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Point Defiance Park needs your time, energy and enthusiasm

April 8, 2016

Metro Parks rolls out new volunteer group: Friends of Point Defiance Park

Metro Parks is ramping up its volunteer program with a new initiative called Friends of Point Defiance Park.

The umbrella group is a way for all kinds of people to share the pride in being part of the landmark, 760-acre park, which attracts more than 3.1 million visits annually. It will connect people already participating in volunteer programs at the park and introduce new opportunities to them. The goal is to gather a large and dedicated cadre of volunteers willing to donate time and energy to protect, sustain and enhance this regional treasure.

“For so many of us, Point Defiance Park is the go-to place for some of life’s most memorable experiences,” said Julie Parascondola, regional parks manager. “By becoming a volunteer, you can share those delights and ensure that future generations will as well.”

Everyone who has ever visited Point Defiance Park has reaped the benefits of volunteer contributions. Among other things, volunteers for decades have lent a hand in the flower gardens, with waterfront cleanups and by bringing history to life at the Fort Nisqually Living History Museum.

Volunteers, in turn, reap often deeply personal benefits. For many, there is nothing more gratifying. “When you volunteer somewhere, it really does tie you to your community and the people around it,” said Dana Repp, a Fort Nisqually volunteer. “No matter whether you’re vested in history or the flora and fauna ... volunteering is important. You can’t put a price on it.”

Taking an active part is its own reward, many say. “All of us feel a sense of pride in the fact that we’re doing something to support a great community resource,” said Bruce Lind, who since the late 1980s has worked in the rose garden as a member of the Tacoma Rose Society.

The new group will offer the same opportunities, plus a number of new ones. Friends of Point Defiance operates under the auspices of Citizens Helping Improve Parks or CHIP-in! However, Friends of Point Defiance Park will go beyond the environmental stewardship duties that have been the traditional CHIP-in! mission. The new group has several focus areas:

  • Garden clubs
  • Point Defiance Marina (including shoreline and beach preservation)
  • Park Watch, a new group made up of people eager to protect park resources and help keep the park safe.
  • Visitor Center Ambassadors, who answer questions, provide directions and help with events.
  • Fort Nisqually Living History Museum

The park district is also forming a Japanese Garden Club to help take care of a treasure poised to undergo reconstruction (click here for more details about the project), and prospective volunteers also can find opportunities through Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium (click here for more information).

Friends of Point Defiance Park comes at a time when major improvements are about to come to the park under Destination Point Defiance, a long-term comprehensive planning initiative to enhance the experience and honor the character of the park.

Volunteering is a way to learn new things and discover your hidden talents. And, if there’s a skill that you’d like to contribute that doesn’t appear to fit in a slot, please make the offer anyway. Regardless of your passion, Friends of Point Defiance offers multiple opportunities to make a difference.

Learn more about Friends of Point Defiance Park by clicking here.

Friends of Point Defiance Park

What: Umbrella volunteer group focused on conservation and enhancement of Point Defiance Park.

When: Recruiting is underway.

Where: Throughout the park, including the eight gardens, Fort Nisqually Living History Museum, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium and Point Defiance Marina.

Cost: Nothing but time and energy.

How to sign up or get more information: Call the Visitors Center at (253) 305-1088, email or go to or directly to the CHIP-in! website:

On Facebook: Metro Parks Tacoma has a Facebook page dedicated to Point Defiance Park: