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'Missing link' in Foothills Trail being filled

Thanks to a private grant, a 3.5-acre wetland is being created along the Pierce County Foothills Trail corridor between South Prairie and Orting. Called the Forbes site, the wetland will be part of the 3.3-mile "missing link" trail section that will be completed this fall, providing a continuous 11-mile paved trail between McMillin and South Prairie.

The county, required to create the wetland to mitigate the trail project's environmental impacts, purchased the site. A $10,000 grant from Recreational Equipment Inc. will be used to construct a rest stop overlooking the wetland.

The rest stop will feature a 500 square foot asphalt pad, a picnic table, park bench, barbecue pit, bike rack, educational signage and connecting asphalt trail.

The Foothills Rails to Trails Coalition is organizing a volunteer project to plant 40,000 native wetland plants at the site Oct. 9. REI employees have committed to assisting with the planting, and other organizations have indicated they will participate also.

Work on the "missing link" section is 85 percent complete, Wolcott said. It extends from the existing trail northeast of Orting to the previously completed trailhead in South Prairie. A dedication ceremony for the new section will be scheduled this fall.

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