Conduct in Our Parks

Conduct in all public parks is subject to all the general police regulations of the City of Tacoma as well as to Chapter 8.27 of the Tacoma Municipal Code. Violations are civil infractions that can result in immediate citation with fines and removal from the park. Failure to comply can result in criminal trespass charges.

Browns Point Park and Dash Point Park are subject to the Pierce County Park Code.

Park Hours
Open ½ hour before sunrise
Close ½ hour after sunset

Exceptions may apply. See the Tacoma Municipal Code for details.

ADA Information
Metro Parks Tacoma strives to create an atmosphere of accessibility for our diverse community.

Barbecues/Fires (TMC 8.27.170)

Fires are prohibited except in picnic stoves or in portable barbeques and they may only utilize propane or charcoal briquettes as fuel; all other fuel sources, including wood, are specifically prohibited.

Briquettes must be completely extinguished and properly disposed of or removed from the park.

Bicycles (TMC 8.27.200)

Five Mile Drive & Trails 3

Point Defiance Parks 5-Mile Drive cyclist. Photo By Russ Carmack

Vehicular traffic, including bicycles, is prohibited in any park, except on roads intended for the movement of public vehicular traffic, or on roads and trails specifically designated for special use.

All vehicles, including bicycles, shall obey the posted speed limits and all other regulatory signs.

Five Mile Drive in Point Defiance Park is closed to vehicle traffic every Saturday and Sunday until 1 p.m. so visitors may run, walk or bicycle along the scenic drive.

Camping/Overnight Use (TMC 8.27.210)

It is unlawful to camp or set tents or other shelters overnight in any park.

Damage or Removal of Plants (TMC 8.27.100)

Unauthorized cutting, removal, or destruction of any turf, tree, plant, shrub, flower, or seaweed on park property is prohibited.

Dogs (TMC 8.27.120)

You cannot bring your dog or cat to: (service animals allowed)

  • Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium
  • Northwest Trek Wildlife Park
  • Tacoma Nature Center
  • Any of our athletic complexes – SERA, Heidelberg or Peck FieldPoint Defiance Off-Leash Area 2

Leash Law
All dogs are required to be on a leash no longer than eight feet or confined to their owner’s property at all times. The only exception provided for in the leash law ordinance is if the dog is in a designated off-leash area. Dogs roaming free are in violation of the leash law ordinance. Dogs are not allowed at the locations listed above, even if on a leash. They may be seized or impounded by City of Tacoma Animal Care & Control officers.

Owners of dogs running loose may receive a summons and/or a fine. To report a dog running loose or for more information about the leash law, call (253) 627-PETS (7387). There is no leash law for cats.

Note: Pierce County Animal Services at (253) 798-7387 responds to calls in unincorporated Pierce County (Browns Point Park & Dash Point Park) about animals running loose, animal bites, cruelty reports, injured animals and vicious animal complaints.

Scoop that Poop – Pet waste left on the ground is more than smelly and unsightly . . . it pollutes our water and poses a health risk for pets and people, especially children. Make sure to scoop up poop and dispose of it in the garbage (in a plastic bag) or flush it down the toilet.

Drones (UAVS) (TMC 8.27.180)

It is unlawful to use motorized model aircraft or watercraft in any park, except as specifically designated. Any use of such models with engines or motors with a greater than twenty-five one hundredths cubic-inch displacement is prohibited.

Fires (TMC 8.27.170)

Fires are prohibited except in park installed picnic stoves or in portable barbecues unless a special permit has been issued.

Fires in picnic stoves or portable barbeques may only utilize propane or charcoal briquettes as fuel. All other fuel sources, including wood, are specifically prohibited.

Portable barbeques may be utilized only for cooking food.

Briquettes must be completely extinguished and properly disposed of or removed from the park.

Fireworks (TMC 8.27.190)

It is unlawful to carry, shoot, fire, or explode any fireworks or explosives of any kind in any park.

Helmets

Helmet use is required by anyone bicycling, skateboarding, roller-skating or riding a scooter in any public area in the City of Tacoma.

Intoxicating Liquors (TMC 8.27.080)

Display, possession, or consumption of intoxicating liquors in any park is prohibited, except in particular areas or facilities by permit.

Metal Detecting

Use of metal detectors is limited to beach areas or locations where the environment can be accessed without damage and returned to its original state.

Unauthorized cutting, removal, or destruction of any turf, tree, plant, shrub, flower, or seaweed on park property is prohibited. (TMC 8.27.100)

Molesting or Feeding Animals (TMC 8.27.130)

wildlife DSC0482

Photo by Russ Carmack

No person shall molest or attempt to touch any bird or animal in a park except to the extent permitted at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium.

It is unlawful for any person to give, offer, or attempt to give to any animal within the parks any tobacco, drink, or other article known to be dangerous or noxious to animals.

It is unlawful to feed any bird or animal in a park.

Motorized Model Aircraft or Watercraft (TMC 8.27.180)

It is unlawful to use motorized model aircraft or watercraft in any park, except as specifically designated. Any use of such models with engines or motors with a greater than twenty-five one hundredths cubic-inch displacement is prohibited.

Permits - Assemblies, entertainment, etc. (TMC 8.27.040)

Wright Park 1

Photo by Russ Carmack

All events, demonstrations, private parties, classes, commercial sales, weddings, camps or sporting programs require a permit.

