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May 9, 2017

Artistic and decorative concrete

Photo courtesy of WACA
The 20-foot tall concrete tree is based on an ancient Western red cedar. It has climbing nets, tunnels and slide poles inside.

Northwest Trek — Kids’ Trek

Location: Eatonville, Pierce County

Owner/developer: Metropolitan Parks of Tacoma

Team: Lake Tapps Construction, general contractor; Turnstone Construction, concrete contractor; Miles Sand & Gravel, ready-mix supplier

Playing outdoors is in a kid’s nature, and the new themed environment at Northwest Trek offers a rich bounty of natural play experiences.

Built on a half-acre in a Northwest forest, the Kids’ Trek play area features include a 20-foot tall concrete tree based on an ancient Western red cedar with climbing nets, tunnels and slide poles inside. As children enter the tree a concrete great horned owl senses their arrival and sounds out a hoot.

The use of concrete allowed for precise tolerances to be followed in many of the play elements, enabling physically challenged children to climb and slide and play safely — an empowering experience. As children follow the themed concrete paths throughout the project they discover botanical impressions stamped into the concrete flatwork, and animal tracks that tell an enriching story about our Northwest environment.

Spilling through the play area is a stream featuring a beaver’s dam, waterfalls and river otter sculptures made out of a rich concrete mix. Concrete in this instance, with its strength and cleanable surfacing, allowed the owner to pass a rigorous inspection regimen required by the county health department.

Other concrete sculptures include a mountain goat on a rock-textured concrete cliff, a cougar and her cub at the play area entrance, and a welcoming beaver at the stream’s waterfall. A concrete rock cave, climbing wall and slide round out the play features in the heart of the play experience.

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