Metro Parks announced Tuesday a number of trees below the main picnic area in Point Defiance Park are suffering from root system damage resulting from landslides and continuing soil erosion caused by severe winter storms last January. The unstable trees have been evaluated and marked by the park district’s urban forester and will be taken down by a contracted tree care company this week.
“Their compromised root systems make these trees susceptible to fall once the rainy season starts, creating a potential hazard to park users and causing further damage to the slope,” said Kathy Sutalo, Metro Parks Tacoma’s urban forester.
Tree work will begin at the corner where the Washington State Ferry roadway intersects with Anthony’s parking lot, where a small number of the trees are scheduled for removal. The majority of the trees, approximately 120, average between 3-8 inches thick and are located above the promenade, north of the Point Defiance Marina. Some of the wood will be left on site to help block pedestrians from accessing unsafe areas, the majority will be taken away by the contractor.
For visitor safety, the promenade will be closed while the contractors are operating heavy equipment on the slope above. This work is anticipated to begin Thursday or Friday. Staff currently anticipates that the promenade may be able to re-open outside of contractor work hours of 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Following the tree removal, work will be done to help stabilize the slope above the ferry landing area and the Five Mile Drive washout near the Rhododendron Garden. A contractor will re-grade the failed areas of the slope. Large rocks or barricades will be placed in some locations to help shore-up the soil. Jute matting will also be applied and seeded with grass to help reduce the instability of the slope and minimize future erosion damage.
The slope stabilization work above the ferry landing is anticipated to begin Mon., Sept. 28, along with restoration of the Five Mile Drive washout. While full closures of the drive are not expected, visitors may experience delays as crews stage and reposition equipment needed to complete this work.