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How the federal government shutdown impacts the PCT

Unfortunately, the shutdown’s effect on the PCT remains unclear. At PCTA, we share your disappointment over the situation.

In general, all buildings and gates that can be locked on public land – including bathrooms – are closed. However, critical safety personnel, such as firefighters and law enforcement officers, remain active.

Here’s some of what we know

  • PCT volunteer trail crews have been pulled from the field. Our yearly Trail Skills College in Southern California has been canceled and we do not have plans reschedule it. This is partly due to the suspension of the Volunteers-in-Forests and Volunteers-in-Parks agreements that enable volunteers to work on public land and provide coverage for volunteers for the purposes of medical and tort claims.
  • Travel on the PCT through National Park Service administered land is not allowed. Park entrances have been closed and backcountry permits are not being honored or issued. The closure includes Mt. Rainier, North Cascades, Yosemite and the all of the other National Parks on the PCT.
  • Travel on the PCT through U.S. Forest Service administered land seems to be allowed. For instance, Plumas National Forest says “Visitors may continue to enjoy traveling on forest system roads and trails…“ We are not sure if the situation in the Plumas National Forest applies to other forests along the PCT.
  • Just because a park or forest is closed, that doesn’t mean that the rules have been suspended. Travel in congressionally designated wilderness presents an interesting situation: if you can’t receive a backcountry permit, and a permit is required for travel, entering the area without a permit could be a violation.

Our thoughts are with our friends in the federal agencies who can’t go to work, the trail’s users and maintainers, and the businesses that depend upon the recreation dollars the PCT and our public lands provide. It is discouraging that the federal government is missing out on the passion and dedication PCT volunteers and partners bring to the table.

It’s clear that our public land needs your support. Thank you.

Thruhikers reading information about a fire closure that forced them to skip around. Photo by Jack Haskel

Thru-hikers reading information about closure that forced them to skip trail.

If you have questions or additional information, please email Jack at jhaskel@pcta.org.

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