2022 PCTA Annual Membership Meeting is a Joyful Reunion

The PCTA’s 2022 Annual Membership Meeting was held in-person for first time since 2019—on a beautiful late-April Saturday afternoon outdoors behind the PCTA office in Sacramento, California. Everyone present talked about how different and satisfying it felt to be meeting in person again!

The 2022 Annual Membership Meeting was held outdoors in Sacramento, CA on April 23rd.

New board chair Kevin Bacon satisfied the business requirements for the meeting, noting that no items were presented by the board for action, and there were no results of recent board elections to report. Then, after unanimous adoption by the board earlier that day, Kevin read a proclamation of appreciation for retiring PCTA Executive Director and CEO Liz Bergeron. Finally, Kevin notified the audience that in the coming year, PCTA will begin updating its strategic plan, which was last updated in 2017 for a four-year period and extended through 2022. A significant part of the new plan will be the addition of diversity, equity, and inclusion, reinforcing PCTA’s commitment to make the PCT experience welcoming and inclusive for all people.

PCTA Acting Executive Director and CEO Megan Wargo welcomes the audience.

Next up was PCTA’s acting executive director and CEO Megan Wargo, who in her comments highlighted successes from 2021, including:

  • 55,167 hours of volunteer trail maintenance with no Covid infections;
  • Thanking volunteers for their extraordinary efforts;
  • 532 miles of the PCT were closed because of wildfires in 2020 and 2021, with 194 miles of the trail being within areas that burned;
  • Updates on advocating for the PCT with state and federal legislators;
  • And a focus on the impacts of climate change on the trail.

Megan then described recent successes of PCTA’s ongoing land protection efforts along the trail, and thanked the many donors (some present in the audience) who made these successes possible. Finally, she closed with 2022 permit numbers, including approximately 4600 northbound long-distance permits and 3400 section-hiking and southbound permits.

After the brief award of an engraved axe in recognition of outgoing board chair Rick Thalhammer’s service, PCT Administrator for the USDA Forest Service Lindsey Steinwachs told the audience about the recently completed PCT Foundation Document—a collaborative effort that captures the trail’s characteristics and benefits and provides a vision and guidelines for cooperative management of the trail in the years to come. She also gave an overview of the Great American Outdoors Act which included roughly $7 million in funding for deferred maintenance on the PCT.

Then, Lindsey presented a special gift to Liz Bergeron of a framed PCT painting by artist and thru-hiker Lindsey Fox.

Next up was Valerie Rupp, executive director for the Partnership for the National Trails System. Valerie described the history and purpose of the PNTS, and acknowledged Liz Bergeron’s involvement with the organization—including a term as president.

PCTA’s director of trail operations Jennifer Tripp, highlighted efforts in 2021 to not only provide rapid and detailed information to trail users on wildfire closures, but also collaboration with land management agencies to repair damaged sections of the trail, as well as the development of guidelines to protect the PCT during fire suppression operations. Jennifer also described the PCTA’s ongoing efforts to track over 100 projects along the trail with the potential to adversely impact the PCT experience. Finally, she thanked volunteers for their outstanding efforts, described Covid safety protocols in place for all volunteer projects, and mentioned the new interactive map of the PCT on the PCTA website.

PCTA’s Southern California regional representative Anitra Kass gave a moving tribute to extraordinary volunteer leader Pete Fish, who recently passed away.

Retiring Executive Director and CEO Liz Bergeron thanks the PCT community.

As the meeting drew to a close, retiring executive director and CEO Liz Bergeron stepped up to the mic to offer some appreciative remarks on her time with PCTA. She thanked everyone who not only made her leadership of PCTA possible, but who helped the organization grow over the years. “I’m super-excited about retirement,” she said, “and it’s going to be hard, of course, to let go of the work here. But it really helps knowing that we have an amazing team in place to carry on.”

It was a wonderful return to in-person events, and audience members lingered for a long time afterward just reconnecting after the pandemic’s long separation.

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.