Skip to main content

Northwest Trek News

NEARLY 400 NORTHERN LEOPARD FROGS PREPARING FOR WILD RELEASE

Nearly 400 endangered northern leopard frogs will leap back into the wild soon, thanks to a recovery effort at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) officials delivered the frog eggs to the Eatonville wildlife park in April. “They’ve already grown from egg masses to tadpoles in a short time,” said Northwest Trek Zoological Curator Marc Heinzman. “At this rate, the frogs should be ready to hop back into the wild this summer.” Once abundant throughout North America, northern leopard frogs are rapidly disappearing from their native ranges in Washington, Oregon, and western Canada. The species has been …

May 21, 2024

Animals

see all
Jun 13, 2024

A group of us climbs into the open-air green Jeep at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park in Eatonville. We know the Keeper Adventure Tour will be memorable, and we are eager to go off-road and get up close with the bison, elk, mountain goats, and other free-roaming animals. “Hi, I’m Sunni and will be your tour guide,” says the enthusiastic keeper. “All the animals you’ll see today can be found in Washington and the Pacific Northwest, which is super cool.” When Sunni is not guiding Keeper Adventure Tours, she cares for the animals that call the 435-acre Free-Roaming Area of the …

May 20, 2024

Happy 2nd birthday to our rescued moose, Calli and Luna! The female moose have come a long way, and they celebrated with an out-of-this-world party. Keepers made them space-themed enrichments and fresh leafy bouquets for browsing!          

May 13, 2024

They are well-rested and wide awake from their winter naps. That’s right: the grizzly bears and black bears at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park are energized and back in action! GRIZZLY BEARS HAWTHORNE AND HUCKLEBERRY  The grizzly “brothers” are playful and can often be seen splashing in their 7-foot-deep pool, wrestling one another, head-butting and searching for hidden treats their keepers have left for them. Born in the winter of 2018, our grizzly bears were orphaned in the wild: Hawthorne in Alaska and Huckleberry in Montana. Neither would have survived without their mom. Cared for by local zoos, they arrived at …

Mar 18, 2024

The birds are chirping, flowers are blooming, and the sun is shining. But there’s so much more that points to Spring at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park. CHESTNUT IS AWAKE In early March, Chestnut the hoary marmot came out of his underground hibernation den. Guests can now see him running around his habitat. Before Chestnut went into hibernation in December, he weighed around 10 pounds. Now, he weighs about 8.5 pounds. Hoary marmots eat vast amounts of meadow vegetation, including sedges and lupine. In the wild, the thick layers of fat they develop allow them to survive eight to nine months …

May 13, 2024

Hayward, the 17-year-old majestic golden eagle at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park, soared through his wellness exam under the attentive care of head veterinarian, Dr. Case. Hayward underwent a full check-up, including preventative vaccinations, nail and beak trims, x-rays, and measurements, ensuring he’s in top-notch condition. Rescued as a young eagle in the wild with a wing injury, Hayward’s journey to recovery symbolizes resilience and strength. Did you know golden eagles boast an impressive wingspan of up to 7.7 feet? Here’s to Hayward’s continued health and soaring spirit!

Apr 12, 2024

Our incredible veterinary team and keepers recently gave snowy owls Taiga and Tundra their wellness exams. While under anesthesia, the 6-year-old owls were monitored closely while getting their wings, beaks, talons, and eyes checked. Both birds received radiographs, had blood taken, and had a talon trim. Head veterinarian Dr. Allison Case says both snowy owls are in good health! Who’s who? Next time you visit the park, try to see if you can tell who’s who! Males like Tundra are whiter and have dark specks on their feathers. Females, like Taiga, are larger and have even more dark spots on …

Mar 26, 2024

During gray wolf Canagan’s triennial examination in November, Northwest Trek Wildlife Park’s head veterinarian, Dr. Allison Case, identified an infection in one of his molars. Canagan was given antibiotics while Dr. Case consulted with a veterinary dentist. Together, they decided the tooth needed to be extracted. Wolf molars are one of the more difficult teeth to extract – they are big with two extra-large roots. Associate Veterinarian Dr. Cassidy Soehnlein was tasked with the tough job. As Dr. Soehnlein and Veterinary Technician Tracy intubated Canagan and got him settled under anesthesia, Dr. Case and keeper Haley also took the opportunity …

Jan 10, 2024

One of Northwest Trek Wildlife Park’s resident river otters, Blakely, recently had a dentist appointment to fix a fractured tooth. Blakely traveled with Northwest Trek’s head veterinarian, Dr. Allison Case, to sister zoo Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium’s healthcare hospital for the exam. Typically, Blakely would be treated at Northwest Trek, but the dentist was already at Point Defiance Zoo treating a tiger for a similar dental issue. Dr. Alice Sievers, a board-certified veterinary dentist and one of only 250 veterinary dental specialists in the world, volunteered her time with veterinary assistant Sharon Ghormley and veterinary technician Taylor Parker, all …

