Remembering Brice Hammack, passionate advocate for trails

Brice Hammack was a passionate advocate for trails, a celebrated triple-crowner, a dedicated volunteer, and a mentor to many. He passed away September 26, 2018. The Pacific Crest Trail Association has had the privilege of honoring Brice on a number of occasions: we presented him with the Regional Trail Maintainer of the Year Award in 1997, the Alice Krueper Award in 2001, and the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006. Steve Queen, the founder of PCTA’s Mount Hood Chapter, said it best, “Best wishes, my friend. That was a hell of a run.”

Brice and Rita at PCTA’s 2007 Trail Fest.

Brice L. Hammack’s obituary

Dec. 3, 1919 – Sept. 26, 2018

Brice was a graduate of the school of forestry of Oregon State University. Following graduation, four and a half years of his life were devoted to World War Two. This involved combat flying service with the Eighth Air Force in the European theater of operations.

Leaving the service in 1945 with the rank of captain, Brice commenced his industrial forest career, which covered 40 years of work in Northern California and the Pacific Northwest. Closing out his working career in 1986 Brice gave freely of his time toward a variety of volunteer work, until his death.

Retirement also provided time to backpack in the isolated mountain ranges of the United States. The Pacific Crest, Appalachian and Continental Divide trails were all entirely traversed by Brice.

A long time member of Valley Community Presbyterian Church, Brice requested that there be no memorial service. Any remembrances may be in the form of a donation to Hoyt Arboretum or Valley Community Presbyterian Church.

Disposition of the body will be by cremation with the ashes to be scattered adjacent to the Pacific Crest Trail.

Survivors include his wife, Rita; daughter, Marsha Hammack of Portland; son, Brice R. Hammack and his wife, Donna, both of New York City.

Please sign the online guest book at

Published in The Oregonian from Sept. 28 to Sept. 30, 2018

Brice addresses and inspires PCTA’s Mount Hood Chapter.

When Mount Hood Chapter volunteers heard the news, his friends remembered him this way:

Kim Owen: “Brice was my inspiration for doing trail work and life. I always marveled at his energy and attitude. I hope to live life head on, as well he did.”

Ron Goodwin: “I remember when he was at least 85 that he hiked alone across the Pasayten Wilderness from Highway 97 in the Okanogan country to I-5 in 13 days. That was a year with smoke from wildfires in the air and I asked him how much food he was taking. He said [enough] for 7 days and would catch fish for the other days. He caught a bus to come back home.  When he was awarded the Lifetime Award, he honored his wife for letting him do what he wanted to do. I think about him all the time and [my wife] Katie always commented on his long legs. They actually reached all the way to the ground. He was an inspiration for all.”

Tammy Turner: “Brice met me a couple times to talk to me about my 2004 PCT attempt. I met him on a crew in 2002, he had thru-hiked sometime before that. And he was an amazing resource for a new hiker and crew member. Such a sweet man.”

Roberta Cobb: “He ranks as a legend on the PCT and with Mount Hood Chapter. He was with the chapter from the beginning. He had a section of trail in Washington, and he and his small crew would go regularly to work there. When he won the PCTA Lifetime Achievement Award, I remember him saying that he had worked on the PCT longer than many of us had been alive.”

Steve Plant: “My best memory of Brice was 10 years ago. I was doing a day hike on the PCT north of Santiam Pass and came across Brice who was doing a backpacking trip from Santiam to Mount Hood. He was 88 then. Hope we all can be that lucky.  A super nice person.  We’ll miss you Brice.”

Ruth Weston: “I remember working in the Zig Zag canyon years ago. Brice came by on a backpacking trip, headed for Cascade Locks. He was very apologetic that he couldn’t stay and work. Good guy!”

Steve Queen: “Brice was a critical and consistent emotional support for me during the early days of the chapter. Brice received the inaugural Triple Crown award in 1994 for hiking the PCT in 1987, the AT in 1991, and the CDT in 1994. I had lunch with Brice at the end of July and he would have turned 99 on December 3. Best wishes, my friend. That was a hell of a run.”

Brice received PCTA’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006.

Author: Ellen Ginda

Ellen is PCTA’s Volunteer Programs Coordinator. She works in PCTA’s Sacramento office, supporting the volunteers who dedicate their time, energy and passion to the trail.