“It is the city's responsibility to preserve a place where the people can get recreation, where children from the congested districts can congregate without danger, and where mothers, nurses, and invalids can find a healthful resort during mid-day without being cramped for space or menaced by shows and their consequent temptations...
Tacoma resident Samantha is far from the only person to take to Point Defiance’s trails with a camera in hand, but she may be alone in bringing a bunny—decidedly not of the cottontail variety—along with her.
Of all the trails in this collection, this one is probably the most well known. Nonetheless, you won’t find any useful trail maps online and the park itself is hidden in a neighborhood with no signage on the main road. The land was previously owned by the Kobayashi family who donated it to the city when they moved to Japan. The picnic shelters next to the parking lot are the hollowed out remnants of their home.
Despite this being a properly maintained trail that actually exists on most maps, it’s still very lightly used compared to other nearby trails in Point Defiance. It’s more of a shortcut than a standalone trail but the shortcut it provides is the real fun part that makes it worth mentioning. Most beach walkers start at the more popular Owen Beach. This puts you out more than half a mile closer to the point.
You may be asking yourself why anyone would spend so much time and energy planting more trees in the Pacific Northwest. If so, you may be surprised to hear that Tacoma has a tree problem. In spite of its location in the heart of Tree Country USA, our city's tree canopy cover was last measured at only 19%; far less than the national average of 27-33%. Seattle, by contrast, has a 28% canopy cover.
Garfield gulch exists in a sort of limbo between inaccessible wilderness and managed natural area. Of all the north end gulches, this one’s probably had the roughest history. Not only was it heavily logged like the rest of Tacoma, but a huge portion of it was actually filled in and built over. If you’ve ever wondered why there’s a four block gap in N. 7th St., it’s because that’s where the gulch used to be. The only evidence left is a slight dip in elevation.
Buckley Gulch is the kind of place a lot of people drive past and think, “Hmm… I wonder what’s down there.” but never actually take the time to find out. It’s so densely forested that even driving over it on the N. 21st St. bridge, you may not even realize you’re on a bridge. The N. Yakima Ave. bridge just north of there allows a deeper view into the gulch but to get the full experience, you have to see it from the bottom.
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