Conservation

see all
Jun 13, 2024

State wildlife officials moved nearly 200 endangered northern leopard frog tadpoles raised at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park in Eatonville to their new home at the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge in Eastern Washington in late May. The tadpoles will continue growing in secured rearing pens until they are mature enough to hop into the wild alongside 200 additional mature frogs later this summer. “Northwest Trek Wildlife Park is proud to work with our public and private partners on the northern leopard frog project to restore the wild population,” said Curator Marc Heinzman. “It’s incredible to watch them grow from egg masses …

May 21, 2024

Nearly 400 endangered northern leopard frogs will leap back into the wild soon, thanks to a recovery effort at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) officials delivered the frog eggs to the Eatonville wildlife park in April. “They’ve already grown from egg masses to tadpoles in a short time,” said Northwest Trek Zoological Curator Marc Heinzman. “At this rate, the frogs should be ready to hop back into the wild this summer.” Once abundant throughout North America, northern leopard frogs are rapidly disappearing from their native ranges in Washington, Oregon, and western Canada. The species has been …

May 15, 2024

RECORD NUMBER OF PARTICIPANTS, OBSERVATIONS, AND SPECIES IDENTIFIED IN 2024 SEATTLE-TACOMA CITY NATURE CHALLENGE Nearly 900 observers participated in this year’s City Nature Challenge spanning King, Snohomish, and Pierce counties, including Everett, Seattle, Bellevue, Tacoma, Snohomish, and any place in between. From April 26 through April 29, community scientists submitted 16,395 nature observations—up 63% from 2023—and identified 1,868 species (+30%), showing the world the incredible biodiversity in the region’s home turf. That’s the region’s record! “It’s exciting to set a new record, year after year, and to see our community discover and appreciate native wildlife,” said Zachary Hawn, Conservation Engagement …

Apr 19, 2024

What species of amphibians are thriving in the Pacific Northwest? One way to find out is to locate and identify their egg masses, and March and April are the perfect months to get outside and search. This search frequently occurs at a 4-acre wetland mitigation site in a behind-the-scenes area at Northwest Trek. “This is an ideal place for monitoring egg masses,“ says Northwest Trek’s Conservation Program Coordinator Rachael. “Since the wetland’s restoration, we’ve identified eggs from seven of the eight monitored species of stillwater-breeding amphibians.”   Differentiating Egg Masses You will commonly find egg masses of four species around …

People

see all
Apr 19, 2024

Thanks to dedicated volunteers — 93 of them last year, logging a collective 6,907 hours of service — Northwest Trek can provide exceptional care to our animals, habitats, park grounds, and guests. In honor of Volunteer Appreciation Week from April 21-27, we are highlighting three exceptional Northwest Trek volunteers who are making a positive impact with their time and hearts. Karin Jordan Karin Jordan has been making the trek to Northwest Trek Wildlife Park in Eatonville just about every Friday since 2007 to do one of her favorite things: make meaningful connections. Jordan, 80, usually spends her days overseeing a …

Feb 21, 2024

During Tacoma Public Schools January mini-term, students at the Science and Math Institute (SAMi), School of the Arts (SOTA), and Industrial Design Engineering and Art (IDEA) choose one class from a variety of exciting, hands-on courses to deep-dive into all month long. You’ll see students enthusiastic and eager to learn on any given day. Students in the “Jurassic Zoo and Aquarium” class studied the habitats at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium and Northwest Trek Wildlife Park to re-create the famous Jurassic Park using current zoo and aquarium design criteria. “We encouraged the students to create their own more ethical, sustainable, …

Dec 04, 2023

On a chilly, sunny November morning in Eatonville, more than 150 third, fourth, and fifth-grade students from Tacoma’s Lister Elementary gathered at the entrance to Northwest Trek Wildlife Park. “We can’t wait to see the bears!” “The wolves!” “The cougar!” students all chimed in, bundled up in jackets and hats. Their excitement far outweighed the 40-degree temperature. They split up into small groups and gathered around a park map. “Where should we start?” asked fifth-grade teacher Anna Paker. “The bobcats!” her group of five students exclaimed, and off they were to explore the cat loop. Immediately, the students pointed out …

