Destination Point Defiance

5400 N. Pearl St.
Tacoma, WA 98407

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Questions/Comments?
Please contact the project manager assigned to each project within the park. Individual projects are shown below.

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

Latest Updates

Dune Peninsula at Point Defiance Park and Wilson Way bridge

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.

1911

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

2005

Metro Parks began laying the groundwork for an update to the 1911 Hare & Hare Plan with an extensive community involvement process.

2008

The 2008 Preferred Concept Plan was created as a set of guiding principles for future enhancements.

2011-2012

Metro Parks planners worked with stakeholders to analyze site-specific opportunities for redevelopment of the Triangle.

2015

After years of community input, the Metro Parks Tacoma Board of Commissioners unanimously approve a long-range master plan update for Point Defiance Park. The 2015 Master Plan incorporates the mission and objectives laid out in the 2008 Preferred Concept plan. It also identifies seven focus areas requiring more specific planning projects.

Additional Information

Funding

The capital improvement bond approved by voters in 2014 is funding much of the related construction work along with grants from the state RCO program, Washington State taxpayers, donors and other sources.

Other 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

Point Defiance Park Master Plan 2015

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 master plan looks 20 years into the future and provides a framework for enhancements.

Highlights include:

  • A new aquarium.
  • A new Environmental Learning Center at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium.
  • A new 11-acre park on the peninsula adjacent to the ferry terminal.
  • A roundabout entry at Pearl Street that will improve safety and efficiency.
  • Separation of bicycle/pedestrian and car traffic from the entries to major destinations
  • A nature adventure play area.
  • Relocated dog park.
  • Infrastructure upgrades, including utility and signage improvements and upgrades to the park’s viewpoints.
  • 7 focus areas. Each of the seven focus areas will be programmed in more detail and will have ongoing public outreach as plans are refined prior to final implementation.
    • Forest Area
    • Fort Nisqually
    • Former Camp 6/Baker Tract
    • Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium
    • Owen Beach and Promenade
    • Waterfront
    • Entrance and Bowl

More than 70 potential projects are listed, implementation depends on funding and additional planning.

Point Defiance 2015 Master Plan

Program Plan

Point Defiance Park Program Plan

The Program Plan serves as the driver for the level and type of programming possible to enhance visitor experiences at Point Defiance Park.

It contains the descriptions of programs intended to achieve the highest standard of service in resource conservation, management, interpretation, public access, education and recreation.

This plan also guides the proper equilibrium between stewardship and Park development.

Infrastructure Improvements

Metro Parks has been addressing critical infrastructure and programmatic needs at Point Defiance Park for years.

  • 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.
  • Boat Lift Improvements: Upgrades are being made to the grates, guide beams, lift enclosures, switches and other components.

Finished projects include

  • Marina Lighting: Light poles in the Marina parking area were replaced.
  • Greenhouse Relocation: The greenhouses once located in the park’s triangle, have been moved to a new location at the Tacoma Landfill.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Project Contacts

General Inquiries
Marty Stump
Design and Construction Manager
(253) 305-1078, martys@tacomaparks.com

Waterfront Phase I
Dune Peninsula, Wilson Way, Triangle area
Roger Stanton
(253) 305-1082, rogers@tacomaparks.com

Owen Beach Improvements
Kristi Evans
(253) 305-1054, kristie@tacomaparks.com

Parking & Circulation Improvements
Tom Dargan
(253) 305-1017, tomd@tacomaparks.com

Zoo Projects
Fred Ramey
(253) 404-3802, fred.ramey@pdza.org