Alice Krueper

Her Spirit will always live on the Pacific Crest Trail

“If everyone who used the trail would give two days a year in helping maintain it, the trail would be in great shape.” That was Alice Krueper’s slogan, and she encouraged hundreds of hikers and equestrians to follow her advice.

However, Alice wasn’t content to give just two days a year. She devoted the latter part of her life to organizing volunteer trail work parties for one of the loves of her life – the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail. The large network of volunteers who now donate thousands of hours for trail work in Southern California can be directly attributed to her efforts as the PCTA Trail Coordinator for Region 1.

Alice died on March 16, 1996 at age 69 after a nine-month battle with pancreatic cancer. Several hundred mourners, many of them PCTA members, trail work volunteers and members of other environmental groups attended her memorial service – a tribute to the affection held for her by those who knew her.

Water sources along the PCT in the Mojave desert, bridges across creeks, and brush-free trails are the results of her tireless efforts in overseeing nearly 700 miles of the PCT in Southern California.

Prior to her death, the PCTA created the Alice Krueper Award to recognize the efforts of trail volunteers. The association presented the first such award to Alice at its annual meeting at Palm Springs in January 1996, just two months before her death.

As a long time conservationist and outdoor recreation enthusiast, Alice earned other honors, too. She received the Joe Momyer Chapter Conservation Award in 1980 from the San Gorgonio Chapter of the Sierra Club, the 1989 Take Pride in America Award and the 1989 Take Pride in California Award for her trail work. She was a co-founder of the Defenders of the San Gorgonio Wilderness and fought successfully to maintain that area as a wilderness.

Adventure was in Alice’s blood. After graduating from college, she bicycled across Europe before marrying Harry, a friend she met in the University of California Berkeley hiking club. The couple raised four boys while staying in shape by participating in seven marathons and five triathalons. In 1981 she bicycled across the United States, and in 1982 entered and won the Ironman World Triathalon for her age category.

Starting in 1986, she hiked the PCT in six segments of three months each, hiking at the optimum time of year for each segment. “I just wanted to keep on going right on into British Columbia,” she said at the conclusion of her last segment in 1992.

When she was diagnosed and began treatment for cancer, she told a newspaper reporter, “Everyone is born and everyone dies; you just do your darndest to do your best in between.” — and that indeed is what Alice did.

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