Written By : Matt Rump
Did you know that ACE works on National Scenic Trails? On October 2nd, 1968 the National Trails System Act became law. This included the designation of the Appalachian Trail and Pacific Crest Trail as the first National Scenic Trails (NSTs). Now up to 11 trails nationwide, NSTs provide outdoor recreation, conservation and enjoyment of significant scenic, historic, natural, and/or cultural qualities.
ACE Pacific West crews have had the privilege of partnering with the Pacific Crest Trail Association since 2014. This year ACE has 3 crews working on the Pacific Crest Trail in California and Oregon, traveling and experiencing roughly 1,800 miles of the 2,650 mile-long trail! The crews perform a variety of trail work in both frontcountry and backcountry settings. Most recently, two of the 6-person ACE crews worked together in the Tahoe National Forest to assist U.S. Forest Service partners in a PCT reroute that took the trail out of the low-lying Round Valley meadow.
So why move the trail? In 2018, Forest Service biologists discovered endangered Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frogs spawning in the creek bed where the PCT crossed. Regularly seeing hundreds of hiker and equestrian users daily, this occupied habitat needed a chance at recovery. In a joint effort, ACE crews and PCTA staff shut down the section of old trail, reinforced a wooden bridge crossing, and simultaneously constructed 50’ of stone turnpike through a section of low-lying terrain, effectively shifting the new trail tread above and away from the habitat that’s critical to these endangered amphibians.
The ACE crew had the opportunity to meet some of these slippery rascals face-to-face with the help of the Tahoe National Forest Aquatics and Fisheries Biologist, Carrie Johnson. The crew learned about the importance of our conservation efforts and the impact they have on the local ecosystems where we work. By providing information and engaging in proactive efforts to remedy any impacts of our actions, NSTs will continue to provide outdoor recreation, conservation and enjoyment of significant scenic, historic, natural, and/or cultural qualities for many years to come.
A special thanks to our partners with the Pacific Crest Trail Association and U.S. Forest Service for the opportunity to engage in such meaningful and fulfilling work!