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Center Co-Founder David M. Kennedy Named to Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail Advisory Council


Dec 4 2015
Bill Lane Center for the American West's founding former director David M. Kennedy has been selected to join the Inaugural Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail Advisory Council by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. The trail was created by an act of Congress in 2009, and it winds 1,200 miles from Glacier National Park in Montana to Cape Alava on Washington's Pacific coast. Along the way, it crosses three national parks and seven national forests.
Kennedy, a son of the Pacific Northwest and avid outdoorsman, says that he is thrilled to be involved with the committee, which will meet regularly starting in October 2015. "I grew up in the Pacific Northwest and have back-packed and horse-packed much of the proposed route," says Kennedy. "I was honored to be asked to join the advisory committee, and hope to contribute some historical perspective to its development - and to be a voice for accessibility for all users, given my long-time association with Environmental Traveling Companions (ETC), a San Francisco-based service organization for people with disabilities."
The council is comprised of 23 members with diverse backgrounds, who were chosen for their expertise in recreation-related issues, and ability to represent a balance of stakeholder perspectives and geographic areas. They will advise Secretary Vilsack, through the Chief of the Forest Service, on management of the Pacific Northwest Trail in Montana, Idaho, and Washington. "We're excited to assemble such a diverse group of volunteers to collaborate with us in developing a plan designed to improve recreational opportunities and experiences, and support our unique mix of gateway communities," said Matt McGrath, Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail Program Manager. "The strong interest in the council demonstrates the significance of the Pacific Northwest Trail as a truly national resource."  

The Pacific Northwest Trail is the newest of 11 nationally designated scenic trails. The first was the Appalachian Trail, completed in 1937. Other western scenic trails include the Pacific Crest Trail (1968), Continental Divide Trail (1978), and the Arizona Trail (2009). Additionally, the federal government has designated national historical trails like the Oregon, California, Nez Perce, Pony Express, Santa Fe, El Camino, and Mormon Pioneer Trails. The historical trails are so designated because they "closely follow a historic trail or route of travel of national significance," according to the Bureau of Land Management, which stipulates that "their designation identifies and protects historic routes, historic remnants, and artifacts for public use and enjoyment."

The scenic trails, by comparison, "are extended trails that provide maximum outdoor recreation potential and for the conservation and enjoyment of the various qualities." It is these qualities that trail managers at the Forest Service and the trail's advisory council will need to assess and balance these with right-of-way and accessibiliity questions, community interests and impacts, and other concerns. 
For more information on the Pacific Northwest Scenic Trail, please see the U.S. Forest Service and the Pacific Northwest Trail Association.