March 11, 2007 - Northwest Trek Wildlife Park

As a wildlife photographer, I love to travel to natural habitats and study animals where they live. With this in mind, I don't often visit zoos or wildlife parks. However, I made an exception today with an amazing place called Northwest Trek in Eatonville, WA -- three hours from Vancouver. It's touted as a "cageless zoo" where the majority of animals are free-roaming. You can only access the "roaming" area by tram so it limits humans' contact with the animals (and vice versa). The park has a conservation mission and takes in rescued animals that can't be released back into the wild. The majority of animals there wouldn't be alive today if it weren't for Northwest Trek. I joined the official photography tour, which happens about once a month from spring to fall. About 15 photographers from the Northwest were on the trip, all of us pointing out telephotos out of the windows of the bus that was reserved just for us. Although a bit rainy, it was an eventful day and I'll definitely go back.