Courtesy of Metro Parks Tacoma

After 16 months of extensive, bond-funded renovations, Owen Beach in Point Defiance Park reopens with new facilities, road, and trail entry/exit and climate-resilient design with a public celebration 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, June 4.

“Owen Beach has always been a place where people come to connect with the forest, the water and each other,” park board president Andrea Smith said in a press release. “We are so happy that, thanks to Tacoma voters, it can serve the community again as that place, but now even more accessible, safe and fun for all.”

The new features to be unveiled at the celebration on June 4 include:

  • A new, two-way entry-exit road for vehicles, with safer sight-lines at the intersection with Five Mile Drive;
  • Conversion of the old entry road to a safe trail for pedestrians, bicycles and other non-motorized transport;
  • New, bigger parking lot with ADA-accessible drop-off zones close to the water;
  • New restrooms and water-view benches, including large, canoe-shaped table-top benches;
  • A brand-new beach pavilion shared with Science and Math Institute marine science classes and seasonal food concessions, all available for rentals;
  • New ADA-accessible children’s play area, with sea-blue surface, wide slide and interactive nature sculptures, like a stick fort and a whale that can be climbed inside, decorated with the Japanese wood-charring technique shou sugi ban;
  • Lush new lawn, ADA-accessible plaza and pathways;
  • New kayak launch slope, with former bathhouse building converted to kayak rental and storage;
  • Native plantings amid driftwood for beautifying and mitigation;
  • Improved support infrastructure including utilities (water line, fiber optic cables, storm and sanitary sewer) and drainage;
  • Renovated existing WPA picnic shelter;
  • Removal of existing concrete, installation of new gravel; and
  • New signage illustrating the long history of Owen Beach as cultural meeting point for Indigenous tribes on Canoe Journey.

“These renovations have truly transformed Owen Beach into a destination for everyone,” Joe Brady, deputy director of regional parks and attractions, said in the release. “We are proud to have made such crucial practical and aesthetic improvements while protecting the forest habitat that makes Point Defiance so unique among American cities.”

The opening celebration will include light refreshments, kayak rentals, pavilion tours, and a ribbon-cutting at 11:30 a.m.

Learn more here.

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