Oct 09, 2023

We’re celebrating Northwest Trek’s two incredible vet techs for Veterinary Technician Week (Oct. 15-21)! The vet techs assist the veterinarians in every aspect of animal health care: Prepping for procedures. Monitoring animal vitals. Taking blood samples. Working with keepers to help animals participate in their health care. Giving treatments. Endless administrative support. “Our veterinary technicians, Tracy and Deanna, perform a vast array of duties, and the veterinary clinic could not function without them,” said Head Veterinarian Dr. Allison Case. “We are so grateful for what each of them brings to the position and consider ourselves very lucky to have them …

plants

see all
Jan 14, 2021

What a windstorm! Tuesday night’s strong gusts hit Northwest Trek hard. Fallen trees and branches covered nearly every road and pathway in the park and fences had to be rebuilt. But, with great team effort and the help of a few leaf blowers, the park will open just in time for the 3-day weekend ahead (it even has dry weather in the forecast!). It was all hands on deck this week, as employees from each department surveyed the forested paths, picking up branches while maintenance staff worked tirelessly to clear trees. “Thank you all for pitching in so we can …

Jun 22, 2020

Tomatoes. Apples. Almonds. Pumpkin. Coffee. Tea. Chocolate. All pretty important, right? And they all have one thing in common: they need pollinators. Around 1,000 plants that humans use for food, drink, fiber, spices or medicine need to be pollinated by a very special group of animals called pollinators. Bees, butterflies, wasps, moths, hummingbirds, bats and even some kinds of beetles, flies and ants are incredibly necessary to produce much of the food humans need to survive. As pollinators forage for nectar, they transfer pollen from male to female flowers to allow the plant to reproduce – and feed humans. But …

Things to Do

see all
Jan 18, 2024

When it’s wet and cold outside, there are plenty of ways to enjoy Northwest Trek Wildlife Park and meet amazing animals! Step inside the E.H. Baker Cabin Step inside the cozy forest cabin to get an up-close look at the gray wolf pack. Climb into a tunnel to get nose-to-nose with a gray wolf (through a window). You might even catch a howl or two! Visit the Cheney Discovery Center Guests of all ages will discover a tiny world of reptiles and amphibians like a gopher snake, northern leopard frogs, rough-skinned news, and more inside the Cheney Discovery Center. While the animals are …

Trails & Tours

see all
Aug 25, 2023

At Northwest Trek, fall is a magical time. A palette of bronze sweeps the hillsides. Golden light streams through the trees. Dust rises from bison, rolling and sparring. And through the forest comes an eerie, haunting whistle – the sound of elk bugling. The rut – mating season – runs September-October. Out in the Free Roaming Area, male elk, bison and bighorn sheep vie for dominance and select their mates. The perfect way to experience this magic up close? An Elk Bugling Tour. This year, we get you off-road and up to the action in the keeper Jeep, with just …

Sep 14, 2022

Need to get out in nature? Get up close to animals? And eat great food? We have the answer: a Northwest Trek day trip. Combine a morning or afternoon visit to the wildlife park with a half-day hike, picnic and local dinner outside, and you’ve got the makings of an awesome family day or romantic date. Keep reading to build your perfect itinerary. Step 1: Animals up close You can spend a morning or afternoon at Northwest Trek, getting up-close to grizzlies, bald eagles, cougar and more. There’s plenty of guaranteed parking. Wander the paved paths and learn all about …

May 12, 2022

Down a peaceful side trail at Northwest Trek, just past the zipline, a tiny door is just visible in the grass. No, you’re not imagining things. It’s a fairy house, and there are at least a dozen more dotted along the same trail – just keep your eyes open. “I was inspired by a ‘gnome trail’ I hiked with my family,” says Rick Dietz, Northwest Trek’s Deputy Director. “I thought it would be a fun way to add some excitement to our trails and encourage people to explore them more.” Fairy Fun And the Trek Fairy Trail does make for …

Aug 18, 2021

There’s a new bald eagle at Northwest Trek. Just outside the entry to the Eagle Passage habitat, a larger-than-life-size bird perches on a tall snag, wings spread. Like many an eagle, it stares into the distance, motionless. But this bald eagle won’t ever grow old or weaken. Cast in bronze, it immortalizes the iconic American birds that call the wildlife park home – and stands as a tribute to the human donors who made their habitat possible. “This is a project very dear to our hearts,” says Cathy Torgerson, president of the Northwest Trek Foundation which raised the $500,000 funding …

Uncategorized

see all
Nov 03, 2023

For the holidays this year, consider gifting those close to you something wildly fun to experience together at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium or Northwest Trek Wildlife Park. Get up close to a moose, pet a goat (in a holiday coat!) or touch a jellyfish. 1. Enjoy Zoolights Give a magical evening of holiday wonder with tickets to Zoolights. Your loved ones can explore seas of dazzling lights, be mesmerized by classic animal displays (like a 100-foot-wide giant Pacific octopus!) and warm up with tasty treats. Don’t forget to hunt for Sasquatch. Zoolights runs from Nov. 24-Jan. 1, with a …