Heading to the fair?

Heading to the fair?

Heading to the fair? Stop by our booth! Or if you have time, volunteer at the booth for free one-day admission and parking. Choose your volunteer shift at http://piercecountytrails.org/volunteer/2021-fair-sign-ups/

Reminder – Dixie Gatchel’s Celebration of Life

Reminder – Dixie Gatchel’s Celebration of Life

Enclosed please find information about Dixie Gatchel’s upcoming Celebration of Life.

It will be held on Thursday, August 19th from 6-9pm at Farm 12 Restaurant and Events and will outdoors. More information attached.

If you’re able to attend, please RSVP on the Foothills Trail Coalition’s Facebook page: https://fb.me/e/Q05pJxPY

Please share this with anyone you know who may like to attend.

Rainier to Ruston – “An Adventure in Your Own Backyard”

Our newly released video documents the history and founding of Rainier to Ruston, and what has made this one of the most successful running events in Pierce County and Washington Sate.

Dixie Gatchel’s Celebration of Life

Foothills Rails-to-Trails Coalition and Friends,

Enclosed please find information about Dixie Gatchel’s upcoming Celebration of Life.

It will be held on Thursday, August 19th from 6-9pm at Farm 12 Restaurant and Events and will outdoors, see below.

If you’re able to attend, please RSVP on the Foothills Trail Coalition’s Facebook page: https://fb.me/e/Q05pJxPY

Please share this with anyone you know who may like to attend.

Thank you,

Foothills Rails-To-Trails Coalition

B&O Half Marathon & 10K

B&O Half Marathon & 10K  July 17, 2021

Contact — B&O Half Marathon (bnohalf.com)


10K – 9:00 AM



  • Fast course! Net downhill half marathon and fast and flat 10K races!
  • Stunning views of Mount Rainier!
  • Tech Shirt and Custom Medal for all Half Marathon Finishers!
  • Tech Shirt and Custom Medal for all 10K Finishers!
  • Frozen treats at the finish line!
  • Complimentary downloadable race photos.

Intermittent Closures between Orting & South Prairie

3/25/2021 – A section of the Foothills Trail will be closed intermittently from March 31-April 2 for electrical maintenance.  Puget Sound Energy (PSE) will have flaggers available to stop bikers and walkers from using the trail while stringing overhead wire and will stop the traffic for about 5-10 minutes each time they string.  PSE estimates needing to stop trail traffic once a day for the duration of the 3 days, resulting in about 3 closures.  The closed section of trail is just west of South Prairie and no passage or detours will be possible until the overhead work is cleared.  

We’ve Lost One of the Best


Cherished community lead­er Dixie Gatchel, age 96, passed away on February 6, 2021.

Dixie was born in La Grande, Oregon and graduated from high school there in 1942. Dixie did venture off to California to at­tended San Jose State College and eventually to Portland, Ore­gon where she would meet Clay Gatchel.

Dixie and Clay met when he stopped in Portland to visit while on his way north to Alaska after having served three years in the military. It was Dixie’s mom that suggested she show Clay around Portland and Dixie obliged. They hit it off and three weeks, yes, three weeks after the chance meet­ing, Dixie and Clay were married! As newlyweds they spent their honey­moon in a rain-soaked tent at Longmire on a slope of Mount Rainier.

The Gatchels employment took them to New York and then Florida to live for a while but eventually they returned to the Pacific Northwest. They settled in the Renton/Issaquah area where they lived for 25 years until a tree fell on their home.

They chose Puyallup as their next home and moved to an apartment on the South Hill. This is where their connection to the Foothills Rails-to-Trail Coalition and its Courtesy Patrol began. Eventually, the Gatchels would move to the apartment in downtown Puyallup, where Dixie recently passed away. Dixie and Clay shared a total of 57 years of love and adventure as a couple before he passed away in 2005. She was especially thankful for the final years that she and Clay were able to spend togeth­er as goodwill ambassadors on Courtesy Patrol along the Foot­hills Trail.

Dixie would go on to join Er­nie Bay, Bob and Diane Kastama and Friends of the Riverwalk to partner with the City of Puyallup to work on getting the Riverwalk Trail built.

A few of Dixie’s many other contributions and ac­complishments over the years:  Dixie failed trying to climb to the summit of Mount Rainier ten times, but she never gave up and eventually succeeded on three occasions. Persistence with a Pur­pose!

The Gatchels began volunteer service with Mount Rainier National Park in 1985. In 1992 they were asked to take on a huge challenge – growing the Park’s Volun­teer In Parks (VIP) program. Overtime Dixie and Clay managed to get hundreds of people to join the program which equated into thousands of volunteer hours.

