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'Wild' Growth In Hikers On Pacific Crest Trail

Mike Dunleavy - Flickr - https://www.flickr.com/photos/stevedunleavy/
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Arrowhead Lake, Kings Canyon National Park

A popular hiking and equestrian trail that stretches through the Central Sierra has started to see an increasing number of hikers. As FM89’s Jason Scott reports, Hollywood may be to thank for it.

The Pacific Crest Trail stretches 2,600 miles from the U.S.-Mexico border to Canada, along the Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountain ranges. It’s always been a popular draw for outdoor enthusiasts, but lately it’s seen a surge in activity.

Mark Larabee is the managing editor of the Pacific Crest Trail Association website. He says the recent Oscar-nominated movie “Wild” has sparked interest in the trail.

Larabee: “We’re seeing more interest, obviously, with the book “Wild” and the movie. I think they’ve increased interest in the trail but in general, usage on the trail is up and we are seeing more people interested in the Pacific Crest Trail.”

Larabee says it’s difficult to determine the exact number of hikers on the trail, but he estimates that hundreds of thousands of people travel portions of the route each year.

The increased number of hikers has also been good for businesses along the path. Scott Hansen of the Kennedy Meadows Store in Kern County reports that business has is up 50 percent due to the increased number of hikers.

The trail’s popularity has also raised concerns with forest officials. Rangers with the Sequoia National Forest are reminding hikers to reduce their impact on the environment by practicing the principles of “Leave No Trace” hiking. 

Jason Scott was a local host of All Things Considered on Valley Public Radio.
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