The re-route of the Pacific Northwest Trail (PNT) to a path more in line with the “Jonkel alternative,” which was submitted to Congress in 1980, offers a win-win-win for hikers, the Yaak’s last grizzly bears, and the trail towns of Eureka, Libby and Troy. The southern scenic alternative offers hikers fewer miles of paved highway walking and avoids directly bisecting Yaak grizzly core (which would necessitate the closing of more open roads on the Kootenai).
It’s unfortunate that not enough Montanans were involved in the initial legislation that cast a route along the Canadian border, but better late than never. The northern route threatens timber sales and puts hikers and grizzlies in the same core habitat at the same time of year in a way that is not beneficial to anyone. I’m grateful a solution exists to this thorny problem – other than the “no trail alternative” – and heartily endorse the southern scenic alternative route.
Robyn King, executive director
Yaak Valley Forest Council