The VIP program went international in 1994 when students from Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan trav­eled to Mount Rainer Nation Park to volunteer time for specific projects. In addition to managing volunteers, they wrote a newsletter and helped to develop partner­ships with REI, Target and many other companies and organizations.

Their hard work and dedication did not go unnoticed for their outstanding work with the Mount Rainier National Park VIP program, a ‘Take Pride in America Award’ presented to them by United States President George W. Bush.

In 2018 Dixie was presented the Rainier-to-Ruston Rail-Trail Relay – Founders Award for her 16 years of dedication at the Puyallup Station, and leadership in Friends of the Riverwalk to complete a link between the Puyallup Riverwalk and Foothills Trail.

There is an inscription on a sign near the memori­al swing bench which was dedicated to Dixie on June 25, 2019 in Puyallup’s Van Lierop Park that reads, “In appreciation of her tireless volunteer service within the trail community and to the City of Puyallup. Her vision and tireless advocacy helped shape the Riverwalk Trail and other regional trails in neighboring communities” and “THANK YOU”.

One of Dixie’s, favorite sayings is also on the sign, “Happy Trails!”



Foothills Rails-to-Trails Coalition Gives Back

Foothills Rails-to-Trails Coalition gives back to local communities during COVID-19 pandemic

November 13, 2020

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Foothills Rails-to-Trails Coalition has stepped up to support local communities.

The non-profit organization is adding “Giving with our Hearts to Help Others” to its prevailing mission of assisting Pierce County governments and communities in the creation, maintenance, and usage of a connected system of non-motorized trails for healthier people from Mt. Rainier to Puget Sound.

In early May, the Foothills Rails-to-Trails Coalition took notice of the incredible impact the coronavirus was having on individuals, families and businesses and began an effort to embrace the mantra “if you can help someone, do it!”

Initially, eight non-profit organizations and food banks along or near the Foothills Trial were selected and each received donations.

As COVID-19 persisted, the Foothills Rails-to-Trails Coalition board approved a second round of support for 11 non-profit organizations and food banks to receive donations, just in time for Thanksgiving.

The organization hopes its efforts will help those financially and emotionally impacted by COVID-19 celebrate the holiday season, especially through its contributions to food banks and organizations.

Bill Hilton (Vice President)

Foothills Rails-to-Trails Coalition


253 302-1104

Foothills Trail – Tree Down 11-6-20

Just received notification that a tree is down on the trail.

The location is near the McMillan Trail Head, about 3 miles before Orting next to Highway 165 and just south of the Puyallup River Crossing.

Voight’s Creek Bridge Repairs Complete

From Pierce County Parks Department:

10/08/2020 – The Voight’s Creek Bridge on the Foothills Trail which was damaged during last winter’s high waters is now fully repaired and open for use! Thank you everyone for your patience during these repairs and thanks to our Parks crew and project managers for completing these repairs ahead of schedule and just in time for the weekend.

Bridge Repair – Trail Closed

Good news and bad…

The good news is, the Voight’s creek bridge repair is going to be underway soon, fixing the damage from last winter’s high waters (the bridge was undermined by high waters and the paving of the trail is losing its support). The contractor had an opening in his schedule so the repairs can happen starting this next week. The bad news is the trail will be closed starting September 23rd. We are conservatively estimating a mid-October end date.

We are working to get notification up on our website and social media and we’ll have signs out on the trail ASAP. We’d welcome your help getting the word out.

You can visit the website for more information, pictures, and a location map.

Thanks, let me know if you have any questions.

Have a nice weekend.

Brianne Blackburn, Planner & Trails Coordinator

Foothills Rails-to-Trails Coalition – Racism

Below is an announcement against all Racism that was brought before the Foothills Rails-to-Trails Coalition members at their June 25, 2020 General Meeting which was discussed and supported by ALL members.


The members of the Foothills Rails-to-Trails Coalition believe that Black Lives Matter, on and off the trail. Therefore, we join you to advocate for changes to assure that everyone – including and especially Black people – enjoy safety on trails and in life.

Our coalition is committed to equity, mobility, and health. As a country and an organization, we can do better. We are devoted to supporting trails for everyone, and that cannot happen without all of us coming together to make this nation a more just, equitable and safe place for everyone, everywhere.

Please consider joining us, and together we will work to create a shared system of non-motorized trails to be used and enjoyed equally by everyone throughout Pierce County and beyond.

