December 2015
News from the Trail

May your holidays be as cozy as a night in a lookout tower.  Photo by David Inscho.

Dear Friend,
During this season of joy, we're celebrating the Pacific Northwest Trail by highlighting the people and places that make it special. Join us as we honor staff, welcome new faces and explore the many wonders of the trail. 

Wishing you a happy holiday season,

Board and Staff of the Pacific Northwest Trail Association

After 13 Years, Tryg Culp is Looking for a New Adventure 

Tryg Culp is a formidable man. With his cowboy boots and Stetson hat, he stands nearly 6 and a half feet tall. On a mule, well, that number swells considerably. But Culp hasn't spent much time on his mule lately; and after more than a decade with the PNTA, he's decided to change that. "I want to spend more time riding on trails and less time working on them. I know the eastern Pasayten like the back of my hand, but I want to ride places that I don't know as well. My bucket list includes riding the central and western Pasayten, as well as from Boulder Summit on the Kettle Crest to the end of the trail south to Thirteen Mile," says Culp.

This December, after 12 years of dedicated service with the PNTA, Culp will be retiring from his position as the Eastern Washington Regional Coordinator. Through his commitment and hard work, the PNT in eastern Washington has transformed into a well defined trail system, and opportunities for youth have developed into service. Despite his upcoming retirement, Culp plans on remaining involved, volunteering his time performing trail maintenance with his local Oroville PNTA Chapter. "I'll probably die with a Pulaski in my hand, or maybe with my hands on the handle of a cross-cut saw," jokes the ever-jovial Culp.
PNTA Appoints new President

In N
ovember, PNTA announced the selection of Charles H. Carpenter as the new President. Carpenter is a lawyer based in Missoula, Montana and has been on the Board of the Association since the beginning of the year.

"I am excited to step into this new role with the PNTA." says Carpenter. "The PNTA travels through some of the most beautifully rugged landscapes in the Pacific Northwest, and down some of the most picturesque Main Streets. Our Trail - it belongs to all of us - is at an exciting point in its history, with the recent commencement of the Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail Advisory Council's process and the increased recognition of the importance of our trail on a national level."

Carpenter first learned about the PNT while hiking in Glacier National Park. "I've been going to the Pacific coast for the last 30 years - my parents live there. I fell in love with the Trail because it combines all of my favorite things. Charley gets out to enjoy the Trail all year round. He enjoys hiking, mountain biking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

Please join us in welcoming Carpenter into his new role.
10 Lookouts that will have you seeing stars
Garver Mountain Lookout.  Photo by U.S. Forest Service.

At their peak, as many as 8,000 lookout towers are thought to have been in use nation wide. By the 1960's and 70's tower use began to decline and many lookouts were abandoned. Over the years, some have burned down, some were dismantled, and some were deliberately closed due to shrinking budgets. About 10% of those original structures have survived, and some have stayed in use over the years and have even been restored for recreational purposes.

We've compiled a list of the 10 best lookouts on the Trail. Get a jump on your summer planning with these 10 must-visit spots!
PNNST Advisory Council Spotlight: Brad Smith 

If you had the chance to save the habitat of a threatened species, would you do it? When Brad Smith was posed with that question, he didn't hesitate to respond. "The Selkirk section of Pacific Northwest Trail passes through the heart of vital grizzly habitat. I'm excited to find a route that minimizes impact to their habitat and reduces human caused mortality while still providing for the recreation and scenic quality of the trail, " explains Smith. He is searching for a new route for the Pacific Northwest Trail (PNT), because he is part of the Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail Advisory Council.

 In August, Smith and 23 other volunteers were specially chosen by Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack to sit on the Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail Advisory Counc il. The purpose of the council is to provide recommendations to the Secretary about matters relating to the administration and management of the Pacific Northwest Trail. Specifically, members will advise on trail uses, establishing a trail corridor and prioritizing future projects. Each council member represents a specific interest for the Council and they come from a wide range of backgrounds. Some work in conservation, others recreation; some speak for the voice of agriculture and tourism; but together they will be working towards a completed Pacific Northwest Trail.

Read more about how Smith and the Advisory Council are working to build a better PNT.
PNT joins National Park Passport Program

The Pacific Northwest Trail has joined the National Park Passport Program.  We now maintain two stamps, one at the eastern terminus of our trail in Whitefish, MT, and one at our HQ in Sedro-Woolley, WA. Contact us at for information on how to get your passport stamped!
Second meeting for PNNST Advisory Council set for May 
Sunrise from Port Townsend.  Photo by Northwest Maritinme Center
The Forest Service has set the date and location for the second meeting of the PacificNorthwest National Scenic Trail Advisory Council.  The meeting will take place on May 4-5, 2016 from 8AM to 5PM PST at the Northwest Maritime Center, 431 Water Street, Port Townsend, Washington.

Details, including agenda, will be posted on the U.S. Forest Service website and published in the Federal Register in advance of the meeting date.  Meetings are open to the public with time each day to talk to the Council.  
If you've got photos or stories that you'd like to share with the Pacific Northwest Trail Association community, contact Samantha at