Another tribute to The Late Ernie Bays.


Puyallup’s Ernie Bay was Foothills Rails-to-Trails Coalition’s first president

Bay was founding member of Friends of the Puyallup River Walk

Inspired others to become trail advocates”

Read more here:

Ernie Bay passes at 86. Pivotal member of the community and trails movement.

The Foothills Trail lost one of its most ardent champions March 18 with the death of  Ernie Bay at age 86.

No one called him Dr. Ernest Clayton Bay, even though he was a former Cornell University entomology professor. He was “Ernie” to everyone.  The first part of his email address was “bugtrail,” reflecting two of his life’s great passions.

Ernie, who died in palliative care following a stroke he suffered at home, was the first president of the Foothills Rails-to-Trails Coalition.  He was part of a core group of trail visionaries who helped persuade the Pierce County Council to approve the Foothills Trail project.

Ernie was a founding member of the coalition’s Courtesy Patrol, a group of volunteers who rode the trail in daffodil-colored jackets to assist people using the trail and keep an eye out for problems.  He wore his yellow jacket almost everywhere to help promote the trail.

Ernie was a member of the coalition’s board since its conception. In recent years he was honored with lifetime achievement awards for his contributions to environmental causes and community service in Puyallup.

“Ernie was one of a kind,” noted coalition President Buzz Grant. “No one was more devoted to making the Foothills Trail a success.  We’ll miss him, but the trail will definitely be part of his legacy.”

A celebration of Ernie’s life will be held at 10 a.m. May14 at Almendinger Hall at the WSU Extension Service Center in Puyallup, at the intersection of Fruitland Avenue and East 72nd Avenue.

-Written in memory of Ernie by Dave Seago

New Race Director for our upcoming races!

Rainier to Ruston and the B & O Half-Marathon have a new race director! Here is a great story in The News Tribune about the new race director, Sabrina Seher. Both of these races are the main fundraisers for the Foothills Rails to Trails Coalition.

Foothills Trail Emergency Levee Repair Starting Week of November 9


The onslaught of rain these past few days caused damage on a section of the levee between Voight Creek Bridge and 197th Ave. E. in front of Zirkel Access Road.  Pierce County Public Works will shut down this section of trail.  The project will start next week and take 2-3 days to repair.  The trail will be open after working hours and over the weekend if deemed safe.

News from the Forevergreen Trails Conference

Oct.14, 2015:

Tony Tipton, Director of Pierce County Parks and Recreation Services announced that Pierce County had acquired a “Possession and Use Agreement” for the remaining landowners in the section of the Foothills Trail from Buckley to South Prairie. This means that Pierce County can use the land for planning, construction and use as a part of the Foothills Trail.

This construction will be the end of a major push by the Foothills Rails-To-Trails Coalition to complete this section of the Foothills Trail, we started almost 5 years ago.

At some point in the near future the Foothills Rails-To-Trails Coalition will give Pierce County $50,000, being our share of the partial match for the WWRP grant of $2.75 million, along with a match from Pierce County of $2.75 million which will be the money required to build this section of the Trail. Your Coalition will gladly hand over our promised $50,000 partial match for the grant. This $50,000 was a great help to the grant committee of WWRP showing public support for the Foothills Trail project as far as the RCO and WWRP was concerned and a part of giving extra points in the grant process.

Mr. Tipton also informed us that the former FEMA bridge that was destroyed in November of 2014, will be replaced as part of this Buckley to South Prairie project. This culvert and the above grants will give us a continuous Foothills Trail from Buckley and the White River to the East Puyallup Trail head, now we need a connection to the Puyallup Riverwalk Trail and across the White River to Enumclaw and then on to Mt. Rainier.

We would hope to have this project completed by the end of 2017


Picnic Shelter Construction Aided by Grant from Puyallup Tribe!

“Veterans Park and those involved with its creation are preparing to celebrate another milestone with the dedication of a new picnic shelter.

The park, located at 802 5th St NE, will host a ceremony at 4:30 p.m. July 31.

Tom Shriver Sr., past commander and judge advocate for American Legion Post 67, is looking forward to the event.

