so, Denny Creek Neighborhood Alliance came into being.  A core group of nature lovers, hikers, bird watchers, park patrons, and old-timers who grew up here went to work to set up by-laws and formally incorporate the group as a non-profit organization in 1993.

Initial Projects Show Immediate Impact

Two issues emerged early on that helped to energize the group. Having witnessed a variety of landslides over the years, group members studied the characteristics of the terrain in the area. After learning of the fragile soil structure deposited long ago by glacial movements, and recognizing the role of tree roots in helping to stabilize soil, Denny Creek Neighborhood worked with King County staff to create codes that would protect mature trees and native vegetation. The Significant District Overlay remains part of the Department of Development and Environmental Services administrative rules today.

The salmon stream that runs through O.O. Denny Park had also deteriorated. The stream, which originates at Big Finn Hill Park, no longer provided suitable habitat for salmon. A “fish ladder” that helped salmon to migrate upstream was broken down. DCNA volunteers pitched in, rebuilt the fish ladder, incubated the stream with salmon fry to encourage salmon to spawn in and return to the stream, and acquired grants to help with funding the repairs.

Juanita Woodlands Project Is Born

In 2003, another opportunity presented itself. The state made known its consideration to sell a 40-acre parcel of woodlands abutting Juanita Drive. Intended to raise revenue to put towards the state’s education funding, neighbors recognized such a sale to private developers would likely lead to cutting trees and new housing. DCNA led an effort to convince King County to help fund purchase of the land, known as Juanita Woodlands.

In return, neighbors would pledge half a million dollars of their own funds. In 2008, after conclusion of a five-year pledge campaign, the King County Council recognized DCNA and its supporters for having come through in saving the woodlands.

There are many more projects that have taken place and continue to be undertaken. Trail restoration, park cleanup, watershed studies, litter pickup . . . friends, neighbors and residents continue to work together in preserving the area for themselves and future generations.

Learn more about FHNA Committees and ways to Get Involved.