Like a phoenix, a Tacoma park rises

P1290137.JPGWith the aid of a telephoto lens, Mount Rainier dwarfs the Tacoma skyline and ships on Commencement Bay, as seen from Dune Peninsula, a newly opened annex of Point Defiance Park.

IMG_7955DATELINE: TACOMA.

I’ve been fortunate to hook up with Journey, the magazine published by AAA of Washington, for which I’m working on three freelance travel-writing assignments.

One is a little piece for their website, part of a series of day-trip getaways. This one focuses on Tacoma.

So on Wednesday I visited Tacoma for a fresh look. And this town, which many Seattleites a few decades ago sneered at as the armpit of Puget Sound, continues to surprise me. Among other things, I found a newly minted section of its famous Point Defiance Park dubbed Dune Peninsula, which opened in June. It’s a gorgeous park of waterfront paths, sweeping lawns and dramatic earthscapes created on a former Superfund site where the now-defunct ASARCO copper smelter once dumped its slag. The name “Dune” comes from the futuristic novel by Tacoma native Frank Herbert, whose tale set on a harsh and inhospitable desert planet is said to have been influenced by his life experience in Tacoma in the 1950s, when it was one of the nation’s most polluted cities.

Among Dune Peninsula’s attractions, on a clear day such as I experienced on Wednesday, is perhaps the best panoramic view of Mount Rainier that you’ll get anywhere (as seen above). That this showcase piece of parkland grew from a toxic waste dump is an inspiring tale of rejuvenation.

When AAA publishes the piece online in a couple months, I’ll post a link so you can read all about it. 1-anchor

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