PNT Trades Traffic for Tread, in this February  E Newsletter from the Pacific Northwest Trail Association

Above: "The Tursi Trail " by Dave Wenning @

Greetings, PNTA Supporter!

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.

What a Difference a Mile Will Make
How the Finished Tursi Trail Perfects the PNT on Fidalgo Island

History has shown that achieving the best possible route for a National Scenic Trails can take decades of collaboration and effort to accomplish. The John Tursi trail, finished in 2016, will trade traffic for tread on Fidalgo Island.

The details: the PNT makes use of the Anacortes Forest System Trails south of the city. Previously, where this trail system ends, near the Lake Erie Grocery and Trailer at the intersection of Heart Lake and Rosario Roads, the highway portion of the PNT began. Now, only a short stretch of highway connects the PNT to the new Tursi Trail.

Those who thru-hiked or traveled this section in its entirety before 2016 will fully appreciate the benefits of the new route, chiefly, relocating the trail off of Fidalgo Island highways. The new route is also one mile shorter and offers some of the best natural scenery on the island. The Tursi Trail even passes three historic sites on its way south toward other trails in Deception Pass State Park, the most-visited park in Washington.

"Mount Baker, Bellingham Washington... " by Rick Leche - Photography is licensed under CC BY 2.0
The Baker to Bellingham Recreation Plan

The PNTA will be giving a presentation to the Baker to Bellingham Recreation Planning Committee regarding the potential of using Whatcom County DNR lands for future improvements to the Pacific Northwest Trail. 

The presentation is scheduled for the  March 14th meeting at the county library in Deming, WA. PNT enthusiasts are encouraged to observe and submit comment.  

The details: this committee makes recommendations to the Washington State Departments of Natural Resources (DNR) to guide the development of recreation infrastructure on DNR land in Whatcom County. The committee represents the interests of a wide variety of stakeholder groups who cherish recreation on state lands. Recreation planning committee meetings are currently held monthly at the Deming Library, and are open to all members of the public.

You can learn more about the project and share your feedback here
ALDHA West's Ruck Events

For those interested in long distance hiking, ALDHA West's  Winter Ruck events  offer great opportunities to learn expert tips and tricks and meet other hikers. 

The  Cascade Locks Ruck , on  February 25th , will have PNT thru-hikers, Eric "Panorama" and Suzanne "Xana" Wollborg on  hand to answer your questions.

PNTA members can get discounted tickets. Contact the PNTA to get a discount code.

Recreation Northwest Expo

The Pacific Northwest Trail Association will be one of 65 exhibitors at the  free  Recreation Northwest Expo in downtown Bellingham on  February 25th . Other exhibitors include local outdoor businesses, all conveniently located under one roof in this fun event. Along with your free admission you can also win great door prizes from: Bellingham Traverse, Tour de Whatcom, Ragnar Trail Cascades, the Bellingham Bay Marathon and more. There will also be prizes from Nuu-Muu, Outdoors NW Magazine & American Alpine Institute, Bellingham REI, Village Books, Yeager's Sporting Goods, Square One Maps and others.

REI's Plan Your Thruhike Event

If you're aspiring to thru-hike the PNT, please join the Pacific Northwest Trail Association in Portland at the Lucky Labrador Brewing Company on NW Quimby on February 27th from 6 - 8 PM. REI's Plan Your Thru-hike event will host PNTA staff thru-hiker Eric Wollborg, to answer your questions and help get you ready to hit the trail in 2017.

Intro to Washington's NSTs

Join the Pacific Northwest Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail Associations at the REI store in Bellingham on March 21st at 6pm, for two slideshows focused on each of these amazing trails which share miles in Washington. You will be able to talk with both PNT and PCT thru-hikers at the event.

montbell logo
"Slow-boating the PNT"

Join Eric "Panorama" and Suzanne "Xana" Wollborg at the Montbell Portland store on March 29th at 7pm for this FREE event. An  informative multi-media presentation about the PNT followed by a slideshow full of images and tales from their 2016 PNT thru-hike. Learn why this husband and wife hiking team gave up their "Triple Crowns" to tramp against the grain of the rugged, mountain-to-sea route of the PNT.
The Pacific Northwest Trail

Join us at the REI in downtown Portland on March 30th at 6:30pm.  Learn all you need to know to start planning your PNT hike. PNTA staff member and thru-hiker, Eric Wollborg will share a presentation to inspire and prepare you to head out on one of our wildest and most rugged National Scenic Trails. 

The Grounds Keepers Program 

The PNTA is thrilled to announce that Granite Gear has selected three hikers: Sam Kaelin and father and son team, Peter and Charles Rasco to be Grounds Keepers on the PNT this year! 

The Grounds Keepers Program was inspired by the remarkable dedication of the Packing It Out Team to Leave No Trace Principles.  Sponsored by Granite Gear, this program will outfit 15 thru-hikers with gear to be "Keepers" of our nation's long distance trails during their 2017 hikes. The Grounds Keepers team members will help to "clean up those sacred wild places and to impact surrounding communities by embodying the Leave No Trace principles." 

Cascade Hiker Podcast Feature
Episode #40, The PNT

The Pacific Northwest Trail was featured on the Cascade Hiker Podcast this month! Podcaster Rudy Giecek sat down for a wide ranging interview with our Executive Director, Jeff Kish. Jeff shares his perspective as a PNT thru-hiker, talks about historic trail towns, and reveals how Ron Strickland and determined volunteers brought the PNT into being as a congressionally designated National Scenic Trail. 

" Grizzly Bear Sow and Cubs " by Denali National Park and Preserve is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Grizzly Bear EIS

Grizzlies are nothing new to Pacific Northwest Trail thru-hikers who already cross ~400 miles of grizzly habitat on the trail's eastern end, which includes Glacier National Park. Even hikers who don't spot a brown bear can't help but see their tracks and scat along the PNT in Montana. But in the Western portions of trail, which include North Cascades National Park, there have been no confirmed Grizzly sightings since the 1990s and most westbound hikers choose to mail their bear spray home at the Metaline Falls Post Office. 

This month, a 60-day public comment period was initiated by the National Park Service and Wildlife Service concerning a plan to restore Grizzlies to the North Cascades Ecosystem in Washington. The Endangered Species Act requires the draft of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) followed by a series of open houses designed to inform the public and invite their participation concerning four proposed alternative plans to restore grizzly bears to the North Cascades. 

You can read more about the EIS and submit your comment here.

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