News of the past month and what's ahead
In this edition:

  • Congressional and Land & Water Conservation Fund Updates
  • PNTS Hires Interim Executive Director and Advocacy & Policy Coordinator
  • Upcoming Webinars: January 14th and 22nd
  • Hike the Hill Early Bird Registration Deadline: January 12th
  • Gary Werner's Retirement Reception: February 9th
  • National Trails Workshops Announced: May and October 2020 (note location change)
  • Funding, Scholarship, and Award Opportunities
  • Make an End of Year Gift to Support the National Trails

Congressional and LWCF Update

Just in time to avert a shutdown of the government, Congress passed the FY 2020 Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill as part of an overall funding package for the government. The Interior portion of the bill provides $495.103 million for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). This amount is $45 million more than was appropriated for FY 2019 and is the most amount Congress has appropriated for LWCF projects since 2003. LWCF money is provided to acquire land along the Ala Kahakai, Lewis and Clark, and Oregon National Historic Trails. The FY 2020 Interior Appropriations Bill also provides a $1 million increase for the national scenic and historic trails administered and managed by the Bureau of Land Management and a $560,000 increase for the National Trails Program of the National Park Service. The bill provides $81 million for the U.S. Forest Service to maintain trails in the national forests, an increase of $1 million. From this funding the Forest Service will allocate $7,925,000 to administer and manage the national scenic and historic trails. Meanwhile, work continues to convince Congress to vote on the LWCF Permanent Funding Act S.1081 and the companion House bill H.R.3195. These bills require annual appropriation of the full $900 million authorized for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). S.1081 is cosponsored by 50 Senators and H.R.3195 now has 233 cosponsors.


PNTS Leadership Update

The Partnership for the National Trails System (PNTS) Board of Directors has approved the hiring of Karen Crossley as Interim Executive Director and Kathy DeCoster as Advocacy & Policy Coordinator to lead the Partnership during a nine-month transition period before a permanent Executive Director is appointed. Both actions were based on recommendations from the Transition Task Force, which has been working for nearly a year to prepare for the retirement of Executive Director Gary Werner on February 9, 2020. Both Crossley and DeCoster will also be involved in planning for and participating in Hike the Hill, February 8-13, 2020, in Washington, D.C.


Upcoming Webinars

Title: Wildspotter – A Mobile Application for Invasive Species Inventory
Presenter: Rachel Carroll, University of Georgia
Date and Time: Tuesday, January 14th at 3PM EST
Overview: Wild SpotterTM is a national project to promote the engagement and empowerment of the public in our fight against invasive species. This webinar will provide an overview of Wild Spotter, highlight its progress as an innovative citizen science project, and offer details for future Wild Spotter project updates. Hosted by the National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance.

Title: Pre-Hike the Hill Webinar*
Presenter: PNTS/AHS representatives
Date and Time: Wednesday, January 22nd at 3PM EST
Overview: (Coming Soon)
*A recorded webinar will be available


Register for Hike the Hill

Registration is now open for Hike the Hill®, a joint effort between the Partnership for the National Trails System and the American Hiking Society, which will take place in Washington, D.C. from February 8-13, 2020. A preliminary schedule for Hike the Hill is now available on our website. There are four different registration options, and early bird prices are valid through January 12th. The Washington Plaza Hotel in northwest D.C. will once again serve as the Hike the Hill headquarters hotel. To receive discounted room rates, reservations must be made no later than January 17th.


Retirement Reception Feb. 9 

What: PNTS Executive Director Gary Werner's Retirement Reception
When: 5:30-7:30 p.m. Sunday, February 9, 2020 (During Hike the Hill weekend)
Where: Washington Plaza Hotel, 10 Thomas Cir NW, Washington, DC 20005
Cost: $45 (includes hors d'oeuvres and contribution to a group gift for Gary)
Registration deadline: February 3rd

We hope to see you there!


2020 National Trails Workshops

Join fellow staff, volunteers, and agency partners for the 2020 National Trails Workshops (previously scenic and historic trail workshops) to be held at Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, New Mexico, May 18-21, hosted by the Continental Divide Trail Coalition, and in Spartanburg, South CarolinaOctober 26-30, hosted by the Overmountain Victory Trail Association. Topics may include trail and corridor protection and management, field program administration, organization development, JEDI (justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion) practices, and community outreach. Additional information will be coming soon to this webpage.

Please note: Although they may be hosted by a scenic or historic trail, both workshops are open to anyone within our trails community who finds the content relevant.   


Funding, Scholarship, and Award Opportunities 

Environmental Education Grant

The Environmental Protection Agency has opened an application pool to support “locally-focused environmental education projects that increase public awareness and knowledge about environmental and conservation issues.” These grants aim to help teach audiences the skills needed to make educated choices for a healthy environment in their lives. 

Application Deadline: Monday, January 6th

Thru-Hiker Sponsorships

The Trek is offering its annual Badger Sponsorship prize packages to reward eight thru-hikers who will be giving back to the trail and/or be a force for positivity in the thru-hiking community. The application is open to anyone thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, Continental Divide Trail, or long-distance trail of at least 1,000 miles in length in 2020.   

Application Deadline: Monday, January 13th


Make an End of Year Gift

The Partnership for the National Trails System relies on trail lovers like you across the country and abroad to fund our important work. Please consider a generous end of year gift to help bridge gaps in the trails. We are making progress in closing these gaps, but an enormous task lies ahead. On behalf of all 30 of the national scenic and historic trails, the Partnership provides resources and advocates to make this American dream come true—which is only possible with your support.

Donations to the Partnership for the National Trails System will help us complete and sustain the National Trails System. Your tax-deductible contribution will help us to protect land and resources along the national scenic and historic trail routes, enable us to educate the next generation of trail stewards and users, and support the work of citizen stewards who build and maintain these trails.


Upcoming Events:

Hike the Hill 2020 • February 8-13, 2020
35th Annual Corps Network National Conference • February 9-12, 2020
Oregon-California Trails Association Symposium • February 21-23, 2020
Professional Trail Builders Association Sustainable Trails Conference • March 15-21, 2020
PAEE/PRPS Joint Conference and Expo • March 17-20, 2020
Ice Age Trail Alliance Annual Conference • April 23-26, 2020
American Planning Association National Planning Conference • April 25-28, 2020
SORP National Outdoor Recreation Conference • April 27-30, 2020
National Trails Workshop - New Mexico • May 18-21, 2020
National Trails Workshop - South Carolina • October 26-30, 2020

view all 


In The News:

Easement conserves over 2.3 miles of the Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail
Students explore the trails in their classroom and beyond
Summer of storytelling: Showcasing the diverse faces of the CDT
Author speaks about play reflecting on family legacy after the Trail of Tears

Here's how trails have become important boosters for local economies



Job Postings:

Trail Inventory Data Collection Intern • American Conservation Experience
Director of Development • American Hiking Society
Trail Crew Staff • Appalachian Trail Conservancy
Program Coordinator • Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness
Trail Crew • Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust
Trail Field Manager • New York-New Jersey Trail Conference 
Trails Director • North Idaho Trails Coalition
Wilderness Fellow • Society for Wilderness Stewardship
Trail Crew Leader • Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards
Traveling Trainers • Subaru/Leave No Trace  
Youth Programs Instructor • Tahoe Rim Trail Association 

view all


Do you have an upcoming event, news story, or job posting that is not listed above?
Send us an e-mail at


Partnership for the National Trails System
306 E Wilson, Suite 2E,  | Madison, Wisconsin  53703
608-249-7870 |