Portland, Ore., December 12, 2023 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service announced the release of the Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail Comprehensive Plan which marks a significant milestone in the development and preservation of this iconic trail. The plan outlines a vision for the trail and provides guidance for its future management, protection, and use.
The comprehensive plan guides the development of the nonmotorized trail throughout its entire length, from the Continental Divide to the Pacific Ocean. The plan contains recommendations for trail maintenance, visitor services, and resource protection, as well as strategies for addressing issues such as invasive species, wildfire, and climate change. It includes items defined by the National Trails System Act for consistent administration of the trail across local, state, federal, and tribal lands to ensure managers develop the trail and preserve its natural beauty.
“With the comprehensive plan in place, new trail locations can be studied, and new trail segments will be constructed as conditions allow,” said Liz Berger, Acting Regional Forester for the Pacific Northwest Region of the Forest Service. “This will enable the trail to evolve and adapt to changing needs and environmental considerations, ensuring its sustainability for future generations.”
The development of the comprehensive plan involved a collaborative process that included input from a wide range of stakeholders, such as trail users, local communities, conservation groups and the Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail Advisory Council.
The Forest Service gathered public input on the plan and environmental analysis during a scoping comment period from September 29 to November 14, 2022, a draft comprehensive plan and environmental assessment public comment period from March 17 to April 17, 2023, and objection resolution meeting in October 2023. The public's input was instrumental in shaping the final comprehensive plan, ensuring that it reflects the needs and aspirations of various stakeholders.
"This comprehensive plan is the result of a collective effort that involved input from a wide range of stakeholders," said Sally Butts, Director, Recreation, Lands, and Minerals for the Pacific Northwest Region of the Forest Service. "We are committed to protecting and managing the Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail and are confident that the plan will provide a roadmap for the trail's management, protection, and use for years to come."
The plan is not only a blueprint for the trail's completion, but also a tool for conservation across the region. It will provide new protections for the landscape and support shared stewardship, ensuring that the trail experience it provides will receive proper protections. The plan will define the future vision for administration and management of the trail, ensuring consistent management and protection from one end to the other.
The completion of the Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail Comprehensive Plan is a testament to the dedication and collaborative effort of all stakeholders involved in its development. It represents a critical step forward in the preservation and responsible management of this trail, which holds immense value for both recreational opportunities and conservation efforts across the region.
The Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail is a 1,200-mile hiking trail that starts in Glacier National Park in Montana, crosses through northern Idaho, and finishes in Olympic National Park in Washington. It was designated by Congress as part of the National Trails System in 2009. The trail provides opportunities for long-distance, non-motorized recreation with portions of the trail located in remote areas that require bushwhacking with no trail.
For more information about the Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail Comprehensive Plan, please visit https://www.fs.usda.gov/pnt.