The park is located in a wooded area that was carefully cleared to accommodate the desired program. The client wanted the play elements to blend in with the natural environment while telling a story about the early settlers and native peoples of the area, while also including a whimsical element to encourage creativity and play. Our team incorporated less prescriptive play elements to spark user imagination and encourage inventive play. The end products includes a play structure with a rope bridge, swings, a rustic plaza, adventure trails, and a picnic shelter with views of Mount Rainier.
As we looked at interpreting the past we relied on the native peoples, plants, and animals to inspire the design. The themed elements that came out of the brainstorming process were a rustic treehouse play structure with a toadstool climbing apparatus and a rope bridge as a secondary access point. The perimeter of the play area was lined with vertical logs that resembled a deconstructed fort that could be in a forest. Adventure trails navigate the user through the forest and provide stopping points with hidden treasures for one to discover. These nodes include a totem pole reflecting the culture of the native people, a geocache for hiding your treasures, and a variety of local animal prints casted in concrete for identification and learning.
The park is highly successful in the community as it offers different play opportunities, encourages creativity, and provides a glimpse into its rich history. The park was permitted through Pierce County and opened in the spring of 2018.