PNTA staff and SWITMO volunteers pose in front of new PNT signage on the John Tursi Trail on National Trails Day, 2017
National Trails Day, 2017
The Pacific Northwest Trail Association celebrated National Trails Day on the newest addition to the PNT, the John Tursi Trail, with two exciting events.
Thanks to the American Hiking Society, the PNTA was able to add signage along the 1.1 mile Tursi Trail through the National Trails Fund grant program. Now, visitors enjoying the scenic trails of Deception Pass State Park, the most visited park in Washington, will appreciate that they are experiencing a part of our National Scenic Trails System.
The iconic PNT Thunderbird service mark may also inspire visitors to discover the rest of the 1,200 mile Pacific Northwest Trail. Simply knowing, that if they wished, they could continue across the Olympic Mountains to reach the western terminus, 258 unforgettable miles away on the Pacific Coast, adds a measure of excitement to any day hike on the PNT.
And while most visitors to the PNT will never attempt such a long trek, the fact that are also 959 miles of trail through the remote mountain landscapes, east of the Tursi Trail, may plant a seed which inspires a lifetime of adventures in the Pacific and Inland Northwest.
Those who thru-hiked or traveled this section in its entirety before 2016 will fully appreciate the benefits of the short, but important Tursi Trail; it connects with existing trails in Deception Pass State Park, to relocate the PNT off of its former 3.5 mile, ‘motorized route’ and onto scenic tread.
While one mile of trail may seem like a relatively simple feat to build, the Tursi Trail was at least 17 years in the making. Deception Pass Park Manager, Jack Hartt and Skagit County Parks and Recreation Director, Brian Adams played key roles in the development of the trail, named in honor of John Tursi, philanthropist and Anacortes community leader.
The construction phase of the trail was led by Crew Leader, Doug Shepherd and 36 other SWITMO volunteers, beginning with reconnaissance and planning in the fall of 2015. Work, which included a small bridge and a bypass around a treacherous rock switchback, finished on National Trails Day last year. The Washington Trails Asssociation (WTA) and other volunteers completed the remaining third of the trail from the park boundary north. You can read more about the making of the John Tursi Trail, here.
Naturalist, Seher Tod Khan leads a guided hike on the Tursi Trail on National Trails Day, 2017
Guided Hike Series
The Pacific Northwest Trail Association held its inaugural guided hike for the 2017 season on the Tursi Trail. Starting at the Pass Lake trailhead, an all-ages group followed the PNTA’s new Americorps trail steward and naturalist, Seher Tod Khan, on a fun five mile hike. Although the Tursi Trail’s tread is still new, Khan led the group on a trip through time, revealing the long, hidden history of the area.
The group’s pleasant day hike through the mossy forests of Fidalgo Island followed the footsteps of massive glaciers, which shaped the landscape of the Puget Sound, as well as the native peoples, loggers, miners and homesteaders, whose lifeways and histories were tied so closely to the land.
Before joining the PNTA, Khan spent two seasons working for the Forest Service as an Interpretive Bear Ranger in Juneau, Alaska. She has also spent seasons as a Park Ranger on the Green River, Colorado River, and at Redwood National Park.
Through a partnership between the Pacific Northwest Trail Association, the Mt. Adams Institute and AmeriCorps, Khan, will lead an interpretive hike at a new location on the PNT throughout the summer of 2017.
Please join her for one of these free events to explore the history of the Northwest and the special plant and animal species along the Pacific Northwest Trail’s 1,200 mile pathway.
An all-ages group joins the PNTA for a guided hike on the John Tursi Trail in Deception Pass State Park.