February 2016
News from the Trail

A hiker pauses to take in the view at La Push.  Photo by David Inscho.

We've got something big coming in March, a birthday present to thank YOU for all your hard work on the Pacific Northwest Trail as we celebrate the 7th anniversary of the designation of the Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail.  

Join us on Facebook every day in March as we share the story of how the Pacific Northwest Trail and Pacific Northwest Trail Association came to be what they are.

We'll share more details with you in our next email, but for now let us tell you what's happening now on the PNT!
Cabinet Chapter Of The Back Country Horsemen Of Montana Receive $10,000 RTP Grant To Work On PNT
Cabinet chapter members and stock pack in supplies. Photo by Cabinet Backcountry Horsemen. 

"The Three Rivers District of the Kootenai National Forest has been trying to address drainage problems on the Midge Creek Trail for many years and hasn't had the funding to complete the work. With trail budgets declining, we wanted to see if there was something we could do to help with some of the more costly trail maintenance work. So, last year our club got serious about writing grants. We were awarded a $10,000 two-year expense reimbursement grant from the Recreation Trails Program," explains Deena Shotzberger, president of the Cabinet Chapter of the Back Country Horsemen of Montana (BCH).

In 2015, the group announced on their Facebook page that they received the $10,000 Recreational Trails Program (RTP) reimbursement grant from the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. The group plans to use the money to fund much needed trail work on a two mile section of the Midge Creek Trail #177, a portion of the Pacific Northwest Trail (PNT) in the northwest corner of the Kootenai National Forest. 

Visit our blog to read more about how the Shotzberger and the Cabinet Chapter of the Back Country Horsemen of Montana are working to provide a better experience for PNT trail users in the Kootenai National Forest.
Must-See Landmarks Of The PNT
The Olympic Hot Springs are a great place to rest weary bones.  Photo by Michael Sawiel.

National Scenic Trails are known for their beauty, natural and man made.  From the stunning hanging valley of Brown Pass in Glacier National Park to the culturally significant petroglyphs along the Olympic Coast, these sites have a little something for everyone.

We've compiled a list of the best landmarks of the PNT to get you ready for summertime explorations. Which is the first on your list to see?
2016 Pacific Northwest Trail Town Guide Book Updated
Melanie Simmerman, author of the Pacific Northwest Trail Town Guide, on her thru-hike of the PNT in 2015.  Photo by Melanie Simmerman.

Melanie Simmerman, a triple crown hiker (she's completed hikes of the Pacific Crest Trail, Appalachian Trail and Continental Divide Trail), completed her section hike of the Pacific Northwest Trail last year.  The experience on the trail has helped her complete the 2016 edition of the Pacific Northwest Trail Town Guide.  The guide, first published in 2012 is a helpful resource for trail users, with information about the many communities from East Glacier, MT to Ozette, WA.  Included in this year's updates are new towns such as Glacier, WA, and the inside scoop on affordable and friendly lodging, dining and amenities.  

Learn more about Melanie and her guidebook on our blog and pick up your copy of this year's guidebook on Amazon.  
First Time Thru-Hikers Find Their Legs On The PNT
2015 thru-hikers gather in Metaline Falls, WA.  Photo by Ashley Davis.

In 2015, a record number of thru-hikers took to the PNT.  Among them were a handful of first time thru-hikers, including Ashley 'Bluebird' Davis and Eric 'Spice Rack' Oliver. Davis and Oliver discovered that the Pacific Northwest Trail is as much about the people along the trail as the trail itself.  

Read their guest blog post and follow along as they find their legs, discover beauty in the Pacific Northwest, and realize that the trail isn't as difficult as they thought. 
Building A Multi-Purpose PNT For Hikers, Horseback Riders AND Mountain Bikers 
Almer Casile riding with his son.  Photo by Randy Pulk. 

Like other active adults, Almer Casile looks back on his childhood as foundational to his love of the outdoors.  "I spent every moment I could in the wooded areas near my house, my neighbors didn't understand and often asked my mom what I was doing out there." recalls Casile.  And similar to other active children, it wasn't long before he progressed to explorations by bike. "We started out by taking BMX bikes into the woods.  Someone built a dirt jump and I knew I had to jump it," explains Casile.  At the age of 18, he saw his first mountain biking magazine, and as he says "I realized I NEEDED a mountain bike."  Within a few years he was riding 30 miles each day on the ridges near his house, and as he jokes, 'It was all downhill from there'. 

Since 1994, Casile has worked on the ground with various mountain biking organizations to build and manage trails.  Today he is using his passion and skill set as the representative of mountain biking interests on the Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail Advisory Council (PNNSTAC).  He recognizes that his role is important for the future of mountain biking along the trail corridor of the Pacific Northwest Trail.  But, like other Advisory Council members, he has personal ties to the trail that draw him to the PNNSTAC proceedings.  "The Kettle Crest is a very special place to me.  I've been bringing my children there and working on that section of trail for 7-8 years now.  I want to ensure that the Kettle Crest and other popular bike trails stay open to mountain bikers," explains Casile.  

Casile is looking forward to working with organizations such as the U.S. Forest Service and PNTA to build a multi-purpose trail for a variety of user groups.  Casile recognizes that regardless of how people get out on the trail, bikers, hikers and horseback riders seek solitude and a personal connection with wild places.  In the end, he says, we're all seeking a similar outdoors experience.   

Read our blog for more about Almer Casile's role with Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail Advisory Council. 
Get Involved In The Next Advisory Council Meeting
The second meeting of the Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail Advisory Council will take place on May 4-5, 2016, from 8AM to 5PM in Port Townsend, WA.  Hosted at the Northwest Maritime Center at 431 Water Street, the meetings will be open to the public, with time each day for non-council members to share comments.  

We encourage you to get involved in this process. Written comments and time requests for oral comments can be submitted at any time to Matt McGrath, Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail Program Manager, 2930 Wetmore Avenue, Suite 3A, Everett, Washington 98201, or by email to mtmcgrath@fs.fed.us.  

To learn more about the Advisory Council process and find contact information for Advisory Council members, visit the U.S. Forest Service website.  
Jon Knechtel, Director of Trail Operations Has Retired
Director of Trail Operations, Jon Knechtel, has retired after 13 years with the Pacific Northwest Trail Association.  During his time with the PNTA, Knechtel worked tirelessly to see the Pacific Northwest Trail designated by congress, engage youth in meaningful work opportunities, and protect and maintain the Pacific Northwest Trail for generations to come.  We thank Knechtel for all of his hard work and wish him the best going forward. 
Address Change
Due to postal changes, our address number will change as of March 1 ,2016.  Our new address is 1851 Charles Jones Memorial Circle #4, Sedro-Woolley, WA 98285.  
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.