The film crews have left the southern Oregon town of Ashland. But the wave of national publicity triggered by the movie “Wild” is likely to continue drawing attention — and hikers — to the Pacific Crest Trail.
Ashland’s downtown plaza was given a Hollywood makeover, right down to the colorful autumn foliage being replaced by fake green leaves to re-create the summer of 1995. The film version of Cheryl Strayed’s best-selling book about her 1,100-mile adventure hiking the Pacific Crest Trail stars Academy Award Winner Reese Witherspoon.
That star power — along with a recent high-profile article in the New York Times and other coverage ¬– has interest in the trail at an all-time high. Jack Haskel is with the Pacific Crest Trail Association in Sacramento. He says he’s not too concerned about the route getting “loved to death.”
“I think it’s going to be a fantastic thing. I really do believe that we need more people connecting to the wilderness and to nature. And I think that these people who are going to go out and be introduced to the Pacific Crest Trail will become defenders.”
Haskel says the trail, which runs all the way from Mexico to Canada, started seeing an increase in hikers since the publication of Strayed’s book last year. And he expects the release of the movie to bring even more.