Advisory Council Subcommittees in Action
Apr 25, 2016
As we head into the Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail's second Federal Advisory Council meeting in Port Townsend in early May, last minute subcommittee meetings have recently had the chance to wrap up discussions on a variety of in-depth topics. My position as the Pacific Northwest Trail Association's Eastern Regional Director has allowed me the opportunity to participate in both Idaho's and Montana's Geographic Subcommittee meetings, all held in an effort to follow-up the Advisory Council's progress at the initial October 2015 meeting in Sandpoint, ID. The Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail Advisory Council (PNNSTAC), overseen by the US Forest Service, is comprised of a group of diverse stakeholders who will work together over the coming years to develop a Comprehensive Management Plan for the Pacific Northwest Trail (PNT).
Photos courtesy of Stephanie Campbell.
The Advisory Council's subcommittees allow Council members, in tandem with local experts and interested stakeholders, to dive deep into specific facets of the Pacific Northwest Trail's Comprehensive Management Plan. Besides focusing on regional geographic zones, subcommittees also concentrate on topics such as youth engagement and wildlife. Subcommittees will report back in May at the next PNNSTAC meeting with their own respective Comprehensive Management Plan recommendations.
Idaho's Geographic Subcommittee, headed by Advisory Council member and Idaho Conservation League's North Idaho Director Brad Smith, has had two meetings. The first meeting in January in Bonners Ferry, a PNT Trail Town, began with featured presentations from Idaho Panhandle National Forest employees whose field expertise in wildlife and trails management served to establish a baseline of on-the-ground knowledge for those attending. Representatives of several special interest groups, including motorized and equestrian trail users, engaged in productive dialogue with agency officials and Council members regarding how their outdoor recreation activities of choice would interact with the PNT as a newly designated National Scenic Trail. Significant cultural, historical, and scenic resources in the Idaho Panhandle region were discussed and identified. The subcommittee's second meeting in March took the discussion to the next level. Attendees gathered into small groups around maps of the region to outline several different route possibilities to present to the PNNSTAC group in May.
Photos courtesy of Stephanie Campbell.
Montana's Geographic Subcommittee, headed by Advisory Council members Katie LeBlanc and Jessie Grossman, met in April to identify significant resources, current uses of the existing route, primary access points, and gateway communities. Federal land management agency employees from Glacier National Park, Flathead National Forest, and Kootenai National Forest gave presentations on their respective regions. Following their presentations agency personnel engaged in informative discussions with Advisory Council members and former thru-hikers on both challenges and opportunities facing the PNT's Montana section, currently and going forward.
The invaluable efforts of these subcommittees will serve to inform the entire Pacific Northwest Trail's Advisory Council in May as work on the PNT's Comprehensive Management Plan progresses in the coming months and years. We at the Pacific Northwest Trail Association would like to extend a heartfelt "thank you" to all those who have taken the time to contribute to this planning process, and especially to the official Advisory Council members who have shown enthusiasm and dedication in their service as valuable volunteers. The Pacific Northwest Trail will have a lasting, meaningful impact for countless hikers for many years to come thanks to all of your efforts!
Stephanie Campbell is the Idaho & Montana Regional Coordinator for the Pacific Northwest Trail Association. She enjoys planning trails equally as much as building trails. For more information on the Advisory Council, contact us at email@example.com or (360) 854-9415.
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