Special Reports

Trail lovers hope to join Point, Rainier

If Ernie Bay’s dream ever comes true, a trail will connect Pierce County’s two most popular parks.

Bay is one of many enthusiasts who want to see a paved path running from Point Defiance Park to Mount Rainier National Park. Such a trail has been in the works since 1986.

“It would be fantastic,” said Bay, past president of the Foothills Rails to Trail Coalition. “Not only would it be a tremendous recreational boon, but it could be a tremendous economic boon.”

The heart of the route, the 25-mile Foothills Trail stretching from Puyallup to Buckley and Carbonado, could be finished in two years.

As Metro Parks officials write Point Defiance’s new master plan, they are considering connecting the park to the Ruston Way waterfront via the Asarco smelter site. Even with such a link, many obstacles would remain for the Point-to-Rainier trail.

Carbonado officials don’t want the trail running through town. Privately owned land is blocking the trail in South Prairie. And there are still questions about how to connect the trail from Puyallup to Fife and the Ruston waterfront.

But Bay believes he has a right to be optimistic, given the recent accelerated progress on the trail. Sections of it in downtown Puyallup and between Puyallup and McMillin are now under construction.

“It’s great to see progress,” Bay said. “I can’t see a trail connecting Point Defiance and Mount Rainier being anything less than terrific.”

Craig Hill, The News Tribune