Planning and Policy Document Library

Below are some of our most requested policies and planning documents. Contact us if you have questions or need specific documents.

City of Seattle Legislative Department SPR Recreation Division Evaluation

Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) provides recreation opportunities that help Seattle residents of allages and backgrounds, and with all manner of interests, relax, stay healthy, and learn new skills. This study is intended to describe how SPR's Recreation Division operates, evaluate SPR's performance, andrecommend opportunities for improvement. This evaluation is in support of providing enhancedaccountability for voters following the creation of the Seattle Park District in 2014. The evaluation was conducted through a financial and document review, staff and stakeholder engagement, and acomparison of SPR to peer recreation service providers. Read the full study here. For a summary of recommendations, please see this document.

Survey of Seattle residents

How are we doing? That simple question was the impetus behind a survey Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) conducted late last year and it is one important way that we measure and evaluate our performance as a department. SPR hired EMC Research to conduct the statistically valid online survey of randomly selected Seattle residents to gather baseline data on park visitor attitudes, usage and priorities for SPR.

Complete summary of survey results

2019 survey final report update

Parks Code

The Parks Code is Chapter 18.12 of the Seattle Municipal Code (SMC). It includes, in a single chapter, all City ordinances pertaining specifically to parks and park property. You can find the Parks Code on the City Clerk's web site. It is updated quarterly. Also visit our Rules and Regulations page for clarification on common questions. 

Recreation Demand Study

In 2015-2016 a consultant hired by Seattle Parks and Recreation conducted a demand study focused on 7 areas of recreation: community centers, athletic fields, senior programs, programs for people with disabilities, environmental learning, teen programs and off-leash areas. The study combined data from diary studies, surveys and an assessment of level of service standards. Current demand was assessed and projections were made based on estimated future growth in Seattle. Download the Recreation Demand Study 

Bicycle Use Policy and Multi-Use Trail Policy

Seattle's multi-use trails are paved shared-use paths that allow for multiple users including bicycles, pedestrians, and others. The new Multi-Use Trail Policy, and updated Bicycle Use Policy, create regulatory consistency with other trail owners such as Seattle Department of Transportation and the University of Washington, following the passage of a new Washington State law in 2018. The new policies allow for the use of electric-assist personal mobility devices - such as e-bikes, e-scooters, e-skateboard, and electric unicycles - that fit the definition of Class 1 and Class 2 e-assist bicycles. Such devices must have electric motors no more powerful than 750 watts, and have e-assist limitations up to 20 mph. In addition, a new 15 miles per hour speed limit is in effect for all users on Multi-Use Trails managed by Seattle Parks and Recreation. 

Living Landscapes Project

Download the Living Landscapes report

The 2016 PDD summer intern research project "Living Landscapes'" mission is to "propel Seattle and the Seattle Parks and Recreation's organization into the forefront of environmental stewardship and valuable place-making for our current generation and future generations to come." This research project looks at the quality and beauty of our parks with the focus on vegetation and the value it holds to make spaces unique, beautiful, and ecological to achieve Seattle Parks and Recreation's mission to create "Healthy People, Healthy Environment, and Strong Communities."

The "think tank" includes Philip VanDevanter (WSU Junior), Margot Chalmers (UW Master's Student), Arthur Ung (UW Recent Graduate) and Jaen Gomez (UW Recent Graduate). Together they spent many hours this summer doing case study work, creating and implementing surveys of Seattle Parks and Recreation departments staff, community members, and design consultants. The summer's work culminated into their final research document which takes the research and provides recommendations on how we can work holistically as a department to achieve this goal.

Park Naming Policy

Criteria the Parks Naming Committee considers in naming parks include: geographical location, historical or cultural significance, and natural or geological features. A park may be named for a person no longer living (deceased a minimum of three years) who made a significant contribution to parks and/or recreation. The Park Naming Committee, created by Ordinance 99911, consists of the Superintendent of Parks and Recreation, the Chair of the Board of Park Commissioners, and the Chair of the city Council committee that considers parks and recreation issues, or their designated representatives. Download the full policy

Tree Policy

See our Tree Health and Management page for more information about how we care for Seattle's forests and trees.

Citywide Skatepark Plan

The Citywide Skatepark Plan identifies a network of safe, legal places throughout Seattle for people of all ages, races and sexes to enjoy. It also offers recommendations intended to change the way people think about and experience skateboarding. For history about our skateparks and projects, download our Citywide Skatepark Plan

Vegetation Management Plans

Vegetation Management Plans are written to guide the growth, development, and maintenance of parks and open spaces. Each Vegetation Management Plan is designed to bring together the diverse interests at work (and at play) in a park or open space, and inform and direct the actions of the organizations and individuals that manage it. Contact us with questions or to request specific plans for parks or greenspaces. 

