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Additional Improvements

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Infrastructure also a priority

The new  Pacific Seas Aquarium,  Wilson Way,  improved peninsula and Environmental Learning Center are some of the highest-profile improvements coming to the park, but Metro Parks has been addressing critical infrastructure and programmatic needs for years.

Projects include:

  • Viewpoint Upgrades: Look for safety and usage improvements including slope stablilization, erosion control, paving and fencing.
  • Boathouse Facility Complex: Future capital improvements are in the works.
  • Marina Herring Pen: This project is to install a herring pen.
  • Marina Lighting: Light poles in the Marina parking area will be replaced.
  • Boat Lift Improvements: Upgrades will be made to the grates, guide beams, lift enclosures, switches and other components.


Finished projects include:

  • Greenhouse Relocation: The greenhouses once located in the park’s triangle, have been moved to a new location at the Tacoma Landfill.
  • Department of Ecology Soil Remediation Program: In the winter of 2015-2016, Ecology remediated contaminated soil associated with the Tacoma Smelter Plume.
  • Water main: A new waterline into Fort Nisqually was completed in 2014. It ties into the City of Tacoma’s system behind Franke Tobey Jones and replaces the fire suppression water bladder that was near the Fort.
  • Water Upgrades: Eighteen water meters were installed on the existing water systems in 2018 to allow Metro Parks to monitor water consumption and nearly 7,000 feet of main irrigation line was replaced. That’s roughly the length of 20 football fields.
  • Renovation of Historic Pagoda: In 2013, the  Pagoda underwent significant restoration and structural improvements after an arson fire damaged it in 2011. The upper floor was restored and updated, and the lower floor now accommodates meetings, classes, celebrations and events.
  • Trail & Way-Finding Project: In 2012, damaged trail sections were rebuilt, unneeded or confusing trail sections were closed off, and trailhead signage and wayfinding signs were installed.
  • Forest Stewardship Plan: In 2010, the park district updated its Forest Stewardship Plan to ensure the forest is maintained now and for the future. The 560-acre forest inside Point Defiance Park contains about 500 acres of old-growth forest. This rare urban forest is both a gem for visitors and a necessity for the continued health of the ecosystem. View the  Forest Stewardship Plan (pdf).
  • Turf Conversion: In 2011, grass on the steep upper area of the bowl at the entrance was transitioned to native and Northwest climate-adapted plants, which provide shelter and food for native and migratory fauna. The carbon emissions associated with the gas-powered equipment necessary for maintenance were eliminated as well as the need for fertilizer applications. These plants require significantly less irrigation water to thrive than other plants.
  • Superfund Soil Mitigation/Bowl Improvements: In 2009, the entire bowl area was remediated and restored with the exception of 70,000 square feet which did not require remediation. The project was funded by the Environmental Protection Agency in conjunction with environmental cleanup of Asarco-contaminated soils.

Stay up to date on these and other projects by visiting DestinationPointDefiance.org or signing up for email updates.