In 1974, before the Pacific Northwest Trail…
As for the proposed national scenic trail from the Rockies to the sea (PNT), some parts are already protected in national parks and wilderness areas. These sections are mainly famous and can not be harmed by formal status. But other parts are wide open to road building, logging, mining, subdivision, and every other kind of mangling. This is the evil that a national trail could help dispel. Areas presently little known [except to the wreckers] could survive to be cherished by the nation.
- Harvey Manning I Wilderness Conservationist
We need freedom to roam across land owned by no one but protected by all, whose unchanging horizon is the same that bounded the world of our millennial ancestors.
e. o. wilson | biologist, theorist, naturalist
The value of national scenic trails
Outside national scenic trails’ ability to offer humans with the opportunity to connect with what’s wild, they also offer protections to wilderness that are effective tools toward its conservation. Below are a few examples of protections written into U.S. Forest Service management plans that these ribbons of trail influence because of the preservative value of their congressional designation.
1) No surface occupancy for oil and gas leasing activities and no common variety mineral extraction shall occur within the national scenic trail corridor.
2) To maintain the outstanding features of national scenic trails and be compatible with the surrounding environment, trail-related facilities and facilities within national scenic trail corridors should blend in with the surrounding environment. Where the trail leads to an outstanding destination feature, the qualities of that feature should be preserved.
3) To maintain and protect the scenic qualities of national scenic trails, management activities should be consistent with the scenic integrity objective of high to very high.
The Pacific Northwest Trail
The lower-48’s most challenging THRU
The Pacific Northwest Trail (PNT) is a 1,200-mile continuous path from the Continental Divide to the Pacific Ocean. The PNT is a unique pathway that travels through some of the most spectacular and scenic terrain in the United States while connecting people and communities across the Pacific Northwest. In 2009, it was designated by Congress as a National Scenic Trail.
The PNT offers a diverse experience, from wilderness to working landscapes to historic downtown Main Streets. Along its east-west route, the trail climbs major mountain ranges and descends into pastoral river valleys and small rural communities. The trail includes a ferry crossing of Puget Sound (the only saltwater ferry crossing on a National Scenic Trail). PNT users experience the best of the Pacific Northwest: panoramic views of the Rockies, rolling grasslands in the Okanogan Highlands, volcanoes and high-country meadows in the North Cascades, farming and fishing communities on Puget Sound, and mossy trees and sandy beaches on the Olympic Peninsula.