For Immediate Release: Tuesday, June 22, 2004
Contact: Al LePage, executive director, National Coast Trail Association / 503-335-3876
Hikers Begin Oregon Coast Trail Section On
1800-Mile Journey along "West Coast Trail"
Two long-distance backpackers start the Oregon Coast Trail after hiking the 200-mile "Washington Coast Trail" 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 Oregon on Monday, June 21st from the Hammond boat basin, and hiked through Seaside on Tuesday. Nate Olive of Atlanta, Georgia and partner Sarah Janes of Slidell, Louisiana completed the 200-mile Washington Coast Trail in Ilwaco, WA on Sunday 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 over the next four to five months, and expect to travel the 400-mile Oregon Coast Trail over the next three to four weeks. 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. Logistic, informational, and media outreach assistance is being provided by the National Coast Trail Association, a non-profit that has focused their efforts on the development of the West Coast Trail for some 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 trailjournals.com/westcoast .
"These two hikers engaged in an 1800-mile long trek along the West Coast Trail capture the imagination and spirit originally envisioned for the Oregon Coast Trail," notes Sean Loughran, Oregon state parks trails coordinator. "We're proud of the work we've done with others to develop the Oregon Coast Trail, and will continue our efforts to someday complete it."
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 "Oregon Coast Trail" is the 400-mile section of the West Coast Trail from the Columbia River at Fort Stevens State Park to the California border. About 350 miles of this 400-mile hiking trail system already exist, with new linkages being developed and planned. The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department has been coordinating the development of the Oregon Coast Trail with many partners since 1971. Existing Oregon state parks along the coast represent an important contribution to the Oregon Coast Trail section not only in terms of trails but also overnight camping, restroom facilities, and water to serve the needs of long-distance hikers. The 400-mile route involves some 200 miles of beach connected by sections of hiking trail. The National Coast Trail Association continues to work with Oregon State Parks so the vision of a complete trail can someday be realized.
"Doing the entire Oregon Coast Trail end to end is a real challenge takes both brains and brawn," notes Al LePage, director of the National Coast Trail Association. First, if you do try to do the whole thing that's 400 miles to cover, and its not all flat beach, but some pretty good ups and downs as well. One also has to deal with the tide in getting by certain points along the beach, and that means you really have to plan your trip a day or more out so you can get through -- and that means not only calculating the tide, but also involves planning skills too. Finally, you need to get across some of the coast's larger bays and rivers either by arranging or 'hitching' a boat ride when there are no bridges. Communication, social, and even persuasive skills can all come into play here. It's all part of the challenge, it's what makes the Oregon Coast Trail even more interesting," adds LePage.
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.
PHOTOS AVAILABLE BELOW
· 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 at South Jetty
in Fort Stevens State Park at start of Oregon Coast Trail
Nate Olive and Sarah Janes at South Jetty
as they begin the Oregon Coast Trail section of
America's 1800-mile West Coast Trail