The Pacific Northwest Trail is now a little easier to enjoy in Deception Pass State Park.
This May, several PNTA board members from Washington State traveled to Deception Pass State Park to meet with association staff and hike through the park together, installing new thunderbird markers along the trail’s north/south route on Fidalgo and Whidbey Islands.
They spent the day updating signage so that it is easier to follow the PNT from end-to-end within the park. New signs were installed and aging waymarkers were replaced to create a route that is consistently signed within the boundaries of the popular state park.
While portions of the PNT in Deception Pass have been marked in the past, signposts rot and need to be replaced, markers on trees can become ingrown in bark, trail routes evolve, and sometimes, unfortunately, the iconic Thunderbird markers are pried off by park visitors and kept as “souvenirs.”
Improving signage on the ground is important for more than just navigation,” says PNTA Executive Director Jeff Kish, “While signage makes things a lot easier for long distance hikers on extended treks, the vast majority of the trail’s users enjoy it one day at a time, close to home. Knowing that your favorite local hikes are part of something much bigger can really enrich the trail experience. The signs also help more people understand why the PNT is important to them, and to connect with organizations like ours that facilitate opportunities to engage in trail stewardship.
Margaret Hartzell, Stephen Simburg and PNTA’s newest board member, Aya Tsuruta joined PNTA’s Executive Director Jeff Kish and Western Washington Regional Coordinator Sterling Collins-Hill on the trip. The event marked the first time PNTA staff and board have met in-person together since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Relaxed federal and state guidelines for mask wearing and distancing for fully vaccinated people made the meeting feel like a “return to normal” for the organization.
Deception Pass State Park is Washington’s most-visited state park for a reason. Mysterious coves, rugged cliffs, jaw-dropping sunsets, and a stomach-dropping high bridge make this park a go-to for locals and international travelers alike.
Deception Pass spans the traditional lands of the Coast Salish, Stillaguamish, Samish, Skagit and Swinomish peoples.