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Outdoor trail in east Tacoma is 'bringing new life' to the area

Eastside Tacoma residents say the trail gives them a safe place to bike, run and enjoy the outdoors that many have wanted for years.

TACOMA, Wash. — The City of Tacoma welcomed eastside residents to experience the Pipeline Trail on Saturday. Residents are calling it an important link for an underserved part of the city.

The trail is a route through Tacoma's eastside that many say they've wanted for years. Work on the trail was completed in the fall but the COVID-19 pandemic kept the city from truly welcoming the community to experience it. 

“This area hasn't always been the best area, but [the trail is] bringing new life and you see how it's bringing the community together, it's definitely making an impact,” long-time resident Chris Hern said.

The trail is ADA accessible, 12-feet wide, and has benches in some spots. Cyclists like Joseph Westfall say it's a relief not having to dodge cars on city streets.   

“I won't even go in the bike lanes anymore because of how crazy fast cars go,” he said. Westfall and his mother enjoyed a ride on the trail Saturday. 

"It really is just a good place to be with the family, a good ride to have and it's really calm and collective.”

Dustin Wielt drove from downtown for a trek along the trail and brought along a plant guide. He works as a psychologist and believes the surrounding community will reap tremendous benefits from the new outdoor space.  

“When you live in any urban area, just being able to walk and hear birds and see trees and feel like your close to nature is really great for your mental health,” he explained.

Some preliminary plans are in place to expand the trail, including talk of connecting the Pipeline trail to other trail systems. It may eventually connect from Commencement Bay to Mt. Rainier National Park.  

“I'm hopeful I can get on my bike and ride for 30 miles, that would be a dream,” Wielt said.

It’s still a dream, at this point, but with a community ready to emerge from COVID-19 and ready to get outside, they might be closer than ever to blazing a special trail forward.