Everett, Wash., Oct. 9, 2013 – The Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail is an internationally recognized long-distance trail spanning 2,650 miles from Mexico to Canada through California, Oregon and Washington. Hikers and equestrians come from around the world to immerse themselves in the natural beauty of the route.
A recent purchase of 808 acres surrounding 1.5 miles of the trail with striking views of the Cascade Mountains between Pyramid Peak and Green Pass will protect it from residential, commercial and industrial development. The Trust for Public Land and the U.S. Forest Service bought the private lands in King and Kittitas County, Wash., from Plum Creek Timber Company, which have been added to the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie and Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forests.
The $1.126 million to purchase the two properties came from the Land and Water Conservation Fund, the federal government’s main source of money for protecting land. The source of the money is royalties paid by energy companies for offshore oil and gas drilling. The purchase of the properties consolidates checkerboard land sections of Forest Service ownership and land that was originally granted to the Northern Pacific Railroad.
“This means a lot to those of us who want to provide the natural experience in the Pacific Northwest,” said Mike Dawson, trail operations director for the Pacific Crest Trail Association. He said volunteer groups such as Backcountry Horsemen and North 350 Blades do hard manual labor to keep the trail open to the public. “This makes their work so much more valuable,” he said.