The Hiram M. Chittenden (Ballard) Locks will reopen the Carl S. English Jr. Botanical Garden to visitors, Oct. 7, at 10 a.m. Facilities, including the visitors center, and access across the locks’ bridges will remain closed until further notice.
This is an advancement in the locks’ multi-step reopening plan after closing last March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials have been monitoring local conditions and determined the gardens can reopen to visitors.
“We are pleased to welcome visitors back to the botanical garden,” said Seattle District Commander Col. Alexander L. Bullock. “We understand how important the locks are to the community as a recreation area and a commuter passageway. We look forward to restoring full public access as conditions allow.”
Visitors will be required to wear masks and practice social distancing while visiting the garden. Compliance with this request will help ensure that the garden can stay open.
Only the north gate will be open to visitors while the south gate will remain closed. All facilities, including restrooms, the visitor’s center and the fish ladder viewing area will also remain closed for the time being. Corps officials will continue to monitor the local conditions and reopen more of the locks’ property as things improve in the local area.
“We understand the community is looking forward to the time when we can reopen both gates and allow commuters to use the bridges,” said Operations Project Manager Jon Hofstra. “We hope the COVID-19 conditions continue to improve so we can do so when it is safe for our visitors and small crew of employees.”
The Chittenden Locks’ primary mission is to effectively pass emergency vessels, commercial vessels and recreational boats while maintaining the levels of Lake Union and Lake Washington. Therefore officials have kept the locks closed to pedestrian visitors to ensure the safety of essential personnel who operate the locks.
Locks operations for maritime traffic will not be affected. As a reminder, the large chamber will be closed to all marine traffic for the Stoney Gate Valve Project beginning Oct. 15 until Dec. 6.
For more information about the locks, visit the locks’ website at http://bit.ly/BallardLocks. Also follow the locks on Facebook www.facebook.com/ChittendenLocks and Twitter, www.twitter.com/ChittendenLocks.