Key Coalition Documents
Click on the links to the right for access.
Our Founders Remembered
Dan Bucci - President
Dan is an avid mountain runner and trail enthusiast who firmly believes that the outdoors should be accessible to everyone. Dan’s involvement with the Foothills Coalition began in 2017 as he assisted with producing the Rainier to Ruston Relay, and B&O Half Marathon & 10K races which serve as fundraisers for the FTC. Dan joined the FTC board in 2020 to bring his energy to help the coalition in their mission to expand the trail network in Pierce County to provide a continuous, non-motorized trail from Mount Tahoma to Puget Sound. Dan firmly believes that safe, accessible trails are a key to promoting outdoors activities, which help the broader population stay fit, healthy and connected with the beauty that surrounds them in Western Washington.
Dennis Brooke - Vice-President
Dennis and his wife, Laurie, have been riding the Foothills Trail since the mid-90's, including exploring unfinished sections by bushwhacking. They have been excited to see the network evolve over the decades. He is now engaged in major upgrades of the coalition membership management and other systems. This will support better engagement with members and other supporters, and automate many manual processes.
He spent seven years as an Air Force officer with the balance of his career working as an IT program manager and executive. He and Laurie are long distance hikers and travelers who write about their experiences at www.worldrovers.com
Loras Gassmann - Treasurer
I was born in Eastern Iowa, near Dubuque, very close to the movie site for the Field of Dreams. I worked for Georgia-Pacific and ended up in Olympia, WA.
In 1985 I took my first bike ride on a rail trail, it was in North East WI, Ahnapee State Trail. I told my brother about the ride and he mentioned about a new group that was being founded, Rails-to-Trails. I joined the organization, now I am one of their oldest members.
I moved to Washington State in 1992 and heard about the Foothills Trail and became a member. I moved to Sumner, WA in 2006 and became involved in the group.
In 2009 I became the Treasurer of the organization, and continue to date.
I have been involved with the Trail activities, R2R, B&O, trail cleanup, purchasing items, T-shirts, hats, etc.
I love the trail, my favorite section is South Prairie to Buckley, I like the ride up the hill, but really enjoy the ride down the hill.
Pat Johnson - Secretary
It has been a great honor to be on the Board of Directors and I have lost track of how long I have been active in the Foothills Rails to Trails organization. I grew up in Buckley and remember the trains coming through town. When the railroad company decided it was no longer profitable to move freight by rail, they abandoned their right-of way. The town doctor, Doc Tait, gathered a few people together such as Ernie Bay from Puyallup, Fred Hart of the Back Country Horsemen and Jan Walcott the Pierce County Parks Director at the time and the idea of a connected trail system connecting communities was a perfect use of this abandoned property.
The first section of the Foothills Trail was built in Buckley. Doc Tait gathered volunteers together to clear the right-of-way and lay gravel. Over time the City paved the trail with grant funding and donations. It took over 25 years to get connected to the rest of the Foothills Trail in Pierce County but the wait was worth it! Our next goal is to get the bridge across the White River to connect to King County and Enumclaw.
At the end of 2021 I retired from the position of Mayor for the City of Buckley. I served the City as Mayor for 16 years and prior to that I was a Council member for 14 years. During that 30 year period of time I lobbied heavily for trails before the County Council, the State Legislature and a few times in Washington, DC. Trails like the Foothills Trail are safe pedestrian corridors that connect communities and now are becoming tourist attractions for both walkers and cyclist.
We must continue to keep the Foothills Trail in front of our elected officials and letting them know what the benefits are. In Buckley, the “Trail” is the new Main Street!
I've been involved with the Foothills Trail as a volunteer for over 30 years (over half my lifetime)
I joined the Coalition about the time I retired from the Air Force in 2001, becoming a board member shortly thereafter. Eight or nine years later I had the pleasure of serving as the Coalition President for two years.
It was a dynamic time with the growth of the R2R, plus the Coalition. We received the Pierce County Volunteer Group of the Year, award in 2008 at which time I was president. Many hands eagerly assisted in both events.
