Pleased to announce a new MOU between the PCTA, USFS, BLM, NPS and CA State Parks

Did you ever wonder how a path thousands of miles long, traversing so many different types of public and private land, gets managed, maintained and protected as a single entity? It takes a feat of fancy agreement work to get all the oars rowing in the same direction. The document we refer to as “the Memorandum of Understanding,” or simply “the MOU,” is that agreement. It was first signed in 1993 and we celebrated another renewal last month.

Just what is it?  Beth Boyst, U.S. Forest Service PCT Program Manager sums it up: “The MOU provides tenents of the foundational relationship between PCTA, the Forest Service, the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management and California State Parks on how we work together to provide for the comprehensive development, management, planning and coordination on the trail. It recognizes the importance of citizen stakeholders and volunteers for the stewardship of the trail and PCTA as being a major partner.”

It’s no accident that the Pacific Crest Trail thrives with the involvement of invested citizens. The earliest visioning and advocacy for this iconic long-distance trail was citizen-led. In the 1930s, Clinton Clarke envisioned a path linking the high ridges of the great Pacific mountains “traversing the best scenic areas and maintaining an absolute wilderness character.” Clarke’s vision inspired scores of young volunteers, who mapped the route in the late ‘30s. The deep citizen involvement in the viability of the PCT and other eventual National Scenic Trails caught the attention of Congress, as evidenced in an opening clause of the 1968 National Trails System Act. It states that volunteer citizens should continue to be integral to trails’ planning, development, maintenance, and management. Today, the PCTA’s staff of 19 and thousands of volunteers get involved to protect the trail at every level, from the ground up.

Being cheesy and having fun with our agency partners is all part of the job.

Being cheesy and having fun with our agency partners is all part of the job.

Of course, we could never do it alone. Each year, the PCTA works with more than 100 individual units within the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service and California State Parks. Our agency partners represent an unmatched pool of professional talent and passion. Their attention, at all levels of their ranks, enables the Pacific Crest Trail to be what it is. Our partners fight fires, help hikers and horseback riders and manage the health of the forest ecosystem and the experience of the trail so that it’s passable and protected for generations to come.

Mike Dawson, PCTA Trail Operations Director, points to the pivotal nature of this type of agreement. “The system of cooperative management between PCTA and our agency partners is the cornerstone of all our efforts to build and maintain the trail and to preserve and improve the setting for the trail. It’s the mechanism that makes possible the creation of a unified, not to mention spectacular, PCT experience.”

This collaborative partnership produces outstanding on-the-ground results and contributes to the long-term sustainability of the PCT. We extend a huge thanks to our partners, volunteers and supporters and celebrate what we have accomplished together.

Author: Dana Hendricks

Dana Hendricks, our Columbia Cascades Regional Representative, is in charge of the PCT from Windigo Pass, Oregon through the Columbia River Gorge. She lives with her husband, Paul, and her little hiker, Gus, just a couple miles from the Bridge of the Gods. She has a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Oregon.