Foothills Coalition and Pierce County Parks secure National Parks Service grant for Foothills Trail development

The Foothills Rails-to-Trails Coalition, in collaboration with Pierce County Parks and support from the Towns of Wilkeson and Carbonado, is thrilled to announce the receipt of a National Parks Service Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance grant program (NPS-RTCA). This grant will provide essential technical assistance to engage the community in developing the Foothills Trail segment between Wilkeson and Carbonado, covering approximately 3.5 miles.

Starting in September of 2024, the project will kick off with community outreach effort to gather input on the trail’s design. Expected to last a year, this work will culminate in conceptual design to inform the next phase of Foothills Trail development toward Mount Rainier National Park.

The NPS-RTCA program is instrumental in supporting locally driven conservation and outdoor recreation initiatives nationwide. By assisting communities and public land managers in park development, restoration, and the creation of outdoor recreation opportunities, the NPS-RTCA program fosters engagement in the outdoors for future generations.

The Carbon Glacier Corridor in eastern Pierce County serves as the gateway to the northwest section of Mount Rainier National Park, encompassing the rural communities of Wilkeson and Carbonado. Within this corridor lies the undeveloped section of the Foothills Trail. Recognizing the potential of this area, Pierce County, as the primary landowner, has enlisted the support of the Foothills Coalition to leverage its strong community ties and partnership-building expertise.

Developing this trail offers numerous benefits. Rural trails provide sustainable solutions for active transportation, promote health and well-being, foster community connectivity, reduce reliance on motorized transport and contribute to healthier lifestyles. Additionally, increased foot traffic along trails supports local businesses and stimulates economic growth.

The Foothills Coalition and Pierce County Parks express profound gratitude to the National Parks Service for its support and look forward to engaging with local communities to bring the vision of a vibrant, accessible Foothills Trail to life.

About Foothills Rails-to-Trails Coalition:
The Foothills Rails-to-Trails Coalition is the supporting 501(c)(3) non-profit organization of the Foothills National Recreation Trail. The Coalition works to expand, fund, maintain, promote and advocate for an accessible and inclusive trail system from Mt. Rainier National Park to Puget Sound, fostering recreation, health, active transportation, economic growth, and environmental and historic preservation. Learn more at 

About Pierce County Parks:
Pierce County Parks maintains over 5,200 acres at 44 park sites, including three recreation centers, a sports complex, ice rink, skateboard park, two boat launch sites, two golf courses, trail corridors, a disc golf course, and many passive open space sites through Pierce County’s Conservation Futures system. We also offer a variety of special events, programs and activities for all ages and ability levels. Learn more at

About National Parks Service – Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program:
The NPS-RTCA program supports locally-led conservation and outdoor recreation projects across the United States, assisting communities and public land managers in developing or restoring parks, conservation areas, rivers, and wildlife habitats, as well as creating outdoor recreation opportunities and programs. Learn more at