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Obituary: Tahoe Pyramid Trail founder Janet Phillips dies at 70

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The board of the Tahoe Pyramid Trail announced this week the passing of Janet Phillips. Phillips passed away with her brother holding her hand. She had for two years fought a battle against cancer.

Phillips 20 years ago envisioned creating a trail from Tahoe to Pyramid Lake. The Tahoe-Pyramid Trail (“TPT”) started as an audacious idea that once completed, will result in a trail that follows the entire length of the Truckee River, from its source at the stunning Lake Tahoe (6225′) to the desert terminus of Pyramid Lake (3796′).

The trail is 80% complete. it can be enjoyed by hikers, runners, walkers or cyclists. Once fully completed the trail will descend nearly 2500′ in elevation over the course of the 114-mile length of trail and connecting bridges in both urban and more remote trail areas.

Phillips graduated from Stanford University and spent her career working in water resources along the Truckee River. When she retired, she knew she wanted to spend her time creating the one thing she saw missing along the Truckee River — a trail for all to enjoy.

Phillips worked with two states, numerous counties, the railroad and countless other agencies to get approval to build sections of the trail. In 2019, Phillips was named the Reno-Sparks Citizen of the Year by the Reno Gazette Journal.

EDAWN also awarded her the President’s Award.

In addition to her primary love of the TPT, Phillips served as chair, from inception, of the Truckee River Fund which has awarded more than 268 grants totaling well over $10 million.

She was a supporter of a variety of charities, including Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful, Women and Children’s Center of the Sierra, the Alzheimer’s Association and the National Foundation for Cancer Research.

Her legacy will forever be the creation of the Tahoe Pyramid Trail, which is enjoyed by thousands of hikers and cyclists every year.

To support Janet’s legacy and the completion of the trail, please visit www.tahoepyramidtrail.org
A memorial service for Phillips will be held along the trail this coming spring.

Submitted by the Tahoe Pyramid Trail board.

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