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Point Defiance Planning Process

Destination Point Defiance LogoDestination Point Defiance

Destination Point Defiance is a long-term comprehensive planning initiative designed to enhance visitors’ enjoyment of Point Defiance Park and honor its history.


It all began with the work of landscape architects Hare & Hare in 1911. The Hare & Hare plan guided park development through the 1930s.

PointDefianceMap-Hare and Hare

This was the only master plan officially adopted by the Metro Parks Board of Commissioners until 2015, when the current  Master Plan was approved.


In 2005, Metro Parks began laying the groundwork for the 2015 plan with an extensive community involvement process.


That resulted in the 2008 Preferred Concept Plan as a set of guiding principles for future enhancements. Its objectives were to:


  • Preserve, respect, and enhance the integrity of the Park’s history and natural beauty
  • Create an exceptional pedestrian environment
  • Enhance the visitor experience through education, recreation, leisure and safety
  • Create a destination and gathering space
  • Provide financially sustainable opportunities to enhance revenue for maintenance and operations
  • Encourage water related or dependent activities
  • Complete missing link between Ruston Way and Point Defiance.

Among other things, the   2008 Preferred Concept Plan envisioned creation of a Peninsula Park near the Tacoma Yacht Club and improvements to the Triangle area east of the ferry access road.

As part of the ASARCO settlement, Metro Parks has received money from the federal Environmental Protection Agency to clean up these sites, where soil was contaminated with toxic byproducts of the former copper smelter in Ruston.


In 2011 and 2012, Metro Parks planners worked with stakeholders to analyze site-specific opportunities for redevelopment of the Triangle.

The result was the 2012 Triangle Framework Plan. It emphasized the importance of an enhanced visitor experience and the need for revenue to offset the costs of park maintenance and operations.

It also pointed out that before further improvements to the Triangle could occur, Metro Parks would have to  link Point Defiance Park to the trail along Ruston Way, meet EPA’s remediation requirements and accommodate the City of Tacoma’s  stormwater treatment facility.


After years of community input, the Metro Parks Tacoma Board of Commissioners unanimously voted in 2015 to approve a long-range master plan update for Point Defiance Park.

The 2015 Master Plan incorporated the mission and objectives laid out in the 2008 Preferred Concept plan. It also identified seven focus areas requiring more specific planning projects. Some have already taken place or are underway. The areas are:



In 2017, Metro Parks plans to begin a new process focused on the Triangle area. Beginning with the general ideas from the 2015 Master Plan, the goal is to identify feasible improvements.


As a park neighbor, the City of Ruston was invited to participate in the planning process for the Triangle.