A message in support of diversity, equity and inclusion on the Pacific Crest Trail

The Southern Terminus of the Pacific Crest Trail in Campo, California. Photo by PCTA.

While the last year has been difficult for all of us, it has been even more challenging for some. Amidst the grief and isolation of the pandemic, economic upheaval, and massive wildfires, the killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and so many others sparked a broad awakening. As a society, we have ignored the harm done by systemic racism for far too long.

The PCTA has not confronted systemic racism directly, and we can do better. We must do better. We need to help eliminate the barriers to outdoor recreation that exist for many and address the challenges faced in the Pacific Crest Trail community.

We are grateful for the community members who have pointed out the PCT is not always a safe and welcoming place for people based on their race, ethnicity, gender, sexual-orientation, disability, age or class. We want the trail to be a safe and welcoming experience for everyone. So the PCTA is working to model the change that needs to happen to better assure everybody can enjoy the trail and share equally in its benefits.

And, as our country continues to suffer through racism and hate crimes, including violence against Asian-Americans, we will use our organizational voice to state there is no room for racism and hate speech in any form on the PCT. We stand in solidarity with the Asian-American and Pacific Islander communities and in solidarity with all Black, Indigenous and People of Color communities.

As part of our commitment, PCTA has changed our recruiting practices to attract a more diverse pool of candidates for staff and board positions. We are providing diversity, equity and inclusion training and education for our staff and board members to change our culture and our programs. We are having conversations with individuals in the PCT community to listen and learn. And we will be revising our mission, vision and values statements this year to reflect our diversity, equity and inclusion values.

Thank you to those of you who have engaged with us. We know the only way to move forward is with your voices included in our conversations and with real actions. Look for more information as we work to strengthen our organization and make the Pacific Crest Trail a safe and welcoming experience for all.

Author: Liz Bergeron

Liz Bergeron has served as the Executive Director and CEO of the Pacific Crest Trail Association since 2001. When she’s not working diligently to protect, preserve and promote the PCT, you may find her taking long walks in her neighborhood, day hiking on a local trail or introducing new hikers to the PCT.