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Originally published April 18, 2013 at 7:00 PM | Page modified June 21, 2013 at 1:05 PM

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Take a stroll in a secret park in Marysville (and watch for wildflowers)

Deering Wildflower Acres has more woods than wildflowers these days, but this donated park is a pleasant spot for a quiet explore.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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Walk in the Park

Where: Deering Wildflower Acres

Location: 4708 79th Ave. N.E., Marysville

Size of park: 30 acres

Level of difficulty: More than a mile of flat, dirt trail. The path is too narrow — and on rainy days, too muddy — for wheelchairs.

Facilities: It’s bare-bones, with just a portable toilet, picnic table and four parking spots at the trailhead, though park officials hope to add more parking by spring 2014. Kiosks and maps dot the trails. A lab classroom by the trailhead is not open to the public.

Setting: The Deering family donated this undeveloped land with a pond to Western Washington University and its environmental curriculum. Eventually, the university cut this education program and in 1996 donated the parcel to the city of Marysville. To preserve the park’s natural habitat, officials at first placed many restrictions including visits by appointments only. Now the public has full access to this quiet park.

Hghlights: Deering park is such a well-kept secret that not even many Marysville residents know about it. Marysville Parks and Recreation Director Jim Ballew calls it “an oasis in the middle of town.”

It’s labeled a “passive park,” the landscape little altered other than the lab classroom built for students decades ago. It’s a nice place for a quiet stroll.

Despite its name, the acres of wildflowers planted by the Deering family are mostly gone. During spring you will see a few patches of bleeding hearts and buttercups. There’s lush, second-growth forest of cedars, alders, maples and Douglas firs with an occasional deer, beavers and river otters spotted. Maps are well-positioned around the trails and pond.

Restrictions: Open daily from 9 a.m. to dusk. No dogs or bikes allowed.

Directions: From Interstate 5, take Exit 199 to Marysville and follow Highway 528 east. Turn right on 67th Avenue Northeast and continue until it turns left to become 44th Street Northeast/Line Road. Turn left at 79th Avenue Northeast and follow it to the park.

For more info: http://marysvillewa.gov or 360-363-8400

Tan Vinh: 206-515-5656 or tvinh@seattletimes.com. On Twitter @tanvinhseattle

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