Partnership for the National Trails System e-news July 2021

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News of the past month and what's ahead

In this edition:

  • PNTS Live Webinar: Conservation Legacy’s VISTA Programs
  • Save the Dates for PNTS’ Fall Workshop
  • Applications for PNTS’ Trail Apprentice Program Are Open
  • Applications Open for Inaugural Rethink Outside™ Fellowship 
  • New Resources from Federal Highway Administration
  • Advocacy & Policy Updates
  • In the News
  • Scholarships, Grants, and Other Awards
  • Resources, Events, and Promotional Opportunities
  • Webinars and Educational Opportunities
  • Comings and Goings

PNTS Live Webinar: Conservation Legacy’s VISTA Program

Make the Most of National Public Lands Day takes place on June 20 at 2 PM EDT

Partnership for the National Trails System is proud to host a webinar about Conservation Legacy programs, including Stewards Individual Placements and AmeriCorps VISTA. During this live presentation, Josh Jones, VISTA Development Coordinator at Conservation Legacy, will discuss how you can become a project sponsor of a dedicated, full-time AmeriCorps VISTA member to help your organization build capacity through activities such as fundraising, grant writing, research, and volunteer recruitment. Josh will also cover the responsibilities and expectations of a project sponsor, and how Conservation Legacy will support you and your members. You will learn about the programs within Conservation Legacy and how these programs can benefit your organization. Please join us and learn how you can work with Conservation Legacy to bring youth, young adults and veterans to work with your organization.

Free to attend for PNTS Members. $5-15 suggested donation for non-members. Register Here.


Save the Dates for PNTS’ 2021 Virtual National Trails Workshop November 1–4

Sunset on a trail in southern Arizona; photo by Matt Wenger.

Join us for PNTS’ second virtual workshop from the convenience of your home or office for presentations and interactive sessions focused on conserving trail lands, collaboration and engagement, and strengthening organizations and partnerships. Session topics will include America the Beautiful on trails, Conservation Corps, trail case studies on working with Native communities, storytelling, and more. Registration information coming soon.

More information and updates are available here.


Apply to Be a Trail Apprentice Through August 15th

Applications for the 2021-22 Trail Apprentice Program are now open.

Partnership for the National Trails System (PNTS) is accepting applications for the 2021–2022 Trail Apprentice Program now through August 15, 2021. The Trail Apprentice Program (TAP) is an opportunity for young leaders aged 18 to 28 years to learn about the National Trails System and careers in National Trails. The program will be virtual and will run from October 2021 through January 2022. Trail Apprentices will learn more about what it’s like to work in different trail-related jobs and take advantage of educational and networking opportunities with their peers and trail industry leaders at the 2021 National Trails Workshop (November 1st–November 4th).

Please fill out an application here or visit to find more info and a link to the application. You may also contact with any questions about the program.


Applications Open for Inaugural Rethink Outside™ Fellowship

Rethink outside fellowship logo against a sunset with the silhouettes of hikers in the foreground.

Photo courtesy Rethink Outside(TM).

The inaugural Rethink Outside™ Fellowship, coordinated by the Blue Sky Funders Forum and facilitated by José González, is accepting applications until August 22. This 6-month capacity-building experience is an invitation for Black, Indigenous, and people of color to draw on their own experiences and enhance their communications and leadership skills. Fellows will engage with peers through customized opportunities to build community, co-create, and access resources for more impactful communications that will bring new allies and funders to support their work. 15-20 individuals will be invited to participate in the inaugural fellowship from October 2021–March 2022.

Qualified applicants who cannot be supported with the fellowship experience (due to resource limitations) will be invited to select events and offerings through the Rethink Outside™ Fellowship to build community and positively impact all interested applicants.

More information is available here. You can also learn more by joining an informational session on August 10.


Federal Highway Administration Releases 2 New Reports and 4 New Livability Fact Sheets

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) recently released 2 reports and 4 Livability Fact Sheets that may be of interest to trails professionals.

2020 Recreational Trails Program Annual Report: This report describes how RTP funds are used, with examples of the variety of projects that States have selected to build and enhance recreational trails across the U.S. Tables show the annual levels of funding since FY 1993, and each State's share of RTP funds in the most recent Federal Fiscal Year, 2019. It also has a sample of projects and project benefits. View the Executive Summary here. 

Rails-with-Trails Best Practices and Lessons Learned (May 2021): FHWA and the Federal Railroad Administration updated the 2002 Rails-with-Trails: Lessons Learned report. It describes effective practices to plan, design, construct, operate, and maintain rails-with-trails facilities. It also describes methods to ensure railroad and trail safety and security, promote active transportation and health and wellness, support network connectivity and economic development, and enhance the environment. All rail-with-trail report materials, including an online appendix that accompanies the FHWA report, are also located on RTC’s website here.

FHWA fact sheets provide information and examples of how considering livability during the transportation decision-making process can benefit communities. FHWA has released 4 new Livability Case Studies that may be helpful for trails professionals. You can find all of the FHWA fact sheets here and links to the new case studies below:


Advocacy and Policy Updates

Wide shot of the Capitol Building in Washington D.C. on a cloudy day.

Photo courtesy of Doris Gray Wood

  • Happy Anniversary to the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA)
    August 4th is the one-year anniversary of the signing of the GAOA, a law that guarantees full, permanent funding of the Land & Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and provides funding for deferred maintenance through the National Parks and Public Lands Legacy Restoration Fund.

    LWCF Coalition shared sample social media content and graphics should you like to celebrate the anniversary of this benchmark legislation.

  • Department of Interior (DOI) Releases FY2022 Land & Water Conservation Fund and National Parks and Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund Project Lists
    DOI selected 63 projects to receive National Parks and Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund support. The projects will address deferred maintenance and improve transportation and recreation infrastructure on national parks, national wildlife refuges and recreation areas, and at Bureau of Indian Education schools. The amount of funds made available through the Legacy Restoration Fund in a year depends on the amount of qualifying energy revenue collected in the prior year so it is important to note that the amount of the deposit is not yet known and FY 2022 projects will not be finalized until the early FY 2022. 

    A list of DOI FY2022 National Parks and Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund projects is available here.

    DOI proposed to allocate $681.9 million for mandatory LWCF programs, including $283.3 million for Federal land acquisition, $398.6 million for grant programs and another $19 million in discretionary funding from the LWCF for Habitat Conservation Plan land acquisition grants through the Cooperative Endangered Species Fund program.

    A list of DOI FY2022 LWCF projects is available here.

  • Appropriations Bills
    On July 29, 2021, the House passed a package of seven FY2022 appropriations bills, including Interior. The 2022 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies funding bill includes $43.4 billion in regular appropriations, an increase of 20.2 percent over FY2021. There also is an additional $2.45 billion in funding for fire suppression.

    Text and summaries of the legislation, before action on the House Floor, are available here. Information on amendments considered on the Floor is here.

    Some Senate Appropriations Sub-committees will hold mark-up meetings this week as they continue to advance bills.

In the News

Elk in Notellum Creek in Lolo National Forest; USDAFS; Credit Aubree Benson/ USDA Forest Service

Elk in Notellum Creek in Lolo National Forest; USDAFS; Credit Aubree Benson/ USDA Forest Service.

  • The Trust for Public Land, SPP Montana, U.S. Forest Service Partner Protect Nearly 15,000 Acres Near Lolo Creek. The Trust for Public Land, SPP Montana and the United States Forest Service (USFS) announced today the permanent protection of 14,800 acres of important fish and wildlife habitat and public recreation access to the Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail and the Nez Perce National Historic Trail owned by Southern Pine Plantations. Read the full story here. 
  • The Chesapeake Conservancy awarded its prestigious Champion of the Chesapeake award to NPS Chesapeake Bay Office Assistant Superintendent Jonathan Doherty in honor of his devotion, commitment, and passion for the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Read the full story here.
  • David Allen Iron Forge Discovered and Preserved on Overmountain Victory NHT in Elkin, North Carolina. A grandfather and grandson team discovered the location of a long-lost iron forage that may have been critical to the U.S. victory during the Revolutionary War. The Overmountain Victory Trail Association worked with a local town to preserve the site and install interpretive signage. More info here.
  • Seaford, Delaware, Finishes Phase One of Construction of a Public Park on the Site of the Historic J.B. Robinson Oyster House. Land donated to the City of Seaford along the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail by the Chesapeake Conservancy is one step closer to becoming an attraction for the city and a resource for visitors and citizens. More project details and plans for future construction available here.
  • The Colorado Outdoor Equity Grant Program was signed into law in late June. The program will use funds from the Colorado Lottery to further opportunities for educational and recreational experiences for underserved communities in the state. Find more info on the law here.

