Puyallup Herald

This job lets you live in the woods for free — and the position is open

Puyallup’s Wildwood Park beckons nature lovers

The city of Puyallup's Wildwood Park, at 1101 23rd Ave. SE. , is a respite from development. The 88-acre park — 55 acres of which are naturally forested — is also the only park within city limits that employs a caretaker.
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The city of Puyallup's Wildwood Park, at 1101 23rd Ave. SE. , is a respite from development. The 88-acre park — 55 acres of which are naturally forested — is also the only park within city limits that employs a caretaker.

Wanted: An outdoor enthusiast interested in working from home.

Compensation: Living free of charge in the woods.

The city of Puyallup is seeking a caretaker to tend to Wildwood Park, 1101 23rd Ave. SE.

The 88-acre park — 55 acres of which are naturally forested — is the only park within city limits with a caretaker.

It needs a new one.

“The caretakers at Wildwood Park have been there for eight years, but they will be moving and purchasing their own home,” Puyallup Parks and Recreation Director Sarah Harris told The Herald.

The city issued a request for proposal for the position on Jan. 31. The application deadline is March 1. Interviews will be held in March with a selection in April.

The selected caretaker would live on site in a 1938 house, all expenses paid by the city. Caretakers are entitled to no other compensation.

“The primary function of this position is to provide a sense of City presence within Wildwood Park,” according to the RFP. Caretakers are “responsible for opening and closing of the park on a daily basis, patrolling the park and cleaning of park buildings.”

Other duties include:

  • Assisting with park events

  • Maintaining the caretaker house and yard

  • Cleaning public restrooms and replenishing supplies

  • Communicating park rules with the public

The position is a year-round commitment, but the majority of the work is performed during the summer.

Having a caretaker at the park helps prevent vandalism and loitering, city staff said in a Herald article in May 2011.

The former caretakers of Wildwood Park were Scott and Elizabeth Berdan, along with their two young sons.

“We thought (the park) would be a really nice setting for the kids to grow up in,” Scott Berdan said at the time.

The city did not hire caretakers two years prior to the Berdans and saw a spike in vandalism, staff said in 2011.

Previously, there were caretakers for Bradley Lake Park and Clarks Creek South Park, said city parks supervisor Ron “RC” Clowers. As those properties were developed, the positions were no longer needed.

Allison Needles covers news in Puyallup, Sumner and Bonney Lake for The Puyallup Herald and education news for The News Tribune in Tacoma. She was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest.


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