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In this edition:

  • Advocacy and LWCF Updates
  • Omnibus Appropriations and Emergency Coronavirus Relief Act
  • Hike the Hill
  • Outdoor F.U.T.U.R.E.
  • PNTS Board Members in the News
  • Upcoming Webinars
  • Update on EOY Match
  • Scholarships, Grants, Awards, and Other Opportunities
  • Comings and Goings
  • Trails Community Resources
  • Upcoming Events
  • In the News
  • Job Postings

Advocacy and LWCF Updates

The Partnership and several of its members and partners took advantage of opportunities to meet with Biden-Harris Administration transition teams. The Partnership submitted a letter to the transition teams for the Departments of Agriculture and Interior that outlined connections between the National Trails System and key administrative priorities and made recommendations related to National Historic and Scenic Trails.

LWCF Update

On January 19, 2021, U.S. Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt announced an increase in LWCF that provides $302 million for outdoor recreation and conservation projects in all 50 states, five U.S. territories and the District of Columbia.  An additional $150 million will be allocated through a competitive process for a total of at least $452 million.

Among his final actions as Secretary of Interior, Bernhardt issued Sec. Order 3388 that announced changes to the structure and purpose of LWCF that included delegating the authority given under the State Program that allowed states to choose their priorities to the National Park Service, and eliminating the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership program (ORLP) which Congress had expanded in order to steer more LWCF funding to underserved communities in densely populated areas. The changes are inconsistent with Congressional direction related to the Great American Outdoors Act and the FY21 Appropriations law passed in December 2020 (See press release from the LWCF Coalition and letter requesting the reinstatement of ORLP). 

Recent Executive Orders

The Biden-Harris administration has issued several Executive Orders of interest to the National Trails System advocates in its first days in office. 


Omnibus Appropriations and Emergency Coronavirus Relief Act

The Omnibus Appropriations and Emergency Coronavirus Relief Act signed into law in December, in part, provides much needed economic relief to nonprofits. It also extends the charitable giving incentives previously established in March’s Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.

The Paycheck Protection Program loan application process opened on Monday, January 11. An additional $284 Billion for first or second PPP loans are available.

The Economic Injury Disaster Loan provides economic relief to small businesses or nonprofit organizations that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue.

With the Extended Tax Relief for Charitable Donations, individual taxpayers are allowed to claim up to $300—or $600 for couples filing jointly—for cash donations to charitable organizations in 2021 on their Federal Income Tax Return. The bill also extends the increase from 10% to 25% of taxable income for corporate donations through 2021.


Please direct your questions or comments to: Tyler Ray - and, or Liz Wessel

Registration Now Open Virtual Hike the Hill® 2021- March 8-26, 2021

Now in its 24th year, Hike the Hill® is a joint effort between the American Hiking Society and the Partnership for the National Trails System to bring together the trails community to advance shared trail priorities with congressional and federal agency leaders including: trails funding, public lands management, Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI), and other top priority issues that sustain trails and improve access to public lands.

Registration is now open. Registration is $75 (no cost for Federal agency partners). A link to the detailed schedule will be provided upon registering.


Week 1 (March 8-12): Issue Briefings and Training for Virtual Meetings (Briefings and Trainings will be recorded) 

Week 2 (March 15-19): Group Meetings with Agency Leaders and Partners and Individual Congressional Meetings (self-scheduled) 

Week 3 (March 22-26): Group Congressional Committee Meetings and Individual Congressional Meetings (self-scheduled)

Sessions will occur over Zoom during afternoons (2pm-5pm EST). Meetings and programming will not be held every day. Meeting dates and times will be reflected in the detailed schedule that will be updated as meetings are confirmed. 

For more information on the schedule for each week, please Hike the Hill. Please direct your questions or comments to or


Outdoor F.U.T.U.R.E.

Led by a racially and ethnically diverse group of leaders, this outdoor equity initiative aims to build momentum by addressing the systemic barriers to nature and the outdoors that exist for youth in our country. The creation of a fund will ensure large scale, long term, secure investments in programs across the nation to serve our youth through meaningful outdoor recreation, and nature-based education experiences. Because we know firsthand the joys and health benefits of time spent outside, and we believe every child in our nation deserves to have the opportunity to experience those benefits regardless of their income and zip code.