I moved away now, but I will always remember the friends I made through the Coalition.
Mark is a lifelong Northwestern living in both Oregon and Washington. He first became interested in the Foothills Trail when brought to a meeting in Orting in 1987 and supports the Trail's completion. He previously volunteered on Adhoc committees for the Pierce County Council dealing with juveniles and a Civil Service Commission. He served on the Bonney Lake City Council from 2004 to 2016.
My love for trails began in 2010 when I was introduced to a group called, Friends of the Puyallup Riverwalk while serving on the Puyallup City Council. The members in the group were so engaging, knowledgeable and hardworking, they spent a lot of time educating me about our local trail system. Overtime my family began to use the trails more and realized what an asset they we’re to the community in which we live. I stayed active with this group for a number of years, eventually becoming involved with Foothills Rails to Trails Coalition and joining their board, which I continue to serve on today.
I fell in love with trails when I worked on trail crews in the Olympic National Park during my college summers. As a runner and cyclist I have sought out trails all over the country. I have hiked nearly all the trails in Mt. Rainier National Park and I think I have run all the trails in Pierce County. Each quarter I publish an article in the Trail Line News called “How well do you know your Pierce County trails?” The first person to correctly guess the location of a trail photo wins a year’s membership in the Coalition. I have a MS in Mechanical Engineering and have worked at the Applied Physics Lab at the U of W, Tunisia’s National Gas and Electric Company while serving in the Peace Corps in the 70’s, and the Weyerhaeuser Company Research and Development for 30 years all over the US. I joined the Foothills Trail Coalition in the late 90’s at the urging of Ernie Bay, soon became a board member and founded the Rainier to Ruston Rail-Trail Relay in 2003. It has been a true pleasure to be a part of this organization.
I am a Washington native and have been a cyclist since an early age, I remember around middle school age, my sister and I borrowed our older brothers' bikes, as we rode from our Steilacoom home to Point Defiance Park and back (my sister and I still ride together, often on the Foothills Trail). I graduated from Pacific Lutheran University and for most of my career I was fortunate to be working in Transportation and Environmental Planning fields. I have worked in both the private and public sectors including work on several regional trails, (the list is long) but notably, the Foothills and Pipeline trails. I was fortunate to be the lead author on the feasibility document for the pipeline trail extension (at that time called the Cross County Commuter Connector; AKA Quad C) and provided construction management (for Pierce County Parks, working closely with local property owners and Pierce County Public Works) on the Pierce County section of the Foothills Trail from South Prairie to Buckley City Limits. I recently retired from WSDOT as the Olympic Region Multimodal Development Manager, and I look forward to continuing trail work as a Board member on the Foothills Rails To Trails Coalition.
I have been a Foothills Coalition member for several years now. I have enjoyed the fact that there is a group of people that have a passion of establishing trails that all of us can use.
Kim has lived in Puyallup since 2010 but grew up in the Pacific Northwest and has lived up and down the west coast nearly her entire life. An avid Foothills trail user (she runs on the trail 3+ times a week), Kim enjoys hiking, riding bikes with her husband, running and walking with their adorable golden retriever Kinley, traveling, exploring, and reading. Kim is employed full-time with the U.S. Department of Education.
Shayla is the new Executive Director of the Foothills Rails to Trails Coalition. She comes to us with a Masters of Public Administration from Evergreen’s Tacoma Campus and a passion for ensuring outdoor recreation is accessible, plentiful and safe.
Much like any long-time nonprofit employee, Shayla has worn many hats: fundraiser, education program manager, field trip facilitator, events planner, volunteer manager. Her most recent role was Development Director at Pacific Bonsai Museum. She also managed restaurants and was a Sommelier in Seattle, and has a deep appreciation for wine and good food.
Shayla lives in Tacoma with her husband and young daughter, and can be found most weekends running or hiking the many amazing trails Pierce County has to offer.