About Us

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

    Metro Parks Tacoma

    Northwest Trek Wildlife Park is a facility of Metro Parks Tacoma, an independent government agency creating healthy opportunities to play, learn and grow since 1907. A five-member Board of Park Commissioners governs Metro Parks Tacoma and is the policy determining body for the park district. View the current Board of Park Commissioners.

    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
    Denice Voss, President, Voss Chiropractic
    Debi Gregory, Vice-President, Edward Jones
    Rob Lindgren, Treasurer, Brantley Janson Yost & Ellison
    Cathy Morris, Secretary, Windermere
    Bill Best, REI
    Ann-Marie Evans, AME Law PLLC
    Pat Hollister, Humana
    Gary Larson, South Hill Veterinary Hospital
    Tim McLaughlin, Kitsap Bank
    John Patterson, Chinook Roofing Inc.
    Jami Wheeler, HBT Insurance

    Zoo/Trek Authority
    The Zoo/Trek Authority was established in 2001 to oversee disbursement of sales tax revenue to Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium and Northwest Trek Wildlife Park.  In 2000, Pierce County voters approved a one-tenth-of-a-cent increase in the local sales tax rate to support the Zoo, Northwest Trek and parks.

    ZTA Report to the Community (PDF)

    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.