The Foothills Trail is a work in progress that will eventually go from Puyallup to Carbanado (up by the Carbon River entrance to Mt. Rainier National Park) as well as going to Buckley and maybe Enumclaw. Here is a link to the foothills trail website. At this point they only have something like 15 miles paved and it doesn’t connect with the Interurban trail yet. In 2010 it also doesn’t connect to the four bridges they have build in the gap between South Prairie and Buckley or the mile or so of paved trail near Wilkerson.
here’s a link to the Foothills Trail Coalition website.
There was almost a 10-year dispute between Pierce County and the owner of an RV park that blocked the right-of-way immediately east of South Prairie. For a couple of years there was a section of trail with four bridge that couldn’t be accessed because of a quarter-mile gap resulting from the dispute. The county eventually even voted to exercise its right of eminent domaine to force the owner to sell and eventually was able to buy the trail corridor – but they gave the seller two years to relocate the RV pads that would otherwise be cut off. Here’s an article from the Tacoma News Tribune about the 2013 land purchase. Here’s an article about a Supreme Court ruling related to rail-banking.
here’s a link to the Coalition’s newsletters. (The section reporting on the status of neighboring rail-trail projects is really informative.)
here is the 2006 trail brochure with its optimistic estimates on completion of the segments between South Prairie and Buckley and the connection to the Puyallup river walk.
After buying the section in the RV park there were a couple miles of rail-bed still in private hands. In the fall of 2014 Pierce County voted to condemn those properties after they were unable to negotiate purchase agreements. Here’s the story in the News Tribune. If past acquisitions are any indication this will still take years. One interesting item in this story that I haven’t heard before is the justification for using eminent domaine because this section is a link in a larger project. They quote the Bukley mayor as saying “…Buckley is working with the City of Enumclaw and King and Pierce counties to add a pedestrian bridge across the White River to connect with the Foothills Trail in Enumclaw. King County already owns the right of way to continue the trail on to the Maple Valley area.” That is a dream that would certainly be worth some money and political chips.