U.S. Agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack announced a key step Friday in completing a 1,200 mile trail from Glacier National Park to the Pacific Ocean. Hikers already use what's called the "Pacific Northwest Trail," but it has gaps, and isn't fully built out.
Vilsack has named 23 advisors to help finalize the trail corridor. Jon Knechtel with the Pacific Northwest Trail Association is on the new advisory committee.
"It's kind of a unique trail. It's not a trail for beginners. You really need to be a pretty avid hiker. But you won't find a prettier trail, or more beautiful scenery, probably anywhere in the United States," Knechtel said.
Knechtel says a few dozen people a year hike the full length of the trail - and have to find their own way across gaps. But he says some segments attract thousands of visitors, who spend money in local communities.
The trail advisory committee will start meeting later this year.
Copyright 2015 Oregon Public Broadcasting.