Public Involvement Policy

Public Involvement Policy for Parks Planning Processes and for Proposals to Acquire Property, Initiate Funded Capital Projects, or Make Changes to a Park or Facility

Adopted July 1, 1999
Amended October 1, 2002
Amended August 30, 2006
Amended July 31, 2012

The purpose of this policy is to describe the role of park users and neighbors in park planning processes, and in review processes for funded capital projects and other proposals that have the potential to change the look or use of a park or facility. It describes the planning processes that become the assemblage of needed projects for which Parks applies for funding. It lays out circumstances in which Parks does not seek public input. It calls for a description of what factors have impacts on a given decision, how professional Parks staff incorporate, or do not incorporate, suggestions from the public in their recommendations, and identifies information to be presented to the Board of Park Commissioners. Download the full policy. 

Agreement for the Joint Use of Facilities

between The Seattle School District No. 1 and Seattle Parks and Recreation

All public facilities and grounds, either owned by the City or District, shall benefit and be used by Seattle children, adults, and families to the maximum extent possible. The District and City have mutual interests in helping young people learn and develop recreation skills and in providing opportunities for people of all ages to participate in recreation activities. It is incumbent upon the District and Parks to develop a unified approach to serving the community's recreation needs and to cooperatively maintain City and District facilities and grounds in order to foster community and neighborhood learning and vitality.

Non-Parks Use of Parks Land Policy

If you need or want to use park property for a non-park use, you must obtain permission from the Department of Parks and Recreation, usually in the form of a Revocable Use Permit. Find out how to get a permit for non-park use of park land

"Permits for Non-Park Use of Park Property" includes any private use of park land or park open space that limits or diminishes the public's ability to use or enjoy park land, even temporarily. This would include activities such as making repairs or changes to your property, installing or replacing utility lines, storing belongings on park property, and adding or removing landscaping. View the Policy for Non-Park Uses of Park Property

Park lands include parks, playgrounds, viewpoints, boulevards, and other land under control of the Department of Parks and Recreation. If you are not sure, please check with the Department before proceeding. Contact the Department's Property Management office at (206) 233-7935. Permits are revocable upon thirty (30) days notice or immediately upon failure of the Permittee to comply with the terms and conditions of the Permit. Unauthorized use of park property, including failure to apply for and obtain a Revocable Use Permit, is unlawful and subject to enforcement actions or other remedies as specified in Seattle Municipal Code 18.30.

City Park Marine Reserves Rule

Download the full rule

The "City Park Marine Reserve" protection builds upon years of work done by the Carkeek Watershed Community Action Project, King County Water and Land Resources, the Seattle Aquarium and Seattle Parks and recreation. Work to explore opportunities for further protecting marine habitat began in 1990 to address overharvesting of marine resources in our City parks. In addition to these efforts, the Washington Department of Natural Resources - Aquatics Land Division worked with the City of Seattle to extend our Marine Reserve areas into subtidal areas. We are now able to provide further protection for park sites along Puget Sound.

City Park Marine Reserves are located in the marine and intertidal areas within certain portions of Golden Gardens Park, Carkeek Park, Charles Richey, Sr. Viewpoint, Lincoln Park, Emma Schmitz Memorial Overlook and Discovery Park. Although many of the activities prohibited in a Marine Reserve are already unlawful in a City park, this rule specifically designates City of Seattle park sites along Puget Sound as Marine Reserves and in so doing prohibits taking of shellfish, capturing of any wildlife species and otherwise damaging or destroying submerged or intertidal lands within our parks. This rule gives us an opportunity to highlight the importance of our critical marine habitat and further educate people about activities that are prohibited in these designated areas.

If there is a legitimate public purpose for any of these activities, the Superintendent of Seattle Parks and Recreation may grant permission, provided that it does not violate other applicable federal, state or local law.

Marine Reserves are open to the public, but the Superintendent has the authority to close all or part of a City Park Marine Reserve for a specific period of time.

If an individual witnesses a violation of the City Park Marine Reserve Rule, please call the police at (206) 625-5011 or Seattle Animal Shelter at (206) 386-7387, extension 7, to report the violation.

Golf Master Plan

Download the full plan

The City of Seattle operates four golf facilities with a total of three 18‐hole courses, three 9‐hole shortcourses, two driving ranges, and one putting course (mini‐golf). Four clubhouses are also operated to provide food and beverage service, merchandise sales, and general support at each of the courses. While the courses continue to be popular with local golfers and economically sustainable for the City, many of the clubhouses, maintenance facilities, restrooms, and other support facilities have reached the end of their useful life and are in need of upgrade or replacement. Missing elements such as driving ranges and banquet facilities also impact the golf experience at some locations and prevent the golf program from reaching its full revenue generating potential.

Pickleball Pilot Study Report

The sport of pickleball has made strides in popularity since its conception in 1965. To accommodate this growth, Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) hosts approximately 5,000 hours of indoor pickleball play each year in its community center gyms. In 2017, SPR expanded opportunity for pickleball play outdoors through a pilot program that added pickleball lines to existing tennis courts for a total of 26 new courts and expanded free access to nets, paddles, and balls. The overwhelming response to this pilot program was positive and many of the new courts are well-used. The report linked-to below summarizes the findings of the pilot program and includes recommendations to maintain the existing dual-striped courts and to expand the number of dual-striped and possible dedicated courts in the future at specific locations. It also includes recommendations to support sustained indoor programming of pickleball at SPR community centers. Download the full pilot study report here. Please direct any comments on the draft report to: