We are dedicated to conservation, education and recreation by displaying, interpreting and researching native northwest wildlife and their natural habitats.
In 1971, Dr. David and Connie Hellyer decided to donate more than 500 acres of forested land to Metro Parks Tacoma. They wanted to create a park that would display North American wildlife in their natural environments to people of all ages.
After four years of diligent planning and intense fundraising, Northwest Trek opened to the public on July 17, 1975. More than three million visitors from around the world have visited the park to view the bison herd gallop across the meadows, the bull elk clash and bison calves nurse from their mothers.
Trek continues to be ahead of its time. Life is natural at this park. Visitors see moose, mountain goats, caribou and other North American animals living in the 435-acre free-roaming area during a 50-minute tram tour. A paved trail leads to large, natural exhibits where grizzlies, wolves and lynx reside. Five miles of trails take visitors through second-growth Douglas fir forests.
Pierce County residents support the park. Voters have passed several Metro Parks Tacoma bonds, which helped pay for improvements and new exhibits at Trek. In 2000, voters also passed a sales tax increase that gives money to Point Defiance Zoo, Trek and other Pierce County parks. This sales tax increase supplies a steady flow of income to Trek and pays for half of the park's $3 million 2001-2002 budget.
Growth and change continues at Northwest Trek. The park is jointly working with state and federal agencies with several life-saving animal research projects. A new red fox and coyote exhibit opened the spring of 2003.
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