The Pacific Crest Trail is famous for very good reasons. It makes “best hike” lists all the time, in part because it crosses many amazing ecosystems and landscapes, offering visitors the opportunity to see, smell and feel the wild in many ways. Our wild places remain because we’ve chosen to protect them, volunteered for them, donated and paid taxes to support them. Most importantly, since we’ve protected them, we’ve made sound management decisions along the way to ensure that they remain unspoiled for future generations. The PCT is becoming more popular. This has been the case for years. The popularity has meant that on certain days in the spring, there have been large crowds beginning thru-hikes. The reality is that a campsite with a large crowd is not ideal. That has to change if we are to protect the trail and surrounding landscape. Plain and simple.   What’s new Improvements to the northbound permit system To help spread people out, the U.S. Forest Service is instituting some changes to the PCT Long-distance Permit process that aim to protect the sensitive desert ecosystems of the southernmost part of the PCT. For northbound starts, a newly streamlined online application system includes a...

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