Scholarships, Grants, and Other Awards

A woman stands in a vast empty field under a clear sky
  • Economic Development Administration (EDA) Announces $3 Billion in Funding to Help Americans Build Back and Recover from the Covid-19 Pandemic. 
    Under the American Rescue Plan Act, EDA was allocated $3 billion in supplemental funding to assist communities nationwide in their efforts to build back better by accelerating the economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and building local economies that will be resilient to future economic shocks. 

    On Friday, July 23rd, EDA published six separate Notices of Funding Opportunity (NOFOs) soliciting applications for its American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. Programs supported by this initiative include the Build Back Better Regional Challenge, Good Jobs Challenge, Indigenous Communities, Travel/Tourism/Outdoor Recreation, Economic Adjustment Assistance, Statewide Planning, and Coal Communities. In order to help facilitate participation in these programs, EDA began hosting a series of webinar presentations for EDA grantees and partners beginning Monday, August 2nd. Webinar registration information and information on funding programs is available on EDA’s ARPA home page, here.
    Deadline to apply: March 15, 2022

  • Applications for the Outdoor Recreation Trails+ grant to support New Mexico outdoor recreation infrastructure projects are now open.
    Grants of $5,000 to $25,000 will be awarded to Tribes, Pueblos, and Nations; municipalities; counties; nonprofits; public preschools, schools and districts; colleges and universities; soil and water conservation districts; and acequia associations. Applicants must have a conservation-minded, shovel-ready project that increases access to outdoor recreational opportunities and is open to the public. Projects must demonstrate a clear economic benefit to the community—either by attracting and retaining residents and/or attracting visitors. For details and a link to apply, read the full grant guide here.
    Deadline to apply: August 31, 2021 by 5 PM M

Resources, Events, and Promotional Opportunities

Pacific Northwest Trail Employees work together to saw a fallen tree.

Image courtesy Pacific Northwest Trail Association.

  • The Arizona Trail Association (ATA) Announces the Publication of Their Video Trail Skills Institute Online. All eight of the ATA’s Trail Skills Institute videos are now available on the organization’s website and on Youtube. Each is between three to seven minutes long and, together, they cover the basics of trail assessment and maintenance. View and share the videos here.
  • The Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s Emerging Leaders’ Summit Is August 11-13. The Summit is a virtual experience with participation centered on young people aged 14-35 but is open to all. This summer’s Summit will strengthen connections between young leaders and their networks, spark momentum for youth movements at the intersection of nature and climate justice, and provide a space for artistic creation and performance utilizing the outdoors and the Appalachian Trail as a muse. More information and registration here.
  • The Children and Nature Network is accepting proposals for Break-Out and poster Sessions for their May 2022 'Inside Out!' International Conference in Atlanta, GA. The Inside-Out International Conference is the largest gathering of nature connection advocates in the world. In May 2022, the Network will bring together children and nature movement leaders in the vibrant city of Atlanta, Georgia. The conference will feature inspiring keynotes, plenaries, workshops, exhibit hall, poster session, field trips, networking, and more. Proposals must be submitted by September 30, 2021. More information and links to submit available here.
  • The Inaugural ‘A.T. Vista’ Event Celebrates 100 Years on the Appalachian Trail. Join the New York New Jersey Trail Conference and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy August 5-8 for virtual and in-person events on and about the Appalachian National Scenic Trail. Programming includes organized hikes and workshops. Details available here.