Foothills Trail is open for all to enjoy

Our 20-mile paved section of the Foothills Trail between the East Puyallup Trailhead and Buckley is fully open and ready to be enjoyed. Our 15-mile unpaved trail section between South Prairie and Mount Rainier National Park is partly closed in several sections. The Gale Canyon section was hit very hard by the flooding. It will take some time to get this section open. The trail section above Carbonado towards the Park along Carbon Canyon faired better but the road to the Park is closed.

Foothills Trail Closed near Orting

Thursday, February 6th 2:00pm, out of an abundance of caution Parks will expand the closure of the Foothills Trail from the City of Orting east to the town of South Prairie. The height of the Carbon River at Voight’s Creek is the main consideration in this decision


Foothills Coalition Annual Meeting Dinner

Trail Supporters and Community Members

Please consider joining us on Thursday, January 23, 2020, for our 30th annual dinner and meeting of the Foothills Rails-to-Trails Coalition at the Farm 12 Restaurant & Events Center located at 3303 8th Ave. SE in Puyallup. (At the Historic Van Lierop Bulb Farm and across the street from the Foothills Meeker East Puyallup Trailhead)

The purpose of this event is to bring trail enthusiasts together to visit & enjoy dinner together, celebrate our accomplishments, and hear about what’s going on with building trails.

Doors will open at 5:30 pm for registration and socializing with dinner served promptly at 6:00 pm. There will be a celebration video during dinner, a brief business meeting, presentations by the Pierce County Parks Director and Puyallup Parks Director along with a silent auction and a few chances to win a contest or two. There will be a no host bar with everything wrapping up around 8:30 pm.

In order to make sure we have enough meals to serve everyone pre-registration is important. The cost of the dinner is $35 each (cash, check, credit card) which will be collected at the door. Please RSVP no later than January 17th to Bill Hilton at Billhltn@aol.com or (253) 302-1104.

Stuart Scheuerman President

Foothills Rails to Trails Coalition


The Foothills Rails-to-Trails Coalition has lost a dear friend Don Partington

The Foothills Rails-to-Trails Coalition has lost a dear friend, an all-around good guy and our work party hero, Don Partington.

Don has been active in the Foothills Coalition for over 30 years and the work party chief for most of those years. You name it and Don has done it, from spreading gravel to fill potholes, cleaning out ditches to trimming back vegetation so the general public, R2R runners and all users can easily use and enjoy the trail. There has not been anyone else that has done so much to keep the trail open and useable.

A memorial/celebration of life will be held for Don on Saturday March 28th, 2020 at Farm 12 event center in Puyallup (historical Van Lierop Bulb Farm) across the street from the Foothills East Puyallup/ Meeker Trailhead. Stay tuned for more details on this event.

See The News Tribune’s Obituary and treasured photos of Don and Buzz below

Don and Buzz at Cascade Junction

Don and Buzz with New Coalition Truck


Donald J. Partington
February 3, 1958 – September 29, 2019

Whether he was cuddling a new baby or kitten, recounting a funny story, spending time in the woods, or starting a new project, Don expressed constant joy in his life, and it was infectious. That is the gift he leaves to all who knew and loved him.

Donald James Partington was born February 3, 1958, in Lawrence, Massachusetts to Lewis T. and Josephine M. Partington. He died as a result of sudden cardiac arrest in Puyallup, WA on September, 29, 2019, surrounded by loved ones. Don grew up in Georgetown and Sudbury, MA and graduated in 1976 from Lincoln Sudbury High School, acquiring the long-held nickname “Linc”, while spending a semester in high school working in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. He attended the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and graduated from Green River Community College in Auburn, WA, with Associates degrees in Water and Wastewater Management. He worked for King County, WA in Wastewater Management for 27 years.

Don married Robin High Partington on July 5th, 1986. Don and Robin met fortuitously in May, 1980, on a backpack trip in Olympic National Park, while he was visiting a friend attending college at University of Oregon, where Robin was also a student. After spending a year in Oregon, Don returned to Massachusetts and Robin subsequently graduated and took a job with the Lewiston, ID school district. In 1982, Don, an avid cyclist since childhood, set out from Massachusetts with a friend to cycle across the country. He stopped to visit Robin after nearly 3,000 miles en route to the Pacific Ocean and the rest is history. They spent 39 wonderful years together, filled with adventuring and raising their two fine sons, Daniel and Alexander.

