Saint Edward State Park is natural treasure located in Kenmore, WA on the shores of Lake Washington. Citizens for Saint Edward State Park is a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting this beautiful State Park for current and future generations.
Work to ensure any use of facilities at Saint Edward State Park is secondary and subordinate to the park’s natural environment and its intended use for passive outdoor recreation.
- Protect the forests, wetlands, shoreline, air and wildlife.
- Preserve family-friendly recreation that encourages trail use, picnics, playground, impromptu ball and field play.
- Use the best science to determine and implement sustainable practices.
- Engage in strategic thinking as a continuous process to drive success and stay relevant to our organization’s stated goals.
The 316 acres of Saint Edward State Park encompass trails, open space, a community-built playground, and 3,000 feet of undeveloped Lake Washington shoreline. This peaceful park offers visitors the opportunity to connect with nature, observe wildlife, and enjoy a variety of activities including hiking, biking, picnicking, and fishing. Fields are used for baseball, softball, soccer, cricket, and impromptu games of Frisbee. A portion of the former seminary, The Grand Dining Hall, and a secluded garden area known as The Grotto are available to rent for special events.
Citizens for Saint Edward State Park was first formed in 2005 in response to plans to commercialize the historic seminary building located within the park. Built in 1930 in the Romanesque Revival style, the 90,000 square foot building has suffered significant deterioration over the course of its lifetime. The cost of restoration is currently estimated to be upwards of $40 million.
With limited funding for the maintenance and repair of the building, Washington State Parks has explored the idea of partnerships with public and private sector entities for the purpose of rehabilitating the building. One such partnership was the 2005 plan which proposed turning the building into a hotel and brewpub.
Though the developer of that plan withdrew in 2007, Citizens for Saint Edward State Park continued to be active, and participated in the public process that led to the creation of the CAMP* (Classification and Management Plan) adopted in 2008.
In the fall of 2013 State Parks staff entered into a fast-track deal to provide a short term lease to an unnamed Cyber-Security firm, with the potential for a long term (up to 99 years) lease to follow. That deal fell through when public records requests required State Parks to release the non-disclosure agreement that identified the interested party. State Parks held a public workshop on January 14, 2014 to discuss their planning process. Those in attendance had the opportunity to share questions, concerns, and suggestions about the future of the seminary building and the park as a whole.
In September of 2014, the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission directed staff to explore the possibility of rehabilitating the building. Since that time “staff has continued to seek out private or public sector entities to preserve the building.” Daniels Real Estate, a private developer, has proposed a concept to preserve the building. This proposal hinges on the State giving Daniels the seminary building complex in exchange for undeveloped land elsewhere in the park.
While the fate of the seminary building is still undecided, the vision of Citizens for Saint Edward State Park remains that of keeping the entire park as a natural sanctuary and place of outdoor recreation for current and future generations.
The Saint Edward State Park Planning page can be found on the Washington State Parks website here.