August 2015
News from the Trail

Adventure in Paradise: Backpacking on the trail's east end

Need some weekend inspiration? Stephanie Campbell, Idaho & Montana Regional Coordinator, shares her story of visiting the eastern terminus of the Pacific Northwest Trail in the Belly River Valley of Glacier National Park.

Read her story on our blog.  Rainstorms, and mountains and bears, oh my!

Summer temperatures soar and fire danger rises

High temperatures stretching into the early days of August have drought and fires ravaging the landscape along the Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail corridor.  In Eastern Washington, fires burn across much of the 400 mile breadth of the region. There are fires in the Selkirks, the Kettle Range, the Okanogan Highlands and in the eastern Pasayten Wilderness.  As this is written, there are several fire area closures that are impacting the PNT:  The North Kettle Complex fire area closure has closed the north end of the Kettle Crest Trail south of Deer Summit; the Wildhorse fire area closure has closed the Whistler Canyon Trail from the Wilcox trainhead to US Highway 97; and the Newby Lake fire area closure has closed the Snowshoe, Goodenough and Long Draw trails in the Loomis State Forest and eastern Pasayten Wilderness.  Trail users are urged to contact local US Forest Service Ranger Districts and Washington Department of Natural Resources are offices before venturing out on the PNT in those areas.  


There are currently no direct threats to the PNT in Idaho and Montana but please make sure to call the office of the appropriate land management agency before proceeding with your recreation plan of choice as conditions may change rapidly.  Weather has been dry and breezy making conditions ripe for fires so please be responsible with your fuels and read fire restrictions before setting out for your destination.

Increasing temperatures require added vigilance from trail users.  Normally relied upon water holes have dried up and even shaded areas aren't providing adequate protection.  To prevent heat stroke for you or your animals, read this great article by our friends at Washington Trails Association.  

For more information on trail conditions, Like us on Facebook or call the PNTA office at (360) 854-9415.   


Join the Conversation
View of the Milky Way over Mount Shuksan from Artist Point in the Mt. Baker Snoqualmie National Forest.  Photo by: Samantha Hale

Are you on Facebook?  We're always posting trail updates, hiking tips and pictures.

In case you missed it, here are some of this month's top articles:

Are you a mountain biker or considering getting into the sport?  The PNT has hundreds of miles of trail perfect for bikers.  Learn more on our website.  If you're just getting into the sport, this series of articles by Active can help you get your wheels on the ground.  

This summer's dry and hot conditions have left the land prime for wildfires.  Electrical storms can appear suddenly and endanger many a hiker.  Be prepared by reading this wonderful article on escape routes and safety zones by our friends at the Washington Trail Association.  

With heat comes rattlesnakes.  This dangerous addition to the landscape can prove to be deadly without proper preparation.  Washington Trails Association is back at it with a wonderfully informative article about how to prepare for and deal with a snake bite.  

If you are an amateur astronomer, make sure to read about the 'Must-See Sky Events of 2015' over at Backpacker Magazine.  From supermoons to meteor showers, this informative article tells you when to get out and how to best see the sky.  

To join the conversation and keep up on the latest news, make sure to like us on Facebook.  Have something to share?  Tag us, or send it to [email protected].
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 email us at [email protected].

'Experience the Wild' with the Pacific Northwest Trail Association
Instructor Christian, in the yellow hard hat, explains how to repair trail tread after blow downs.  Photo by: Samantha Hale
How do we get younger generations interested in trails? Teach them to feel safe, creative and knowledgable outside!

Summer brings the pitter-patter of little feet and excited squeals with Experience the Wild, a summer camp program for Whatcom and Skagit county residents. Participants ages 8-12, learn about the different ecosystems of the Pacific Northwest. With an overarching theme of watershed, students will be visiting the shores of Baker Lake, exploring the alpine peaks in the North Cascades and learning about trail maintenance and construction.

Want to see more?  Visit our Flickr page to see what students have been up to.  

We still have spots left for next week's class, so make sure to sign up today.  Call Lewis Trout for more information at (360) 333-7767. 

News from Idaho & Montana


The brilliant pink of Fireweed petals adds to the beauty of Glacier National Park's Belly River Valley. Photo Credit: Stephanie Campbell


Eastern Regional Coordinator Stephanie Campbell is continuing to increase PNTA's presence in Idaho and Montana through concerted interactions with governmental agency folks and nonprofit partners.  She recently attended the North Fork's Biannual Interlocal Meeting in Montana to be updated on current management practices and upcoming changes to them as well as current trail and road conditions; attendees included the North Fork Trails Association, Glacier National Park, Flathead National Forest, and US Border Patrol to name a few.  Stephanie is also working with the Montana Conservation Corps (MCC) and federal land management agencies to coordinate trail maintenance on the PNT.


Stephanie was also lucky enough to get out on the PNT itself, coming in from the eastern terminus in Glacier National Park at Chief Mountain Station to Cosley Lake through the Belly River Valley.  Read about her trip on our blog.  