As an active member of the Foothills Rails to Trails Coalition for over 30 years, Don served on the Board of Directors, coordinated trail work parties, and enjoyed countless hours of trail building and maintenance. Don was also on the Board of the Russell Family Foundation Puyallup Watershed Initiative, and active with the PWI’s Active Transportation Community of Interest. Don was an active member of the Thea Foss Waterway Seaport Museum and worked as a volunteer in the Heritage Boat Shop that builds wooden vessels and restores and repairs vessels displayed in existing exhibits or collections. A recent project he loved was building a beautiful wooden kayak.

Don had an incredible ability to create, problem solve, repair and re-purpose. Basically, he could figure out just about anything and never saw any challenge as insurmountable, including his health. He would just find a way to fix it, re-purpose it, go around it, or live with it. He loved woodworking and made beautiful wooden boxes, shelving, and gorgeous live edge cedar benches that always drew high bids for the causes he donated them to. He also picked up welding in the last several years and enjoyed being mentored and improving his skills. Projects were his core. He described his work in the garage as “tinkering” or “puttering” and he had to have at least one project going, usually several at the same time.

We will remember Don most for his unfailing kindness, his ability to really listen, his delightful sense of humor, the boundless joy he found in his life, and of course, those long and legendary hugs. Loving and experiencing the outdoors was an enormous part of Don’s life that he enthusiastically shared with his family and friends. He had a reverence for old growth trees and made a point to thank them whenever he had an opportunity. His many outdoor interests included canoeing, kayaking, bicycling, hiking, and camping. Don continued to actively enjoy the outdoors, despite his increasing mobility challenges due to Muscular Dystrophy. He continued to cycle and transitioned to an electric assist bicycle when pedaling became more challenging.

Don was preceded in death by his parents and a nephew, Matthew Munson. Surviving family includes his wife, Robin, of Lake Tapps, WA; son Daniel and spouse Alexandra, and son Alexander, all of Olympia, WA; his sisters Margaret Munson of Franklin, MA, and Ruth Callahan of Gardner MA; brothers Andy Partington of Brandon, VT and David Partington of Worcester, MA; and numerous extended family and cherished friends.

Memorial donations can be made to the Foothills Rails to Trails Coalition, Washington Trails Association, Back Country Horsemen of Washington, Mt. Rainier National Park, Thea Foss Waterway Seaport Museum, or an environmental charity of your choice.

Foothills Trail Section is Open!

Some very good news from Pierce County Parks’ North Region Manager, Kyle Wintermute, in time for your Thanksgiving festivities;  “Foothills Trail pin pile bridge section is fully repaired and open for use !!” Thanks to the community for their patience during the repairs and a special thanks to our partners at Pierce County Public Works for completing these repairs before the holiday weekend!.

Bridging Communities from King County TV

A nice video that talks about the connection of Foothills trail from King County to Pierce County.


**For an HD version, click on the link below. Change settings of video to 720 HD


Foothills Trail president Gordon ‘Buzz’ Grant made converting rails to trails his life’s mission

A good man has passed. Last week, the acting president of the Foothills Rails-to-Trails coalition died in his home in Puyallup.

See The News Tribune’s article with the above named title:

Foothills Trail president Gordon ‘Buzz’ Grant made converting rails to trails…

A wonderful slide show was made in his memory.

Our thoughts are with his family at this time. He will be missed.


LOOKING for a Foothills Coalition Courtesy Patrol Leader!

Foothills Coalition Courtesy Patrol Leader
By Bill Hilton, Editor of Foothills Rails-To-Trails Coalition Newsletter

The Rails-to-Trails Foothills Coalition is looking for a Courtesy Patrol Leader.

The Foothills Coalition would like to re-establish the Courtesy Patrol with the purpose of
providing information and assistance to users of the Foothills Trail while walking, cycling,
rollerblading, running or riding horseback on the trail.

The Courtesy Patrol was created in 2002 to encourage trail courtesy and provide trail information
to users. Members also assist with special events such as the Foothills Dash, Daffodil Classic
bike ride, the Rainier to Ruston Relay, and the Buckley to Orting Half Marathon. Patrol hours
and locations are optional. Members wear bright, yellow vests which identify them as Courtesy

Courtesy Patrol members previously met the 3rd Saturday of each month at High Cedars Golf
Course, 149th St. Ct. E., Orting. A no-host breakfast starts at 8 AM and the casual meeting at 9
AM with a free-for-all discussion about the past, present and future of the Courtesy Patrol. Guest
speakers and training sessions are often included.

If you are interested or would like more information please contact John Selby at (253) 841-1767
or johnselby16@gmail.com.