Above: Trail work season began this month; PNTA Crews repaired the bridge along the Baker River Trail.
April eNews
In This Issue

  • Update: Maps, Apps and Other Resources
  • An Epic Snow Year on the PNT
  • Volunteer Opportunities in 2018
  • Improving Section Seven
  • Our First Ruck
Executive Director Jeff Kish holds a large stack of PNTA mapsets mailed in 2017.
Update: Maps, Apps and Other Resources


Heavy snow this winter and last year's wildfire closures have caused short delays in the release dates of our map set and hiking app. PNTA is working with our partners to assess the condition of trails and minor detours around closures. We expect to announce the release of these resources in late May.

With most of the trail under heavy snowpack – at least 134-176% of normal – PNT'ers can expect snow to persist on trails longer than usual this year, and for a delayed hiking season. Here is a second update about resources available this year.


GUIDEBOOKS

The 2018 Pacific Northwest Trail Digest and Data Book , by Tim Youngbluth, were published last month. Melanie Simmerman's Pacific Northwest Trail Town Guide has also been updated for the 2018 season. You can learn more about guidebooks on the PNT , and where to find them, here.


HIKING APPS

The official smartphone guide app to the PNT, by Atlas Guides, is currently in testing and will be officially released in May. We will share updates as soon as the new app becomes available for download. You can learn basic information about the Guthook Guide app to the PNT , here.


PNTA MAPS

The PNTA will release our updated 2018 maps in mid May for digital download. We will also produce a set of ten Section Overview Maps to make route planning easier this year.

In late May, we will coordinate a bulk print run of complete mapsets on water and tear-resistant paper. For PNTA Members , we'll offer this service at the cost of production. It's our way of saying, "thanks" for helping to support projects like these.

Until the updated maps are released in April, the 2017 maps and our resupply planner can be used to work out a rough itinerary and resupply strategy for a trip on the PNT.

It is recommended to wait until the 2018 version is released before printing our mapset – there will be a few important changes to the route this year, and many improvements to the map pages.


TRAIL ALERTS

If you haven’t signed up already, PNTA shares important updates about trail conditions and wildfire detours on  pnt.org  and through plain text emails. Our emails can be really useful to PNT'ers in the field with limited service. Learn more and sign up for trail alerts , here.


OFFICE HOURS

For the 2018 season, our small staff at the PNTA will adopt a staggered work schedule in order to improve our availability for trail information. Please feel free to call or email us seven days a week . While field work or other duties may make it impossible for us to answer every time, your hike is important to us and we'll get back to you as soon as we can.


FACEBOOK GROUPS

The " PNT Hikers " and " PNT Class of 2018 " Facebook Groups are excellent resources for discussing the Pacific Northwest Trail. Our volunteer moderators and staff are available to offer insights and encouragement based on their first-hand experiences on the trail and passion for protecting it.
Snow Conditions in Montana are well above normal on the PNT. Source: USDA/NRCS National Water and Climate Center Portland, Oregon http://www.wcc.nrcs.usda.gov
An Epic Snow Year on the PNT


High in the Northern Rockies, winter is not over yet; snowpack can reach its peak in May some years. Following record snowfall in parts of Montana, and steady snowfall through the season, snowpack is already at 176% of normal in some areas.

It is still too early to guess when the high mountain passes will melt out, yet there is little question that the hiking season on the PNT will be delayed in Glacier National Park this year. On the west end of the trail, snow levels are also well above average in the Olympic Mountains.

If you are planing a trip or thru-hike on the Pacific Northwest Trail in 2018, we encourage you to check conditions carefully before you go and plan accordingly. Staying flexible with your plans will help to ensure a safe trip.

Experience on our National Scenic Trails shows that when thru-hikers test their mettle against unsafe conditions posed by high snow years, like this one, they assume a higher level of risk. Search and rescue events can increase, and more serious and tragic accidents can occur . It is far too common to underestimate the dangers posed by the shoulder season on our long distance trails.


ASSESS CONDITIONS AND MAKE ADJUSTMENTS

The PNTA has a new resource to help monitor the snowpack on the PNT and assess trail conditions this year. This tool can help in trip planning and in predicting when conditions will be more favorable.

Before your trip, also take time to understand the risks. Aside from snow travel hazards , high-running streams become far more dangerous to ford , and the risk of avalanche, landslide, and rock slide can last longer into the summer season. For early season trips, you can also find links to avalanche forecasts along the trail corridor.

Most thru-hikers choose to wait until the trail melts-out to begin their Crown to Coast Adventures. If you are considering an early start, visit pnt.org to learn more about the hazards of snow travel in the spring shoulder season.

The PNT Hikers Forum is also a great place to get feedback from PNT thru-hikers with first-hand experience on the trail, but it can not replace experience or proper outdoor education.
Above: SKY Performance Crew Members pause from their work to improve tread width and visibility.
Volunteer Opportunities


Wildfires across the Northwest took their toll on communities and on the Pacific Northwest Trail last year. This summer, you can help restore access to closed trails and keep the PNT in shape after a long winter. Four opportunities across Washington have just been announced, and more will be posted throughout the season.

Join our PNTA Trail Crews in beautiful settings for the day, or longer, if you like. No experience is necessary for most trips. PNTA will provide training, tools, and safety equipment. Learn more and sign up at pnt.org.
Scenes from the first-ever ALDHA-West Ruck in Bellingham Washington
Bellingham Ruck


Each year, the American Long Distance Hiking Association-West brings together a diverse group of hikers for a series of fun backpacking clinics, called “Rucks” across the Western States. This ruck included a special focus on the Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail. First time backpackers and experienced thru-hikers all came together for a full day of hiking-themed fun, education, and fellowship in Bellingham, Washington.
 
PNTA would like to thank to thank everyone that was able to join us at the Ruck, as well as Aslan Brewing Company for donating event space. Special thanks to ALDHA-West staff and volunteers: Whitney “Allgood” La Ruffa, Kate “Drop-N-Roll” Hoch, Miguel “VirGo,” Aguilar, Bob “Beaker” Turner, and our volunteer panelists: Randy “Arrow” Godfrey, Kate “Swept Away” Pickett, Amanda “Not A Chance” Timeoni and Lori Jo “Half Pint” Erlichman. Thank you PNTA volunteers, Rudy Giecek, host of the Cascade Hiker Podcast , and Suzanne “Xana” Bess-Wollborg for making the event a success!

Take Action – Improve Section Seven


The Pacific Northwest Trail tours some of the most outstanding public lands in Washington, Idaho, and Montana. Yet, many PNT visitors avoid large stretches of the trail in Washington’s Skagit and Whatcom Counties, home to some of the most breathtaking landscapes in the world. Scenic beauty is not the problem, it’s the route of the trail.

Between Hannegan Pass Road, on the Mt Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, and the Chuckanut Range, the PNT underwhelms; the experience just isn’t consistent with the quality users expect of a National Scenic Trail. Even worse, the PNT follows dangerous highways and crosses private property where permanent access is not guaranteed.

Trail relocations proposed by the Pacific Northwest Trail Association could change this, and instead showcase the world-class scenery that residents of Northwest Washington take pride in. Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest and the state Department of Natural Resources are each planning how to manage public lands in Whatcom County.

Now is your chance to voice your support and help us to build a better PNT in Section 7.

Follow us on social media for trail updates, pictures and fun!
Use the hashtag #crowntocoast and we'll share your PNT pictures. 
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