Seattle parks ranked ninth best in the country for easy accessibility, according to a new ranking system to compare the park systems of the 40 largest cities in the country.

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Seattle, with its outdoorsy reputation, placed ninth in the country for best park facilities among large cities, according to a new system developed by the national nonprofit Trust for Public Land.

The rankings, released Wednesday, highlight Seattle for having many easily accessible parks.

“That is the way our parks system is developed, with a neighborhood emphasis,” said Eric Friedli, deputy superintendent for Seattle Parks and Recreation.

City rankings were based on how many residents live within walking distance of a park, the percentage of park space within cities, median park size, and public investment in the park system.

Seattle, which dedicates more than 5,000 acres of land to parks, was above average. About 90 percent of city residents live within a 10-minute walk of a park.

Funding for park maintenance and development also was higher than average, about $261 a year per resident. Friedli said most of the money comes from parks levies.

The only factor that Seattle rated below average was in park size, with the median in the city at 2.8 acres. However, Seattle Parks is not deterred by this analysis.

“Having the playgrounds and the picnic structures in close proximity rather than a few bigger parks that are harder to get to is more important,” said Friedli. “People love being close to parks and having that open space.”

Portland ranked sixth overall.

Chris Kay, chief operating officer for Trust for Public Land, said the national park evaluation will be conducted annually and help cities improve public facilities. The nonprofit will work closely with park systems to make improvements.

“The main thing is to put a focus on the need for more parks and enhancing existing parks,” he said. “Trust for public land is there to help leaders reach that goal.”

For more information on ParkScore or Trust for Public Land, visit

Mary Jean Spadafora: (206) 264-2168 or