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Save Panther Lake
Panther Lake is in the center of the earth. For an aerial view of this tranquil city lake, enter 47.42149 latitude and -122.18734 longitude into a satellite view app or GPS device.
An amazing resource for economic development, livability improvement and outdoor recreation opportunities is still alive in the northeast corner of Kent Washington. This fantastic part of Shangri-La can be found in the middle of an economically difficult urban environment. The busy Benson Corridor, WA 515, borders it a few blocks to the west. Panther Lake is surrounded by mansion properties, moderate income housing, manufactured home developments, apartment buildings and commercial establishments. The Great American Panther Lake Casino, which offers an incredible lunch menu, is the most popular landmark in the area.
If you have driven Benson (WA 515) you have passed by Panther Lake in Kent WA. You can’t see it from the road. If you didn’t know it was there, you’re in good company. Fifty thousand people live in the surrounding area. Many don’t know it’s there. Most people know there’s a Panther Lake nearby, that’s all. An old guy I met After 5 Sports Bar near Panther Lake Safeway told me it is still the best bass fishing lake in the state. A friend from church claims that no one knows how deep the lake is. He told me that the old timers say there is an impenetrable layer of mud about seven feet below, but no one knows beyond that. A young businesswoman laughed when she told a story about going there to smoke pot when she was in high school. Its area has since been annexed into Renton. She no longer feels connected to the Lake. My son and his friends from Benson Hill Elementary fished from the shore at the entrance to the State Park at the end of 116 SE. This spring, a young man told me a story about fishing over breakfast at the Golden Steer Restaurant in Benson on SE 240. He often fished Panther Lake from a canoe when he attended Meeker Junior High. He gave up because his equipment kept getting tangled in the non-native water lily that dominates the surface. He felt that sanitation was a state problem. Since redistricting, his prized fishing hole is now in the 11th Legislative District and he lived in the 47th Legislative District and didn’t see how he could help with any grassroots activities to save the lake, even though he lives just a few blocks away.
“Panther Lake will sink into the ground in twenty years,” claims Kent Mayor Suzette Cook. What a tragedy, what a disaster. No public official or agency is willing to stretch to protect this precious public asset. I think political leaders are unable to see the astonishing brilliance that dances before them. Instead, they choose to look at financial obligations. Washington State dumped a natural disaster package that included the stunning jewel of the Benson Corridor on an unsuspecting Boundary Review Board and eventually on a City Hall. However, there is a much more pressing problem for Panther Lake and the people who canoe, swim, fish, play and breathe.
Audrey ll was the comic relief in Little House of Horrors, but the reality is a noxious non-native vegetation that infests our lake. King County is committed to Noxious Weed Prevention. According to their definition: Weeds are non-native plants that are highly invasive, competitive, and difficult to control or eliminate. Weeds can destroy native plant and animal habitat, impair recreational opportunities, clog waterways, reduce land values, and poison people and animals.
Panther Lake of Kent certainly fits that description, but that’s no problem for King County Parks. Who is responsible for cleaning up Panther Lake? I’m old, but if we don’t act soon, I’ll live to see the last slap of toes in the mud competing for a desperate breath of oxygen. A scary thought for me and Kent’s children
With the potential to become the model of city parks, Kent WA’s Panther Lake remains unknown and neglected. By area, the Panther Lake community is the most multi-ethnic in the world. We must all come together in a community effort. We need to form a coalition of citizens from our churches, synagogues, temples, mosques and cultural communities from all the communities of the Benson Corridor. We need to go one step further and request the clearing of non-native water lilies from Panther Lake, Kent WA. We need business leaders who influence political policy to step up to the plate in the campaign to save Panther Lake. The Panther Lake community needs all residents to contribute to the effort to save Panther Lake. Students connected to the Benson Corridor, K-12 through IHL, can collect data, build timelines and help form a plan to save the lake and have fun doing it.
If we work together, our award can become the centerpiece of Urban Parks and Lakes around the world. First, we must eliminate the non-native water lily that is choking this active body of water.
First, help us form the coalition by sending your contact information in an email. Support our important effort to save this precious entertainment resource by posting your article on http://www.TheBenson.Biz. Placing COMMENTS at the bottom of each posted article is also a great way to show your support. Your opinion matters. Help us build the coalition by clicking CONTACT at the bottom of the HOME page or sign up as a member of TheBenson.Biz
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