August 18, 2022

Pacific Crest Trail Hikers Are Experiencing Climate Change Firsthand

2 min read
Pacific Crest Trail Hikers Are Experiencing Climate Change Firsthand

The Pacific Crest Trail attracts a huge number of people from all around, regardless of whether they are seeking a brief getaway into nature or going off the grid for several months.

From the Canadian border to the Mexican border, the trail is 2,650 miles long and travels through some wonderfully beautiful regions of Washington, Oregon, and California.

Since Congress designated the PCT a National Scenic Trail in 1968, it has offered a getaway into the great outdoors.

However, individuals with the most trail knowledge claim that things have changed recently.

According to Jennifer Tripp, the trail operations manager for the Pacific Crest Path Association, “Climate change and increased use on the trail are two of the big aspects that we’ve observed in the last several years.”

The information to corroborate those views comes from a recent study conducted by researchers at Brown University and the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

The study found that longer wildfire seasons, more extreme droughts, hotter summers, winters with less snow, and less snowfall all have an effect on trail conditions.

Pacific Crest Trail Hikers Are Experiencing Climate Change Firsthand
The Caldor, Dixie, and Tamarac fires combined to close hundreds of miles of the route during the past two years. Smoke continued to be an issue even after the flames had gone out.

According to Tripp, “we see a lot of individuals changing their travel plans due to smoke and the effects of fires.”

Because a warmer atmosphere can contain more water, it also makes heavy rain events more likely. Trail tenders are concerned about what will happen when it does rain in Northern California.

“Fast-moving water certainly doesn’t agree with Trail. This will cause the trail to degrade and additional trees to fall, which means we need more volunteers to come out and do the necessary repairs “said Tripp.

The Pacific Crest Trail Association has been able to maintain the well-used trails in good condition in large part because of those volunteers. Each year, more than 2,000 volunteers put in an effort worth millions of dollars. This work is carried out without the use of powered machinery, whether it is clearing trees or bringing in rocks to construct a new water diversion.

Tripp stated that the PCTA team and she are dedicated to preserving the distinctive beauty of the trail system, despite whatever difficulties that climate change may bring.

Our association is still learning how to incorporate it into our work plans and the way we carry out our duties, she said. “We want this safeguarded so that your children and your children’s children may keep coming here and experiencing the same experience that we’re lucky enough to have right now,” the speaker said.

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