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Pacific Crest Trail supported by Congressional appropriation

Representatives of the 3,300 member Pacific Crest Trail Association (PCTA), the Forest Service, Los Angeles County Parks, the Town of Agua Dulce, and trail users joined Congressman Howard "Buck" McKeon to celebrate their success today in securing a $1.5 million appropriation to begin the process of acquiring a protected corridor for the segment of the 2650-mile Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail (PCT) where it crosses the Sierra Pelona Valley.

In 1997, the PCTA began an analysis of threats to the trailfrom urban development, and set out to get funding from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) to correct the situation. PCTA met with local leaders, and in a bipartisan effort worked with the Administration and members of Congress on a multi-million dollar appropriation to relocate the trail from a busy road to a protected corridor, yet to be identified. McKeon led the effort in the House, securing the support of a dozen colleagues. Senator Barbara Boxer led the effort in the Senate.

"While we didn't get all the funding that will ultimately be needed, we are pleased with the results to date," said PCTA Executive Director, Robert Ballou. "However, there are 300 miles of the trail in California, Oregon and Washington across private lands or on public roads with little or no protection for the trail or its users. It will take years to identify and address all the problems." The analysis of trail conditions in and near 24 National Forests, seven National Parks and four BLM management areas along the trail is continuing with significant financial help from PCTA members, the Lewis Anthony Dexter Environmental Trust, the National Forest Foundation and the Forest Service.

According to Bob Nida, PCTA Vice President, "Many landowners are very supportive of the trail and sensitive to its needs. But some are not. Many easements give trail users the right to cross private land, but in no substantial way do they restrict the activities land owners can conduct, including the construction of buildings or parking lots on or adjacent to the trail. Purchase of better easements or relocation of the trail are alternatives where problems exist."

Praising McKeon for his support in this effort, Nida said, "He was able to bring a bipartisan group of his colleagues together at a critical time. He not only responded to a critical problem in his own district, but has provided direction for other elected officials who have trail interests.

For more information contact the PCTA at 5325 Elkhorn Blvd. PMB-256, Sacramento, CA 95842, call (916) 349-2109 or e-mail to Visit on the Internet.

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