November eNews
In This Issue

  • Hiking East Against the Grain
  • New Leadership in Trail Operations
  • Congratulations Class of 2018
  • Trail Maintenance Season in Review
  • Three 50-Year Anniversaries
  • Upcoming Event: Live Podcast Recording

Griggs Domler (left) and Ryan "Cappy" Stoyer (right) eastbounded the PNT in 2018
Hiking East Against the Grain
An Interview with Two Eastbound Hikers

Is it better to thru-hike the Pacific Northwest Trail east or west, to finish in Glacier or Olympic National Park?

For forty years westbound hikers have outnumbered eastbounders by fifty to one, but that could change in coming years. There are few reasons why PNT hikers can’t travel east if they choose. In 2018, at least four thru-hikers traveled east against the grain toward the Rocky Mountains.
Read the interview with 2018 thru-hikers, Griggs Domler and Ryan Stoyer to learn more about the eastbound experience.
Sterling Collins-Hill (left) and Kristin Ackerman.
New Leadership in Trail Operations

Following 14 years of service, the PNTA’s Director of Trail Operations, Lewis Trout retired this September. His departure will create new opportunities within the Association and allow for organizational changes in the trail’s management.

Executive Director, Jeff Kish will continue to provide oversight, and two new Regional Coordinator positions will allow the Association to add organizational capacity and provide regional focus in the enhancement of the Pacific Northwest Trail system. 

We are pleased to welcome Kristin Ackerman and Sterling Collins-Hill to our team.
Congratulations to the Class of 2018!

Pacific Northwest Trail hikers have a lot to celebrate this year! 2018 marks the 50 year anniversary of many landmark achievements in conservation and a new chapter in the history of the Pacific Northwest Trail.

Most of all, 2018 is special because of you. Together, you helped to build our trail community across the Northwest and the world. You overcame many challenges this year including a heavy snowpack, which reached 176% of normal in the Rocky Mountains, and a total of seven wildfire detours throughout the season.

As tradition has it, we at the Pacific Northwest Trail Association would like to express our heartfelt congratulations to each and every “1200 Miler” this year. 

If you have traveled the entire length of the Pacific Northwest Trail, we believe your achievement should be recognized as part of our 1200 Miler Project . If you would like to have your name added to our official list of PNT finishers and receive your very own 1200 Miler rocker patch, please contact us today.
Above: Our Trail Crews stayed cool this summer thanks to Columbia Sportswear.
Trail Maintenance Season in Review

As snow blankets alpine trails and golden larch needles glow in autumn light our field season comes to a close. The weather window on the Pacific Northwest Trail is predictably short.  

The Association would like to thank our members whose generous support makes our work possible and everyone who helped us to make the most of our season this year. Thanks to our dedicated volunteers, experienced crew leaders, and valued partners, our work to enhance the Pacific Northwest Trail was a huge success in 2018.

Our season began in May, repairing the critically damaged Blum Creek Bridge on the Baker Lake portion of the PNT, and then followed the retreating snowline up Devil's Ridge Trail before much of the rest of the Pasayten Wilderness had completely melted out. Our last projects of the season were wrapped up in October on the Colville National Forest .

We were pleased to see many volunteers and staff return this season and to have newcomers join us as well. There were many ways to get involved this year. There were opportunities for middle and high school-age youth to learn trail stewardship skills by working on our Quilcene Ranger Corps and our Performance Trail Crews . This year, we added a fifth crew which focused on the PNT on the Tonasket Ranger District west of Republic, Washington. 

In 2018, these programs helped connect youth to scenic lands across Washington from the Salmo-Priest Wilderness , near the Idaho border, to the Olympic National Forest , where trails are maintained solely by groups such as the PNTA and our partners. 

