We Celebrate our 40th Anniversary, in this August  E Newsletter

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Thank you. Volunteers and donors like you help us to fulfill our important mission - protecting the Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail for the enjoyment of generations to come and providing recreation and education for our users, today.


Top Left:  Executive Director, Jeff Kish and Interpretive Ranger, Seher Khan meet Deception Pass State Park guests at the PNTA info booth.   Top Right:   2017 PNT thru-hikers enjoy a picnic provided by Joan Melcher and SWITMO .  Left: Multiple generations of PNT'ers gathered at the Basecamp beer garden to swap trail tales   Right:  Director of Trail Operations, Lewis Trout gave lessons on the crosscut saw in this double bucking demonstration.

Celebrating Our 40th Anniversary fortieth

On a foggy August morning in the Puget Sound, Pacific Northwest Trail enthusiasts from all over the country joined the Pacific Northwest Trail Association to celebrate two historic milestones, the 40th Anniversary of the founding of the Association, and the first five end-to-end thru-hikes of the PNT.

Deception Pass State Park offered the ideal backdrop for the event with scenic views of the Pacific Northwest Trail where it crosses over Deception Pass Bridge, just a short walk away.

Membership Drive and Outreach

The most-visited state park in Washington made for an ideal location for a PNTA membership drive and to share the story of this lesser-known National Scenic Trail. The popular Washington state park includes over ten miles of PNT tread, and represents a navigational and ecological highlight of the trail as it makes a dramatic crossing between Fidalgo and Whidbey Islands.

Throughout the day, campers and park visitors were invited to free events, including two guided hikes on the PNT, led by PNTA Interpreter Seher Khan. Other passers-by learned of the world-class recreation opportunity offered by the PNT at our info booth and pop-up history museum. On the shores of West Beach, park visitors could practice the art of the cross-cut saw in a saw bucking demonstration by Director of Trail Operations, Lewis Trout.

Top Left:  Rosie Matsumoto gave a presentation on her interpretive work, "How Do We Connect."  Top Right: A 40th Anniversary attendee inspects the trail's latest map set, displayed in the PNTA's pop-up history museum. Left:  Park Ranger, Montana Napier played a big part in organizing the event.  Right:  The exhibit included guides to the PNT, printed between 1979 and 2017. Shown here are three editions of the Pacific Northwest Trail Guide, by Ron Strickland, with maps by Ted Hitzroth.

Base Camp Beer Garden

At the social hub of the event, the beer garden, the association's founders, members and nearly a dozen 2017 thru-hikers convened over refreshments, donated by Base Camp Brewing. Curious locals and t rail enthusiasts from afar celebrated the creation of a world-class long distance trail over fine ales and lagers generously donated in support of the association.

Joan Melcher and PNTA partner organization SWITMO (Skagit Whatcom Island Trail Maintenance Organization) finished work on the East Hoypus Trail nearby, in time to put on a picnic luncheon that afternoon for their trail maintenance volunteers and PNTA members.

Moments From Our 40 Year History

The nearby West Beach Shelter was converted into a pop-up history museum for the day. Current year thru-hikers and others marveled at reproductions of the original two-page 'guidebook' published in Signpost Magazine in 1979, two years after the first five end-to-enders completed self-reliant crown-to-coast adventures.

Original copies of the Pacific Northwest Trail Guide, published in 1984 and 2001 were also on display. Amazingly, until Ron Strickland published the first book-length guide in 1984 and the PNT's cartographer, Ted Hitzroth created the first trail maps featured in that edition, the trail's first 16 end-to-enders navigated from the Divide to the Pacific Coast without these basic resources.

Other exhibits featured key historic photos and newspaper clippings to illustrate the enormous effort put forth by the PNTA, grassroots trail builders, volunteer cartographers, and dedicated trail maintainers which made the dream of a Crown to Pacific Pathway possible and helped the Pacific Northwest Trail earn federal designation as a National Scenic Trail, in 2009.

Top Left:  Jeff Kish and Ron Strickland gave away over $3,000 worth of outdoor gear in our fundraising raffle.  Top Right:  During his presentation, PNT founder, Ron Strickland shared historic documents with the crowd. Left:  The PNT trail community and park guests gathered to hear Ron Strickland, one of two living National Scenic Trail founders, speak about the PNT.  Right:  PNTA President, Charlie Carpenter addresses PNTA members and supporters at the North Beach Amphitheater. 

An Inspiring Presentation

As a blood orange sun neared the horizon, members of our trail community and park visitors joined Pacific Northwest Trail founder, Ron Strickland, at the North Beach Amphitheater on the shores of Deception Pass for the main event of the day's festivities.

Strickland's unmatched passion for the trail was palpable as he took the audience on a 40 year journey, starting with the audacious dream conceived as a headstrong youth through the emotional triumph of earning Congressional designation as our newest National Scenic Trail.

Even those unfamiliar with the history of the PNT could sense the personal investment and dedication to the trail, a project which would have been impossible if not for the grassroots volunteers across the trail's length, and the Pacific Northwest Trail Association, which Strickland founded.

Later, four decades of PNT history seemed to culminate as Strickland summoned 2017 PNT thru-hiker, Tyler Yates, to the stage. He called on Yates to speak of the wilderness experience offered by the trail today, and why the rugged character of the trail must be preserved for the enjoyment of future generations.

