The Heron Rookery is a 4.6 acre open space site located on the southwest corner of Bear Creek Parkway and Leary Way in Redmond, Washington. It stands at the entrance to Downtown Redmond and features an urban forest a new trail that runs through the middle.
The Heron Rookery is on the former King County Shop Site that served the County’s streets division. Part of the site extends north to include part of the now Redmond Central Connector, across Bear Creek Parkway, and featured tilt up buildings and a fuel station. Located in the center of the Rookery was a private business called the Workshop Tavern.
The Heron Rookery was originally named after a colony of Great Blue Herons that once occupied the site. The first heron nesting occurred around 1997. The Winmar Company donated the site to the City in 2004. When heron monitoring by the city began in 2003, there were still eight active nests. By 2006, no heron nests were recorded. Monitoring continued until 2008 at which time no nests were discovered.
Today the site is still being protected for future generations. Recently in 2012, Redmond received a grant from the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which funded a Washington Conservation Corps (WCC) crew to come out for three weeks to begin removing non-native invasive plants, blackberries, English ivy and English holly. These non-native species grow over the native vegetation, which causes problems for the local wildlife. Wildlife and trees a more diverse ecosystem to flourish. When all the debris has composted, an evaluation of the remaining trees and vegetation will be completed to determine the health of the forest.
The city hopes to open this site to the public so they can enjoy the “forest in the city.” Covenants control the use of the site; however, small nature trails and benches would allow citizens to find a quiet place to relax and reflect.
Southwest corner of Bear Creek Parkway and Leary Way NE
From the West Lake Sammamish Parkway NE exit on SR520 E, turn left onto West Lake Sammamish Pkway NE. Take the first right onto Leary Way NE. Continue 0.3 mile until Bear Creek Parkway and turn left. Pay-to-park parking lot will be on your right.