A tribute to Buckley's Doctor Tait
for trail ‘father’ Doc Tait
We need your help to make sure that the legacy Doug “Doc” Tait left for everyone in Pierce County, and especially for the community of Buckley, is never forgotten.
Your contribution toward our $18,400 crowdfunding goal will help us complete an already-designed memorial plaza in Buckley that will permanently honor Doc’s work as “the father of the Foothills Trail” and his 34 years of service as Buckley’s beloved town doctor.
Doc, who died in 2003 at the age of 76, loved to help people, and he loved his community. He was a throwback doctor, readily making house calls to ailing patients who couldn’t make it to his office on Main Street. He was the town’s emergency medic as well, keeping a fire department radio and rushing off to hop on the fire truck for any medical emergency. He delivered generations of Buckley babies.
But Doc’s legacy extends far beyond Buckley. When he saw crews removing the abandoned Burlington Northern Railroad tracks through the center of town, he immediately saw the potential for using the right-of-way as a recreational corridor, not just in Buckley but also through the Orting and Puyallup valleys to Tacoma.
Doc, along with his wife Donna, spent significant amounts of time and money promoting the idea of a rail-trail connecting the foothills communities. He lobbied public officials and obtained support from national trails advocates. He turned one of his examining rooms into an unofficial trail campaign office. Out of his efforts grew the nonprofit Foothills Rails-to-Trails Coalition, which carried on the fight to build the trail.
Today’s popular Foothills Trail, extending 14.3 miles from east Puyallup to South Prairie, is so distinctive in its views of rivers, farmland and Mount Rainier that it has been designated as part of the National Recreational Trails System. If all goes well, the trail will be connected to a segment in Buckley within two or three years, and eventually to King County’s trail system.
Doc Tait’s vision and tireless campaigning were instrumental in making today’s trail a reality. The trail will promote healthy exercise and healthy communities for generations to come. Let’s give Doc the memorial he deserves.