Northwest Trek welcomes 4 millionth visitor

Northwest Trek welcomed its 4 millionth visitor today. First-time visitor Jennifer Melbey, recently of Moses Lake and soon to be a St. Martins’ College student, received a gift basket including a one-year membership and other prizes. Free cake was served to park visitors as part of the celebration. The 3 million attendance mark was reached in 1999.

Northwest Trek is celebrating several milestones this year. Not only did Trek have a 30th birthday bash in July, but also acquired a 100-acre tract of property immediately adjacent to the north of its free-roaming exhibit area. The tract, platted for residential development, would have had houses visible from the park’s signature tram tour. This recent acquisition is the largest single addition to the park since the initial gift.

Trek is also in the midst of a 20-year strategic planning process with its Master Plan Update. The business and marketing plan is complete and the programming and capital plans are in the works.

Northwest Trek originated with Dr. David and Connie Hellyer’s donation of nearly 600 acres to Metro Parks Tacoma in 1971. The park opened to the public July 17, 1975 with an innovative tram tour of the free-roaming area display of North American wildlife. Today, as then, the park emphasizes conservation, research, education and recreation.

Northwest Trek, accredited by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association, is located 35 miles southeast of Tacoma off State Highway 161. For more information, call (360) 832-6117 or visit