In June 2008 the Pacific Crest Trail Association
(PCTA) retained LandPeople to prepare a Land Protection Inventory for the legendary 2,650 mile scenic trail from Mexico to Canada. PCTA is a Sacramento-based non-profit organization with a mission “to protect, preserve and promote the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail as an internationally significant resource for the enjoyment of hikers and equestrians, and for the value that wild and scenic lands provide to all people.”
The Pacific Crest Trail Land Protection Inventory project objective was to provide an inventory and overview of the parcels that need acquisition in fee, or acquisition of an easement, to establish the trail and/or protect the experience of trail users, along with an estimate of the acquisition cost. LandPeople coordinated with Ann Vann Leer of Land Conservation Brokerage, Inc. who was separately contracted by PCTA to research property values.
The data was created, organized and maintained in an ArcGIS database, adding to the Geographic Information System (GIS) maintained for the Pacific Crest Trail by the U.S. Forest Service. Some Land Protection Study areas where data was particularly needed included:
- +/- 5 mile segment near Gifford Pinchot National Forest, near Ashland, Oregon, that includes a number of private parcels.
- +/- 5 mile segment near Cascade Siskiyou National Monument.
- Approximately 65 miles of trail route in several locations in California.
In addition to these focused study areas, encompassing 432 miles of trail, of which 69 miles are on private land, the project included GIS analysis to identify land protection needs in other areas, based on a series of field meetings with PCTA field representatives and staff from the regional National Forests, Bureau of Land Management, and state parks or forests.
The inventory identified a total of 1554 parcels comprising 203,544 acres with an assessed value of just under $150 million that would require some form of acquisition in order to protect the trail corridor and the quality of the trail experience. The Pacific Crest Trail Association intends to maintain and update the inventory and provide related GIS-based analyses and plans, coordinating data addition and organization with the Forest Service at appropriate stages.