Burien Washington - Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Services

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The Burke Sawmill
A Disturbance of the Salmon Migration
In the 1940s, Joe Burke operated a small sawmill in Salmon Creek Ravine, just up from Standring Lane. Burke logged the remaining virgin timber in the Ravine and on Shorewood hill. He also installed a water wheel and power plant to supply electricity. The mill was there for only three or four years; then it was abandoned and burned down. Burke, who owned a millworking company in Ballard, also supplied Shorewood residents with water, piped from Salmon Creek in old wooden pipes wrapped with wire. These sometimes leaked, which customers were not too happy about. Eventually Burke and his customers buried the hatchet in a public ceremony.
Salmon Creek, originally a 4-mile stream draining the White Center plateau, once supported sea-run cutthroat trout; coho, chum, and Chinook salmon; and steelhead. In the 1940s, however, Burke, whose land on Standring Lane surrounded Salmon Creek, placed rock at the mouth of the stream, blocking salmon migration. Burke sought to eliminate bad smells in the fall when spawned-out salmon died along the stream bank. As of the mid 1990s, Mario Segale owned the property.

King County later installed a culvert beneath Shorewood Dr, which crosses Salmon Creek Ravine just upstream from Segale’s property. This culvert, due to its steep grade, high water velocity and shallow depth, is also a barricade to fish migration. Because of these two migratory blockages within the first 800 feet of the mouth of the stream, no anadromous salmonid production occurs in Salmon Creek, even though 2,860 feet of suitable habitat lie just upstream from Shorewood Dr. As many as 250 adult fish per year are being lost as a result.

Continue on to learn about preservation efforts in the area.

14700 6th Avenue SW   /  Burien, WA 98166  /  Ph: (206) 988-3700  /  Fax: (206) 243-2784
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