One of the United States’ original national scenic trails, the Pacific Crest Trail passes through Yosemite on its 2,650-mile path from Mexico to Canada. More than 100 miles of the PCT within and outside the park overlap with another famous long-distance trail, the John Muir Trail.

Thousands of backpackers enter Yosemite via the PCT/JMT each year, but the park has limited data on who is hitting the trail. In order to protect the trail’s wilderness surroundings and ensure high-quality hiking experiences, park managers need to learn more about how many people use the popular route and how they interact with the landscape.

This grant supports research to illuminate PCT/JMT travel patterns through two studies: One will look at permits issued by non–National Park Service entities, such as the U.S. Forest Service; the other will survey hikers about wilderness-related values. Researchers will use results to create tools the NPS and other agencies can use to model and adapt to shifting visitor use, and to improve trip-planning resources.

Your gifts will fund important research to help improve wilderness experiences and protect habitat along a celebrated long-distance trail.

Partnering with Pennsylvania State University and University of California, Merced