Over a century ago, the Prairie Line Trail served as the western terminus of the Northern Pacific Railroad and helped feed growing industry in Tacoma. The rail line, which runs through what is now the University of Washington Tacoma campus, was decommissioned in 2003 and became overgrown with weeds and brush over the years. Korsmo’s job on this unique project was to revitalize the historic rail bed and create a linear park that would strengthen the urban connection between the Tacoma community and the University.
Running from South 17th to South 21st Street, the trail provides a space for students and community members to walk and bike through campus. Mature Japanese Maples, Birch trees and low-maintenance native plants keep the linear park looking pristine year-round. Crushed marble landscaping rock provides an unusual yet beautiful touch alongside hand-laid pavers. Sections of the historic railroad tracks still weave through the trail, reminding visitors of its original purpose.
Another unique element of the trail is its custom storm water treatment vault, which serves 40 acres of hillside above the Prairie Line Trail and UWT’s campus. Underdrain stone, Filterra media, Filterra mulch and top-level plantings help filter out 75-90 percent of pollutants from the water before it is released back into the Puget Sound. The treatment vault is one of the first custom installations of its kind.