She will be getting out on the trail again at the end of July on the Kootenai and Flathead National Forests to visit Montana Conservation Corps crews to perform trail maintenance and structure construction and to educate the group on the valuable work they are accomplishing for the Pacific Northwest Trail and the National Trails System.


If you are interested in volunteering for the PNT in the field or office in Idaho or Montana, please contact Stephanie to see how you can be a part of this incredible natural resource!

Washington Region News
In Eastern Washington, the Sullivan Lake Performance Crew, based out of the Okanogan, continues to do log out and light maintenance on the Newport/Sullivan Lake Ranger District.  All of the trails in the Salmo Priest Wilderness have been logged out and many of the remaining trails on the District are completed for the season.  Presently, the crew is helping a PNTA contract crew construct the Sullivan Lake Access Trail adjacent to the Sullivan Lake Campgrounds. 

The Newby Lake fire closure caused the PNTA Pasayten Performance Trail Crew to abandon their plans to continue the Long Draw Trail reconstruction project in the eastern Pasayten Wilderness.  Instead, the crew spent 80 hours working on the Middle Fork Trail #387 and the Clutch Creek Trail #343 and another 80 hours working on the Windy Peak Trail #342.  They reconstructed the switchbacks below Old Iron Gate on the Clutch Creek Trail and did extensive tread work and constructed several turnpikes and water drainage structures on the Middle Fork Trail. All of the work on the Windy Peak Trail was done above timberline on the easterly approach to Windy Peak. The crew performed extensive tread reconstruction, repaired old and constructed new water drainage structures and built numerous rock cairns to mark the trail between Big Horn Camp and the top of Topaz Mountain. All of the work was performed on the Tonasket Ranger District. The crew moves onto Pacific Crest Trail contract work on the Naches and Snohomish Ranger Districts this month.  


Crew Members tramp down soil while building a turnpike to cover a bog.
Photo by: Kristin Ackerman
A recently constructed landbridge looks secure and clean compared with the previous rocky mess.
Photo by: Kristin Ackerman













In lieu of their monthly July business meeting the Oroville Chapter of the PNTA enjoyed an overnight campout at the USFS Bonaparte Lake Campgrounds and day hike on the PNT above the lake.  While camping, they met with a handful of PNT thru-hikers, on their way west.  Chapter members love meeting with thru-hikers and other trail users, so make sure to let them know you're in town.  The Chapter is busy planning and preparing for Pacific Northwest Trail Days.


In Western Washington, the Quilcene Ranger Corps is doing a wonderful job on the trails near Quilcene, WA.  This program, originally started by the US Forest Service, provides part time summer employment to youth aged 13-15.  The focus of this crew has been on sapling removal, fixing water bars, filling tread and brushing out trails.  Similarly, the Quilcene Performance Crew is busy at work fixing erosion issues, improving drainage along trails and constructing bridges.  The Performance crew has been working with a volunteer group based out of Mount Rose in the Hood Canal Ranger District of the Olympic National Forest.  A Forks based Performance Crew is busy working on the Bogachiel River Trail to retread and brush out popular trails.  

This month, Western Washington Regional Coordinator Lewis Trout we received some sad news from Cascade Job Corps Center based out of Sedro-Woolley.  Due to the changing job market, the Sedro-Woolley based Center will no longer be accepting students for construction trades.  Current students have been encouraged to finish up their training programs.  For the Pacific Northwest Trail Association, this means that our long standing partnership with Cascades Job Corps and our Service Knowledge Youth (SKY) Job Corps program has come to an end.  We want to take this time to thank all of the students that have come through our program.  Without your help, hard work and time, we never could have accomplished so much as a trail organization.  

For more information on our SKY programs, visit our website.  

Note from the Director of Trail Management

In the trail world, sometimes it doesn't matter which trail your on, so long as you get outside.  This month, I travelled over to Sullivan Lake on the Colville National Forest to assist the US Forest Service in the construction of a series of ADA accessible trails. While these new trails do not make up the Pacific Northwest Trail, they enable local residents to get access the lakeshore.  


The new trail, aptly named the Sullivan Lakeshore Trail, meanders along the lake past a picnic shelter on it's way to the boat ramp.  My hope is that this trail will allow a wider variety of users to experience what I know to be true: time spent amongst the trees and under a blue sky is good for the soul.


As always, I'm thankful for our trails community - thankful for the ability help out when I can, and appreciative of the many partners, friends, trail maintenance organizations, crews and individuals that make this community what it is.  If you'd like to join your hand with ours as we work towards getting people outside, consider donating time, talent, or resources at  For volunteer opportunities in your area, contact your local Regional Coordinator.  


Happy adventuring, 



Jon Knechtel

Director of Trail Management

Montana Conservation Corps Crew Leader Nancy Ann demonstrates excellent pulaski technique on finessing new trail tread near Red Meadow Lake. Photo credit: Stephanie Campbell
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.