A Natural Disaster: Storm clean-up continues at Northwest Trek

Northwest Trek Wildlife Park in Eatonville experienced severe damage from last month’s ice storm and remains closed for for extensive clean up and repairs. Officials hope to re-open the park on Fri., Feb. 17.

“It looks like a battle zone out there now, with downed trees, damaged exhibits and plant debris strewn everywhere,” said Dave Ellis, Northwest Trek’s deputy director. “It’s the worst storm damage I’ve seen in over 25 years.” Heavy snowfall, ice and high winds caused thousands of large branches to crash down on exhibits, viewing pavilions, fencing and pathways.

The wolf, cat, raptor and bear exhibits were severely damaged as were nearly four miles of fencing surrounding the park’s 435-acre free-roaming area. Heavy rain and high winds further exacerbated the damage and limited the ability of staff to make much needed repairs. Ellis praised the staff for working tirelessly during and after the storm to secure the animal areas and ensure that all of the park’s animals were safe and accounted for. Even a five-year-old female beaver pitched in with the clean-up.”Thankfully, no animals or staff were hurt,” Ellis said. In addition, the park’s aggressive removal of hazardous trees over the last four years reduced the number of large uprooted trees seen in previous storms, he added.

Cleaning up and preparing the park to re-open to the public is projected to cost close to $200,000, according to officials. Members of the public can make an online donation to help with the cleanup costs by visiting http://www.nwtrek.org/ .