In 2023 Pierce County Parks partnered with stakeholders to complete a Feasibility Study for the proposed non-motorized Yelm Prairie Line trail connection in Pierce County from the Nisqually River to downtown Roy. This project included:
An inventory of existing conditions,
Identify alignment options, acquisition needs, and major design challenges
The historic Prairie Line Railroad used to extend from Kalama on the Columbia River to downtown Tacoma. This was a busy railroad line for decades and fueled economic development in the counties it passed through until it was displaced by a newer, flatter route. The City of Yelm owns a 4.8-mile section of this right-of-way extending from Yelm into Pierce County near the City of Roy and is no longer pursuing a rail customer. Instead, Yelm has developed a 1.3-mile portion of the non-motorized trail, and it is envisioned to extend to (and beyond) Roy as a part of the larger Regional Trails network.
This project is part of a broader effort to connect the regional trail system across southern Pierce County into Thurston County, increasing the availability of alternative transportation opportunities to rural communities that have limited bus service. Development of this phase of the Yelm Prairie Line Trail will provide residents safe access to active transportation between Roy and Yelm and will set the stage for future connections to Joint Base Lewis McChord and Spanaway.