Serving on Metro Parks steering committee for the Dickman Mill Park project

Liz Satterthwaite with Engage Northwest serves on Metro Parks Tacoma‘s steering committee for the Dickman Mill Park Expansion and Head Saw project. The huge saw that worked in the old Dickman Mill would be included in an expanded Dickman Mill Park along Ruston Way. The project combines history, environment, recreation, art and more.

Project Background

Photo of Dickman Mill Park

The beach area in Dickman Mill Park along Ruston Way.

To celebrate its 100th anniversary in Tacoma, Cambia Health Solutions generously gave a $2.9 million gift to fund the restoration of the historic Dickman Mill head saw and expand the park. Metro Parks will restore this historic head saw — the last known to operate in Washington — and publicly display it in Dickman Mill Park along Ruston Way in Tacoma. The expanded park would include a plaza area to view the head saw.  The project is expected to take about two to three years to complete.

The Dickman Lumber Mill operated on the Tacoma waterfront along Ruston Way for approximately 80 years. One of many lumber mills along the waterfront, the mill closed in 1974 and burned in a fire in 1979. Now the site is a park that includes a beach, wetlands, pilings, concrete foundations, and a sign describing the history of the mill.

Photo of Dickman Mill Steering Committee Meeting

The Steering Committee provides input on the locations for the head saw at Dickman Mill Park.

Steering Committee and community involvement

In its first meeting in January 2018, the steering committee reviewed and commented on three alternative locations for the head saw within Dickman Mill Park. Previously, the design team had evaluated these alternatives based on criteria such as historic integrity, visitor experience, safety, permitting and mitigation, cost and others.  The steering committee also provided feedback based on these criteria. In future meetings, the committee will review and comment on more detailed designs and other considerations. The community will also be invited to review and comment on the project in open house meetings.

Liz represents the Tacoma Waterfront Association on this steering committee.

More information about the Dickman Mill Park project: 

Celebrating natural areas at Sehmel Homestead Park

Photo of people walking on trails at Sehmel Homestead ParkOur friends at Great Peninsula Conservancy (GPC) will hold a potluck picnic and guided trail walk for GPC members and friends at Sehmel Homestead Park on Sunday, August 27. The potluck starts at 1:30 p.m. at Volunteer Vern Pavilion, followed by a guided walk of the park’s natural areas at 2:30 p.m. Please RSVP to

As you explore Sehmel Homestead Park, please take a look at the new interpretive signs. Engage Northwest previously developed an interpretive sign plan for Sehmel Homestead Park’s natural areas. Joanne Tejeda is the artist (please see the Instagram post below):

For more information, please see GPC’s Facebook event. Check out activities and events at Sehmel Homestead Park and other Gig Harbor parks at PenMet Parks.

Explore Sehmel Homestead Park, Sept. 10

Explore Sehmel Homestead Park and learn about its history and nature at a free event on Sept. 10 at 11 a.m. PenMet Parks and the Washington Native Plant Society will lead a guided walk through the park’s trails.

For more information, see Sehmel Homestead Park’s Facebook event or a News Tribune article.

Photo of walking tour at Sehmel Homestead Park

Learning about the meadow at Sehmel Homestead Park in Gig Harbor

If you can’t attend this event, please visit another time and explore the park’s natural areas!

Update: Over 40 people attended the walking tour and learned about family life on the homestead, plants and trees along the trail and ways to get involved in the park. Thank you for participating! Here are some tour pictures.

Disclaimer: Engage Northwest is a communications consultant with the Great Peninsula Conservancy on a similar project at Sehmel Homestead Park.

Celebrate National Park Service’s 100th birthday with free admission to parks

To celebrate its 100th birthday, the National Park Service will offer free admission to all national parks from August 25 – 28. Many parks will feature special activities and ranger-led walks. Visitors are encouraged to share pictures with hashtags #NPS100 and #FindYourPark.

An astronaut — Jeff Williams — shares this unusual view of the Olympic Mountains and Puget Sound from space:

Which are your favorite parks to explore? What do you like to do in our national parks?

For more information