Along the 1,200 mile Pacific Northwest Trail, the PNTA engages a wide variety of organizations and individuals in the construction, maintenance, and protection of the National Scenic Trail corridor. After successfully advocating for congressional designation for the PNT in 2009, our work to fully protect the trail continues.
Trail maintenance and construction on this mountainous northern route also offers unique challenges. Due to its remote location and east-west orientation, most of trail corridor remains snowbound until summer, leaving a challengingly, short season to work with, typically, just eight weeks long.
In 2019, the PNTA broke down traditional barriers to inclusion in the outdoors by providing youth and young adults from Washington’s trailside communities with a living wage, all field-based meals, transportation to job sites, and access to the Association’s gear library to ensure that all participants were properly equipped to thrive in the backcountry.
PNTA Trail Crews
Our Youth Programs offer both paid employment and volunteer community service opportunities to local youth, ages 14-18. Currently, PNTA Performance Trail Crews build and maintain trails across Washington State.
PNTA Work-Based Learning Trail Crews work with young adults, ages 16-24. These young men and women are often from local alternative schools, such as Job Corps, that specialize in reaching students who are struggling socially, economically, or academically. Crew members achieve personal growth, learn teamwork, trail stewardship, and Leave-No-Trace Ethics, all while working and living in a rugged, backcountry setting.
Each season, a team of experienced sawyers, on our Performance Logout Crew, services hundreds of miles of trails in the Colville National Forest, keeping them free of down trees and open to equestrians, cyclists and hikers.
PNTA crews were responsible for more than 11,800 hours of maintenance on the Pacific Northwest Trail in 2017; a contribution valued at $290,606 by the US Forest Service.
Trail Maintenance Partners
The PNTA maintains tread all along its 1,200 mile path, but we don’t do it alone. We partner with a variety of federal, state, and municipal agencies in the maintenance of the trail corridor, which spans across three states, seven National Forests, three National Parks and a variety of other public and private lands.
Local trail clubs also play an important role in the maintenance of the Pacific Northwest Trail, which in turn, helps benefit their communities by providing economic opportunities and trails for everyone to enjoy.
The Skagit-Whatcom-Island Trail Maintenance Organization (SWITMO), has been our partner in maintenance of the PNT in the Puget Sound and North Cascades since 1999. Dedicated SWITMO volunteers have played an outsized role in the creation of the PNT trail corridor and other recreation trails in Skagit, Whatcom and Island Counties.
We also work with a variety of organizations including the Back Country Horsemen (BCHA), Student Conservation Association (SCA), Washington Trails Association (WTA), Montana Conservation Corps (MCC), and many others.
The Back Country Horsemen of America plays a key role in the maintenance of the Pacific Northwest Trail and other outdoor infrastructure across the United States. The BCHA are a national non-profit organization of volunteers, with chapters in 31 states, including Washington, Idaho, and Montana.
BCHA volunteers play a critical role In the backcountry by using their pack stock—horses and mules— to supply trail crews with needed supplies and heavy tools. In designated wilderness, where mechanized equipment is not permitted, pack stock offer the most practical means of transporting equipment to remote worksites and spike camps.