Rules & Policies

Park Rules, Regulations & Policies

Conduct in all Pierce County public parks and facilities is subject to all the general police regulations of Pierce County, as well as Pierce County Parks Code 14.08.

Park Hours

  • In parks that are controlled by gates or other devices, normal park hours are as posted except in the case of prearranged, special group activities or regularly established concessions. In other areas, no person will be permitted to trespass, nor will vehicles be allowed to remain parked after the hours of darkness.

Boat Launching

  • Boat launching can occur in designated areas only. No person shall launch a boat in Pierce County park facilities, except in an area specifically designated and/or marked for that purpose.
  • Boat launch/parking passes are available for the general public to purchase on a seasonal basis and issued to those entering the park with a vehicle and boat trailer. The boat trailer license and the vehicle towing the trailer will be listed on the pass. Therefore the vehicle listed on the pass can enter the park without the trailer, and the trailer can enter the park being towed by another vehicle. The Boat Launch Pass cannot be split between two separate vehicles entering the park. Passes are valid for one boat launch per day. Passes can be used for recreational purposes only, not for personal financial gain. Commercial use is strictly prohibited and will result in the forfeiture of pass without refund.

Motor Vehicle Parking

  • No operator of any automobile, trailer, camper, boat trailer or other motor vehicle shall park such vehicle in any Pierce County park area other than designated motor vehicle parking areas. The only exception is where the operator is using the area for a designated recreational purpose and the vehicle is parked either in a designated parking area for an event or in another area with the permission of the facility staff. No person shall park, leave standing or abandon a motor vehicle, camper or trailer in any Pierce County park area after closing time. Any vehicle found parked in violation will be towed away at the owner's or operator's expense or cited.


  • Animals are permitted in any Pierce County park if the animals are kept on a leash no longer than eight feet, or confined, and under control at all times.
  • Pet owners must have the equipment necessary to remove his/her animal's fecal matter, when accompanied by an animal in any park. Any person with an animal in his or her possession or control in any park shall be responsible for the conduct of the animal and for removing from the park grounds feces deposited by such animal.
  • No horses shall be permitted in any park except where designated and posted to specifically permit such activity. Horses shall not be permitted on any designated swimming area, campground or picnic area. This regulation may be waived by the director or designee for special events conducted by organized groups.
  • All laws, rules and regulations of the State of Washington relating to season limits and methods of fishing are applicable to fishing or game fish in all Pierce County parks. No person may fish for or possess any fish taken from any dam, dike, bridge, dock, boat landing or beach which is posted with a sign prohibiting fishing.
  • PCC 14.08.070


  • Unmanned aircraft systems, including drones, are prohibited in all Pierce County parks unless they are under operation for official use and have been approved by County staff. (PCC 14.08.040)

Other Park Rules & Regulations

  • Possession of alcoholic beverages is prohibited.
  • Loitering in vehicles is prohibited.
  • For safety, swim only in designated areas.
  • Please use trash receptacles.
  • Discharge of firearms is prohibited.
  • No fireworks or open fires.
  • Loud music is prohibited.
  • Drive carefully and cautiously and enjoy your visit.
  • No person shall camp in any park except in areas specifically designated and/or marked for that purpose.

Violations of any of the Park Code 36.68 can mean fines up to $1,000 and/or imprisonment of 90 days. Rewards of up to $300 may be given for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone vandalizing Pierce County property (PCC 14.08.130).

Metal Detecting

  • Use of metal detectors is permitted only within specified portions of approved parks or locations where the environment can be accessed without damage and returned to its original state.
  • Use of metal detectors within a park shall be limited to daylight hours when the park is open.
  • While using a metal detector, the user shall not destroy or disturb park facilities, natural features, or historical or archaeological resources. No item which is, or appears to be of historical or archaeological significance, may be removed from the site at which it was found. Any such find shall be immediately reported to park personnel, and the area in which the find occurred shall be closed to further metal detecting. 
  • Metal detecting is not allowed in maintained turf areas, ornamental planting areas, wetlands or their buffers. 
  • Digging implements shall be limited to ice picks, screwdrivers and probes not to exceed two inches in width and sand scoops not to exceed six inches in width and eight inches in length, containing perforations no less than one-half inch in width. Any excavations shall be limited to six inches maximum depth and shall be immediately refilled and the surface restored to its earlier condition. No excavations are allowed in maintained turf areas. All trash and litter shall be properly disposed of in a trash container. 
  • Any person using a metal detector shall contact ([email protected]) park personnel at the site prior to using the equipment and observe all federal, state and local laws and regulations while engaged in metal detecting operations.

Film and Photography Shoots 

Film and photography shoots in Pierce County Parks require the approval of a Special Use Permit to be submitted at Parks and Recreation Administration Office located at 9112 Lakewood Drive SW, Lakewood, WA 98499 at least 30 days in advance of the event date.

The completed Special Use Permit may be submitted online or emailed to [email protected]. Requests will be processed within five business days. It is recommended that large events requiring multiple dates and locations submit a completed application at least 90 days in advance. 

Approval is required in advance for the following: 

  • Having a vehicle(s) park within a park’s perimeter. 
  • Filming where it could compromise the privacy of park patrons (ex: comfort stations and locker rooms). 
  • Set-up on lawn areas which may have the potential to damage the lawn. 
  • Set-up that blocks access to an area of the site or requires extensive set-up. 
  • To tie, drape, or attach rope, props, or equipment to trees, shrubs, fences, benches or attach anything to any architectural features, statues, sculptures, or fountains. 

Swimming Safety Tips

 There are no lifeguards at our county parks so know the water:

  • Hypothermia risk exists.
  • The bottom of the lake is uneven with sudden drop-offs, dead trees and other hazards.
  • Swim only in designated areas. Keep away from boats by staying inside the buoy line.

Know your limits:

  • Be aware that cold water can kill, even on hot summer days. Stay close to shore and rest if you are cold or tired.

Wear a life jacket:

  • Bring your life jacket or borrow one for free from the concession stand (supplies are limited).
  • Wear a life jacket when swimming. It’s easy to misjudge the water and your swimming skills. Trouble can happen quickly be prepared.

Supervise children around the water:

  • Nothing replaces adult supervision.
  • Assign an adult to watch children at all times.
  • Constantly watch your children in or near the water.
  • Keep young children within arm’s reach.

Watercraft Regulations

  • Pierce County Watercraft Regulations for lakes and rivers are under the jurisdiction of the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department (Pierce County Code Chapter 8.88). For more information, contact the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department at (253) 798-7540.