Turtle Viewing Platform Project

by Rob Zisette

Years ago, FOGL volunteers anchored logs in the fragrant water lilies along the west shore of Green Lake for turtles to rest and sun themselves. This is very popular with the many Green Lake visitors, generating its own Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Green-Lake-Turtle-Logs/212474222105388) and fascinating video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TYWjjBD3-5M). Currently, the logs are obstructed from view by trees and are difficult to view from a wheel chair. In addition, the lake shore is being eroded by the many visitors trying to get a better view.

turtles on logs

A viewing platform would be constructed in compliance with City code and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)to facilitate turtle log observations for all visitors.The platform would be located between the ordinary high water mark (OHWM) of the lake and the inside edge of the gravel path, which is approximately 4 feet higher than and 15-20 feet from the OHWM. A plan view of our preliminary concept is presented in Figure 2. It includes platform with dimensions of 12 feet wide by 8 feet deep and an access ramp 8 feet wide to meet ADA requirements (i.e., width of at least two wheel chairs and low slope). However, the ramp may simply consist of a short metal plate connecting the path to a platform at the same elevation as the path. A railing would surround the platform to protect visitors from falling off the platform. A small educational sign about turtles could be included on the platform railing.

We envision that the platform, railing, and support beams would be constructed of recycled composite materials rather than wood because they are more eco-friendly, last longer, include protective coating, and require less maintenance. Trex and TimberTech are two manufacturers of composite materials. For example, Trex decking is made from 95% recycled materials, including reclaimed wood and sawdust as well as recycled plastic from many common household items (https://www.trex.com/).We estimate a total project cost of approximately $15,000 to $20,000 for design and construction, assuming SPR does the permitting.

Conceptual plan view of Green Lake turtle log viewing platform:
diagram of platform

The turtle log area as it is now: