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

  • Congressional and Land & Water Conservation Fund Updates
  • PNTS Seeks New Executive Director
  • Spring National Trails Workshop Canceled, Survey Due April 13th
  • COVID-19 Updates for National Trails
  • Upcoming Webinars: April 2nd and April 14th
  • A Time of Transition and Momentum for Trails During Hike the Hill 2020 
  • Funding, Scholarship, and Award Opportunities
  • We Need Your Help to Bring the Trails to You and Your Community

The Partnership for the National Trails System remains committed to strong advocacy in Washington, D.C. At this writing, however, the economic and health impacts of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic are understandably consuming all of Congress’ time and it is unclear how much other work will advance under the circumstances. We are also working with other organizations to position outdoor recreation as a critical part of a national economic recovery effort, including our national trails.

Congressional and LWCF Update

The Partnership for the National Trails System has been hard at work in the halls of Congress and with our federal agency partners over the past two months! We kicked off the year with an invitation from a House subcommittee to testify at Public Witness Day on February 6 regarding the importance of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and other trail funding needs. Hot on the heels of that, the Partnership jointly hosted another wildly successful Hike the Hill from February 9-13, which sent over 100 trail advocates to Capitol Hill, broadening and deepening congressional commitments to the National Trails System and generating a strong push for LWCF as well as increased funding for management and construction along our national scenic and historic trails. Our strong presence in Washington, D.C. during Hike the Hill week also led to the announcement on February 11 by U.S. Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen of the 10 Year Trail Challenge at a meeting attended by over 50 trail advocates. Our efforts are paying off! A bipartisan House “Dear Colleague” letter urging increases in Fiscal Year 2021 for the National Trails System garnered 82 signatures – the highest number ever! At the same time, the U.S. Senate was putting together a new bipartisan legislative package (S. 3422 The Great American Outdoors Act) to jointly address both full and dedicated LWCF funding and a dedicated fund to address backlog maintenance needs in our national parks. 


Apply to lead the PNTS!

The Partnership for the National Trails System seeks a dynamic, entrepreneurial and visionary Executive Director to build on the organization’s 27-year legacy of accomplishments and guide its work to the next level of success. To inquire about this opportunity, please contact Mary Stelletello, Principal, Vista Global Coaching & Consulting at To apply or nominate an individual, please send a cover letter and resume by email only to All correspondence will be held in the strictest confidence. No phone inquiries, please. 


Spring Workshop Canceled - Please Fill out Survey by 4/13

Regrettably, we have decided by consensus among PNTS leadership and workshop leads to cancel the Partnership’s Spring National Trails Workshop scheduled for May 18-22, 2020 at Ghost Ranch in New Mexico. This is highly unfortunate and yet we believe the right decision under these unusual circumstances. We want to recognize Teresa Martinez, Executive Director of the Continental Divide Trail Coalition, and the Spring workshop team who worked hard and produced an agenda with great vision. We know this group will do what they can to help ensure that the work and ideas are not lost in our future events. In light of this cancellation decision, we ask you to participate in a brief survey by April 13th that will help inform our future plans and assist us in considering options for:

  • Rescheduling the Spring workshop physically or virtually;
  • Integrating elements of our Spring workshop vision into plans for the Fall workshop in Spartanburg, South Carolina (scheduled for October 26-30, 2020);
  • Determining what content is most important and valuable to you.

Challenging times make us more aware of how much we value our family, friends and colleagues. We hope that you all are staying safe.


COVID-19 Updates for Trails

As you know, the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation is evolving quickly. The Partnership for the National Trails System, to the best of its ability, will be posting updates to a new webpage regarding national scenic and historic trail organization responses, guidelines, policies, event cancellations, related news articles, and resources. Please make sure to check social media or individual websites for up-to-date information, and contact the trail organizations and corresponding federal agencies directly if you have questions. If you would like something shared to this page, please email Samantha Haas, PNTS Communications Coordinator, at


Upcoming Webinars

2020 UPDATE: 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.

The Impact of COVID-19 on the Wilderness Stewardship Community: A Town Hall Conversation
April 2nd at 3PM EDT
Hosted by the National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance

Balancing Advocacy and Stewardship to Protect Wild Lands: The Great Old Broads for Wilderness Model
April 14th at 3PM EDT
Hosted by the National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance


Judy Bittner, Iditarod Historic Trail Alliance, addresses NPS Acting Director David Vela, not pictured, during a meeting in Washington, D.C. Photo by Samantha Haas.

Hike the Hill 2020 Recap

More than 100 people representing 40 trail organizations and advocates from throughout the country traveled to Washington, D.C. this February to “Hike the Hill.” Now in its 23rd year, Hike the Hill® is a joint effort between the Partnership for the National Trails System (PNTS) and the American Hiking Society (AHS) aimed at making congressional and federal agency leaders more aware of funding and other needs that sustain the National Trails System (NTS). From February 9-13, 2020, we met with leaders of three federal land management agencies, congressional staff, and members of Congress to discuss the opportunities for and challenges facing our NTS and the need for increased funding and enhanced partnerships. Some of the main issues or pieces of legislation discussed include full and dedicated funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, increasing and allocating funding for the national trails, and addressing the maintenance backlog across public lands, including the U.S. Forest Service deferred maintenance, through the Restore Our Parks and Public Lands Act.


Funding, Scholarship, and Award Opportunities 

North Face Explore Fund

The North Face partners with The National Park Foundation to fund programs in national parks and on federally managed lands, with a shared goal to encourage and enable people from all walks of life and abilities to get outside and explore. There are three program categories for 2020 grants: Creating a community of new explorers, protecting wild places, and the Move Mountains Grant. A total of $500,000 is available for funding, and nonprofits may apply for funding between $5,000 and $25,000.

Application Deadline: Wednesday, April 8th

Forest System Trail Funding

The National Forest System Trail Stewardship Partner Funding program is a collaboration of National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance and the U.S. Forest Service, with AHS, American Trails, BCHA, IMBA, NOHVCC, and the American Motorcyclist Association all participating in the rating and selection of projects. These program funds are provided to trail and stewardship organizations to improve trail maintenance on the National Forest System Trail System. 

Application Deadline: Thursday, April 30th


We Need Your Help!

During this time when we are asked to stay close to home, you can appreciate even more the local resources in your backyard. Did you know that scenic and historic trails can be found in all 50 states? We need your help to make these accessible. That means everything from filling the gaps in trail corridors and providing access points to getting these trails on the local maps for parks and highway departments. Please consider a generous gift to help continue the work to bring the trails to you and your community!

Donations to the Partnership for the National Trails System will help to engage new and diverse audiences in communities across the country. Your tax-deductible contribution will help us to create opportunities to explore your natural and historic heritage throughout America and support the work of citizen stewards who build and maintain these trails in your backyard. We thank you!


Upcoming Events:

Continental Divide Virtual Trail Days • April 2020
National Pony Express Association's Annual Re-Ride • June 3-13, 2020

National Trails Day • June 6, 2020
North Country Trail Association Celebration • August 5-8, 2020
SORP National Outdoor Recreation Conference • September 14-17, 2020

National Wilderness Workshop • October 13-16, 2020
National Trails Workshop - South Carolina • October 26-30, 2020
view all 


In The News:

Amid coronavirus response, Congress must support parks and open-space fund
Coronavirus has devastated the thru-hiking season
Itching to head outside? Read this first
What it’s like for 2020 thru-hikers canceling their plans because of COVID-19  
For now, you can still take your kids outside  
Coronavirus could complicate hikers starting their annual trip north on the A.T.  
Iditarod is still on, but precautions are being taken as coronavirus concerns spread
Risks can make the best memories, and other lessons from traveling the Oregon Trail


Job Postings:

Trail Stewardship Leader • Colorado Mountain Club
Trail Crew Leader • Connecticut Forest and Park Association
Community Planner • Federal Highway Administration

Executive Director • Florida Trail Association
Trail Crew Leader and Assistant • Pacific Crest Trail Association

Executive Director • Partnership for the National Trails System
Field Crew Member • Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards

Public Transportation Fellows  Western Transportation Institute at MSU-Bozeman
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 |