The dream finally came true in December, and now that the weather has warmed up, advocates of the Foothills National Recreation Trail are ready to celebrate.
A ceremony celebrating the opening of a section of the trail is planned for 11 a.m. Saturday (May 19) at Veterans Park in South Prairie.
The new section climbs from South Prairie through the woods to Buckley and allows cyclists and other trail users to follow the paved path from Puyallup for 21 miles to the White River east of Buckley.
Advocates pushed for the trail since the 1980s, and work on the new section was finished in phases in 2016 and 2017. That included building 3,000 feet of pin pile bridge, three miles of paved trail and replacing a bridge damaged in 2014.
The Tacoma Washington Bicycle Club will organize a ride to the ceremony with Puyallup Mayor John Palmer. Cyclists can join the ride at 9 a.m. at the East Puyallup Trailhead or at 10 a.m. at Orting City Park.
A second ride that will include Buckley Mayor Pat Johnson and Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier will leave from Buckley at 10 a.m.
The South Prairie-Buckley project was paid for by Pierce County, the Federal Highways Administration, the state Department of Transportation, the Puget Sound Regional Council, a Rural Town Centers and Corridors grant, a Washington Recreation and Conservation Office trail grant and donations from the Foothills Rails to Trails Coalition and the Puyallup Watershed Initiative.