Saying goodbye to a trail leader

June 12, 2019

Each of us hopes to leave our mark on this world, literally or figuratively. Buzz Grant succeeded in doing so and will be greatly missed by the recreation community in Washington.

Gordon “Buzz” Grant, president of the Foothills Rails-to-Trails Coalition, passed away recently at the age of 74. He passed away at home, with his family in Puyallup, his health having declined rapidly following recent heart surgery

According to the News Tribune, Buzz got involved with the Foothills Coalition in the 1980s when he was sent to research railroad right-of-ways along the trail.

“Then I saw the good that this whole idea was. What it can do for people. And I said, ‘That’s what I want to do with my time.’ … The trail is good for a lot of people. For exercise or just spending time with family,” he told The News Tribune in 2016.

A life-long Tacoma area resident, Buzz dreamed of seeing the trail extend from Rainier to Point Defiance, and under his leadership the trail grew to 25 miles, including several successful WWRP grant applications. I was lucky enough to meet Buzz at a ribbon-cutting for one of those projects, creating a critical segment between South Prairie and Buckley. In all the speech-ifying and ribbon cutting celebrations, though, you didn’t see Buzz up front taking the credit he was due. He left that to others. Instead, you could find him where he always was: behind the scenes making everything happen.

I consider myself lucky to have met Buzz and will certainly pay tribute to him the next time I find myself on the Foothills Trail. I encourage you to take a moment and do the same.