Why the 2016 Day Zero PCT Kick Off Was Canceled

Permitting delays forced one of the trail's institutions to take a break.
pct kick off

A hiker enjoys free food at the 2013 ADZPCTKO. (Photo by Rick McCharles/Flickr)

Due to permitting problems, the organizers of the 2016 Annual Day Zero Pacific Crest Trail Kick Off (ADZPCTKO) have canceled this year’s event. According to the event’s official announcement, the Pasadena-based nonprofit ran into logistical setbacks, when the County of San Diego updated their campsite registration system, requiring organizers to secure a contract with the park.

According to the Kick Off’s website, the group did not receive the contract to use Lake Morena County Park, where the Kick Off is usually held, until early February.

The mid-April event date then became an impossible deadline, according to event organizers.

“That didn’t give us enough time to plan the type of educational and fun event that we’ve become known for, so we’ve decided to take a year off,” said an announcement on the group’s official Facebook page.

The planning isn’t insignificant. What started in 1999 as a small barbecue and shuttle service to the PCT’s southern terminus, 21 miles from Lake Morena, now serves hundreds of attendees. The event usually includes educational seminars, workshops, sponsor tents, film screenings, hike registration opportunities, and catered meals.

In years past, towns, environmentalists, and operators of trailside hostels and amenities have complained about the bottlenecking effect the event has caused. Though the event provides a rideshare platform and encourages hikers to carpool to the event from other portions of the trail rather than planning their start date around the Kick Off, some crowding has persisted.

The next Kick Off will be held in April, 2017, and should proceed as planned. “We’re going to spend a lot of time in the coming months planning and retooling ADZPCTKO for 2017,” says the group’s Facebook page.