Dave Ellis was 65. His cause of death has not been released.
He is remembered as a dedicated wildlife advocate who worked tirelessly to improve the 723-acre park and the experience for all those who visited.
“Every day, he managed the protection of Northwest Trek and the concept of what it was established to be,” said Gary Geddes, director of the Zoological and Environmental Division of Metro Parks Tacoma. “He was unwavering in that commitment.”
Ellis was hired as general curator and became deputy director in 2000.
Under his leadership, Northwest Trek added at least 10 new exhibits or features. He is also credited with helping the park earn its first accreditation in 1985 and starting a recovery project for the Oregon Spotted Frog, an endangered species.
He lived with his wife, Nancy, in Eatonville and served on the Eatonville Town Council for several years.
Ellis was an avid outdoorsman who enjoyed fishing, skiing and hiking.