Advisory Council Membership

PNNST Advisory Council News Releases  Meetings Resources

The Forest Service is soliciting nominations for volunteers to serve on the advisory council for the Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail. All seats/positions on the advisory council are currently open.

Interested applicants who submitted applications for the earlier deadlines will be considered.

Application instructions and the form AD-755 are below.

Background

The Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail (Pacific Northwest Trail, or PNT)  is a 1,200-mile route that begins near the Continental Divide in Glacier National Park in Montana and travels through northwest Montana, the Idaho Panhandle, and Washington to reach the Pacific Ocean at Cape Alava in Olympic National Park. In 2009, Congress designated the Pacific Northwest Trail as a national scenic trail under the National Trails System Act (P.L. 90-543, as amended through P.L. 116-9) (NTSA). The Forest Service is completing a comprehensive plan for the Pacific Northwest Trail, as described in Section 5(e) of the NTSA.

The unique role of the advisory council is to serve as a venue where citizens and representatives of Tribes, government agencies, and non-governmental organizations can talk together to develop shared recommendations to the USDA Forest Service and the Secretary of Agriculture on matters related to the Pacific Northwest Trail, as described in Section 5(d) of the NTSA.

The advisory council was previously active, holding three meetings in 2015 and 2016, before its charter expired in 2018. The Secretary of Agriculture has renewed the charter. The current charter was filed August 16, 2022, and is effective for two years. 

Advisory Council Composition and Membership

The advisory council will have approximately 25, and no more than 35, members who will provide representation within each of the following categories:

  1. The head of each Federal department or independent agency administering lands through which the trail route passes, or their designee.

  2. A member to represent each state (Montana, Idaho, and Washington) based on the recommendation of the Governor.

  3. Members appointed to represent private organizations, including corporate and individual landowners and land users which, in the opinion of the Secretary, have an established and recognized interest in the Pacific Northwest Trail. These members may represent social, environmental, or economic organizations (such as nationally or regionally recognized trails organizations, nationally or regionally recognized environmental organizations, nationally or regionally recognized wildlife organizations) and interests (hiking, equestrian, mountain biking, archaeological and historical, the timber industry, tourism and/or commercial outfitters, county governments and/or gateway communities, environmental education, youth engagement and employment) and/or private landowners.

  4. Members appointed to represent tribal interests.

Members commit to a two-year term. Service on the advisory council is unpaid, though members may be reimbursed for expenses to travel to in-person council meetings (if relevant).

Serving on the advisory council requires a considerable time commitment. The advisory council will have regular virtual meetings, likely to be held monthly and each lasting 1½ to 2 hours, begining in late fall 2022 or early 2023. There may be additional pre-work and follow-up tasks. 

Volunteers for the advisory council should understand that its work will focus on broad, trail-wide issues. The advisory council does not make decisions about the location of the Pacific Northwest Trail route, which was designated by Congress and can only be relocated in accordance with Section 7(b) of the NTSA.

Advisory council members will be expected to make good-faith efforts to work with other members to develop recommendations to the Secretary that contribute to the long-term vision for administration and management of the PNT in accordance with the National Trails System Act. Members will be expected to share their points of view, listen to and consider other perspectives, and ask for more information when it is needed.

Advisory council members will be expected to follow the advisory council’s bylaws (to be developed and adopted at the first meeting) and applicable Federal ethics laws, rules, and guidelines. Ethics training will be provided, and is required for all members.

The USDA Forest Service is committed to creating and maintaining a work environment in which all people are treated with dignity, fairness, and respect, and are free from harassment. This commitment extends to all USDA Forest Service employees, contractors, and anyone who does business with us.

How to Submit Applications

Any individual may submit an application to represent the interests in category #3 above. Organizations may also nominate one or more qualified persons to represent the interests in category #3 above, and Tribes and tribal organizations may also nominate persons for category #4.

To be considered for membership, nominees must submit all of the following:

☐  Completed and signed form AD-755 (Advisory Committee or Research and Promotion Background Information)

☐  Brief résumé describing qualifications, experiences, and skills relevant to the advisory council

☐  Brief cover letter or email identifying:

☐  which organization(s) and/or interest(s) the applicant would represent and how they are qualified to represent the group(s),

☐  the applicant’s rationale for serving on the advisory council (i.e., why they are interested and what they could contribute), and

☐  the applicant’s past experience working successfully as part of a collaborative team or group

☐  Letter of support, if applying to represent an organization (e.g., letter or email from the organization’s executive director, president, board chair, etc.). If applying for the tribal interests category (category #4), the letter of support should be from the Tribe or tribal organization (e.g., letter or email from a Tribal Chair, Tribal President, Tribal Council, or the tribal organization's executive director, president, board chair, etc.)

Submit nominations by mail to:

USDA Forest Service Pacific Northwest Region

Attention:  Becky Blanchard, PNT Advisory Council DFO

1220 SW Third Avenue, Suite 1700

Portland, OR 97204-2825

Or by email to: becky.blanchard@usda.gov

Timeline for Appointment of Members and Meetings

All nominations will be vetted by USDA.  The Secretary of Agriculture will appoint members to the Council from the list of qualified applicants. Equal opportunity practices in accordance with USDA policies shall be followed in all appointments to the advisory council.

It may be a number of months from the time nominees submit their applications to the time appointments are made. We will communicate with all applicants any updates we receive about the status of the process. We appreciate your patience.

The first virtual (web- or phone-based) meeting will be held soon after the Secretary selects and appoints members to the advisory council. Advisory council members will also be asked to complete required web-based ethics training.

Due to health and safety concerns, the meetings will be virtual. 

More Information

The advisory council is not the sole opportunity for members of the public and interested entities to get information about administration and management of the Pacific Northwest Trail or to provide comments. Federal actions—for example, decisions in the Pacific Northwest Trail comprehensive plan or subsequent project-level decisions such as future new trail construction—are subject to the public involvement provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

For more information, contact Becky Blanchard, Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail Administrator, by email