Local

Exploring Tacoma’s North End gulches

Mason

Access: Walkable trail along fenceline to west of treatment plant at 4002 N. Waterview St. Very steep tracks down from North Stevens at North 38th Street. Public property. Don’t go through the treatment plant.

Tips: Take a buddy – it’s unnoticeable from the street. Wear waterproof shoes and long pants/sleeves against nettles.

Restoration status: No restoration work is underway now but there will be in a year. Check metroparkstacoma.org for future community input.

Puget

Access: Walkable track down from Puget Park, 3111 N. Proctor St. ADA-accessible gravel path along floor of gulch from North 36th Street at Ruston Way. Two steep tracks lead out of the western end (past the Proctor bridge) up each side to Monroe Street at North 33rd and 34th streets.

Tips: Wear walking shoes. Stay on the path to preserve restoration efforts. Salmon chum sometimes live under the bridge on the waterfront end, but are hard to find.

Restoration status: Volunteer with Puget Sound Restoration Society (253-779-8890, pugetcreek.org) work on Saturdays from 9 to 11 a.m.

Buckley

Access: Public access is through Ursich Park at 2412 N. 29th St. The trail gets boggier and boggier and eventually reaches private property. While it’s possible to reach the gulch at the Yakima (off West Road) and North 21st Street bridges (off Anderson Street), it’s private property. The community garden at North 16th and Junett streets is public. .To see exact private/public boundaries, visit the City of Tacoma’s interactive map at govme.org/Common/gMap/MGMain.aspx

Tips: Wear waterproof shoes. Look for watercress in spring/summer. Watch pets – there are sometimes coyote. Be aware under the bridges, and take a buddy.

Restoration status: There currently is no plan to restore the gulch.

Garfield

Access: Get to either the restored walking trail (leads to Park Drive) or the lower gulch trail from Garfield Park, 400 N. Borough Road. The upper track begins further north down Borough Road and can reach the mouth. Both trails are steep and slippery. There’s walking access to the gulch’s mouth from Schuster Parkway opposite the Chinese Reconciliation Park, but no vehicle parking.

Tips: Wear waterproof boots and carry a stick for balance. Be prepared to clamber. Bring a buddy – it’s lonely down there. Look for birdhouses and a bald eagle’s nest high up.

Restoration status: Rob Girvin is the official habitat steward and holds work parties several times a year. The next one is Oct. 11. Contact him at 253-383-4588 or rgirvin@harbornet.com. The Green Tacoma Partnership manages the habitat steward program. Contact it at 253-202-5978 or greentacoma@forterra.org.

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