Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail 2021 Highlights

The Pacific Northwest Trail Association (PNTA) provided the following highlights for the Pacific Northwest NST during the 2021 calendar year:

Strengthening Organizations and Partnerships

PNTA crew members Mari Johnson and Alina Chandra on the Pacific Northwest Trail thank partner pack stock for their help on the trail. Courtesy PNTA.

PNTA coordinated collaborative work with the Forest Service, Olympic National Park, Back Country Horsemen, and other local stakeholders to reopen a heavily damaged and long deferred multi-jurisdictional segment of the Pacific Northwest Trail on the Western Olympic Peninsula.

The segment, known locally as the Bogachiel Trail, had gone mostly unmaintained for most of the last decade after the Bogachiel River changed course and washed out a lower section of the trail, blocking access to the up-river portion.

PNTA successfully brought multiple agencies and regional partner groups together to develop plans to address the damage across multiple land management jurisdictions, and then led a 10-week project utilizing PNTA’s own Performance Trail Crews and Technical Advisor, in conjunction with Olympic National Park trail’s staff and pack support from the park and local Back Country Horsemen. By season’s end, the collaborative effort restored access to over 20 miles of the PNT and established new relationships with regional stakeholders to strengthen their collective ability to maintain trails on the Peninsula.

Education, Interpretation and Cultural Expression

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PNTA implemented a major revision to its 150-page strip map set to improve education and interpretation value for trail users.

The 2021 map revision includes native lands polygons overlaid on overview maps and page-by-page land acknowledgments to increase cultural awareness. The revision also improved education regarding threatened and endangered species, including current species distribution and management boundaries.

With the addition of these new elements, trail users can absorb valuable information as they traverse the region, increasing their appreciation of the trail corridor, and bringing context to the natural and cultural qualities of the landscape.

Other Highlights

From left to right, PNTA Performance Crew members Adam Greenberg, Peder Hoiland, Emily Amos, Lauren Holtzman, and Jorden Goodrich on fresh puncheon they constructed from cedar harvested on site. Photo courtesy PNTA.

PNTA expanded its Performance Trail Crew program to the largest number of youth and young adult participants in the Association’s history.

By adding additional crews and skilled Technical Advisors to assist with project oversight and implementation, the Association was able to accomplish more trail maintenance and construction on the ground than ever before.

All of this was accomplished while reducing traditional barriers to inclusion in trail stewardship by paying all participants a living wage, providing all field based meals and transportation to job sites, and maintaining a gear library to ensure that all program participants —regardless of their backgrounds and resources at home— were equipped to thrive in the trail’s remote settings.

Technical Advisors enriched the learning experience for crews by providing training and guidance on advanced projects such as building puncheons in remote locations using materials harvested on site.