Closed Loop Park

Closed Loop Park began with a grant obtained by the Thurston County Solid Waste Department to educate residents about “closing the loop” on recycling. Landscape designer Kathleen Wadden was hired, and under her leadership the project took shape with help from the WA Dept of Ecology Youth Corps, the New Market Vocational Skills Crew, and the 1993 and 1994 Master Gardener classes.

A 60 ml plastic liner was placed over the contents of the landfill, followed by two feet of fill, and a thick layer of mulch was added when planting began. The garden is about 2 acres in size located within the Waste and Recovery Center (WARC).

Recycled products featured throughout the garden include re-milled lumber benches and kiosk, picnic tables and benches, concrete pieces lining the lower garden beds, and some compost bins made with recycled materials.

The garden features a complete compost center showcasing five different kinds of yard waste composting stations, plus food waste worm bins. Informational pamphlets are located near the center to further explain the compost process.

Though the garden is owned by Thurston County Waste and Recovery Center, the garden is maintained by volunteers from the WSU Thurston County Master Gardener and Master Recycler Composter Programs. WARC also provides support along with the Master Gardener Foundation of Thurston County. Generous donations of plant materials by various nurseries also add greatly to the richness of the garden.

A map of the garden is located at the entrance trellis, and a plant list is available at the kiosk for a self guided tour.

Over ninety different varieties of Peonies have been donated by the Pacific Northwest Peony Society, and hardy Fuchsias donated by the Centralia Hardy Fuchsia Fanciers are planted throughout the garden. There are two native plant beds sited in an upper berm and lower garden area and feature many common and unusual northwest native plants.

Great Plant Picks

The partnership between the Great Plant Picks and Closed Loop Park dates back to 2002. Closed Loop Park is one of the Master Gardener’s demonstration gardens selected to trial many types of ornamental plants being evaluated by Great Plant Picks for inclusion in its listing of outstanding plants recommended for maritime Pacific Northwest gardens.

Trial plants currently at Closed Loop Park:

  • Sambucus nigra
  • Berberis thunbergii
  • Dianthus
  • Geum
  • Heuchera
  • xHeucherella
  • Tiarella
  • Kniphofia

Additional features

  • 1.4 mile paved pathway
  • Gazebo for relaxing and having lunch
  • Playground for younger children
  • Picnic Tables
  • The Thurston County Off Leash Dog Park is located nearby
  • Signs identifying plants that are toxic to dogs are placed throughout Closed Loop Park

Schedule of Activities – Workshops

  • Yard and Kitchen Waste Composting workshops are held at Closed Loop Park during the gardening season.
  • Master Recycler Composters are usually on hand Fridays or Saturdays to answer any questions and help troubleshoot problems.
  • Check the WSU Thurston County Extension Master Recycler Composter page to find the current composting workshop schedule.



Open weekdays 7am to 6pm and weekends 8am to 5pm except holidays.
Master Gardener and Master Recyler Composter Volunteers are in the garden Fridays and Saturdays.

  • Volunteer Hours:
    March and November – 10am to 1pm
    April through October – 9am to 1pm