Arboretum and Botanical Garden Committee (ABGC)

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Mission Statement

The Arboretum and Botanical Garden Committee (ABGC) advises the University of Washington, City of Seattle and The Arboretum Foundation on the management and stewardship of the Washington Park Arboretum for the benefit of current and future generations.



ABGC Issues Guiding Principles for the SR520 Expansion

The Washington Park Arboretum is a stunning gem of the Seattle Park system, a 230-acre oasis of gently rolling land, bucolic watery islets and home to the best of the City’s wildlife. It provides respite, scenery, recreation and solace to thousands of visitors in every season of the year. It provides educational and volunteering opportunities to thousands of friends, sightseeing to thousands of visitors and cultural enrichment in gardening styles and distant ecosystems to those who seek it out.

Proposed upgrades to State Route 520, the SR 520 I-5 to Medina: Bridge Replacement and HOV Project, across the north end of the Arboretum threaten significant impacts to the park over a number of years, and a base set of impacts for the life of the freeway corridor.

The Arboretum and Botanical Garden Committee (ABGC), comprised of representatives from the State of Washington, City of Seattle, University of Washington and the Arboretum Foundation, has established the following Guiding Principles as a way for the ABGC and interested parties to review and comment on the SR 520 I-5 to Medina: Bridge Replacement and HOV Project and for the Washington State Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration to consider as they move the project forward.


Guiding Principles – The proposed SR 520 project in and around the Washington Park Arboretum should:

  1. Enhance the Washington Park Arboretum through the design, construction and operation of SR 520 and the SR 520 I-5 to Medina: Bridge Replacement and HOV Project;
  2. Avoid harm to the Washington Park Arboretum and its collections;
  3. Respect the historical, aesthetic and design integrity of the Park;
  4. Fully compensate the Arboretum for loss of property and function if harm is unavoidable;
  5. Reduce traffic on Lake Washington Boulevard below levels that exist today on the boulevard between Montlake Boulevard and East Madison Street; and,
  6. Preserve and restore the Arboretum as an accessible place of quiet and respite.


Refer to the WSDOT 520 project web page for current information.

Establishment of Arboretum

The 1934 agreement (Ordinance #65130) allowed the Board of Regents, University of Washington, State of Washington, to establish and maintain an arboretum and botanical garden, as defined in the agreement, within then established Washington Park. The original name was University of Washington Arboretum, being changed to Washington Park Arboretum in 1974. The same agreement (ordinance) was approved by the Board of Regents, and State Legislature.

Establishment of Advisory committee

The agreement also "established an advisory committee to be known as the 'Arboretum and Botanical Garden Committee', consisting of at least seven members, three to be appointed by the Mayor of Seattle, three by the President of the University of Washington, and the seventh member to be appointed by the Governor of the State of Washington". In 1985, two members of the Arboretum Foundation were added. "Each of said members shall serve for a term of seven years from the first day of January, next succeeding their appointment, and until their successors shall have been appointed and qualified."

"Said advisory committee shall assist the parties hereto in establishing and maintaining said arboretum and botanical garden, in securing funds for the establishment and maintenance of said arboretum, and plants and seeds for use therein, in interesting people in said project, and in acting as a liason committee between the Arboretum and the various garden and other socieites interested in such Arboretum."

Current Members

Arboretum Foundation

  • Jenny Wyatt, Arboretum Foundation Board President
  • Jane Stonecipher, Arboretum Executive Director, ABGC Secretary

City of Seattle/Seattle Parks Department

  • Kenan Block, Mayoral Appointee
  • David Graves, Strategic Advisor, Seattle Parks and Recreation
  • James Fearn, Mayoral Appointee

University of Washington

  • Sally Clark, Director of Regional and Community Relations, ABGC Chair
  • Ray Larson, Interim Director of UW Botanic Gardens

State of Washington

  • [vacant], Governor’s Appointee

Correspondence to the ABGC should be sent to:

Rachel Acosta
ABGC/Park Board Coordinator
Seattle Parks and Recreation
100 Dexter Avenue N
Seattle, WA 98109
e-mail: Rachel.Acosta@seattle.gov