Although great care was taken to honor the history of the Pacific Northwest Trail, including the many volunteers that labored for decades to give us the trail that we enjoy today, the evening's events turned a gaze toward the future, and challenged members of the audience to consider how they will become a part of its legacy.

Special Film Screening

The stars of Alex Maier's feature film about the Pacific Northwest Trail, A Sense of Direction, posed in front of Deception Pass before a special screening of the film at our 40th Anniversary Celebration.  Several of the characters featured in the film were gathered in the audience to relive their 2015 thru-hiking adventures, together with our trail community, on the big screen.


The PNTA would like to thank our members, volunteers and trail community, particularly Ron Strickland and Alex Maier, for joining us for this special event - the largest in recent history.

We would also like to thank everyone for making our fundraising gear raffle a success. Lucky PNTA supporters walked away with over $3,000 dollars of gear generously donated by: Granite Gear, Montbell, Sawyer, CNOC Outdoors, Ursack and LED Lenser.

We would also like to thank Park Manager, Jack Hartt and Deception Pass State Park staff for providing the facilities and planning resources for the event.

A New Look for the Next 40 Years NewLogo

If you joined us at Deception Pass State Park for our 40th Anniversary, you may noticed a new PNTA logo has begun to appear in our pop-up history exhibit and on new stickers at our info booth.

Looking ahead to the next 40 years of the Pacific Northwest Trail Association, in 2017 our Board of Directors pursued the development of a new service mark with the help of volunteer designers. The new logo will replace the original 1976 design created by Chris Kounkel. The updated design will come to symbolize a new chapter in the history of the trail and nonprofit organization.

As the year 2017 draws to a close, expect to see our logo appear on our website and other places as our original 1976 logo is retired to an honored place in PNT history.

40 Years of Volunteer-Made Designs

Shown here, is a brief history of the visual identity of the Pacific Northwest Trail and its nonprofit steward, the Pacific Northwest Trail Association. Consistent with the grassroots advocacy upon which the trail and organization were founded, all of the designs created for the trail and association were developed by volunteer designers who generously lent their creative talents to the effort.

New Bandana Design bandana

There is a new item in our online store, a Pacific Northwest Trail bandana. 

The striking new design highlights the major mountain ranges which define the rugged character of the PNT. Unlike other National Scenic Trails which follow mountain crests, PNT'ers must tramp "Against the Grain" of the Continental Divide, Whitefish Divide, Purcells, Selkirks, Kettles, Cascades and Olympic Mountains, on their 1,200 mile Crown-to-Coast adventures.

Support the PNTA and show your love of the Pacific Northwest Trail with one of these unique bandanas, available here


New PNT Book newbook

Filmmaker, and 2015 PNT thru-hiker, Alex Maier has just published a new book about the PNT entitled, A Hiker's Philosophy, Learned on the Pacific Northwest Trail

Maier's incredible images of the PNT have inspired countless PNT adventures. Part photo book, part novel about his experience hiking one of the world's most challenging and beautiful long-distance trails, this 124 page book will inspire you to get outside and explore the PNT. 


Guided Hike Series: Bagley Lakes via Wild Goose Trail guidedhike
August 19th 10 am - 12:30 pm

Please join us for a guided hike to the summit of the Bagley Lakes Loop on Saturday, August 19th. On this beginner friendly hike, we will learn about and explore the ever-changing landscape of the Mt. Baker area while enjoying views of alpine lakes and wildflowers.

The ninth in a series of guided hikes this summer, this event is brought to you through a partnership between the Pacific Northwest Trail Association, the Mt. Adams Institute and AmeriCorps


National Trails Day, 2017 trailsday

The Pacific Northwest Trail Association celebrated National Trails Day on the newest addition to the PNT, the John Tursi Trail, with two exciting events.

Thanks to the  American Hiking Society, the PNTA was able to add signage along the 1.1 mile  Tursi Trail through the National Trails Fund grant program. Now, visitors enjoying the scenic trails of Deception Pass State Park, the most visited park in Washington, will appreciate that they are experiencing a part of our National Scenic Trails System. 

The iconic PNT Thunderbird service mark may also inspire visitors to discover the rest of the 1,200 mile Pacific Northwest Trail. Simply knowing, that if they wished, they could continue across the Olympic Mountains to reach the western terminus, 258 unforgettable miles away on the Pacific Coast, adds a measure of excitement to any day hike on the PNT.

And while most visitors to the PNT will never attempt such a long trek, the fact that are also 959 miles of trail through the remote mountain landscapes, east of the Tursi Trail, may plant a seed which inspires a lifetime of adventures in the Pacific and Inland Northwest. 

Those who thru-hiked or traveled this section in its entirety before 2016 will fully appreciate the benefits of the short, but important Tursi Trail; it connects with existing trails in Deception Pass State Park, to relocate the PNT off of its former 3.5 mile, 'motorized route' and onto scenic tread.

While one mile of trail may seem like a relatively simple feat to build, the Tursi Trail was at least 17 years in the making. Deception Pass Park Manager, Jack Hartt and Skagit County Parks and Recreation Director, Brian Adams played key roles in the development of the trail, named in honor of John Tursi, philanthropist and Anacortes community leader...

Volunteer Spotlight: David Zermeno zermeno

Before setting out on his Crown-to-Coast adventure on the PNT this summer, thru-hiker David Zermeno spent an entire month volunteering with the PNTA! David gave a whopping 177 hours in service to the trail and helped make our 2017 mapset possible. Thank you, David. The PNTA wishes you the best of luck on the trail this summer!

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