Seek Truth Without Fear
"I could never resist the call of the trail."
~ William Cody aka Buffalo Bill
Bud Blancher Trail Dedicated
Friday November 7, 2014
Eatonville has a new playground of sorts. The long-awaited Bud Blancher Trail, Phase One, was dedicated Friday afternoon, November 7, at the new trailhead on Weyerhaeuser Road East, just across Center Street from the Eagles Hall. About 50 people came for the ribbon-cutting. They were treated to the first look at a beautiful trailhead, inviting walkers, hikers and bicyclists to explore down the Bud Blancher Trail.
Sharing the honor of cutting the ribbon to officially open the trail, from left to right: the late Bud Blancher’s niece, Dawn Pannell, former town planner Nick Bond, local contractor who built the trail Caleb Boettcher, former mayor Tom Smallwood, and Mayor Mike Schaub.
Former mayor Tom Smallwood talked about the history of the Eatonville
Regional Trail project, and those involved in the planning stages.
He shared some of the highlights of Bud Blancher’s life, and his
passion for bicycling, flying and hiking.
Current mayor Mike Schaub then recognized the funders for this
project, including Blancher, who left a large donation through his
will. He died November 20, 2007, while serving on the Eatonville
Regional Trail Plan Advisory Committee.
As soon as the speeches ended, hikers eagerly grabbed some of the refreshments, fruit and granola bars, provided by the town for the occasion, and hit the trail, which heads down a long, gentle slope toward the pedestrian bridge across the Mashel River. Newly-planted trees and large, attractive boulders show the way.
The local student news team from Eatonville High School interview Eatonville resident and trail project contractor Caleb Boettcher and his wife, Sarah, at the dedication. Holding the mic is T.J. McCarthur and on camera is Daisy Newman, both students.
There are 18 convenient parking stalls just above the large kiosk with regulations and an aerial trail map. Five cars were already parked there Sunday at around noon.
On Sunday, two days after the dedication, numerous walkers and joggers were enjoying the Bud Blancher Trail. Some were hiking from the Smallwood Park side, and had not yet seen or known about the new trailhead that has recently sprouted, just ahead of them. Encountering the new bridge, with its quiet, peaceful, and now much more accessible view of the Mashel River, people were exclaiming about how the trail enhances the entire community.
A walk down the trail begs for photographs. Here, you are approaching the Mashel River, and the first of two pedestrian bridges over rivers, in the 2.4 mile trail.
Crossing the Mashel River from the north. The bridges are massive, and sturdy. They were shipped in sections and assembled on-site.
A sandy beach beside the river, previously reached only by hikers using the more primitive trails of Smallwood Park. A former railroad bridge pier sat in the river at this crossing. It was removed as part of the project.
Since rivers can be treacherous, parents may be interested to know the bridges have four massive beams for its railing, the highest one at about adult waist height. Above that is an even larger, glue-lam beam which reaches to a height of six feet, two inches. At each end are short rail fences on each side, discouraging walkers from descending to the river.
The glue-lam beams of the pedestrian bridges are meant to last. Here’s a closeup of the beautifully-colored, preservative-impregnated wood. Each puncture shows where the preservative was shot into the wood.
Lots of people, some with their dogs on leash, were using the new trail Sunday. Regulations require scooping after your pet.
Regulations at entrance to trail.
Bigleaf maples, their bright yellow leaves fluttering by, added to the beauty of Eatonville’s new public trail, dedicated Friday.
Petit Truss Bridge...
In 2009 Peter and Christine Koch from Bellevue donated $230,000 for construction of a foot bridge. Originally the truss bridge shown above was supposed to be built. However, plans changed because several of this type of bridge failed according to former town planner Nick Bond who attended the Blancher Trail dedication. The change in bridge design is very attractive and blends into the natural world as opposed to the utilitarian truss bridge. See more about the Koch's donation and graphics Here.
Tom Smallwood Shared his Speech with ENN...
Thank you to Mayor Schaub for letting me talk about the trail plan. Thank the Mayor for the completion of the trail. Thank Doug, Mike, Town staff for making the plan work and getting the trail completed. Thanks to Nick for all the work on the plan and the grants to get this Completed.
Eatonville Regional Trail Plan
Dedication - About Bud Blancher
is dedicated to the memory of Bud Blancher who made his home in
Eatonville for nearly 30 years. Bud was an avid bicyclist, pilot,
mechanic, and world traveler. In 1960, he spent 13 months riding
around the perimeter of the United States on a ten-speed bicycle
working at airports and other odd jobs to help finance his trip.
Eatonville Regional Trail Plan Acknowledgements - 2009
Lead Agency - Town of Eatonville, Tom Smallwood, Mayor
Planning Team - Bryan Bowden, National Park Service RTCA Program
Nick Bond, Town Planner
Bob Schaub Eatonville Resident, Park Planning Commission and Park Volunteer
Bob Walter Eatonville Resident and South Pierce County Historical Society
Duane Emmons University of Washington, Pack Forest
Bob Myrick Tacoma Wheelmen Bicycle Club and Mt. Tahoma Trail Association
Len Throop Eatonville Resident and Owner, Eatonville Outdoor
Dale Thompson Eatonville Resident, Wildlife Artist and Naturalist
Eileen Finnigan Tacoma/Pierce County Health Department
Bud Blancher Eatonville Resident and Avid Bicyclist/Trail User
Eatonville Town Council
Bobbi Allison, Bruce Rath, James Valentine, Brenden Pierce, Rich Adams
Eatonville Planning Commission
Phil Beach, Chris Lambert,
Elizabeth Harris, William Fitzer, Bob Schaub, Larry Frink, Paul Treyz
for Trail System Finally Happening
September 10, 2014: The pedestrian bridge which will span the Little Mashel River as part of the new Eatonville trail system is nearly assembled. The bridge arrived in sections and is being bolted together by Boettcher and Sons Construction next to the river about a mile south of town. The bridge deck has not yet been installed. When fully assembled, the bridge will be lifted into place by a giant crane, and set on concrete footings yet to be poured.
The foot bridges for the new trail system will each be 120 feet long. Once in place, the bridges, and the trail being constructed between them, will connect the town to the network of trails in 4,300-acre Pack Forest, which is part of the University of Washington.
Kids play on rocks near the river.
The crystal clear
waters of the Mashel River run through a channel that until recently
had a huge concrete pier sitting in
it for decades. From this
vantage point, you are looking south, with a portion of Smallwood Park
in the distance. The pier had been part of the old railroad bridge
used in the early part of the last century. Boettcher and Sons
Construction, contractors on the Eatonville Trail project, removed the
pier in sections a couple of weeks ago. The pedestrian footbridge is
now being installed.
(Publisher's note: The bridge was supposed to be built by 2010, but the $230,000 donated by Peter and Christine Kock in 2009 was not used for the bridge. It was used by former mayor Ray Harper for town business. Another trail bridge is scheduled to be built in the future. The same thing happened to many thousands of dollars donated in the name of Bud Blancher after his death. See Trail Money Misspent to learn more.)
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