The missing segment of the five-mile Clarks Creek Loop Trail was completed in a partnership between the city of Puyallup and the Washington Trails Association (WTA), a nonprofit that works to preserve hiking opportunities throughout the state.
As part of a two-day project in February, eight volunteers from the WTA created a trail about an 1/8 of a mile that connected the larger trail, which winds through Clarks Creek Park.
“This segment is the missing segment in the trail loop,” said Chris Beale, senior planner for Puyallup. “It’s part of a larger Clarks Creek Loop Trail concept that we’ve been working on.”
The segment of trail, located approximately at 1001 15th Ave. SW. next to Silver Creek, is part of a piece of land purchased by the city in 2014.
“When we purchased this parcel, it helped complete this loop concept,” Beale said. But the trail wasn’t exactly a trail — not until the WTA stepped in.
The crew, led by WTA field program manager Alan Carter-Mortimer, worked for hours on Feb. 24 and Feb. 25 to build the trail.
“We’re getting rid of the organics on top, then smoothing it down and packing it together,” said Carter-Mortimer on the first day of work.
After packing the soil, a layer of gravel was put over the dirt to make it easier for trail-goers to walk on it.
The labor of the work parties was valued at $4,000, but thanks to previous grant funds, came at no cost to the city. The WTA leads approximately 3,700 volunteers annually to work on trail projects, generating about 125,000 volunteer hours. Volunteers can sign up for projects on the WTA website, with or without previous trail work experience.
“Anyone in the public can sign up for our trips,” Carter-Mortimer said. “We have great volunteers.”
Carter-Mortimer started with WTA as a volunteer in 1996 and became an employee 10 years later. He’s worked on projects all over the state, and said while the Silver Creek trail is some of the easier work he’s done, he enjoys it nonetheless.
The Silver Creek trail is now open to the public.