Amidst the hustle and bustle of downtown Parkland, one landmark has held tightly to its roots despite the growing city that surrounds it. The Parkland Prairie Nature Preserve rests just North of Gates High School and East of Parkland Light and Water. Driving by on Tule Lake road, Parkland Prairie briefly turns the short commute from Pacific Avenue to Spanaway Loop road into a scenic escape from the suburban scenery. Here houses are exchanged for swaying meadow grasses, which, along with the native blue camas flowers, were once the primary occupants of Parkland’s original landscape.
Thanks to state-government efforts, there has been a reintroduction of native plant species to the area. In this way, walking along the trails of Parkland Prairie provides visitors with an authentic, immersive experience into the Parkland of the past. With every step, you are met with the tranquility of nature and a serene experience for the senses. The scent of Oregon grapes flitters through the breeze, the sounds of the city are hushed, and surrounding you is the golden spectacle of thriving prairieland.
The Pacific Northwest is home to many beautiful, natural landscapes. The Parkland Prairie serves as a living monument to the many green spaces that have dwindled away. Having once spanned over the entirety of the South Tacoma area, Parkland Prairie is now less than one percent of its original size. With the ever-growing aspects of city life, the Parkland Prairie Nature Preserve is a place of meditation, but also as a window to the past. It teaches us that this natural beauty is something worth experiencing and, more importantly, preserving.