In early 1999, a handful of citizens founded the Chambers Creek Foundation. They came together with Pierce County in a public-private partnership to reclaim the 930-acre Chambers Creek Properties. Larger than Point Defiance, the Properties are located on Puget Sound. The County began acquiring the parcels that comprise the Properties in 1956, with the largest purchase, that of the former Lone Star gravel mine, completed in 1992. In 1997, with input from thousands of its residents, the County adopted the Chambers Creek Properties Master Site Plan. The Plan transforms the Properties from a literal wasteland into a place of incredible beauty and purpose. It provides for recreational, scientific, environmental, educational and aesthetic uses for the public, including a golf course, an arboretum and botanical garden, a view restaurant, picnic and play areas, miles of recreational paths and much more.
The Plan, however, will take 50 years to realize if only public dollars are utilized. The Foundation’s function, as the tax-exempt charitable partner with Pierce County, is to accelerate that 50-year timeline and to lead in the development of the Environmental Education Experience, Environmental Institute, Native Plant Arboretum and on all other future projects, while providing site amenities not usually associated with public development. Chambers Creek Foundation and Pierce County are committed to a caliber of development worthy of this exquisite natural resource.
And exquisite it is. The Property lies at the confluence of the communities of University Place, Lakewood and Steilacoom. Tree-lined boulevards provide stunning access. The Sound, the Peninsula, Fox and Anderson Islands, the Olympics and Mount Rainier are visible from various points on the Property. From Grandview, the elevation rapidly descends 230 feet over the half-mile to the Sound. The freight and passenger trains, tiny on the water’s edge, captivate the imagination.
Though still raw from its century as a gravel pit, reclamation of the Properties is already well underway. Amenities provided by the Foundation to date draw thousands of citizens from around the area on a daily basis. Mothers with strollers, elderly couples with walkers, fitness buffs, cyclists, and dog enthusiasts enjoy the mile and a half of walking/running/biking path adjacent to Grandview overlooking the Sound and enjoy spectacular views from the Spot of Shade. The Chambers Creek Labyrinth, designed after the Chartres Cathedral labyrinth, provides a place for quiet contemplation, in view of Mount Rainier.
With the opening of the Soundview Trail in May, 2007 and Chambers Bay golf course in June, 2007, public access was achieved for the first time in well over 100 years. Three miles of hiking trails and a nationally renowned championship golf course now draw tens of thousands to this magnificent treasure and the momentum for public access is exploding. In August of 2008, North Meadow and Central Meadow open on August 9th to the sounds of Judy Collins with the Tacoma Symphony Orchestra and Jonathan Brooke ...this benefit concert is presented by The Foundation and Broadway Center for the Performing Arts. Proceeds will benefit environmental and arts education.