An estimated 2,000 volunteers spent Saturday morning working in parks throughout Pierce County as part of this year’s “Parks Appreciation Day.”
They spread mulch, weeded, planted trees and shrubs, and picked up litter at 40 city and county parks during the annual event.
The public turnout was the largest in Park Appreciation Day’s 14-year history, according to Richard Madison, community outreach and special projects coordinator at Metro Parks Tacoma.
“It grows every year,” Madison said. “We love it because it’s great for the parks and really builds a sense of community.
“It’s a way to celebrate Earth Day and Arbor Day,” Madison said, “and, as we come into our busy season, it’s a chance to get the parks spruced up and ready for the big summer season.”
Many of the volunteers participated through employers or school groups.
Tyler and Licia Duncan of Buckley, along with their 2-year-old daughter, Harper, were part of a work party of about 20 people connected with Tyler’s employer, AHBL, an engineering, planning and landscape architecture firm headquartered in Tacoma’s Old Town.
The Duncans spent the morning raking and hauling bark mulch near the main entrance to Point Defiance Park, alongside ABHL’s president and co-owner, Doreen Gavin.
“We’ve done this several years in a row,” Gavin said. “It fits into our mission. We try to improve our communities, one step at a time.”
Other cities and park districts that sponsor Parks Appreciation Day projects included Bonney Lake, Gig Harbor, DuPont, Fife, Key Pen Parks, Lakewood, Puyallup, PenMet Parks, Fircrest, University Place, Pierce County Parks & Recreation and the Tahoma Audubon Society.
John McKenna of Lake Tapps was at Point Defiance with his wife, Tami, and son Calvin, a freshman at Bellarmine Preparatory School.
McKenna said they volunteered in part to support Calvin’s lacrosse team, which used Metro Parks’ Stanley Playfield for practices. But he said they needed no convincing.
“It’s a great way to give back to the community,” McKenna said, “and it’s getting to know people and hearing their stories.”
According to Metro Parks, Pierce County’s parks received an estimated $162,150 in labor value during the event.
Countywide, according to Metro Parks, volunteers removed an estimated 200 cubic yards of debris, collected more than 150 bags of litter and spread approximately 600 cubic yards of mulch.