Clarks Creek Park
Sometimes the best parks are the ones most out of sight, hiding in the forested ravines around our neighborhoods. Clarks Creek Park has been developed into a wonderful place to enjoy the regular park activities or go for a few mile hike all while close to home. There are two access points but both are good for the hiking trails. If you are looking for the 4 lighted tennis courts, the lighted softball field, the parcourse fitcenter, or the biggest play field, go to the north access lot. The south access is best for the kids play area and the largest covered picnic area. The off-leash dog park is between the two parking lots but a bit closer to the south entrance. The dog park is 2/3 of an acre and fully fenced. The hiking trails are really nice and slowly become more difficult the further up the canyon you hike. The main trail starts around the large pond located inside the park. Once past this, an unsigned trail goes left to a small bridge and opens up to the Fish Hatchery. Here there are a few interpretive signs and an opportunity to look over the hatchery. Back on the trails, as you hike further up the canyon, small trails start branching out everywhere. These upper trails are also popular with the mountain bike community. Several loops are possible but I could not find any loop to avoid some backtracking below the hatchery. The write-ups below are from the interpretive signs.
WillhiteWeb.com - Puget Sound Parks
Protecting and Restoring Clarks Creek
Clarks Creek is a wonderful resource in Puyallup but needs help to be restored to health. Decades of development have changed once-forested landscapes to roads and buildings. Regulations are changing to direct new and re-development to follow green stormwater infrastructure techniques including: permeable pavements, rainwater harvesting, rain gardens, and riparian restoration. This project serves as not only a restoration project supporting the health of Clarks Creek, but also as a demonstration to the community on permeable pavements, and the importance of riparian areas.
What did this project do?
This project replaced the old, impervious maintenance road with GravelPave, a permeable pavement system and restored the riparian zone along the creek. The split rail fence will protect the new plantings from foot traffic as they mature and fill in. The retrofit road collects stormwater runoff from Clarks Creek Park and the maintenance road. By capturing stormwater, it will keep potentially harmful pollutants out of the creek, supporting improvement to the health of Clarks Creek. The riparian zone was restored by amending the soils and planting native trees and shrubs that help filter stormwater and provide shade to the creek as they mature. Shade helps reduce in-stream temperatures, supporting Salmon spawning habitat and discouraging the excessive growth of plants such as elodea.
Importance of Riparian Zones
Riparian zones help prevent water pollution. Vegetation in riparian zones are like filters, both to filter water flowing downstream and to filter the pollutants in stormwater runoff before it reaches streams and rivers. Riparian zones in nature improve water quality, control erosion, create habitat & provide flood and temperature control.
Clarks Creek at the South Entrance
Below: Mountain bike trails stick to the west side of the ravine
Below: Map showing the main trails I walked
Kids play area
Off-leash Dog Area
Clarks Creek near the North Entrance