Nothing can be sold in a park and admissions cannot be charged without a permit. (8.27.090)

If you are bringing a sound-amplifying device, inflatable bouncer, stage or other equipment, or plan to run an organized activity, you must have a permit. (8.27.060)

The permit must be presented when requested. Permits supersede ‘first come’ claims to park amenities.

Call (253) 305-1010 for more info on permits.

Power-Driven Mobility Devices

Wapato Park

Photo By Russ Carmack

A public entity shall permit individuals with mobility disabilities to use wheelchairs and manually-powered mobility aids, such as walkers, crutches, canes, braces, or other similar devices designed for use by individuals with mobility disabilities in any areas open to pedestrian use.

Wheelchair means a manually-operated or power-driven device designed primarily for use by an individual with a mobility disability for the main purpose of indoor or of both indoor and outdoor locomotion. This definition does not apply to Federal wilderness areas; wheelchairs in such areas are defined in section 508(c)(2) of the ADA, 42 U.S.C. 12207(c)(2).

Inquiry about disability: A public entity shall not ask an individual using a wheelchair or other power-driven mobility device questions about the nature and extent of the individual’s disability.

Use of other power-driven mobility devices

A public entity shall make reasonable modifications in its policies, practices, or procedures to permit the use of other power-driven mobility devices by individuals with mobility disabilities, unless the public entity can demonstrate that the class of other power-driven mobility devices cannot be operated in accordance with legitimate safety requirements that the public entity has adopted pursuant to § 35.130(h).

Other power-driven mobility device means any mobility device powered by batteries, fuel, or other engines–whether or not designed primarily for use by individuals with mobility disabilities–that is used by individuals with mobility disabilities for the purpose of locomotion, including golf cars, electronic personal assistance mobility devices (EPAMDs), such as the Segway® PT, or any mobility device designed to operate in areas without defined pedestrian routes, but that is not a wheelchair within the meaning of this section. This definition does not apply to Federal wilderness areas; wheelchairs in such areas are defined in section 508(c)(2) of the ADA, 42 U.S.C. 12207(c)(2).

Assessment factors: In determining whether a particular other power-driven mobility device can be allowed in a specific facility as a reasonable modification under paragraph (b)(1) of this section, a public entity shall consider the type, size, weight, dimensions, and speed of the device; the facility´s volume of pedestrian traffic (which may vary at different times of the day, week, month, or year); the facility´s design and operational characteristics (e.g., whether its service, program, or activity is conducted indoors, its square footage, the density and placement of stationary devices, and the availability of storage for the device, if requested by the user); whether legitimate safety requirements can be established to permit the safe operation of the other power-driven mobility device in the specific facility; and whether the use of the other power-driven mobility device creates a substantial risk of serious harm to the immediate environment or natural or cultural resources, or poses a conflict with Federal land management laws and regulations.

Inquiry into use of other power-driven mobility device: A public entity may ask a person using an other power-driven mobility device to provide a credible assurance that the mobility device is required because of the person´s disability. A public entity that permits the use of an other power-driven mobility device by an individual with a mobility disability shall accept the presentation of a valid, State-issued, disability parking placard or card, or other State-issued proof of disability, as a credible assurance that the use of the other power-driven mobility device is for the individual´s mobility disability. In lieu of a valid, State-issued disability parking placard or card, or State-issued proof of disability, a public entity shall accept as a credible assurance a verbal representation, not contradicted by observable fact, that the other power-driven mobility device is being used for a mobility disability. A “valid” disability placard or card is one that is presented by the individual to whom it was issued and is otherwise in compliance with the State of issuance´s requirements for disability placards or cards.

SEGWAYS:
Give the above requirement that other power-driven mobility devices meet legitimate safety standards, Metro Parks Tacoma does not recognize Segways as an appropriate devise for Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium or Northwest Trek for the following reasons:

  • The slope of the natural terrain, which exceeds 5% in many areas.
  • The congestion of foot traffic on the shared paths of the facility.
  • The manufacturers recommendation for helmet and protective equipment for riders, much like bicycles, skateboards and rollerblades.

The unrealistic administrative burden of identifying FDA approval or speed, weight and safety features of each device upon entry, including any form of assessment of rider abilities; or managing pedestrian traffic throughout the facility for separated movement.

Selling, Advertising, Soliciting (TMC 8.27.090)

No person, except duly authorized concessionaires, and those having a specific permit, shall sell or offer for sale in any park any goods, refreshments, photographs, or other articles.

Advertising by the distribution, carrying, erection, attachment, or use of a handbill, sign, or device of any kind in any park is prohibited.

Smoking (TMC 8.27.085)

It is unlawful for any person to smoke or light cigars, cigarettes, tobacco, or other smoking material within a park.

Per Health Department regulations, electronic smoking devices are not allowed in public places.

smokefreetacoma.org

Use of Certain Equipment (TMC 8.27.180)

It is unlawful for any person to use a slingshot, beanshooter, paintball gun or equipment, or other similar implement, or golf or archery equipment in or upon any park; except that golf and archery equipment may be used in areas especially designated or provided for that use, or by specific permit.

It is unlawful to practice or play golf, baseball, tennis, soccer, or other games of like character, or to hurl or propel any missile into or over any park, except at places set apart for such purposes. It is unlawful to use motorized model aircraft or watercraft in any park, except as specifically designated. Any use of such models with engines or motors with a greater than twenty-five one hundredths cubic-inch displacement is prohibited.