California Senate recognizes PCT and the National Trails System as part of 50th anniversary

The California Senate in session in Sacramento.

On Thursday, the California Senate voted unanimously in favor of a resolution commemorating the Pacific Crest Trail and the 50thanniversary of the National Trails System Act.

State Sen. Robert Hertzberg introduced the resolution with 11other state senators who have the PCT running through their districts.

“This 32-inch-wide path is a window into our state’s singular natural beauty,” Hertzberg said from the Senate floor. “As Einstein said, ‘look deep into nature and then you will understand everything better.’ ”

Gregory Connick, Sen. Robert Herzberg, and Jack Haskel

The 2,650-mile-long PCT extends 1,692 miles through some of the most beautiful and wild parts of California, including five California state parks, as well as national forests, national parks, national wilderness areas, national monuments and private properties.

Gregory Connick, the Acting Region 5 partnership liaison for the U.S. Forest Service, and Jack Haskel, the PCTA’s trail information manager, sat in the gallery during the Senate session and were recognized by Sen. Hertzberg from the floor.

“We’re both happy to have helped celebrate the 50thanniversary on the Senate floor,” Haskel said. “The Pacific Crest Trail deserves all of the honors and recognition, and more. I’m happy to see our highest state officials recognize the value of the trail and celebrate it in this golden anniversary year.”

Jack Haskel and Gregory Connick.

We are nearing the Oct. 2 anniversary of the National Trails System Act. On that day in 1968, President Lyndon Johnson signed the legislation, a groundbreaking law that created our national trails system and designated the Pacific Crest and Appalachian trails as the country’s first two National Scenic Trails. Today, there are 11 National Scenic and 19 National Historic trails.

An excerpt from the California Senate resolution:

WHEREAS, The management and protection of the trail is the responsibility of a partnership between the United States Forest Service and the Pacific Crest Trail Association, along with many other federal, state, and local agencies, and countless volunteers devoted to maintaining and managing the trail for all to enjoy a closeness with nature; now, therefore, be it resolved by the Senate of the State of California, that the Senate recognizes 2018 as the 50th anniversary of the designation of the Pacific Crest Trail as a National Scenic Trail and urges all involved to continue to protect and preserve this world-renowned trail for the continued use and enjoyment of the public.

Watch a video of Sen. Hertzberg’s floor speech

Sen. John Moorlach spoke in support of the resolution. He talked passionately about his time hiking sections of the PCT in Southern California and why the PCT was important to him.

Each of the 11 California State Senators that have the PCT in their districts introduced the resolution. The PCTA wishes to publicly thank Sen. Hertzberg and the other PCT senators for their recognition and support. They are Senators Joel Anderson, Tom Berryhill, Jean Fuller, Ted Gaines, Ben Hueso, Mike McGuire, Mike Morrell, Jim Nielsen, Anthony Portantino, Jeff Stone, and Scott Wilk.

You can read the full text of the resolution here.

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.