Girard Ridge Land Acquisition Protects 1,172 Acres of Land Along the Pacific Crest Trail

The view of Castle Crags from the newly-protected land at Girard Ridge. Photo courtesy of Trust for Public Land.

We’re excited to announce the permanent protection of 2.5 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail and 1,172 surrounding acres of land in Northern California.

Known as Girard Ridge, the newly-protected land lies near the towns of Castella and Dunsmuir and near where the PCT crosses Interstate 5. Access to Girard Ridge is convenient from nearby towns, with a parking area off the I-5 Soda Creek exit making it a great destination for day-hikes. Views from the PCT on Girard Ridge are spectacular and include the granite spires of Castle Crags, the Trinity Alps, and Mount Shasta.

Map showing the location of the Girard Ridge acquisition by Galen Keily, PCTA.

The PCTA worked in partnership with Trust for Public Land to acquire the property, and helped direct funds from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund that made the acquisition possible. The land is now part of Shasta-Trinity National Forest.

“The PCT has long had a special relationship with this region of Northern California,” said PCTA Acting CEO and Executive Director Megan Wargo. “The neighboring communities—towns like Dunsmuir, Mount Shasta, and McCloud—have always been favorites for PCT hikers, and they offer great access for anyone looking to experience the Pacific Crest Trail for shorter trips or first-time use. We appreciate our partnerships with Trust for Public Land and the Shasta-Trinity National Forest and are excited that even more of this extraordinary region and the trail are now permanently protected.”

In the past few years, the impacts of climate change have become increasingly obvious along the PCT. Wildfires and extreme weather events have at various times closed hundreds of miles of the trail due to damage. Severe drought driven by record high temperatures has made water sources a serious concern for hikers, and millions of trees in forests along the trail have died from bark beetle infestations.

These impacts, as well as the potential for development on private land comprising roughly 10% of the PCT corridor, has made permanent protection of the entire PCT Corridor more urgent than ever. A continuously protected trail corridor can serve as a crucial link between larger protected landscapes for animal and plant species whose habitats are moving northward and to higher elevations as climate change leaves their current habitats unsustainable.

Every land conservation success brings us another step toward our vision of a fully protected Pacific Crest Trail. Since 2015, our community’s support of PCTA’s Land Protection program has led to the permanent protection of more than 30 miles of the PCT and more than 22,000 acres of lands along the trail. Much work remains to acquire and protect all remaining threatened lands along the PCT— but we’re celebrating the Girard Ridge acquisition as another important link in the larger protected landscape.

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.