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News Release

For Immediate Release: Monday, July 19, 2004

Contact: Al LePage, executive director, National Coast Trail Association / 503-335-3876

Hikers Begin California Coastal Trail Section Of
An 1800-Mile Journey along "West Coast Trail"

Two backpackers start the California Coastal Trail after hiking 600 miles from Washington's northwest tip
as they attempt to be the first to ever complete, in one continuous trip, America's West Coast Trail!

A special event, the "West Coast Trail End to End, 1800 Miles Dancing with the Tide," which began on the northwest tip of Washington on Tuesday, June 8th, continued south into California on Sunday evening, July 12th .  Nate Olive of Atlanta, Georgia and partner Sarah Janes of Slidell, Louisiana completed the 400-mile Oregon Coast Trail a short distance after crossing the Windchuck River south of Brookings, Oregon in their attempt to be the first ever to complete in one continuous trip the entire length of the 1800-mile West Coast Trail. They plan to eventually reach the Mexican border and complete their trek in early October, and expect to travel the 1,200-mile California Coastal Trail in about 11 weeks or so.  The journey seeks to promote public awareness of this long-distance trail, and serve as the basis to create a book -- a photo journal -- tentatively called Dancing the Tidal Line, to provide a personal account of the overall trail experience.  The hikers have been assisted in their journey by the National Coast Trail Association, a non-profit that has focused its efforts on the development of the West Coast Trail for the last 9 years. The event is officially registered as a National Trails Day 2004 event with the American Hiking Society. Those who want to follow their progress through journal notes and photos from beginning to end may visit the website .  Coastwalk, a California-based non-profit organization, continues to work for the completion of the California Coastal Trail, and seeks to educate the public to promote the trail, protect public access, and encourage coastal protection.

"From the redwood forests to the Mexican border," begins Al LePage, executive director of the National Coast Trail Association,"the California coast was made for you and me!  And the development of the California Coastal Trail is one of the most important ways to keep it that way, through protecting and enhancing public access to all that makes it unique -- its scenic beauty, its history, and its culture.  This young couple will certainly have a unique experience as they travel its 1,200 miles!"

The West Coast Trail is envisioned as a continuous recreational hiking trail along the Pacific coast of the United States traveling the entire length of the Washington, Oregon, and California coastlines. Significant portions of this trail system already exist, with new linkages being developed every year. The development of the West Coast Trail has been the primary focus of the National Coast Trail Association, a non-profit organization based in Portland, Oregon, since 1995. The West Coast Trail should not be confused with another long-distance trail, the Pacific Crest Trail, which is about 150 miles inland and travels along the spine of the Cascades and Sierra Nevada's south into the California desert.

The "California Coastal Trail" is the 1,200-mile section of the West Coast Trail from the Oregon to the Mexican border through wild, rural and urban landscapes closely paralleling the shoreline; the California Legislature has recognized it as a statewide trail.  At least 500 miles of the California Coastal Trail have been described as "adequate" in a report released in 2003 called Completing the California Coastal Trail prepared by the California Coastal Conservancy with the participation of the California Coastal Commission, State Parks, and Coastwalk.  New linkages continue to be developed and planned over time.  These and other state agencies hope to complete the necessary improvements towards completing the trail during this decade.

"Probably one of the most important things you can carry with you to do the California Coastal Trail Trail, to do America's West Coast Trail end to end," states LePage,"and stay alive, in one word . . . patience!   You see, one has to deal with ever changing tides in getting by certain points along the coast.   That means you really have to plan your trip, sometimes as much as a day or more out so you can get by a certain point down the trail.  But sometimes you simply have to wait until it is safe enough pass a point where incoming tides could trap you, make it dangerous, even life threatening, say to go around a rocky point or wade a river.  So, this trail should not be described as 'dangerous' if patience rules the day, everyday, relative to the tides, and also if one does not try to pass sections described by credible sources as impassable.  The tides are clearly part of 'the challenge' to be repected versus being blindly 'conquered' in an attempt to simply get through when you and not the Pacific Ocean thinks you should.  The coast trail has a lot to teach those who listen; stay alive and keep on learning!"

Nate Olive and Sarah Janes both hiked the 2,650-mile length of the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to the Canadian border in 2003. Nate also hiked the entire "2,000-mile" length of the Appalachian Trail from Maine to Greorgia in 2002, and Sarah joined him for 400 miles, during which they acquired the "trail names" of "Tha Wookie" and "Island Mama." Both are experienced field research staff working under recreation ecologist Jeff Marion of Virginia Tech. Olive just recently earned his M.A. degree in Recreation Ecology and Leisure Studies from the University of Georgia and hopes to explore exchanges between nature and human interactions, both past and present, during the trip. Sarah has a degree in anthropology with a pre-med minor from the University of Georgia and is a certified wilderness first responder able to deal with medical emergencies in the wilderness.

Al LePage, founder and executive director of the National Coast Trail Association, apparently was the first person ever to have hiked the entire West Coast Trail. However, he did so on three separate occasions, and not in one continuous trip. In 1988 he hiked the 400-mile Oregon Coast Trail in about 1 month, in 1992 the 200-mile Washington Coast Trail section in 2 weeks, and in 1996 he tackled the 1,200-mile length of the California Coastal Trail in 3 and a half months, averaging about 100 miles per week on each trip.


The National Coast Trail Association is a non-profit trail organization whose vision is the National Coast Trail, a 10,000-mile plus interconnected land and water-based trail system around the entire United States. Our mission is "Keeping the Coast for Everyone" through advocacy, education, and action for trails, public access and coastal preservation. Our program includes trail development, education, and conservation. Our focus is the development of the West Coast Trail, comprised of the Washington, Oregon and California Coastal Trails.

Coastwalk, a California-based non-profit organization, and information about the California Coastal Trail may be accessed on-line by visiting the website


· Newspapers only have permission to use the photos.

· Photos may be cropped and color-balanced as needed.

· Please Credit the National Coast Trail Association.

· Images were scanned for print quality.

Nate Olive and Sarah Janes
along the West Coast Trail

Nate Olive and Sarah Janes as they begin
the Oregon Coast Trail section of
America's 1800-mile West Coast Trail