“When we first got Veterans Park established through the (Puyallup) City Council and got the sign put in, then we sat down and figured OK — let’s do a 10-year plan for things we would like to see in the park,” he said.

Near the top of that list was the construction of a picnic shelter….”

Story continued here:

Doug “Doc” Tait Memorial Campaign


Many friends of the Foothills Trail remember Doug Tait, or “Doc” as he was better known, as the “Father of the Foothills Trail.”

More than anyone else in Pierce County, Doc, who was also Buckley’s beloved town doctor for nearly 35 years before he died in 2003, saw the enormous potential in turning abandoned railroad right-of-way into a public recreational trail.

Today’s Foothills Trail is the result of Tait’s vision, dedication and relentless enthusiasm. The trail has grown from a mile-long paved path in Buckley to a popular multi-use, county-owned trail stretching 17 miles from east Puyallup to South Prairie.  Chances are good the trail’s “missing link” between South Prairie and Buckley will be completed in the next two to three years, adding several more miles.

On pleasant sunny days, the trail is busy with joggers, walkers, roller-bladders, fast cyclists, slow cyclists, moms pushing strollers, and dads shepherding small children on their first bikes.  Fishermen use the trail to reach choice fishing spots.  The trail is now treasured as one of the county’s top public recreational assets.

Many of those who worked with Doc Tait to help realize his dream, however, are beginning to pass from the scene.  To keep Tait’s memory alive and permanently honor Tait’s role in founding the trail, a decade-old effort to build a memorial in Buckley is now being renewed with a web-based crowdfunding initiative.

The goal is to use the power of the Internet and social media to raise $18,400 to complete an already-designed memorial plaza in Buckley, to be located on public property near the intersection of Main Street and the present trail. Coincidentally, the memorial will be only a few blocks from the Main Street office where Doc Tait treated generations of Buckley residents.

Those who wish to contribute can visit, enter the search term “Buckley Dr. Tait Memorial” and easily charge their gifts to a credit card.  The website will provide a running total for the fund campaign.

If the drive is successful, organizers Don Partington and Chuck Morrison said, construction of the memorial could be completed by the end of this year.

The plaza will include a 1920’s-era railroad baggage cart, restored by Enumclaw Eagle Scout Tristan Lewis, and a vintage railroad crossing signal, called a wigwag, restored by trail volunteers.  Both elements will recall the railroad heritage associated with today’s trail, which follows the rail line built in 1885 by the Northern Pacific Railroad as part of the nation’s second transcontinental rail route.

A plaque will recount both Tait’s service as a physician – equipped with a fire radio, he was the town’s reliable but unofficial emergency medic – and his work as a tireless champion of saving the abandoned rail corridor for recreational use, not only in Buckley but also throughout Pierce County. Tait relentlessly lobbied local and congressional officials and turned an examining room in his office into a repository for maps, letters and promotional material.

His efforts led to the creation of the Foothills Rails-to-Trails Coalition and culminated in voter approval of the county trail project in 1991.

“He gave his whole being to that town and to his vision for the trail,” said Partington, a coalition board member and longtime leader of volunteer work parties on the trail.  “What he did should never be forgotten.”

By Dave Seago

Happy trails to us!

Check out a recent News Tribune Article talking about the recent win for the Foothills Trail:

Foothills Trail article in Rails-To-Trail Conservancy Spring/Summer 2015 Magazine

Check out this great article on the Foothills Trail!

The following is a selection from the Spring/Summer 2015 magazine:

Spring-Summer 2015 Rails to Trails Magazine, Foothills article

Link to the full publication here:

Puyallup to unveil new adopt-a-trail program in 2015

Recent article in the Puyallup Herald discussing the adopt-a-trail program coming…

Foothills Trail bridge destroyed during windstorm

Bad news for the connections from Buckley to South Prairie.

“Some welcome movement on South Sound trails”

Another great story that talks about the new sections throughout South Sound!

“South Sound trails need their next generation of heroes”

This is something I’ve noticed as the new Foothills Coalition webmaster. I think I might be the only one in the room under 40 at monthly meetings. But I sure she a lot more age ranges ON the trail!

A lot of news going around about the trail extension!!

“Those who dream of expanding trails in the South Sound have cause to celebrate – especially those who envision a regional rails-to-trails system…”

Full article from the The News Tribune:

Read more here:

King 5 story:

County prepares to complete Foothills Trail to Buckley

“The Pierce County Council has authorized starting the process of condemning the last four properties needed to complete the Foothills Trail in East Pierce County, more than a quarter-century after the walking and biking trail’s inception….”

Great news for the Foothills Trail and Buckley! For the full story, follow the link below:

Read more here:

Sumner Link Trail Opening Celebration, October 23rd at 2 p.m.

The Missing Link- Cityvision Magazine, July/August 2014

In the current issue of Cityvision Magazine, an article can be found about Sumner’s new trail that links to the Interurban Trail.

The article can be downloaded here.

Also, for more information about the new trail and other Sumner trails can be found at the cities website,

Cityvision Magazine is published by the Association of Washington Cities, the full publication can be found at:

Marvin Brandt Trust vs United States of America

Brandt Vs United States
March 13, 2014

Let’s start this off with a disclaimer – I am not an attorney and thus I do not give legal opinions.
This is just one person, who has some knowledge of real estate and railroads opinion.
Is the Foothills Trail in any danger based on this March 10, 2014 opinion of the United State Supreme Court, Marvin Brandt Trust vs The United State of America? The answer in my opinion as a resounding…. NO!

1) The discussion in Brandt pertains to railroad rights of ways created by Acts of the United States Congress in 1875 and after. Generally in Western Washington that would be the original main line rights of ways of the Great Northern Railway and the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railways.

2) The whole of the Foothills Trail is located on the former main line right of way of the Northern Pacific Railroad/Railway, which right of way was created by an Act of the U.S. Congress on July 2, 1864.The Brandt Court Case only pertains to Acts in 1875 and after, thus does not affect the Foothills Trail. In fact said Brandt discussion is not new case law but simply reaffirms a 1941 Decree of the U. S. Supreme Court.

3) IF, which it DOES NOT, said decision pertained to the Foothills Trail we have already done the steps necessary under the Brandt decision to make sure the Foothills Trail is safe. Pierce County acquired title from the adjacent owners and in some cases from the long ago parties who had rights within the N.P.s right of way whose rights were based on a Washington State Supreme Court decision in Roeder vs B.N.

4) The Trail right of way between Shaw Road and the McMillan Trailhead was acquired by Pierce County using an EXCEPTION in United States Code 43-912 which is commonly referred to as the railroad right of way abandonment law. That exception is called the “public highway exception”. Pierce County has declared the whole of that portion of the former Northern Pacific right of way as a public highway by Resolution of the Pierce County Council.

5) There is a small area of the Shaw Road to McMillan Trail that is “railbanked” but that was included in the Pierce County Resolution creating the “public Highway”.

I feel comfortable that the Foothills Trail, as it exists on March 13, 2014, is SAFE.
Buzz Grant
President of the Foothills Rails to Trails Coalition


Fred Meyer Rewards Program Can Benefit Trail Communities
Submitted by Dixie Gatchel

Want to help Fred Meyer decide how it donates $2.5 million a year from its community rewards fund? Want to help us fulfill our vision for “Trails Uniting Communities?” It couldn’t be easier. Are you a Fred Meyer customer? Just go online and link your rewards card to Foothills Rails-to-Trails Coalition (NPO #94335) at If you don’t have a rewards card, you can sign up for one at the Customer Service Desk of any Fred Meyer Store. Shoppers can double points earned if they shop with a Fred Meyer Visa card. You will continue to earn your personal Fred Meyer Rewards points, rebates, and fuel points.

The Foothills Coalition is very excited about this latest addition to the Fred Meyer Rewards Program. For the past four years, Fred Meyer has provided generous sponsorship for our Friends of the Riverwalk annual “Families in Motion Day” event.