Want to get involved and partake in shaping an equitable Outdoor F.U.T.U.R.E for our youth?


PNTS Board Members in the News

  • Barney Mann, Chair of the PNTS Board of Directors, was featured recently in AROUND THE O for his hike on the Pacific Coast Trail. Read on to find out Barney's "11th Essential" item take on the trail. 
  • Liz Thomas, PNTS BOD member & “Triple Crown” thru-hiker, joined Backpacker Magazine as a contributing editor for their January issue. The issue also contains a short interview with Liz, featuring hiking advice and insight.


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.

Upcoming Webinars

#BudgetForThePeople | Reconciliation 101

Tuesday February 2nd, 3-4pm ET, virtual
Experts from the highly-respected Center on Budget and Policy Priorities will help you navigate the upcoming reconciliation process 
Hosted by  Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
RESCHEDULED Diversifying the Outdoors and National Lands
Thursday February 11th, 12-1:30 PM ET, virtual
Hosted by Environmental Law Institute
Tuesday February 16th, 7-8pm PT, virtual
Hosted by Backcountry Press

Consersation with Carolyn Finney
Wednesday February 17th, 2-3:30 PM CST, virtual
Hosted by Chicago Wilderness


Update on EOY Match

You helped us meet our end of year match and more!

Thank you very much to all of our end of year donors and to our generous leaders who provided a $5000 match for the end of year. We exceeded our match goal raising over $7500 between Dec 3rd and 31st. 

What a great way to end 2020 and set us up for the coming year. As we look forward to Hike the Hill and building a more equitable and diverse trails community, your gifts make it all possible. Please start us off in the new year with a tax deductible gift to the Partnership. You can make a gift on our website donation page - click HERE.


Scholarships, Grants, Awards, and Other Opportunities

  • CIRD Applications due March 12th
    • Citizens' Institute on Rural Design is now offering two programs for for rural communities with a population under 50,000. Design Workshop communities will receive technical assistance and a $6,000 stipend towards a community-engaged design workshop, and Design Learning Cohort members will join a national network of peers engaged in online learning.
  • ​​​​​​​Online Adaptation Planning and Practices for Recreation--Applications are being accepted until March 15, 2021
    • The Society of Outdoor Recreation Professionals, The Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science, the US Forest Service Western Wildland Environmental Threat Assessment Center, and the USDA Climate Hubs are offering a recreation-focused Adaptation Planning and Practices training in a series of seven virtual sessions. This unique opportunity provides hands-on training in considering climate change information and identifying adaptation actions for outdoor recreation management. Participants will receive coaching and feedback on their own real-world climate adaptation project throughout the course. The course will run weekly April 5 - May 24, 2021. There is no fee thanks to support from the US Forest Service and the USDA Climate Hubs.
  • The National Forest System Trail Stewardship Partner Funding Program Applications due by March 26th
    • This program is a collaboration of NWSA and the Forest Service, with American Hiking Society, American Trails, Back Country Horsemen of America, International Mountain Bicycling Association, National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council, 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.   

