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Destination Point Defiance

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Opening Saturday, July 6

Dune Peninsula at Point Defiance Park and Wilson Way bridge

Beginning Saturday, July 6 you’ll be able to enjoy sweeping views on the 11-acre  Dune Peninsula park, or walk, run and bicycle across the 605-foot-long, 50-foot-tall  Wilson Way bridge which links Point Defiance Park to Ruston Way.

A Community Celebration event is planned in September to coincide with Downtown to Defiance.

Metro Parks was the lead agency on the highly complex effort to build the pedestrian bridge and convert the peninsula created by toxic slag from the ASARCO copper smelter into a safe, welcoming park. The work involved moving 400,000 cubic yards of dirt – that’s 22,000 truck-and-trailer loads – and installing a woven geotextile cap. All of this work was managed by general contractor Atkinson Construction under the watchful eyes of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Washington State Department of Ecology.

It’s considered the largest project in Metro Parks history as the park district and the numerous partners guided a multi-faceted approach to enhance the park experience and honor its character. The new features include:

  • Wilson Way bridge: The 605-foot-long bridge is the missing link between Point Defiance and Ruston Way. The bridge, which towers above a new parking lot for park users and boat trailers, includes a section in the middle that designers call “The Moment” because visitors can’t help but stop and take in the expansive views. The Park Board named the bridge after Jack C. Wilson, who retired in 2016 after 17 years as executive director of Metro Parks.
  • Slides: Affectionately described by staff as a real-life “Chutes and Ladders” experience, this series of six slides next to the east end of the bridge is the fun way to quickly get down to the marina complex below. Each slide has a set of stairs next to it for those who prefer a slower route.
  • Dune Peninsula: Eleven acres of the peninsula created by ASARCO slag were covered with tons of dirt and the artificial cap, and then beautifully sculpted and landscaped. The results speak for themselves: the Cambia Event Lawn for concerts and other events, as well as raised “sail mounds” for spectacular views, and lots of benches and tables to take in all of that nature. A small pavilion features restrooms and rentable space.
  • Frank Herbert Trail: This paved pedestrian trail, named for the Tacoma native and famed author of the groundbreaking science fiction novel “Dune,” loops around the peninsula and connects to the Ruston Way Waterwalk as well as the trail that crosses Wilson Way and heads into Point Defiance Park. Medallions containing Herbert and “Dune”-based quotations will be embedded in the path later this year.

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About Destination Point Defiance

Destination Point Defiance is a long-term comprehensive planning initiative started years ago to enhance the park’s experience and honor its character.

Project Funding

The capital improvement bond approved by voters in 2014 is funding much of the related construction work.

Other funding sources include:

  • Metro Parks 2014 capital improvement bond
  • Metro Parks 2005 capital improvement bond
  • Tacoma Public Schools 2013 capital construction bond (Environmental Learning Center)
  • City of Tacoma
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • ASARCO settlement
  • Land and Water Conservation Fund
  • Washington Wildlife and Recreation Fund
  • Washington State Department of Ecology
  • Washington State Department of Transportation
  • Zoo Society

Contact Us


General Inquiries
Marty Stump
Design and Construction Manager
(253) 305-1078

Waterfront Phase I
Dune Peninsula, Wilson Way, Triangle area
Roger Stanton
(253) 305-1082

Owen Beach Improvements
Kristi Evans
(253) 305-1054

Parking & Circulation Improvements
(253) 305-1017

Zoo Projects
Fred Ramey
(253) 404-3802


Send a Letter
  • Feedback about capital improvement projects can be mailed to:
    Metro Parks Tacoma attn: Destination Point Defiance
    4702 S. 19th St., Tacoma, WA 98405