July 2015
News from the Trail

Summer Hiking

The month of June has brought record highs to the Pacific Northwest, with temperatures exceeding 100 degrees.  Lower than average snow and rain throughout the winter and spring have led to drought-like conditions along the trail corridor. Compounded with dry weather and hot temperatures, many public land management agencies are announcing burn bans.   


Olympic National Park, Olympic National Forest and Washington State Department of Natural Resources have announced burn bans and restrictions on pit fires.  "With the driest May and June on record and staff already committed to suppression of the Paradise Fire, we are enacting this fire restriction to conserve our firefighting resources and to help prevent additional fires," said Sarah Creachbaum, Superintendent of the Olympic National Park, in a recent press release.  Camp stoves may still be used and pit fires are allowed only in established-front country campgrounds as permitted by the management agency. With a holiday weekend around the corner, trail users are urged to contact local Federal and State offices or websites for current fire danger ratings, or fire and firework restrictions that may be in place.


Along with fire and drought conditions, trail users are urged to hike smart during hot summer months.  How can you stay safe and be prepared when enjoying the Pacific Northwest Trail?

  • Choose the right hike.  Visit higher elevations or locations with waterways and plenty of shade.  Save tougher hikes for cooler days.  
  • Enjoy the trail in the early morning hours when temperatures are coolest.
  • Bring sunscreen.  Exposed skin can burn quickly and hasten dehydration.
  • Wear the proper clothing.  Lightweight, loose fitting clothing and a lightweight hat can go a long way to keeping body temperatures down.
  • Bring plenty of water.  For heavy exercise in hot environments, you should drink 16-32 ounces of cool liquids each hour. 
  • Stay hydrated, but also take in electrolytes.  Electrolytes are lost quickly in sweat, but salty snacks or sports drinks can keep levels up.
  • Prevent heat exhaustion by looking for shade and taking breaks.
  • Most of all, pay attention to your body!
For more information on trail conditions, Like us on Facebook or call the PNTA office at (360) 854-9415.  


'Experience the PNT'
Here at the Pacific Northwest Trail Association, we encourage others to share their joy of National Scenic Trails through stories, art and education.  There are many different perspectives of trail users - hikers, bikers, and horseback riders all see the trail through different yet valuable eyes.  

Join us as we "Experience the PNT' through the eyes of photographer, writer and 2014 thru-hiker Jeff Kish.  'Experience the PNT' talks about Jeff's trek, as well as the past, present and future of the Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail.   

The presentation will be hosted by Base Camp Brewing Company on Tuesday, July 14 at 6:30 PM.  Visit Facebook for more information. 
Pacific Northwest Trail Days

Join the Pacific Northwest Trail Association, our friends and family as we celebrate the Pacific Northwest Trail on August 8-9 in Oroville, Wa. 


Hosted by the Oroville PNTA Chapter, Pacific Northwest Trail Days is a family friendly cookout and celebration of a quaint little trail town.  Learn about local resources, get to know other trail users and enjoy summer time along the Similkameen River!


For more information, visit our website or contact Samantha Hale at [email protected].

Interview with a thru-hiker

Photo by Jeff Kish
Planning a thru hike of a National Scenic Trail like the PNT is a huge undertaking. Hikers put countless hours into finding the right gear, planning food drops and resupply points and mapping out their route.  Preparation often takes as much time as the actual hike itself.

In April, we caught up with 2015 thru-hiker Matt 'Free' Hopkins as he was busy preparing for his hike.  Read more about Matt's preparations on our blog.

If you're thinking of planning your own thru hike, start by reading 'How to Prepare'.  

News from Idaho & Montana


Sunset along the North Fork Road between Glacier National Park and Flathead National Forest in Montana. Photo Credit: Stephanie Campbell


In Montana and Idaho, our Eastern Regional Coordinator Stephanie is busy becoming acquainted with the towns along the trail and surrounding area by visiting these quaint communities and speaking with knowledgeable locals.  She is also meeting with land managers and natural resource advocates including federal agency partners on the national park and forests, local and state government representatives, and nonprofit partners to establish PNTA's presence on-the-ground along the east end.  She is also spending time with those who care for the trail in-the-field including volunteer organizations and paid trail crews.  Those who have spent their lives and careers caring and advocating for these incredible natural resources have been kind and generous in assisting her as she climbs the steep learning curve in learning the extensive history of her region.  Please feel free to reach out to her regarding questions, concerns, and comments as they pertain to PNTA's involvement in Montana and Idaho.