The Fred Meyer Rewards Program is donating $2.5 million each year – up to $625,000 each quarter – to the local schools, community organizations and nonprofits, of our choice, to nonprofits in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington. Whenever you use your Rewards Card shopping at Freddy’s, you’ll be helping the nonprofit linked to your Rewards Card to possible earn a donation from Fred Meyer. Organizations will receive Community Rewards donation checks within 90 days of the close of each quarter (March 31, June 30, September 30 and December 31). All proceeds from Community Rewards must be spent for programs within Alaska, Idaho, Oregon or Washington. The email address for further questions is:

The new rewards program began February 3rd but signup is ongoing. Don’t miss this stellar opportunity to help earn points for advancing our Foothills Pierce County Trail Network.
Please consider designating Foothills Rails-to-Trails Coalition (NPO #94355) as your favorite.

County pays $1 million for land to close gap in Foothills Trail

Friday, November 22, 2013 at 5:44 PM The News Tribune, Tacoma, WA

Pierce County has purchased a crucial, missing link for connecting the popular Foothills Trail from South Prairie to Buckley The price tag: $1.05 million. That’s what the county is paying for a strip of land through Dwight Partin’s RV park in South Prairie. The purchase represents a major step toward completing the walking and biking trail whose main 20-mile corridor stretches from a trail head just east of Puyallup to Buckley. It runs atop an abandoned railroad bed. Partin and the county agreed on a price in April for the 1.36 acres, but negotiations continued over details of the agreement, said Matt Hansen, Partin’s attorney. The sale of the 59,000-square-foot area was made final Thursday. The county’s negotiations with Partin date back to at least 2006. “People want to know it’s finished and we can move on,” Partin said.

Buzz Grant, president of the Foothills Rails-to-Trails Coalition, was ecstatic over the acquisition. “After all this time, it’s finally done,” Grant said. “I’m absolutely flabbergasted and very, very happy. “The paved Foothills Trail covers 15 miles from Puyallup to South Prairie. The 12-foot-wide trail also includes a two-mile stretch in Buckley, and short segments east of South Prairie and in Wilkeson. When complete, the trail will cover more than 28 miles. Some visionaries have dreamed even bigger, their hopes set on a recreation trail network connecting Mount Rainier National Park to Tacoma and on to Gig Harbor over the Narrows Bridge. The county said Friday it will continue efforts to buy property to fill in the remaining gaps in the Puyallup-to-Buckley segment. Those gaps make up less than 3 miles of trail in two sections .The county also will seek grants to begin work extending the trail through the newly acquired property. No estimate was given on when the section will be ready for use.

County Executive Pat McCarthy called the purchase “an exciting development.” “This is an important milestone as we strive to complete the vision for an uninterrupted trail connecting Puyallup, Orting, South Prairie and Buckley with points beyond,” McCarthy said in a statement. In June, the County Council approved a supplemental budget from McCarthy that included funds to purchase the property. Of that, $130,000 is from the paths and trails fund. Another $300,000 is a loan from the county’s equipment rental and revolving fund.

That $430,000, combined with money already in the parks and recreation budget, will pay for the Partin property. Relationships between the county and Partin have been contentious at times. In 2010, the County Council authorized condemnation proceedings. Negotiations carried on under that cloud. In April, Partin said he was ready to sell. The county bought a 40-foot-wide strip of land through Partin’s 40 acres that include his RV park. Partin said in April that 59 of the 105 RV sites in his South Prairie Creek RV Park will have to be relocated elsewhere on his property. Partin will not be able to locate RVs south of the trail. The purchase price takes into account this and other impacts on Partin’s property.
Partin and the county have disagreed in the past over where on his property the trail will go. Hansen said it will run through former railroad right-of-way in the southern section of Partin’s property. In an email Wednesday, Partin credited County Council member Dan Roach, R-Bonney Lake, and council staff member Mike Kruger “for stepping in and helping break the ice for this agreement and getting the parties working together. “Partin also said the prosecutor’s office and the county’s parks and recreation department “have all been very respectful towards the needs of my business and my tenants needs.