PCTA is in Washington D.C. this week to advocate for the trail

Imagine this: the PCT is complete. Private lands are protected and the threat of new vacation homes and shopping centers is a thing of the past. What was once a road walk is now a pleasant trail. Viewsheds and the trail corridor are protected for posterity. The trail stretches, uninterrupted, from terminus to terminus in one promising ribbon. It beckons to hikers and equestrians alike, saying, “come tread on me.”

This is, of course, one of the PCTA’s ultimate goals in its efforts to preserve, protect, and promote the PCT for future generations. But how do we arrive at this ideal?

Currently, about 200 miles of the PCT is on private land with an agreed upon easement. But often, the trail is not adequately protected on those parcels. Though the PCTA and the U.S. Forest Service have identified specific properties that must be protected, funding limitations prevent the association from purchasing the land in a consistent manner. As a result, the trail and its viewshed remain vulnerable.

Each February, PCTA’s team of roughly 10 to 15 Hike the Hill volunteer trail advocates and staff members travel to Washington, D.C. to talk about the issue. In meetings with congressional and senatorial aides, teams of three or four from PCTA present an appropriations request for the upcoming fiscal year. This document outlines specific dollar amounts necessary not only to acquire key land parcels, but also to facilitate continued maintenance and improvement of the trail itself. Our advocates urge Congress members to fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and request that money be set aside for land acquisition and PCT maintenance through the USFS, the NPS, and the BLM.

Our Hike the Hill volunteers also ask that legislators support a letter allowing for the “inclusion of the National Trails System in the Fiscal Year 2015 budget as part of the Collaborative Landscape Planning package.” This collaborative landscape request allows the National Scenic and Historic Trails to combine their funding needs into a single, more robust request for LWCF funding. By making a request for the entire National Trails System, we are able to explain the massive contributions made by donors and volunteers from all the trail organizations.

This year, Hike the Hill is running from February 9th to the 12th. On the trail, at the office, and in the halls of Congress, our volunteers and staff are leading us ever closer to a thoroughly protected and well-maintained Pacific Crest Trail.

Find out more:

Read our Appropriations Request. It provides excellent insight into what PCTA is working on.

Read our Appropriations Request. It provides excellent insight into what PCTA is working on.

Author: Korbi Thalhammer

Korbi is a long-time volunteer with the Pacific Crest Trail Association. He’s currently working in our Sacramento office between high school and a summer 2014 thru-hike of the PCT. He coordinated PCT maintenance through his high school and has travelled multiple times to Washington D.C. to advocate for congressional support for the trail.