DEI Update to the PCT Community

Three Sisters Wilderness. Photo by Stephanie Grace.

The recent verdict in the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin was an important step toward holding police accountable for their actions. But the outcome doesn’t erase the fact that George Floyd was murdered, and much work remains to be done to create an equitable and just future for Black people and communities of color in America.

George Floyd’s murder last summer caused PCTA along with the rest of the country to examine our beliefs and biases and recognize the systemic racism that persists in our culture. We were moved to further introspection when an Open Letter to the Pacific Crest Trail Association was published on July 17, 2020. The letter was signed by many Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) members of the PCT community and their supporters.

The letter demanded change from the PCTA to address the harm created by years of inaction with regard to our lack of diversity in staffing, executive leadership, and board of directors—and for contributing to a tolerance for racism that perpetuates white supremacy and an outdoor culture of exclusion.

The letter further presented a list of steps to move toward being an agent of change and equity in the outdoor sphere. We acknowledge that this work will be ongoing, and we still have a lot of work to do. We are co-creating with our DEI consultants—the Center for Diversity in the Environment—a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion plan for PCTA. While that planning work is still in progress, today we would like to share with our community the steps and commitments that we are already making to support diversity, equity, and inclusion at PCTA and in our community.

PCTA is committed to making our organization more diverse and our culture more inclusive

  • We’re proud to be a sponsor at the inaugural event of the Bridge Project, an equitable hiring pathway for the environmental sector focused on people of color and underrepresented communities.As a sponsor, we will participate in training for employers around equitable hiring, identifying biases in hiring, and the onboarding process and plan to hire staff through future Bridge Project hiring events.
  • The PCTA staff recently completed five days of the Building the Foundation staff training with the Center for the Diversity and the Environment, and our board will also be receiving this training in May. This training is designed to establish a foundation for deep learning, honest exploration and open dialogue. We began to develop a shared understanding of equity, diversity and inclusion in our lives, our relationships and our work, and explore the many dimensions of diversity in our personal and professional interactions. This includes:
    • Building self-awareness;
    • Developing a common language to describe the fundamental principles of diversity, inclusion, racism and equity;
    • Recognizing the behaviors of racism and of inclusion;
    • Evaluating and acknowledging problem areas (barriers to inclusion);
    • Understanding a case for action;
    • Evaluating the impact of equity, inclusion, and diversity in our work settings and in our communities;
    • Developing a willingness to stretch and change;
    • And committing to a process that is, by nature, dynamic.
  • We are committed to publishing a DEI statement on our website by June 30 that speaks to our organizational values and vision for greater DEI on the Pacific Crest Trail and in the PCTA.
  • We plan to update our mission, vision, and values statements in 2022, in an inclusive process with community involvement. We will communicate more about the specific process in the fall.

PCTA is committed to challenging the dominant narrative in outdoor recreation, amplifying stories and experiences from BIPOC community members, and honoring the many ways people connect to the PCT and our outdoor spaces.

  • We’ve made changes to our social media policies and practices including:
    • adding paid BIPOC moderators with more extensive moderation coverage;
    • updated rules for our PCTA Facebook Page and Groups including a zero tolerance policy for racist comments;
    • updated membership requirements for joining the group that include agreeing to discussion in the groups of racism on the PCT.
  • We recently published a new interactive map of the PCT on our website, which includes:
    • a layer for federally-recognized tribal lands;
    • a layer for Indigenous lands with data from
  • We are committed to publishing more stories by BIPOC Hikers in our magazine and blog and elevate BIPOC voices in the PCT community by promoting these stories on our social media channels and monthly e-newsletter.
  • We are committed to posting more DEI-relevant content (including shared stories and articles) on our social media channels.

PCTA is committed to breaking down barriers to accessing the trail and our public lands.

  • For many years, we have had programs in place that introduce young people from urban areas to the outdoors through volunteer work/study on the PCT. One example is our partnership with the Environmental Charter High School in the Los Angeles area, which brings a group of students to the PCT twice a year and works to amplify their voices in the management of our public lands through participation in our Hike the Hill week in Washington, D.C.
  • We have added extensive information to our website on trailwide public transportation to the PCT in service of making the trail more broadly accessible.

In addition to our work with the Center for Diversity in the Environment, PCTA leadership is continuing to work with a group of PCT community members to address other points from the open letter and will have more to report in the coming months.

Author: PCTA Staff

The mission of the Pacific Crest Trail Association is to protect, preserve and promote the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail as a world-class experience for hikers and equestrians, and for all the values provided by wild and scenic lands.