Bears, Crowns & Rucks, all in this January  E Newsletter from the Pacific Northwest Trail Association

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.

Why I Gave Up My Triple Crown  (to Hike the PNT)
by Eric "Panorama" Wollborg

"So when are you hiking the AT," became the question hikers asked me and Xana, my wife and hiking partner. It seemed reasonable - we had hiked the Pacific Crest Trail already and even while we were in the thick of the Continental Divide Trail, it was assumed what would follow.

But Xana and I marched lockstep in our heresy - we had no plans to hike the Appalachian Trail, maybe ever. And we didn't give up our "Crowns" for legitimate reasons either; to raise a family or climb corporate ladders, we did it (gasp) to... hike... other... trails.  

Congratulations, PNT Class of 2016!

We sure are proud of your achievement! You've tramped against the grain of seven mountain ranges, trekking where only hardy early adopters have dared to go before. As trail ambassadors in the historic towns of the PNT, you've represented the hiking community with honor.

After 1,200 miles, you know this trail. You know the views that made your heart soar, the slogs that made your feet sore, the hidden spots no one else visits, and the coffee shops with the best WiFi connections. 

Remember that you can earn your 1,200 Miler Patch and help make the PNT better by filling out two brief surveys on our website .

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." 

" 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.

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. 

First Day Hike at Deception Pass 

Over one hundred hikers of all ages met for a brisk New Year's Day hike at Deception Pass State Park on Whidbey Island, Washington. A guided hike along a section of the Pacific Northwest Trail was led by Park Manager, Jack Hartt and Ranger, Montana Napier. Afterward, hikers warmed themselves at the Cornet Bay Retreat Center, enjoyed refreshments provided by the Deception Pass Park Foundation, and were captivated by a multimedia presentation about the Pacific Northwest Trail, given by PNT thru-hiker and Executive Director, Jeff Kish.

You can read Fidalgo Island resident,  Dave Wenning's take  at  A self-described "weather geek," Dave chronicles the unique weather and wildlife on the island. 

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.  PNT  planning sessions will be featured at two events. 

The Inland NorthwestRuck, on February, 4th, will be held in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. There will be a 'break-out planning session' for the PNT held by PNT Town Guide Author,  Melanie Simmerman. 
The  Cascade Locks Ruck , on  February 25th , will have PNT thru-hikers, Eric and Suzanne 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 Thru-hike 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.

Follow us on social media for trail updates, pictures and fun!

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Use the hashtag #crowntocoast and we'll share your PNT pictures. 

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