About Us

Experience Northwest wildlife up close at this unique zoological park

Northwest Trek Wildlife Park offers an unparalleled opportunity to see native animals and their natural habitats up close and personal. This unique 725-acre park is home to more than 200 animals that are native to the Pacific Northwest region of the United States and Canada.

The signature tram tour takes you deep into the 435-acre free-roaming area where herds of bison, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, elk and more move freely through meadows and woods. A trained naturalist drives the tram and narrates the 50-minute journey as you scout for animals and learn fun and interesting facts.

The park also includes a forested walking path that winds past naturalistic exhibits filled with grizzly bears, bobcats, wolves, eagles and other native animals. An additional five miles of nature trails allows you to explore the beauty of the Northwest wilderness.

Our Mission
Northwest Trek Wildlife Park is dedicated to conservation, education and recreation by displaying, interpreting and researching native northwest wildlife and their natural habitats.

The Northwest Trek Foundation
The Northwest Trek Foundation (NWTF) is a Washington state registered 501(c) 3 non-profit organization that promotes conservation, education and recreation to a regional and national community through the display of native wildlife in their habitats at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park (NWT). Mobilizing volunteers and donors to bring their time, talent and financial resources to support NWT programs is key to the work of the Foundation.

The projects and programs selected for funding by the Foundation must educate the public about the importance of our diverse wildlife and the need for responsible land conservation for future generations. The Foundation seeks ways to promote this beautiful 725 acre park and its collection of 202 animals representing 43 different species to families and individuals to provide an opportunity for healthy outdoor recreation.


Foundation Board Members:
Gary Larson, DVM, Chair, South Hill Veterinary Hospital
Tim McLaughlin, Vice-Chair, Key Bank
Denice Voss, DPT, Treasurer, Premier Therapy Services
Doug Olmstead, Secretary, Merrill Lynch
Boyd Wiley, Past-Chair, Wiley Law Offices
Carolyn Kadyk, MultiCare Health System
Patti McMullan, Emerald Ridge High School
Gary Hibbs, Emerald Ridge High School
Eric Welch, Columbia Bank


Our History
In 1971, Dr. David “Doc” and Connie Hellyer donated the original land that became Northwest Trek Wildlife Park to Metro Parks Tacoma. After four years of diligent fundraising and planning, Northwest Trek officially opened its doors on July 17, 1975.

Over the next 15 years, the park expanded its exhibits, debuting the snowy owl, cougar, bobcat, lynx, wolf and bear exhibits. In 1994, the park set an all-time attendance record with more than 210,000 visitors, following the opening of the new grizzly bear exhibit.

Pierce County residents have shown strong support for Northwest Trek Wildlife Park over the years, approving several park bonds for improvements and additional exhibits. In 2000, Pierce County voters again expressed their support by passing a county-wide sales tax measure, which supports more than 40 percent of the park’s budget. The park is funded entirely through a combination of sales tax revenue, grants, donations and earned revenue, including admission fees and revenue from food and gift sales.

In 2005, Metro Parks purchased 100 acres bordering the northern end of the park, protecting the tram route from residential encroachment and providing new space for future conservation initiatives. A partnership between Northwest Trek, Pierce County, the Land Conservancy and several generous private donors made the land purchase possible.

On January 20, 2006, Dr. Hellyer passed away and in July of 2012, his devoted wife, Connie, passed away. Their passion and commitment to Northwest wildlife and habitats lives on at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park. The park continues to play a significant role in the lives of community residents and generations to come.