In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Pacific Crest Trail Association—a nonprofit that helps to maintain the 2,650-mile trail—strongly recommends that hikers cancel or postpone their treks until next year.
Resupply is the problem: A statement released by the association on Thursday notes that “anyone traveling the PCT and resupplying in communities along the trail represents a serious risk to others on the trail and people in those communities,” because “no one can travel long distances on the PCT and be certain of avoiding any exposure to the coronavirus, and because anyone at any time can be a carrier of the virus without knowing it.”
Many of the people who had planned to hike the PCT in the coming months have likely made major sacrifices in order to do so. The PCTA recognizes this unfortunate fact but insists that “The choice is no longer only personal, but one of social responsibility. We all must do everything we can to get beyond this pandemic as quickly as possible.”
But, the trail is still open: Since primary administrative authority for the PCT lies with the U.S. Forest Service and not with the PCTA, the trail is still open at this time, and recently-issued long-distance permits remain valid.
By JD Brookbank