Into the wild
Inyo County, Calif. registrar's wilderness civics effort

By Kammi Foote
Inyo County, California Registrar of Voters

Every year hundreds of thousands of people embark on extended hiking expeditions; consequently they are often in the wilderness during election season. Long distance hikers, called “thru-hikers”, travel on the popular Appalachian Trail (AT), Continental Divide Trail (CDT) and among Inyo County California treasures’ - the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) and John Muir Trail (JMT).

Crossing paths with long-distance hikers is common in Inyo County, home to Mt. Whitney, the highest peak in the Continental US at 14,505’ and Kearsarge Pass, a popular route for hiker re-supply on the PCT and JMT.

Most long distance hikers began their expeditions early in 2016 – before the primaries and conventions, spending months in the back-country. Consequently, thru-hikers are less likely to be up to date on state elections, voter registration requirements and vote by mail deadlines.

During a recent Inyo County voter registration drive at the Bishop Twin Theatre, thru-hikers and rock-climbers stopped by and asked basic questions about voting while away from home.

Realizing that there is sparse election information directed to thru-hikers, Chuck Levin, friend and longtime voting advocate and I decided to hike into the John Muir Wilderness to spread the word about voting in this important national election. Read More…