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July 15, 2009     Indian Valley Record
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July 15, 2009

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Bulletin, Progressive, Record, Reporter REGIC,]NAL INSIDE SECTION B: EDITORIAL AND OPINION UPCOMING EVENTS ]&apos; i: Wednesday, July 15, 2009 1B PCT 2rou t, c,;,Jnes Plumas County Diana Jorgenson Portola Editor The Pacific Crest Trail traces a ridgeline in the Lakes Basin Recreation Area near the sierra Buttes, Photo by Shannon Morrow minority of those who use the trail. Only 300--400 people attempt to travel its entire length each summer. "Undoubtedly, there's thousands, if not tens of thou- sands, who use the PCT if you look at everyone from through-hikers to long-dis- tance section hikers to week- long backpackers to month backpackers to weekend all the way to the day hiker us- ing the trail for a short time," he said. "Through-hikers are a tiny, tiny group, and that's not to take any credit or glory from as they deserve it." In the Lakes Basin outside of Graeaglel the PCT is the main north-south trail that connects to all the other trail systems in the area. By de- fault, that usage is common the entire length of the PCT. "The PCT is almost over- whelming in how long it is. In one sense, it's regional everywhere; but in another way, it's not regional; it's its own entity. One of the things that I'm hoping to do is get As Highway 89 wends its northerly way from Truckee to meet Highway 70 and con- tinues on to Quincy, another less traveled road follows a parallel course only 25 miles to the west. That trail, the Pacific Crest Trail, runs along mountain ridges and through unspoiled valleys for the span of Plumas County and is only open to foot and equestrian travel. In fact, the PCT spans the length of America, beginning at the Mexican border and ending at Canada. It is more than 2,650 miles long and one of three primary long-dis- tance hiking trails in the na- tion: the Appalachian Trail, the PCT and the Continental Divide Trail. Most Plumas locals are fa- miliar with the trail and have hiked portions of the PCT on innumerable day hikes, as it transects with other trail systems. Most avid hikers are familiar with the legendary trail and many hope to be- come a through-hiker some lucky summer and travel its length. But a great many others have never heard of it, and if they hiked a portion of it dur- ing their summer vacation, they were not aware of it. Justin Kooyman, newly designated regional represen- tative for the North-Central California section of the PCT, hopes to change that. His goal is to rally support and increase the profile of the trail ....... Working for the private nonprofit Pacific Crest Trail Association; Kooyman moved to Portola last year, and by next summer, budget willing, he hopes to open an office in either Portola or the Graeagle-Blairsden area. "I want to put it where it will get a fair bit of notice," he said. Kooyman's section of the trail is a 430-mile stretch from the northern side of Yosemite all the way to Lassen, a fair bit of mileage that keeps him on the road much of the time, going from one end to another, so the de- cision to settle his family in Portola, mid-way in his re- gion, was based on easy access to Highway 395. Even without a physical office, he is accessible by phone and by Internet; he hopes to coordinate his efforts with other trail maintenance groups, share resources and communicate PCT concerns to the hiking community. "The user group that gets most notoriety and most of the fame and glory are through-hikers," he said. But, they are a small people excited about thinking of the trail in segments-- their own regional segment of the PCT." Kooyman thinks'the north- ern Sierra section is one of the best sections and offers a lot of variety as the Sierra dribbles out and transitions to the Cascades. Along with building local pride in regional sections of the PCT, the association also hopes to span regional boundaries and provide an overview of trail mainte- nance along its entire length. The PCT, which was desig- nated a national scenic trail in 1968, runs through approx- imately 33 different forests, seven national parks, three Bureau of Land Management areas and two or three Cali- fornia state parks; there are memorandums of under- standing with each of them. The Forest Service was designated lead agency in 1968, but each of its forest districts may have different resources to bring to the PCT or different methods of man- agement. The PCTA is com- missioned to bridge those differences and is the Forest Service's primary partner in trail maintenance. "We try to bring more con- sistency to some of that man- agement. We're looking at the bigger picture and hoping to share resources," Kooyman explained. While there is some alloca- tion of federal funding for trail maintenance, the PCTA was set up in 1977 to augment that money. With a member- ship of 7,000 and through corporate sponsorships and other donations, the PCTA is able to provide tools and trails training, and to cover the supporting costs of the volunteers who are : the lifeblood of trail maintenance. Whether he work with local Forest Service districts or local trail groups, Kooyman has significant resources to bring to the table. The PCTA offers a number of different trail maintenance trips ranging from the daylong project to projects over a two- week period. "We have quite a few trips that are a week long, three days long, and everything from light trail work where you're camping out at the trailhead or where you're ful- ly backpacking in for a week at a time. All your food and supplies are horse-packed in. It's actually a pretty sweet deal," he smiled. He has found former through-hikers are the first to volunteer, and they come from all over the country. They want to give back for what has frequently been a life-transforming experience for them. "That's one of the messages I'm trying to put out to peo- ple. For the people who use the PCT--no matter at what scale they use it--it really is an opportunity to give back. The lion's share of the trail work is done by volunteers. Last year, volunteers gave Markers with the Pacific Crest Trail's distinctive logo line the route on its 2,650-mile way from the Mexican border through California, Oregon and Washington to the Canadian border. Photo by Shannon Morrow The Pacific Crest Trail travels through many different eco- systems, providing trail users with opportunities to observe a variety of flora and fauna. Photo by Shannon Morrow over 60,000 hours to trail maintenance - 3,000 of them in this northern Sierra region. I'm hoping to bump that up a little," Kooyman said. "Many [volunteers] dip into it one year and they're hooked. They come back year after year, and they project at Jackson Meadows Reservoir is scheduled Oct. 3-4. For a full list of local pro- jects or not-so-local projects, log on to or contact Kooyman at jkooyman@ or 414-3422. The website also contains a wealth of information about eventually take on leadership trailconditions. Volunteers roles with the crews." have become the eyes for Kooyman.has: ........... - ::: , ::' :: :>upt,wdate information several day projects scheduled in this region: July 26 is scheduled for repairing trail tread at Echo Lakes in the Tahoe Basin; an- other work pro- ject will be July 30 at the Sierra Buttes trailhead. The Sierra Buttes trailhead in Sierra City is scheduled again for Oct. 1. A two-day overnight yz-': about trail closures, fires, water con- ditions and snow condi- tions. "Much of this informa- tion comes from avid members and volun- teers who do a lot of hiking. They do the scouting for us," Kooy- man sai. , . ..... < .: Justin Kooyman is the new regional representative for the Pacific Crest Trail Association. Based in Portola, he hopes to work with other trail maintenance groups in the area, both volunteer and Forest Service, to keep the PCT at its best and to increase the public's awareness of the trail. Photo by Diana Jorgenson