The Association continued our work to connect Pacific Northwest Trail enthusiasts with volunteer opportunities across the trail corridor. A new program helped our Crew Leaders work with drop-in volunteers like Christian “Blue’s Clues” Frey, a 2017 thru-hiker who returned to the trail to restore portions of the PNT that were damaged by the Noisy Creek Fire. 

We also helped to support our partners’ projects this year, lending a hand with whitebark pine conservation with the Kettle Range Conservation Group and by joining volunteer groups led by the Back Country Horsemen for a construction project deep in Olympic National Forest.

With your support, we achieved so much this year! In 2019, look for exciting new opportunities to get involved.
Above: The PNT in the Okanogan Highlands. Photo by Alex Maier.
Wildhorse Spring Trail Reroute

Have you hiked the Pacific Northwest Trail in Whistler Canyon?

Located just east of the city of Oroville , this section of trail truly stands out. Overlooking the orchards of the Okanogan River Valley, this scenic stretch of the PNT has a climate that nears desert conditions, favorable to ponderosa pine, bighorn sheep and rattlesnakes — one of the few sections of the PNT where they are often seen. 

This August, our Performance Trail Crew camped out on the Okanogan Highlands toughing out the intense summer heat to improve this 15 mile stretch of the PNT.

The crew brushed, cut tread, installed drains and grade reversals, and maintained existing portions of trail connecting roadbed of FR 10 to the Wildhorse Spring Trail.

With the support of the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest , our Tonasket-based youth crew worked west from the Wilcox Trailhead to reestablish and relaign 4.1 miles of tread. The realignment of the Pacific Northwest Trail will bypass six miles of the eastern half of the Whistler Canyon Trail which could be confusing to follow. The new alignment will provide a more direct route between Summit Lake Road and the most scenic part of the Whistler Canyon Trail which offers sweeping views of the Okanogan River Valley.

Next season, new reassurance markers bearing the iconic Thunderbird logo will be installed along the new route thanks to the generous support of those who gave to our Thunderbird Fundraising Campaign last year.
Three 50-Year Anniversaries

On October 2nd, America celebrated several historic achievements in conservation. Pacific Northwest Trail enthusiasts in particular have much to celebrate. The National Trails System Act the North Cascades Act were all signed into law by President Johnson in 1968.
For fifty years the National Trails System Act has preserved and protected the trails that lead people into new worlds on journeys of discovery. Our national system of trails provides opportunities for all to travel deep into America’s wilderness or through the center of our cities and towns. These trails showcase routes as ancient as the Ice Age and as recent as the Selma to Montgomery March. Show your love for the National Trails System and celebrate this historic milestone with limited edition 50th Anniversary Shirts and caps available while supplies last.

The establishing legislation for North Cascades National Park , the North Cascades Act, also established the Stephen Mather Wilderness and Pasayten Wilderness preserve, a vast landscape of glaciated peaks, alpine meadows, and ancient forests. They are also home to spectacular stretches of the Pacific Northwest and Pacific Crest National Scenic Trails.
You can learn more about the challenges faced in the establishment of the park in local historian Lauren Danner's new book Crown Jewel Wilderness on the creation of Washington’s third National Park.
Meet the author and listen in on a live interview with the Cascade Hiker Podcast at Birdsview Brewing Company, on November 18th. All proceeds will be donated to the Pacific Northwest Trail Association.
Upcoming Events
Live Recording – Cascade Hiker Podcast

Sunday, November 18th @ 3:00 - 6:30 pm 
Birdsview, Washington

2018 marks the 50th Anniversaries of both the National Trails System and North Cascades National Park! Help celebrate this historic milestone and support the Pacific Northwest Trail at  Birdsview Brewing Company .

Listen in and watch Rudy Giecek, host of the  Cascade Hiker Podcast  during a live interview with Lauren Danner, author of Crown Jewel Wilderness, Creating North Cascades National Park .

Tickets are required to attend – $10 general public, all-ages welcome. To hold your seat for this very special event, and for a chance to win free hiking gear and book give-aways, please register below.

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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