Asarco cleanup will temporarily close Fort Nisqually Living History Museum

Fort Nisqually Living History Museum will temporarily close in January and February as the Washington State Department of Ecology undertakes its latest soil cleanup project, Metro Parks Tacoma officials announced Monday.

The project is part of the Washington State Department of Ecology’s ongoing work to clean up contaminants spread over 1,000 square miles of the Puget Sound basin by the former Asarco copper smelter that operated in Tacoma for a century. The state remediated soil at Baltimore and Optimist parks earlier this year, and also has cleaned up Vassault Park (see “Vassault Park: Field reopens following Asarco contamination cleanup,” Tacoma Daily Index, July 31, 2015; and “Contaminated soil cleanup planned at Vassault Park,” Tacoma Daily Index, June 16, 2014), Titlow Park, and Jane Clark Park, along with numerous private yards throughout Tacoma in recent years (see “Asarco contaminated soil removal continues in Pierce County,” Tacoma Daily Index, Oct. 8, 2015). A settlement from Asarco includes $94.6 million to fund the cleanup projects.

“We’re in between events in the winter months, so this is the best time for the project,” said acting museum supervisor Lane Sample. “In the meantime, staff will be working and getting ready for our spring season.”

The work will begin inside the Fort, continue to a nearby parking lot, and then to the meadow outside the palisades. Once the work is finished, fresh sod will be placed and protected so it can take root, and visitors will benefit from new pathways inside the Fort. The Fort will reopen to the public in March, and its first event of 2016 will be Sewing to Sowing on April 23.

Located in Tacoma’s Point Defiance Park, Fort Nisqually Living History Museum is a restoration of the Hudson’s Bay Company outpost on Puget Sound. Visitors travel back in time and experience life in Washington Territory. Nine buildings are open to the public, including the Granary and the Factors House, both National Historic Landmarks, and a Visitor Center with Museum Store. Fort Nisqually Living History Museum is a facility of Metro Parks Tacoma.

Fort Nisqually Living History Museum. (PHOTO COURTESY METRO PARKS TACOMA)

Fort Nisqually Living History Museum. (PHOTO COURTESY METRO PARKS TACOMA)

To read the Tacoma Daily Index’s complete and comprehensive coverage of cleanup efforts related to the former Asarco copper smelter site in Tacoma, click on the following links:

To read the Tacoma Daily Indexs complete and comprehensive coverage of Fort Nisqually Living History Museum, click on the following links: