Parkland is a census-designated place in Pierce County, Washington, United States. The population was 24,053 at the 2000 census and grew to 35,803 as of the 2010 census. It is an unincorporated suburb of the city of Tacoma and is home to Pacific Lutheran University. Parkland is located 8 miles south of Tacoma, on the main route to nearby Mt. Rainier. It was given its name by early white settlers, who thought the vast Garry Oak and blue camas flower prairie, and the many meandering creeks crossing it, was indeed a parkland. In 1890, Norwegian-Americans from the midwest chose it for the location of their new college, which today is Pacific Lutheran University, home to 3,500 full-time students and to the Lutes.