A tribute to Dan Ogden: 1923-2018

Dan Ogden at his home in Vancouver, Washington, 2015. Photo by Mark Larabee.

He could be called one of the founding fathers of trails in the United States. Though trails were well on their way to becoming a national treasure before Dan Ogden got involved, he helped ensure their longevity and survival.

As the assistant director of planning and research in the Bureau of Outdoor Recreation, Dan put together the 1966 study Trails For America. Because the study made such a compelling case for the spiritual and physical health benefits of trails to the American people, it became the basis for the National Trails System Act of 1968.

Dan died Feb. 8, 2018. He was 95.

A lifelong conservationist and highly effective administrator, Dan also played a key role in establishing Redwood National Park, North Cascades National Park and the National Wild Scenic Rivers Act.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of all these important milestones. We are saddened that Dan passed before he could enjoy all of the celebrations planned for this year. Still, we commemorate and thank him for his enduring legacy.

Read more about Dan and his contributions:

  • In 2008, Dan wrote an essay for the PCT Communicator about the National Trails System Act.
  • In their 2016 book, The Pacific Crest Trail: Exploring America’s Wilderness Trail, authors Mark Larabee and Barney Scout Mann told the tale of how Dan may have convinced President Lyndon Johnson to include trails in his agenda.
  • In 2016, PCTA Regional Representative Dana Hendricks met with Dan and his co-worker Jean Matthews to learn about the legislative effort to enshrine trails in our national conscience.
  • The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver published an obituary about Dan.

Dan Ogden looks over the 1966 Trails For America report, which he oversaw. Photo by Mark Larabee.

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.