Comings & Goings

  • In January, the Florida and Appalachian Trails found themselves connecting as Van Tran, former Community Outreach Manager for the Florida Trail Association hiked his way north to become the new Education Network Coordinator for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.
  • This month, the PCTA welcomed new staff members in two new positions: Gaby Guevara and Galen Keily. Gaby joined the team as PCTA’s Salesforce Database Administrator on Jan. 4. Galen joined on Jan. 11 as PCTA’s GIS Specialist. 
  • The Department of the Interior announced key members of agency leadership who will advance the Biden-Harris administration’s agenda to build back better and address the four intersecting challenges of our time: COVID-19, economic recovery, racial equity, and climate change.
    Interior’s team reflects the Biden-Harris commitment to diversity, with more than 80% of First Day appointees identifying as people of color, women, or LGBTQ. Additional members of the Biden-Harris appointee team will be named in the days and weeks to come.
    The leadership team is listed here in alphabetical order along with their new role:
    • Robert Anderson, Principal Deputy Solicitor
    • Travis Annatoyn, Deputy Solicitor for Energy and Mineral Resources
    • Ann Marie Bledsoe Downes, Deputy Solicitor for Indian Affairs
    • Tyler Cherry, Press Secretary
    • Laura Daniel Davis, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary - Land and Minerals Management
    • Shannon Estenoz, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary - Fish and Wildlife and Parks
    • Morgan Gray, Deputy Director of Congressional Affairs - Senate
    • Ruchi Jain, Deputy Solicitor for General Law
    • Kate Kelly, Deputy Chief of Staff - Policy
    • Marissa Knodel, Advisor, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management
    • Shantha Ready Alonso, Director for Intergovernmental and External Affairs
    • Paniz Rezaeerod, Deputy Director of Congressional Affairs - House
    • Melissa Schwartz, Communications Director
    • Janea Scott, Counselor to the Secretary
    • Rachael Taylor, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary - Policy, Management and Budget
    • Maggie Thompson, White House Liaison
    • Maria (Camille) Touton, Deputy Commissioner, Bureau of Reclamation
    • Tanya Trujillo, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary - Water and Science
    • Jennifer Van der Heide, Chief of Staff
    • Andrew Wallace, Director of Congressional Affairs
    • Martha Williams, Principal Deputy Director, Fish and Wildlife Service
    • Click here for biographies of the new team
  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture today announced the names of individuals who will hold senior staff positions in Washington, D.C.
    • Katharine Ferguson was named Chief of Staff in the Office of the Secretary
    • Robert Bonnie was named Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy and Senior Advisor, Climate, in the Office of the Secretary
    • Sara Bleich, PhD was named Senior Advisor, COVID-19, in the Office of the Secretary
    • Kumar Chandran was named Senior Advisor, Nutrition, in the Office of the Secretary
    • Gregory Parham, D.V.M., was named Interim Deputy Assistant Secretary for Administration
    • Justo Robles was named White House Liaison in the Office of the Secretary
    • Click Here for biographies of the new team

NEW: How Outdoor Companies Can Back Up Their DEI Pledges (September 2020) by Kai Lightner, who shares his experiences as a Black professional climber and maps out how the outdoor community can build successful diversity and inclusion initiatives. 

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. 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. If you would like something shared to these pages, please email


Upcoming Events:

Outdoor Retailer Winter Online (various dates) •  January 6 - March 19, 2021
Public Lands Alliance Virtual Convention and Trade Show • February 9-12, 2021
Outdoor Classroom series, Iditarod Historic Trail Alliance  •  February 2 & April 6, 2021
Professional Trail Builders Association Sustainable Trails Conference • March 7-13, 2021
Hike the Hill ® Virtual  • March 8-26, 2021
Pennsylvania Association of Environmental Educators Virtual Conference • March 22-23, 2021
River Management Symposium • May 18-21, 2021
38th Annual Oregon-California Trails Association Convention • September 12-16, 2021
Trails & Outdoor Recreation Summit (ITS) • September 13-17, 2021
Santa Fe Trail Association Symposium (200th Anniversary) • September 23-26, 2021


In The News:

Every Day that the National Parks Are Free in 2021
President Biden's 30x30 Executive Order
A Century of the Appalachian Trail
The mystery of Beaver Township Rock 
TC Energy to Suspend Work on Keystone XL Pipeline



Job Postings:

Community Outreach Manager • Florida Trail Association
Executive Director •  Vantana Wilderness Alliance
Trail Crew Technical Advisor • Pacific Northwest Trail Association
Trail Crew Leader & Assistant Crew Leader •  Pacific Northwest Trail Association
Trail Crew Leader • Washington Trails Association
Logistics Coordinator  • Washington Trails Association
Field Crew Leader • Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards

Northwest Montana Outreach Coordinator • Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness


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
1615 M St NW, Second Floor,  | Washington, District of Columbia  20036
202-963-2910 |

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