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Northwest Trek
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Northwest Trek
  Washington State Travel Tip

Northwest Trek Wildlife Park was a dream come true for Connie and David Hellyer, as together, they created a protected oasis for the animals of the northwest they loved so much.

northwest_bears.jpg The Hellyer's bought the land in 1936, shortly after they arrived from southern California. The fact that it had been clear-cut in 1921 didn't deter them or the fact that fire had destroyed it in 1924. They built a 18x10 foot log cabin on the land and every weekend, they'd come from Tacoma, (where David Hellyer attended Medical School) to explore the land. They would dream about the day, when people, especially children, might witness animals living as close to their natural state as possible.

It seemed that way as a tram took a group of us on an hour's excursion through the open fields and forests. Buffalo roamed, deer and elk grazed, and bighorn sheep stared at us curiously. A group of trumpeter swans honked as if on cue when we trundled by; the elusive moose stayed hidden behind the trees.

After the educational and entertaining adventure (the guide was wonderful), I toured a section of the six hundred acres on foot, located south of Puyallup on Highway 161. I really liked the Cheney Discovery Center. It's especially designed for children and inquisitive adults. Boxes, filled with replicas of animal hoofs and beaks and tails and feathers, with explanation notes attached, were educational tidbits. I watched bees make honey and touched a live snake. (Silky soft and smooth!)


northwest_trek_wolf.jpg Later I explored a new area that exhibits grizzlies, black bears, wolves, cougars and bobcats. I watched them play with one another from a bridge overlook. Occasionally they watched me.

Over two million visitors passed through the gates since its opening in 1975. Park hours are 9:30 daily March through October. An excellent 14-minute slide presentation shows the history of the park.




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