Celebrating 50 years of the PCT
as a National Scenic Trail.

The PCTA protects Donomore Meadows

Life is marked by many milestones — ­­­­­­­­­­­­­first steps, first words,­­­­ graduations and promotions. Any PCT thru-hiker will tell you that a long-distance hike also can be measured in milestones. For northbound hikers, a major milestone is crossing the state line into Oregon after completing 1,689 miles in California.

Donomore Meadows provides PCT travelers a final glimpse of California’s beauty before they move into Oregon, and until today, these idyllic meadows running along the edge of the trail were unprotected.

The Donomore Meadows property as you see it from the Pacific Crest Trail.

The Donomore Meadows property as you see it from the Pacific Crest Trail.

The Pacific Crest Trail Association is proud to announce a new organizational milestone with our second land acquisition, the 160-acre Donomore Meadows property. This property contains a system of mountain meadows that abound with wildflowers in early summer. At the south end of Donomore Meadows, the PCT crosses Donomore Creek and walks the western edge of a meadow for approximately half a mile while meandering in and out of a mixed conifer forest. The meadows provide habitat for rare plant species, northern spotted owl, great gray owl, deer, elk and wolves. Its permanent conservation will protect heart-grabbing views from the PCT, critical wildlife habitat and an important water source for people and animals, Donomore Creek.

Protection of Donomore Meadows has long been a priority for the U.S. Forest Service and the PCTA, and we both were ready to move forward when we learned the property was for sale this summer. The circumstances around this acquisition are a bit different from our first acquisition of Landers Meadow in August 2016. In this case, the Forest Service has money budgeted in Fiscal Year 2016 to acquire the property through the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund. However, the landowner was interested in selling the property quickly, and did not want to go through the sometimes lengthy federal acquisition process.

Looking across Donomore Meadows toward the Pacific Crest Trail.

Looking across Donomore Meadows toward the Pacific Crest Trail.

As a private, non-profit partner to the agency, the PCTA was able to step in and quickly reach an agreement with the landowner to purchase the property. The PCTA will hold the property in trust while the Forest Service completes an appraisal and other due diligence, and we’ll sell it to the agency once all that work is finished.

The PCTA was able to play this invaluable role through the generosity of one of our supporters who provided us with a no-interest loan to acquire and hold the property. We expect to transfer Donomore Meadows to the Forest Service for inclusion into the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest in 2017.

A view of the Donomore Meadows property from a U.S. Forest Service road.

A view of the Donomore Meadows property from a U.S. Forest Service road.

This work is possible because of the PCTA’s land protection program, which was expanded in 2015. About 10 percent of the trail remains on private land with little in place to help protect the trail experience for future generations. In most cases, trail easements cross these private parcels, though many are less than 10 feet wide and do not protect crucial landscapes surrounding the trail.

New construction and development can happen at any time on private property along the PCT. The wildness of the trail experience is compromised every time a new road, power line or vacation home is built nearby. Often, these developments can push the trail onto property edges and along large fence lines if there’s no other place for it.

With your support, the PCTA is here to ensure that this does not happen. We are working with willing land owners, federal land managers and other private and nonprofit partners to ensure that these last private parcels are brought into public ownership for the good of the trail and the life-changing experiences it provides. Your generosity continues to fund this and other important work to protect and maintain the PCT for generations to come.

PCTA Regional Representative Ian Nelson on the Pacific Crest Trail at the California-Oregon border. The border is north of the Donomore Meadows property.

PCTA Regional Representative Ian Nelson on the Pacific Crest Trail at the California-Oregon border. The border is north of the Donomore Meadows property.

Author: Megan Wargo

Megan Wargo is PCTA’s Director of Land Protection. She oversees a program dedicated to protecting the landscape and trail miles that are still held by private landowners. Megan brings more than a dozen years of experience leading teams and managing landscape-scale conservation projects.