America’s greatest new/old trail

advisory committee

Friday, May 20, 2016

As the founder of the Pacific Northwest Trail, I recently spoke before the committee that is advising the Forest Service on the trail’s future direction.  To have a little fun with the committee’s 27 members, I began with a pop quiz.  I asked them to stand up and keep standing if they had read one or more of a dozen PNT classics.  I knew, of course, in advance that few would have even heard of, let alone read, our 1979 one page, single-spaced, double-sided guide.  Or even our 400-page, 2001 guidebook.  But that wasn’t the point.  What I really wanted to do was drive home the point that the PNT was already very old before Congress added it to the National Trails System in 2009.  I hoped to help members realize that significant changes would be a mistake.

    Half or fewer of the Advisory Committee’s members stood up.  Could you do better?  Do you have advice for the committee about how to preserve and improve the PNT for its next fifty years?  Do you agree with our traditional “high for the views” focus that dates back to 1974?

    The best place to start your PNT reading is with The Pacific Northwest Trail Guide.   It’s out of print.  But I’ll soon offer it as a free download on this website.

    If you’re at all interested in America’s “newest” national scenic trail, please check out this YouTube video of my talk.

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