Other Opportunities and Events:

2021 EarthEcho Youth Leadership Summit (Virtual: August 6-7) | 39th Annual Oregon-California Trails Association Convention (Elko, NV: September 13-16) | Two Fall Conferences for The American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) and the Arkansas Museums Association (AMA) (Little Rock, AR Meeting: September 22-25; Virtual Conference: October 12-15) | Santa Fe Trail Symposium (La Junta, CO: September 23-26) | National Wilderness Workshop (Virtual: November 15-18) | American Trails’ Regional Trails Training Program Now Open in Nevada | American Trails Releases 2020 Recreational Trails Program Annual Report


Webinars & Educational Opportunities

Partnership for the National Trails System Webinar Series

In addition to webinars hosted by the Partnership for the National Trails System, we share additional webinars hosted by other organizations. 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.

  • Meeting the Moment: Programming (or Interpretation) at the Family Campsite
    Tuesday, August 10 at 1:00 PM EDT; Virtual
    Free for National Association for Interpretation (NAI) Members; $15 for nonmembers.
    The summer of 2020 offered new challenges for Interpretive staff across the country, as everyone sought solutions to engage the public in meaningful ways. With Visitor Centers closed, guided walks and amphitheater style programs canceled, and limited personnel available to meet public needs, creative ingenuity and the enthusiasm to try something new became paramount. A pilot program was started, with staff offering personalized programs to individual family units at places like their campsite. Now, this successful model is being implemented again as we launch into a new summer. Come learn how two different state agencies customized programming to meet their visitor needs amidst COVID and be inspired by what you can do at your site.
    Hosted by NAI. 
    More information and registration available here.

  • Rethink Outside Fellowship Info Session
    Tuesday, August 10 at 2:00 PM EDT; Virtual
    Free to Attend.
    To learn more about the fellowship, join Rethink Outside for a Q & A webinar on August 10 at 2 pm EST. Registration is required. Please submit questions ahead of time here.
    Hosted by Rethink Outside.
    More info and registration here.

  • Wilderness Stewardship Advocacy 101
    Monday, August 16, 1:00 pm EDT; Virtual
    Free to Attend.
    This is the second presentation in a series on Wilderness Stewardship Advocacy. This presentation will lay out the basics of stewardship advocacy, including contacting both Agency and Congressional Offices. It will also describe the process for making contacts and provide insights into how to have a successful meeting.
    Hosted by National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance.
    Register here.

  • American Trails Opens Their Advancing Trails Webinar Series for Free.
    American Trails is now offering all of the archived webinars (and any learning credits) in their Advancing Trails Webinar Series for free. The recordings can be downloaded via the organization’s online store.


PNTS Conservation Legacy's VISTA Programs (Tuesday, August 17) | EDA American Rescue Plan Act Funding Guidance (August 2-August 12)


Comings and Goings

Announcements about new hires, appoints, and outgoing professionals at National Trail nonprofits and Federal partner agencies.

  • Douglas "Doug" Neighbor was appointed as the new superintendent of Natchez Trace Parkway, beginning Aug. 15, by National Park Service acting Regional Director Pedro Ramos.
  • Dr. Cynthia Herhahn was appointed by the BLM New Mexico State Office as the new Co-Administrator for El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro National Historic Trail following the retirement of previous Co-Administrator, Terry Heslin.
  • Outgoing USDA Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen appointed Jennifer Eberlien as regional forester for the Pacific Southwest Region. Eberlien replaces incoming Chief Randy Moore, who served as regional forester in the Pacific Southwest Region since 2007.
  • Outgoing USDA Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen announced the appointment of Angela Coleman as associate chief for the Forest Service. Coleman, who served as acting associate chief since January 2020, will be the Forest Service’s highest-ranking executive under incoming Chief Randy Moore.
  • Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen officially retired from her role on July 26. She was replaced by Randy Moore.
  • The USDA Forest Service announced that Heather Provencio will serve as acting Director of Wilderness and Wild and Scenic Rivers.
  • Tracy Swartout was announced by the National Park Service as the new superintendent of Blue Ridge Parkway. 
  • James Hill was selected by the National Park Service as superintendent of Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area in Montana and Wyoming.
  • Jim Ireland was selected by the National Park Service as superintendent of Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah.
  • Lloyd Masayumptewa was selected by the National Park Service as superintendent of Montezuma Castle and Tuzigoot National Monuments in Arizona.

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
100 M St SE, #700,  | Washington, District of Columbia  20003
202-963-2910 |

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