Watch the video: the PCTA shares 2017 financial results during annual meeting

NOTE: To jump to specific speakers and locations within the video, head over to watch the meeting on YouTube, where you’ll find “jump to” links in the video description.

What’s amazing about the Pacific Crest Trail Association is the simple fact that so many people care about the trail.

That was evident during our 2018 Annual Meeting in Sacramento on April 28. More than 100 people attended, some from far off. That kind of crowd on a sunny Saturday afternoon always surprises. The love the PCT community has for the trail seemingly knows no bounds.

“We’re all here because of our interest and passion for the Pacific Crest Trail,” said Liz Bergeron, the PCTA’s executive director and CEO, to kick off the gathering. “We’re going to celebrate our 2017 accomplishments, which all of you have made possible. We could not do it without you.”

Liz Bergeron.

This is a recurring theme for good reason. All of us, working together on various efforts, get the job done. It takes volunteers, donors and agency, corporate and nonprofit partners. Without them, the trail would be reclaimed by nature.

Also front and center was the ongoing celebration of the 50thanniversary of the National Trails System Act, the 1968 law that created the National Trails System and designated the PCT as one of the first two National Scenic Trails.

“It’s really a wonderful opportunity to put a spotlight on all of our national trails,” Liz said of the anniversary.

A highlight of the event was when Liz and Jennifer Tripp, the PCTA’s director of Trail Operations, presented volunteer Phil Brisack with the PCTA’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Phil is a member of the Tahoe Rim Trail Association who has maintained Northern Sierra trails for more than 20 years, donating more than 500 hours a year in each of those years. Not only is he dedicated to stewarding maintenance on the PCT, which shares 55 miles of trail with the Tahoe Rim Trail, he recruits and mentors new volunteers.

Jennifer Tripp and Phil Brisack.

Phil is but one example of the work that goes into taking care of the PCT. In 2017, the PCT needed every ounce of effort. It was called the year of fire and ice: when high snow levels, record stream flows and wildfires conspired to thwart the class of thru-hikers. But as Liz reminded the annual meeting attendees, the PCTA persevered like the hikers, providing accurate information about safe routes and trail closures and delving into ongoing maintenance projects to keep the trail open.

“You all have persevered as well with your support,” she said. “Your support really makes this work possible. I hope you learn something today about how your support is making a difference for the trail that we all love.”

2017 was another strong year for the PCTA, with revenues exceeding expenses.

The PCTA dedicated $6.1 million worth of resources to the trail in 2017.

Here’s a breakdown:

  • $2.3 million in private contributions
  • $2.4 million worth of volunteer labor
  • $965,000 in government funding
  • $435,000 in other revenue

More detailed financial information can be found online in our 2017 Annual Report.

More 2017 numbers:

  • 13,000 members in all 50 states and 45 countries
  • Volunteers donated 96,657 hours to the trail
  • 1,556 acres were protected along the trail

For a more detailed assessment, see our 2017 Year-End Program Review.

Tom Reveley, the incoming chair of the PCTA Board of Directors, thanked his fellow board members and said he is honored to serve with them. “Even though they come from all different walks of life, they all have different talents, the great commonality among the board is their great love of the trail,” he said.

Tom Reveley.

He reminded the audience about the PCTA’s aspirations to continue to grow its resources and pointed to the recently completed 2018-2021 Strategic Plan that also can be found on the PCTA’s website.

Several PCTA staffers briefly took the podium to talk about various program areas and the highlights of what was accomplished in 2017. Beth Boyst, the PCT administrator for the U.S. Forest Service, acknowledged the breath of the association’s effort, offering a “heartfelt thanks” to the crowd.

“I’m also struck by the fact that you’re not really hearing about how hard some of this stuff is,” she said, mentioning a couple of program directives by name. “It’s really incredible. We’ll keep up the positive spin but know that there’s some real sweat equity that goes with it as well.”

Beth Boyst.

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.