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[pct-l] Open Letter to PCTA re: Randy Testman's Hikers Haven
March 26, 1999
Pacific Crest Trail Association
5325 Elkhorn Boulevard, Number 256
Sacramento, CA 95842-2526
Bob, Joe and Reuben:
As I'm sure you are all fully aware, the facilities available to PCT users
operated by Randy Testman on the South Fork of Mission Creek in California
Section C are in grave danger of being ordered removed as part of a
proposed sale of the land on which they were built. I am deeply disturbed
by some information I've received that the PCTA, through its silence on the
issue and lack of support for these trail facilities, may play a large role
in the destruction of this amazing resource for PCT users. I feel strongly
and urgently that the PCTA should quickly and forthrightly come to the aid
of Mr. Testman by publicly attesting to the fact that these facilities
have, in relatively short time, become a phenomenal and important resource
for all sorts of PCT users.
For the purposes of this communication, I'll assume that the Association
has, in fact, not taken and formal and public position supporting Mr.
Testman. If this turns out to not be the case, then the rest of my
thoughts here will only serve to reinforce and support that well-deserved
The PCTA's stated mission is to promote and protect the PCT in a manner
consistent with its status as a world class recreational resource. As in
the management of any public resources, one cannot look solely at issues
affecting the resource alone (for example, in this case, the trailway
itself), but must consider a whole gamut of issues and the environs of that
resource. My point is that Hikers Haven is, de facto, a part of the
Pacific Crest Trail due to its proximity to the trail and its usefulness to
PCT users. Moreover, because the vast majority of users access Hikers
Haven from the PCT, one could argue that it is more useful to the
Association's constituents than to any other group of users. These simple
facts make it clear that the PCTA should, based on its mission, take a
position on issues affecting these facilities.
Now that we've established that the PCTA should take a public position on
Hikers Haven, let us examine what the nature of that position should be.
Again the mission statement of the Association says that the purpose of the
PCTA is to promote "enjoyment, education and adventure" of users. Every
scrap of evidence I'm familiar with, along with my own experiences there,
indicates that Hikers Haven provides enjoyment, education and, in a real
sense, adventure to PCT users who make an effort to visit it. One of the
many beauties of the place is that it not only gives trail users a
temporary refuge from the rigors of the trail, but that Mr. Testman
provides valuable and passionate insights into the incredible diversity and
beauty of the area, all the while having a very minimal impact on the
environs and almost no direct adverse impact on the trail itself, other
than perhaps a few directional signs. I don't think any of this is in
dispute, at least not by anyone who has visited this magical place.
On a more personal level, I believe the Association should consider the
human impacts if Hikers Haven should be destroyed. Mr. Testman and Mr.
Cadman care passionately and sincerely about PCT users, especially the
small but visible subgroup of thru-hikers. This dedication has been
callously dismissed by some as opportunistic because Mr. Testman charges
modest fees to offset (but not cover) the costs of the services and goods
he provides. Such an accusation of opportunism is unadulterated nonsense.
Mr. Testman charges fees so that he can simply carry on what I believe he
feels is his God-given calling to serve. For this service, he deserves the
kind of adulation that the Association frequently gives to dedicated trail
volunteers who make great personal sacrifices of their time and money
because they believe that the resource they are protecting is worth it.
Instead, it appears the Association has turned its back on Mr. Testman.
I hope that the Association will revisit this issue and deliberate about
the message it is sending if it fails to do all it can to protect Hikers
Haven. This incredible place has become an important stop for hundreds of
PCT users and future users deserve to have it available, if they so chose,
as an oasis, a safety net, a refuge, and as an inspiration for how we can
live in nearly complete harmony with our surroundings.
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