Letters to the Editor

Parks: Age rule would crimp childhood joy

Re: “Point Defiance age limit needed to protect kids,” (TNT letter, 9/9).

In this recent startling letter, the writer says that Point Defiance Park’s “rule” allowing children in the park without adult supervision is “sad and atrocious,” and he urges the park to establish 15 as a minimum age for children to use the park without such supervision. He cites supposed safety reasons.

I do hope Metro Parks dismisses this overwrought suggestion. My friends and I freely used the Tacoma parks and gulches (including Pt. Defiance) at very young ages when growing up in the 1950s and ’60s, all with no parents close by.

We were building hillside rope swings at age 10 and playing for hours at a time, quite unsupervised. My cohort, the self-styled Royal Order of Mountain Beaver, forayed before dawn down Puget Gulch, along the railroad spur to Mason Gulch, where we had a fort, explored and cooked coffee and breakfast on a kerosene camping stove.

I have the evidence still -- our journal, which documents 17 of those expeditions. Our ages then? Thirteen years old.

We would have laughed at the idea of adult supervision until 15.... and our folks would have, too!

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