Who are you?

Friends of Denny Blaine are a group of park users who came together in November 2023 after an anonymous donor funded a 550k proposal through the Seattle Parks Department to install a playground at Denny Blaine Park, a long time nudist beach and LGBT community hub.

Everyone who loves Denny Blaine Park is welcome to be a part of Friends of Denny Blaine.

Why were you against a playground?

There's three main reasons.

  1. We saw the playground proposal as a deliberate attempt to change the culture of Denny Blaine by setting up LGBT people and nudists to at *best* be pressured by the allegations and optics of our communities having long been painted as groomers or threats to children to push us off the beach, or at worst to be charged with indecent exposure to a minor. Indecent exposure to a person under 14 is a gross misdemeanor in Washington.
  2. Denny Blaine's layout isn't safe for kids, unless under very close supervision. Sightlines to the water are blocked, there are 10 foot walls, and steep stairs with no railings. Here is a letter from Frederick P. Rivara, Endowed Chair in Pediatric Outcomes Research and Professor at the University of Washington, on the physical risk the park poses to kids.
  3. The funding and motives behind the playground proposal were obscured and cloaked in anonymity and hidden behind closed doors throughout the process. We think that decisions for public parks should be made transparently, in the open, and with respect for park users and constituents.

What's happened since the playground proposal was defeated?


We became an official "Friends of" group through the Seattle Parks Department. This means that we have certain responsibilities, like maintaining a leadership group, hosting four events a year, and working closely with the Seattle Parks Department to be transparent and accountable.

Seattle Parks Foundation became our fiscal sponsor. You can make a tax deductible donation here. Every donation you make will go directly to support improvements at our beloved park.

We've been working on procuring grants and getting projects in the works to improve park conditions. In parallel, co-leads have been meeting with the Parks Department and neighbors of Denny Blaine for months to work towards a more peaceful relationship between neighbors and park users.

What're the neighbors' issues with Denny Blaine?

Working with a facilitator turned up a couple of core neighbor complaints. Some we agree with:

Here's what we're doing about those issues:

Are there neighbor complaints you disagree with?

At their core, many neighbor complaints seem rooted in the fact that they live next to an increasingly popular park. Seattle's population density changed from around 7,250.9 people per square mile in 2010 to an estimated 8,791.8 in 2020. Another contributing factor is that as queer and trans people flee life-threatening policies in red states to come to Seattle, our community hubs get more use (and are more needed!) than ever.

There are just more people around Seattle and using our parks. We all have to learn how to squeeze in next to one another, and peacefully coexist.

Friends of Denny Blaine strongly disagrees with increased policing as a tool to change the culture at Denny Blaine; police presence at the beach will make plenty of nude and/or LGBTQ+ beachgoers feel unsafe and diminish the feelings of shared responsibility and community for this beach. We think programs to positively change behavior and culture will serve the community more effectively than fear-based policing.

I heard about a "Denny Blaine for All" neighbors group in the KUOW article; what's that all about?

In coming up with the Supplemental Usage Guidelines for the beach, discussions were held by the Parks department with a few neighbors and representatives of Friends Of Denny Blaine. Outside of this, only a few neighbors have contacted us to collaborate, and have not mentioned this group directly. We'd love to hear from their organizers and collaborate on stewardship of the beach. As the non-profit group designated by the city Parks Department as a steward of the park, Friends Of Denny Blaine welcomes neighbors and citywide beachgoers alike to collaborate in shaping the direction of the park and being a part of the group. We encourage those passionate about the park to work with us in pursuing change; as the city has agreed, anonymous funding to use tactics like the playground proposal to push folks off of the beach are not the way our public parks should be governed. We've got regular work parties to clean up the beach and to replace the invasive blackberries with native non-thorny plants; anyone interested in getting their hands dirty can check out our home page for our next event!

What's Friends of Denny Blaine's stance on advocating for "officially" designating DB as a clothing optional beach?

It's complicated.

In part because the relevant law on nudity is at the state level, it's hard for the Parks Department and the City of Seattle to legally designate one place as "especially okay to be naked". After exploring clothing optional designation for several months, Friends of Denny Blaine didn't find a clear path forward either through city law or park policy. The idea also wasn't supported by our partners in the Parks Department or our representative in District 3.

Additionally, neighbors strongly oppose this idea. Rightly or wrongly, they think that designating Denny Blaine as clothing optional will increase the issues they've been dealing with: overcrowding, parking overflow, public indecency, trash.

We think that formally recognizing the long time nudist use and LGBT history of the beach, is an appropriate path forward for protecting the park and its users, and it's the one that seems viable and that we're pursuing. Our #1 priority is that users feel clarity around their legal use of the beach.

What's still up for debate?

Neighbors have requested a clothing-on zone in the parking lot of Denny Blaine. Whether this requested zone is in the parking lot, begins at the western horseshoe grass area of the park, or begins at the boundaries of the park, is something we're still working on with the Parks Department.

Wait, I thought you could be naked anywhere in Seattle? How can the neighbors request a clothing on zone?

Simply being naked in public is not illegal in Washington. Here's the relevant law, and here's what the Seattle Police blotter said about this topic in 2008:

Washington's indecent exposure law makes it a misdemeanor to "make any open and obscene exposure of his or her person or the person of another knowing that such conduct is likely to cause reasonable affront or alarm." In other words, there must be lewd or obscene behavior for an officer to take action. In order for the police to make an arrest, we must have witnesses currently in the public place where the nudity is occurring who must make a complaint. These witnesses must be willing to appear in court. Also in order to prosecute, the burden is on the government to prove that the offender was knowingly aware that their conduct created alarm and offense of others.
Historically, it has been difficult in Seattle to prosecute cases of public nudity. The position of the police department is to take a report upon receiving a complaint, identify the individual involved, and forward the complaint to the City Attorney.

Any requested clothing on zone in Denny Blaine is just that: a request. Yes, you are allowed to be naked anywhere you damn well please in Washington. But being a good member of a community means that you consider other people's requests. We think that slinging on a towel or wearing your shorts when you walk back to your car through the neighborhood is a reasonable request to consider.

Is there anything else you're working on for Denny Blaine?

Yes! We've got big dreams and are working on funding them and powering them. We would like to see a bulletin board, posted community code of conduct, increased trash pick-up, better accessibility (especially on the steep stairs down to the beach), a permanent bathroom, more parking, art, native plants, and more. Let us know how you'd like to help here: friendsofdennyblaine@gmail.com

Why hasn't Friends of Denny Blaine done X, Y, Z?

We're an all-volunteer group that formed less than a year ago; our resources are limited! (As are that of the Parks Department.) We'd love your help in making things happen, and if you have ideas for other projects, please reach out. Otherwise, stay tuned for a lot of long-term work making Denny Blaine the best park for all that it can be.