October 2015
News from the Trail

Congratulations to this years 2015 class of thru-hikers!
Photo by Ashley 'Bloody Mary' Hill at the trails western terminus at Cape Alava. 

Dear Friend,
Happy Fall!  The Autumnal equinox has come and gone, ushering in cooler temperatures, relief from forest fires, and changing leaves.  Fall also brings the end of a successful 2015 thru-hiking season.  

It was definitely a trying year - with forest fires shutting down many sections of the trail in Montana, Idaho and Washington.  Our community of land management agencies, friends, and supporters rallied together to provide shelter, transportation and companionship for the many thru-hikers that hiked the trial this summer.  Thank you for all that you do!

The Pacific Northwest Trail Association would like to extend congratulations to all of those thru-hikers that completed the Pacific Northwest trail this year.  No matter your direction, route or how long you took to hike, a journey on the PNT will stay with you for the rest of your life!  We hope it challenged you, broadened your horizons, and inspired you to stay involved in the trail community.  

We want to recognize your accomplishment!  If you haven't yet already, be sure to fill out the form on the  1,200 milers page for a free PNT patch and our end of hike surveys.  If you know of a thru-hiker that completed the trail, be sure to share this email with them! 
The Yaak: Of Indians and Mountain Men
The Yaak Valley from Northwest Peak

In the far northwest corner of Montana the PNT enters a very narrow valley only a mile or two wide. Four miles from the Canadian border and 15 miles east of the Idaho Panhandle - this northwest region in Montana is known as the Yaak Valley.  

In his latest post, guest blogger Tim Youngbluth explores the past and present of one of Montana's wildest valleys.  

Federal Advisory Council Meeting Open to Public
The first meeting of the Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail Federal Advisory Council will be October 14-15 in Sandpoint, ID.  The 8am-5pm meeting is open to the public and will be held at the Best Western Edgewater Resort.  

The first meeting will start with a presentation of a thru-hike on the PNT by 2014 hiker, Jeff Kish.  The rest of the meeting will provide an overview of the legislation, policy, and interagency planning requirements for National Scenic Trails; discussion of planning approach, process, and schedule for the Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail Comprehensive plan; and recommendations regarding the work, priorities, and schedule for the Advisory Council.  

More information about the Advisory Council - including members, the October meeting, and Council charter can be found at the U.S. Forest Service PNT website.  
Chainsaws cut the season short
Fire season put a damper on many of our 2015 trail work parties, but we ended with a successful trail construction project in The Sullivan Lake District of the Colville National Forest.  

Regional Coordinator Lewis Trout, joined forces with the PNTA Okanogan Crew to complete the  Lakeshore Trail along Sullivan Lake outside of Metaline Falls, WA.  Using motorized and non-motorized trail tools such as chainsaws, excavators, pulaskis and mattocks, the crew turned a web of social trails into a well built and long lasting recreational system.  

This project was extremely important to local residents, as it was built to ADA standards. A trail constructed to ADA standards has a durable and stable level surface, and often includes tables, benches and rest areas that accommodate users of all all abilities.  ADA trails allow users to focus on the scenery and their time spent out of doors, rather than the rocks and roots underneath their feet.  

The completed Lakeshore Trail is one of the few ADA trails in the Sullivan Lake area and will provide increased recreational opportunities.   Located a few miles from Metaline Falls and the PNT, the Lakeshore Trail is a great resting spot for thru-hikers and Eastern Washington visitors. 

For photos of the project, visit the PNTA Okanogan Facebook page.  
Which maps do you use?
Everybody loves maps, especially maps that keep you from getting lost.  At the PNTA, we are working on providing more detailed maps (spoiler alert!).  Until they're ready, we have strip maps up on our website, a labor of love donated by PNTA friend Ted Hitzroth. These maps are periodically updated to reflect the most current trail corridor.  

Other maps also exist.  National Geographic maps of Glacier National Park, North Cascades National Park and Olympic National park show the PNT, and various Green Trails maps also show the PNT.  In some cases, hikers use and share maps that they have created.  These user created maps have varying levels of detail and can prove to be a valuable resource for hikers planning a trip.  

Unfortunately, we have recently been contacted by Washington based land owners regarding maps that lead PNT hikers onto private property.  Maps that have been created by hikers are not official and are not sanctioned by the PNTA. 

The newly appointed Federal Advisory Council will be working on setting a permanent route for the PNT, but this task will take many years.  Until that point, the PNT is a 'choose your own adventure'; a myriad of existing, alternate and preferred routes.  

We want to remind all of our friends to travel responsibly and to stay out of private property.  
How did you celebrate National Public Lands Day?
We joined the Montana Conservation Corps and Montana State Parks at Lone Pine State Park for a volunteer work day.  Thanks to everyone that showed up! 

If you've got photos or stories that you'd like to share with the Pacific Northwest Trail Association community, contact Samantha at sjhale@pnt.org to be featured in the next addition of the newsletter.