About the properties
In spring 2022, the owner of two parcels of land located at 52 and 58 Island Blvd. on Fox Island notified PenMet Parks of its interest in selling the properties. These parcels are located adjacent to and south of the Tacoma DeMolay Sandspit Nature Preserve on the northern tip of Fox Island. The two properties total over 3.5 acres and are primarily wooded with some steep slopes and approximately 265’ of Puget Sound waterfront with views to the west of the Key Peninsula and the Olympic Mountain range. There are two cabins on the properties.
If acquired, these parcels would expand public access to shoreline, a community priority and key project recommendation identified in PenMet Parks’ 2018 Comprehensive Parks, Recreation and Open Space (PROS) Plan. In addition, acquisition of the parcels would result in additional protected forested open space, wetlands, habitat, and shoreline that support critical natural functions that may otherwise be lost due to development for private use.
The properties provide public benefit that aligns with community interests and needs that are documented in the PROS Plan, including:
- Balance public access and amenities with ecosystem needs to protect critical wildlife, habitat, and environmental functions. The DeMolay Sandspit is a popular destination, and PenMet Parks takes steps to manage the park to protect its natural features. The adjacent properties would significantly increase the land available for public access and provide 265’ of additional usable beachfront, reducing the impact to the DeMolay Sandspit while creating additional opportunities for public access to the shoreline and open space.
- Create public access into and through natural open space lands to provide passive recreation experiences for residents and visitors to explore natural and personal connections with the environment. The properties could potentially support an expanded pedestrian trail system that connects to the DeMolay Sandspit property, spanning a total of approximately eight acres.
- Preserve wildlife habitat, and habitat corridors, protect water quality, and retain and manage forested areas. Incorporate natural areas and unique ecological features into the park and open space system to maintain biodiversity, protect threatened species, conserve significant natural resources, and retain migration corridors that are unique and important to local wildlife. According to Pierce County data, the properties may contain protected species and/or conservation areas, undeveloped open space corridors that connect habitat areas, and wetlands. Specific environmental features will be evaluated as part of the feasibility study contemplated in the Agreement.
- Promote and enhance opportunities to educate park system users on the value of the natural open space environments and the overall ecological systems that interconnect our community. PenMet Parks could steward the land to protect sensitive areas and educate the public through educational signage and programming.
- Preserve open space and protect the diverse local environments, including the marine environment. The forested property would largely be maintained in its natural state. No commercial timber harvest or disturbance of the shoreline area is planned.
- Enhance water-based recreation by acquiring more public shoreline access locations. The properties provide more shoreline access for popular recreation activities including fishing, boating, and other water activities.
- Strategically expand park access in areas of need. A gap analysis studying the distribution of parks within PenMet Parks’ boundaries identified Fox Island as a potential target acquisition area to improve public access to parkland. The greatest needs for additional park sites are to provide the land base for a blend of passive and active recreation opportunities and waterfront access.
PenMet Parks has reached an agreement with the seller and is currently conducting due diligence to determine if the property is suitable for the intended use. The District will pursue funding for the acquisition through Pierce County’s Conservation Futures – Opportunity Account program. In addition to contingencies for inspections and funding through the Conservation Futures – Opportunity Account program, the agreement is contingent upon a title report and review of all encumbrances.
Please leave any feedback you have about the potential acquisition of 52/58 Island Blvd. by PenMet Parks here: