Metro Parks Tacoma has contracted with Tacoma police to boost patrols in Point Defiance Park this summer. More law enforcement means motorists who exceed the 20 mph speed limit within the park will be ticketed.
“We believe this is necessary to ensure the safety of park visitors, particularly along Five Mile Drive,” said Phedra Redifer, Metro Parks regional parks manager. “All too often, accidents occur when drivers attempt to race through this incredible scenic drive.”
Police also will be on the lookout for people who illegally feed wildlife, such as raccoons and waterfowl. Feeding wild animals endangers both the animals and people who encounter them. It can be costly in financial terms, too; a ticket will come with a fine.
Last summer, the additional police presence resulted in 111 citations and 219 warnings for violations involving speeding, reckless driving, failure to stop at a stop sign, seatbelts, smoking, bicycling and wildlife feeding.
Park Ranger Mary Krauszer said most of the people feeding raccoons in Point Defiance Park do so without getting out of their vehicles, which makes it difficult for her to intervene.
“People may mean well, but they probably don’t realize that feeding actually does more harm than good,” Krauszer said. “The animals’ behavior changes. They stay active during the day even though raccoons are nocturnal. They learn to approach humans for food – and they can be aggressive.”
To learn more, visit MetroParksTacoma.org/wildlife.