Washington Region News
Our Western and Eastern Regional Coordinators have been busy running crews, starting up summer programs and managing volunteers.  

Service Knowledge Youth (SKY) crews are hard at work performing all types of trail maintenance.  In Eastern Washington, SKY Performance Crews are busy in the Sullivan Lake Ranger District and in the Tonasket Ranger District. The route through Salmo-Priest Wilderness has not yet been logged out but should be completed by mid-July. The SKY Pasayten Performance Crew will be working for 10 days this month on the PNT route near the Long Draw Trail 340 between the Pasayten Wilderness boundary and Horseshoe Pass. They will spend an additional 10 days working on the Two Bear Trail 343 constructing turnpikes and reconstructing a series of switchbacks.

In Western Washington, SKY Job Corps crews have been busy finishing stair sections along the Lake Serene Trail near Index Washington.  They have also been working along the Nooksack River Trail clearing, brushing and logging out trails.  In July, expect to see crews working along the Hannegan Pass Trail.  The SKY Quilcene Ranger Corps program is up and running, with crew leader Patrice Beck leading participants in brushing and clearing projects. Patrice will be running two crews per week, with crew members working 8 hours days twice a week. Participants range in age from 13-15 and are paid a daily wage for their work.  The SKY Quilcene Ranger Corps program focuses on skill refinement and team work skills for youth unfamiliar with trail work. 

On July 20th, our Experience the Wild program starts up out of Sedro-Woolley, WA.  This week long, 5 day camp introduces children to the many wonders of the Pacific Northwest.  By exploring old growth sites, glacially fed streams and riparian habitats, students come to understand the importance of a watershed to salmon and human alike. There are still open spots, so sign up quick!  For more information, visit our website

Elsewhere along the PNT, volunteers from the Back Country Horsemen of Washington, Washington Trails Association, and Montana Conservation Corps will be doing log out, brushing and tread maintenance work on a variety of trails.  Make sure to thank them for all that they do!

Note from the Director of Trail Management

recent blog post by REI names the Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail as "arguably the most breathtaking thru-hike in the country."  Linking three of the wildest National Parks in the U.S. and passing through seven National Forests; the Pacific Northwest Trail begins in Glacier National Park and ends along the stunning beaches of the Olympic Peninsula.  1,200 miles of raw beauty, glaciated peaks, foggy valleys, countless waterfalls, alpine flowers, and old growth stands mesmerize trail users.  While many call it a thru-hiking trail, the grandeur of PNT can be experienced in many ways - by thru-hiking, section hiking, day hiking, mountain biking or horseback riding.


Here at the Pacific Northwest Trail Association, we make it our mission to actively work towards the continual protection and preservation of the PNT for generations to come. We ask for your support as we work towards that mission.  Membership dues of as little as $30 a year go a long way towards supporting and protecting the trail.  Donations of all amounts are important and no gift is too small.  For those able to donate time or talent, we have a wide variety of volunteer opportunities both in the field and in the office.


The Pacific Northwest Trail is more than just a trail.  It is a chance for people to get out into a rare landscape, wild yet familiar; it is an opportunity to form bonds, create memories and build better stories; it is an experience.  


Please help us protect this experience by giving today. 

Happy adventuring, 



Jon Knechtel

Director of Trail Management

For more information on how you can help the Pacific Northwest Trail Association, visit our donation page at www.pnt.org/get-involved/donating/.  For volunteer opportunities in your area, contact your local Regional Coordinator.  

The sun sets along the PNT in Eastern Montana. Photo credit: Noah Pylvainen.
If you've got photos or stories that you'd like to share with the Pacific Northwest Trail Association community, contact Samantha at [email protected] to be featured in the next addition of the newsletter.