The Seattle Parks and Recreation Department is considering a ban of beach fires at Alki and Golden Gardens parks — not this year, as first announced, but next year — stating that beach fires contribute to global warming.
If the parks staff is really concerned about global warming, perhaps they will also recommend no fires in the barbecue pits at Woodland, Lincoln, Carkeek, and other parks throughout our city. Or perhaps they will cease using the large leaf-blowers at Golden Gardens, which blows sand off the sidewalk and parking lot, or stop driving around Discovery Park in large trucks. In fact, there are dozens of things the parks staff themselves can do to reduce the carbon footprint.
Wood fires in such miniscule numbers as those on our public beaches probably have an inconsequential effect on global warming compared to the amount of gas used by the Parks Department staff. Burning dead wood, rather than letting it decompose, may actually be better. Decomposing wood releases methane, which does impact global warming. Burning it does not.
So why is the Park staff so concerned about beach fires? After a night of teen keggers at Golden Gardens, there is certainly a huge mess left for the parks staff. And inevitably there are the homeless sleeping next to a fire pit greeting staffers as they make their rounds in the morning. Dealing with the parties, the litter, or having to evict the homeless are part of a parks staff job description. And if the parties and homelessness are excessive, why not just make that a reason for this recommendation? But global warming?