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

  • Great American Outdoors Act Passes House, Awaits President's Signature into Law
  • PNTS Selects Valerie Rupp as New Executive Director, Prepares for Move to D.C.
  • Virtual Fall National Trails Workshop: October 21-29, 2020
  • Trail Apprentice/Trail Intern/Young Professional Survey Deadline: August 7th
  • Upcoming August Webinars
  • Fall Pathways Content Deadline: August 28th
  • Trails Community Resources: COVID-19, Diversity and Inclusion, Forum
  • New Value of Volunteer Time Reflected on 2019 Gold Sheet
  • Training and Mentorship Opportunities
  • Trails Forge Creative Collaborations

Congressional and LWCF Update

There is more exciting news to report from Congress! On July 22, the U.S. House of Representatives voted resoundingly in favor of the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA)! The 310-107 vote was overwhelmingly bipartisan and was the product of years of work on behalf of hundreds of organizations and thousands of individuals. The House's action, following passage of GAOA in the U.S. Senate in late June, sends the bill to the President to be signed into law, which is expected any day now. Enactment of GAOA ensures provides full and dedicated funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund and a dedicated fund to address backlog maintenance needs in our national parks, forests, and other public lands over the next five years. The Partnership issued a statement upon House passage. Thank you for contacting your representatives in Congress!


Valerie Rupp Selected as New PNTS Executive Director

The Partnership for the National Trails System (PNTS) has appointed Valerie C. Rupp of Baltimore, Maryland, to serve as the new Executive Director for the organization which represents 30 national scenic and historic trails. Valerie currently is Corporate & Foundation Stewardship Director for Baltimore’s People & Parks Foundation. In nine years with the organization, she has served in progressively more responsible positions including Director of Community Greening and Community Grants Program Director. Valerie will assume the position of PNTS Executive Director effective August 17. She will succeed Gary Werner, who retired in February after nearly 30 years in the role, and Interim Executive Director Karen Crossley, who has served since Gary’s departure. Valerie was the unanimous choice of a Partnership search committee and the recommendation was approved by the PNTS Board of Directors. In September, Valerie will establish the Partnership’s new office in Washington, D.C. This outstanding location is close to several peer organization offices, such as the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, Outdoor Afro, and The Wilderness Society, as well as Capitol Hill, Federal agency partners, legislators, and our traditional Hike the Hill meeting location at the Washington Plaza Hotel. Stay tuned for the Partnership's new mailing address.


Workshop themes:

  • Expanding Partnerships Within and Beyond Trail Corridors
  • Advancing Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
  • Increasing Capacity Through Organizational Development

Virtual Fall Trails Workshop

The Fall Workshop team has begun planning a virtual workshop to be held at the end of October. The tentative dates are Wednesday, October 21st to Thursday, October 29th. We are excited about seizing this opportunity to innovate, learn, deliver meaningful content, and provide new ways for us to engage with one another. The draft schedule clusters presentations over a two day period for each theme. We are proposing to intersperse interactive segments including discussion sessions, “open space,” and socials to introduce more opportunities to network, share ideas, and dig deeper into the material presented. And we know many of you have “Zoom” fatigue, so we are trying to avoid consecutive sessions, limit the sessions per day, and take a break on the weekend. Stay tuned for the exact dates and schedule on our website. Read the full message HERE.


PNTS Seeks Input From Young Professionals on Future Programs! 

The Partnership for the National Trails System and Fall Workshop Planning Team are considering new options for the way they engage with Trail Apprentices as part of the virtual Fall Workshop in October 2020 and beyond. PNTS would like input from those who have been in the PNTS Trail Apprentice or Trail Intern programs, or young professionals or volunteers to make the most of this opportunity to be creative and change our programs to better meet the needs of the next generations of advocates and professionals and address our rapidly changing world. If you are a young professional an alumni of an intern/apprentice program (or would like to be) please fill in the form linked HERE by August 7th. Otherwise, please forward this information to anyone you think might be appropriate. Thank you!


The Partnership for the National Trails System will share additional webinars hosted by other organizations on its webinar page. Registration information and costs may vary. Since spring, this has included dozens of COVID-19 and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion related webinars and virtual town hall meetings. Some recordings are also available.

Upcoming Webinars

Equitable and Inclusive Recruitment Practices: Part 2
August 4th at 1-2:30PM EDT
Hosted by Youth Outside

"Know Your Price: Valuing Black Lives and Property in America’s Black Cities" – A Conversation with author Andre Perry
August 5th at 2-3:30PM EDT
Hosted by America Walks

Partnering with Tribes on Conservation
August 5th at 3PM EDT
Hosted by the National Park Service

Upswell Pop-Up #5 - Exploring Anti-Racism and COVID-19 Recovery Strategies
August 11th at 1PM EDT
Hosted by the Independent Sector

BCHA/BCHO: Maximize Your Positive Interactions with People on Horseback
August 11th at 3PM EDT
Hosted by National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance



Share Your Stories! 

The content deadline for the Fall Issue of Pathways Across America is August 28, 2020. Please submit your story ideas to Samantha Haas at We are particularly interested in highlighting Land and Water Conservation projects on the national scenic and historic trails (see examples here).

We are very aware that many of you are not in your offices where the magazine normally is mailed. Please sign up for an email notice for Pathways HEREWe will make sure that you get an email letting you know when the Summer magazine is available online. This will help us lower costs on undeliverable magazines and ensure that you still get the information from the trails. Thank you for letting us know!


Trails Community Resources

The Partnership for the National Trails System provides free tools to the trails community, including COVID-19 updates, diversity and inclusion resources, and a forum where partners can discuss a wide range of topics -- such as trail planning, programming, policies, volunteerism, and outreach. If you would like something shared to these pages, please email Samantha Haas, PNTS Communications Coordinator, at Learn more.

PNTS has been compiling national scenic and historic trail organization responses to COVID-19, guidelines, policies, event cancellations, related news articles, and resources.

Pictured above: The Pacific Northwest Trail Association recently published this blog post about the PNTA field season beginning, referencing this sheet of how PNTA is keeping staff and communities safe during COVID-19 and this Field Safety Manual, as well as this guidance for visiting the PNT in 2020.

Since June, PNTS has been compiling diversity and inclusion tools for allies, recent statements, and points of view to help us all become more aware, informed, and better equipped to take action. Please join us.

Pictured above: James Edward Mills, founder of the Joy Trip Project, was featured in this video, “People of Color in the Great Outdoors,” for SNEWS in July 2020, in which he discusses ideas presented in his book, "The Adventure Gap," which examines racial and socioeconomic disparities in outdoor recreation.


2019 Gold Sheet is Updated 

Due to COVID-19, the 2019 value of volunteer time was not announced by our deadline for the Spring Issue of Pathways, in which the 2019 Gold Sheet was published using the 2018 value ($25.43/hour). This month, the Independent Sector, with the Do Good Institute, announced that the latest value of a volunteer hour is $27.20 – up 7% from the previous year. Estimated from data collected in 2019, the figure shows that volunteers contributed $187.7 billion to the United States through their time, talent, and effort last year. These values have been updated for each national scenic and historic trail on our annual Gold Sheet of volunteer contributions.


Training and Mentorship Opportunities 

Pilot Mentorship Program

Next 100 Colorado is launching a pilot mentorship program in fall 2020 aimed at uplifting and connecting leaders of Colorado who work, or have recently been employed, in fields related to the outdoors. The program, designed in partnership with Youth Outside, will foster a supportive and connected network of leaders of color at different stages in their careers. 

Mentor/Mentee Deadline: Friday, August 7th

Equity Journey Course

Through August 25, you can take a three-module course for free by Nonprofit Leadership Alliance that will strengthen your equity knowledge, further your professional development, and leave you with a toolkit of resources you’ll use for decades to come. Complete the course and you’ll receive a digital badge/e-certification.

Sign Up Deadline: Tuesday, August 25th


Forging Collaborations

The Partnership for the National Trails System encourages the scenic and historic trail stewards to work together with communities to put the trails on local maps and find creative ways to tell the trails’ stories. Your gift of $50, $100, $250 or more can help the Partnership continue to forge these creative collaborations. 

Donations to the Partnership for the National Trails System will help bring more trails, scenic and historic, to you. Your tax-deductible contribution will help scenic and historic trail stewards work together with communities to put the trails on local maps and find creative ways to tell the trails’ stories. We thank you!


Upcoming Events:

North Country Trail Association Celebration (Virtual) • August 2020
52nd Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation Meeting (Virtual) • August 2-5, 2020
SORP National Outdoor Recreation Conference (Virtual) • September 14 - October 23, 2020

National Wilderness Workshop (Virtual) • Fall 2020
SHIFT Summit (Virtual) • October 14-16, 2020

National Trails Workshop (Virtual) • October 21-29, 2020
National Recreation and Park Association Conference (Virtual) • October 27-29, 2020

view all 


In The News:

John Lewis' Procession to Follow Selma to Montgomery Route
The U.S. Loses Two Icons of the Civil Rights Movement in One Day
Atlas of the Continental Divide Trail
Collaborating with Latinx Organizations and Communities

Going the Distance: The Power of Community Partnerships
Video: Fireside Chat 2 with NPF, NPS & Friends Alliance
Despite Coronavirus, Some Hikers Go the Distance on the Appalachian Trail
Crews begin widening road near Arizona Trail for border wall construction
Video: Arizona Trail Association responds to border wall
GirlTrek Uses Black Women's History to Encourage Walking as a Healing Tradition

Podcast: The Ice Age Trail with Luke Kloberdanz
Video: A Conversation with Hasan Davis: York, Equity, Race and the Lewis and Clark Story
Opinion: Oil and gas leases threaten the Old Spanish Historic Trail
Mormon Trail -- Days of '47: Rough days ahead


Job Postings:

Coronavirus is affecting seasonal hiring across the country. Contact the organization you wish to work for directly in order to determine their hiring process.
Executive Director • Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness Foundation
Trail Supervisor • Baxter State Park   
Trail Policy Program Manager • Continental Divide Trail Coalition
Executive Director • Idaho Trails Association
Trails Crewmember • Timberline Landscaping
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 |