Cabin Creek sale permanently protects Pacific Crest Trail in Washington state

The recent sale to the U.S. Forest Service of two properties along the Pacific Crest Trail in central Washington will enhance the experience of hikers and horseback riders in this popular area east of Seattle.

The Nature Conservancy recently sold two parcels totaling 1,164 acres to the Forest Service.  The Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest will manage the land. The properties are within half a mile of the PCT, are visible from the trail and have long been part of the vision for protecting the trail and the experience of hiking it.

In addition, they encompass the headwaters of Cabin Creek, an important tributary to the Yakima River and habitat for salmon, steelhead and bull trout.

Cabin Creek Pacific Crest Trail land protection

© Benji Drummond/Lighthawk

“The U.S. Forest Service and its partners have been working for over a decade to help consolidate the checkerboard lands along this section of the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail,” said Megan Wargo, Director of Land Protection for the Pacific Crest Trail Association. “We are grateful to The Nature Conservancy for their work to permanently protect these two parcels, ensuring an outstanding recreational opportunity for hikers and equestrians along the PCT for generations to come. “

The $1.1 million purchase will be funded through the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund, a program that uses money from lease payments on offshore oil and gas extraction to pay for conservation projects. These properties are part of the nearly 48,000 acres the Nature Conservancy purchased from the Plum Creek Timber Co. for $48 million in December 2014. Proceeds from the sale will be used to repay some of the financing for the original purchase.

Cabin Creek parcel map Pacific Crest Trail land protection

Map courtesy of the Nature Conservancy

“We are fortunate to live in a region that is home to some of our nation’s most breathtaking natural treasures,” said Rep. Dave Reichert, who represents Washington’s 8th District in Congress. “Now through the tools of the LWCF and the partnership of the U.S. Forest Service and The Nature Conservancy, we can rest assured that this area of the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest and the experience of hiking the Pacific Crest Trail will be preserved for recreational visitors, the wildlife that calls it home, and for future generations to enjoy.”

The Nature Conservancy continues to manage its remaining 46,281 acres for healthy forests, clean water, wildlife habitat, and preserving public access, while seeking the best possible conservation outcomes for the land.

Many thanks to Congress, the U.S. Forest Service and the Nature Conservancy for their dedication to protecting the trail and surrounding landscapes in this popular recreation area.

Author: Mark Larabee

Mark Larabee is the PCTA's Advocacy Director. He is the former editor of the "PCT Communicator" magazine and co-author of "The Pacific Crest Trail: Exploring America's Wilderness Trail" published in 2016. Larabee is a journalist, part of a team who won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for breaking news for The Oregonian newspaper. He hiked the PCT across Oregon for a 2005 series for the paper and has been with PCTA since 2010. He lives in Portland.