Multiple signs at Boxcar Park alert park users to a ban on kites at the park “effective immediately” on Wednesday, June 7, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Multiple signs at Boxcar Park alert park users to a ban on kites at the park “effective immediately” on Wednesday, June 7, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Everett’s Boxcar Park cuts strings with kite flyers due to power lines

Safety is the reason for the ban at the park with the perfect breeze for kite flying.

EVERETT — Go fly a kite, but not in Boxcar Park.

The Port of Everett’s popular spot has taken the wind out of your kite.

“No kite flying” signs are posted at the park with 2 acres of flat open space and a waterfront breeze that is perfect for kites.

Maybe too perfect.

Kites sail high and far, and sometimes into power lines.

David Ngle works to attach another kite at Boxcar Park in Everett in 2020. (Kevin Clark / Herald file)

David Ngle works to attach another kite at Boxcar Park in Everett in 2020. (Kevin Clark / Herald file)

“We know of at least three kite-related outages over the past year that have resulted in downtime,” said Catherine Soper, Port of Everett spokesperson. “Three too many from a safety perspective.”

Snohomish County PUD crews were called to remove kites from power lines in several incidences.

The Port banned kites after an entanglement on a warm weekend in mid-May.

“As soon as the kites were out there, one was stuck in the power line,” Soper said. “Power was down briefly this time.”

It was a reminder of an incident last fall when a kite entanglement impacted the operation of the fuel dock that services recreational and safety vessels.

“The fuel dock alone was down for about a week total over the past year for kite-related outages,” she said.

The Port decided it was time to take action.

“We know the risk is there. Why would we let it continue?” she said. “If you get a kite stuck and someone goes up and tries to pull their kite down, there is a risk.”

She said the kites will be prohibited until the power lines by Boxcar Park are buried within the next few years.

The power lines at Boxcar Park. (Photo provided by Snohomish County PUD)

The ban has drawn some backlash on social media. The park was a draw for little kids with simple diamond-shaped flying toys and adults with elaborate kites that do stunts and spin. It makes for a good spectator sport.

“We are glad they took this proactive step to avoid a possibly dangerous situation,” PUD spokesperson Aaron Swaney said.

Kite removal is more complex than cutting strings.

“It’s a specialized skill that our lineworkers have, to get up there and do it takes time and then the power has to be de-energized, which is not great for our customers,” Swaney said.

It’s a drain on Port workers as well.

“Each time power goes down, our maintenance crews have to redirect resources to make sure all upland and in-water infrastructure gets back online and is operational, assess for damage, safety, etc.,” Soper said.

Soper suggested kite flyers go to Lighthouse Park in Mukilteo or to nearby Jetty Island, where ferry service starts in July but can be reached now by personal watercraft.

Jim Dygert, of Lynnwood, turns loops his dual line stunt kite at  Boxcar Park on Monday, May 22, 2017 in Everett, Wa. "It's the ultimate (for kites), you'd have to go to the coast for a better place to fly," he says.(Andy Bronson / The Herald)

People responding to a Facebook post by The Daily Herald recommended Everett’s Harborview Park and Legion Park as places to fly kites. Fort Casey and Double Bluff Beach on Whidbey Island, Lake Tye Park in Monroe and Kite Hill in Magnuson Park in Seattle were mentioned as other good spots.

On Reddit’s “No more kites at Boxcar Park :(” thread, Picnic Point and Pigeon Creek were suggested, amid complaints about the ban.

“Bring the kites back, they are an enrichment to the waterfront!” a Facebook comment said.

“I enjoy riding my bike down there and seeing all the colorful kites,” a Reddit thread said.

Defiant kite flyers at Boxcar Park will get a warning.

“Our team will go out there and ask them to not fly kites,” Soper said.

Kites aren’t the only menaces.

“Anything that flies through the air can be at risk of getting entangled in power lines. This can be very dangerous and we encourage anyone who gets a kite, balloon or drone caught in a line to not touch it and call the PUD for help,” Swaney said.

Chris Newton and Trevor Liska snow kite at Boxcar Park on Dec. 22, 2022. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Chris Newton and Trevor Liska snow kite at Boxcar Park on Dec. 22, 2022. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

“Mylar balloons are especially bad as they will cause a power outage if they come in contact with power lines. This time of year we do see an increase in outages due to Mylar balloons because of graduations.”

Soper said other activities at Boxcar Park will continue as usual.

People can toss a Frisbee, work out, do yoga, gather and picnic at the park, which is by the historic Weyerhaeuser Building.

The annual series of outdoor free movies starts in July at the Sail-in Cinema on a 40-foot screen at Boxcar Park. Shows include “Lyle, Lyle Crocodile” and “Top Gun: Maverick.”

Notably absent from the movie listings? The 2007 film adaptation of Khaled Hosseini’s novel, “The Kite Runner.”

Andrea Brown: 425-339-3443;; Twitter: @reporterbrown.

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