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:

  • Save the Dates for PNTS’ Virtual National Trails Workshop
  • Apply to Be a Trail Apprentice Through August 15th
  • Make the Most of Public Lands Day: Live Webinar
  • Advocacy & Policy Updates
  • USDA Seeks Public Input on How to Advance Racial Justice and Equity in Underserved Communities
  • Spring Issue of Pathways Across America Is Online
  • In the News
  • Scholarships, Grants, and Other Awards
  • Resources, Events, and Calls-to-Action
  • Webinars and Educational Opportunities
  • Comings and Goings

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. Stay tuned for registration information during summer 2021. 

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 between July 1 and 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. It 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).

The workshop is a skill-building opportunity covering topics such as strengthening and stabilizing organizations; collaboration and engagement; conserving trail lands; and more. Applicants selected for the program will be an active part of the workshop dialogue, engaging in skill- and tool-sharing and networking amongst the National Scenic and Historic Trail communities. Additionally, the program will include career exploration sessions with trails professionals from a variety of disciplines.


Applicants must be between the age of 18–28 with an interest in the National Trails System.

Benefits include:

  • Free attendance at the 2021 Virtual National Trails Workshop November 1–4, 2021
  • Access to networking, professional development, and educational opportunities
  • Access to PNTS webinars at no cost for up to two years after being awarded a Trail Apprentice scholarship
  • Access to the Trail Apprentice Program Alumni Facebook Group which includes job postings, upcoming events, and potential networking opportunities

Please fill out an application here or visit to find a link to the application.

The deadline to apply for the Trail Apprentice Program is August 15th 2021.

Please share this announcement with any young leaders aged 18–28 who may be interested in being a part of the program. You may contact with any questions about the program.


PNTS Live Webinar: Make the Most of National Public Lands Day

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

Join us on Tuesday, July 20 at 2 PM EDT to learn about resources that can help make 2021 Public Lands Day events extraordinary from National Environmental Education Foundation Program Director of Public Lands Engagement and PNTS Board member, Tony Richardson. Richardson will give an overview of this year's National Public Lands Day (NPLD) celebration, including important deadlines, links to NPLD planning resources, and information about applying for sponsorship opportunities for organizations hosting NPLD events. He will also provide examples of past NPLD events hosted by trail organizations, both small and large, as potential inspiration for projects on National Trails. Please join us and learn how you can participate in one of the largest celebrations of public lands in the country! 

This event is free to attend for PNTS members. We suggest a $5 $15 donation for non-members.

Details and Registration Here.


Advocacy and Policy Updates

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

Photo courtesy of Doris Gray Wood

On June 29th, the House Appropriations Committee voted 33 to 25 to approve FY22 allocations, or 302(b)s, totaling over $1.5 trillion for its 12 subcommittees.

While it contains many highlights, of most importance to the National Trails System is the House Appropriations Committee FY22 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill. Like many other draft FY22 spending bills, it reflects the President’s prioritization of several key issues, including confronting climate change, expanding environmental justice, and honoring the federal government’s responsibilities to Native Americans. In total, it includes $43.4 billion in regular appropriations, an increase 20.2% from the previous year.

The bill would provide $3.5 billion for the National Park Service, an increase of $324 million above the FY21 enacted level and $28 million below the President’s budget request. This includes $3 billion for Operation of the National Park System, $80 million for National Recreation and Preservation, and $156 million for the Historic Preservation Fund.

The U.S. Forest Service would receive $4.14 billion (non-fire and without LWCF). This would be an increase of $680.49 million above the FY21 enacted level and $50.43 million below the President’s budget request.

The Bureau of Land Management would receive $1.6 billion, which is $285 million above the FY21 enacted level and $26 million below the President’s budget request. It includes $80 million for sage-grouse conservation and $66.5 million for the National Landscape Conservation System.

The bill would also provide $1.9 billion for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, an increase of $301 million above the FY21 enacted level and $32 million below the President’s budget request, as well as funding for a new civilian climate corpsa federal program that would create more jobs focused on improving our response to the changing climate, creating more resilient communities and helping communities recover from climate disasters.

As the nation braces for what is predicted to be a dangerous wildfire season due to continued droughts in the West, the bill allocates $5.66 billion for Wildland Fire Management, $385.82 million above the FY 2021 enacted level and $380,000 below the President’s budget request. This includes $2.45 billion in cap-adjusted fire-suppression funding.

And, finally, approximately a year after the passing of the Great American Outdoors Act, the bill contains $900 million in mandatory spending for the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

Markup of the FY2022 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bills is scheduled for July 1st beginning at 9 AM. You can watch it live or view the recorded stream here.


USDA Seeks Public Input on How to Advance Racial Justice and Equity in Underserved Communities

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is requesting input from the public to identify the barriers that people of color and underserved communities and individuals may face in obtaining information from the USDA. Please submit your comments by July 15. More information and submission links are available here.


The Spring Issue of Pathways Across America Is Here

Cover of 2021 spring issue of Pathways Across America shows a butterfly landing on a young girl's finger

Original photo courtesy Arizona Trail Associaiton.

The Spring edition of PNTS’ magazine newsletter, Pathways Across America is now available to read online. This issue includes takeaways from the 2020 Gold Sheet (which showed a record-breaking year in terms of public support for National Trails), highlights from our 2021 Hike the HillⓇ event, lessons learned by the Ala Kahakai NHT during their foray into land acquisition, notable records set on the Ice Age NST in the last year, and a whole lot more. Download the full magazine, browse the stories covered in that issue, and share with your friends and colleagues using the link below.

Read the Spring Issue of Pathways Here.


In the News

Revelers and well-wishers place their hands on the Red Road to DC totem pole.

Image courtesy Native Organizers Alliance / Red Road to DC.

  • Red Road to D.C. Kicks Off Their National Tour on July 14. Beginning on July 14, 2021, a group of activists led by the Native Organizers Alliance will be traveling across the country with a 24-foot, hand-carved totem pole made by the Master Carvers of the Lumni Nation’s House of Tears. The goal of the program is to drive awareness of endangered Native sacred sites and promote the need to include Native peoples and Tribes in the decision-making process related to land use across the U.S. The tour will make stops at several Indigenous sacred sites along the way, ultimately landing in Washington D.C. on July 29 to deliver the totem pole to the Biden Administration. Follow the national tour and find ways to support the Red Road to D.C. as an individual and/or as an organization at
  • America’s National Historic Trails by Karen Berger wins History Book of the Year Award. A new book on America’s National Historic Trails just took home the Gold as the Foreward INDIES Awards “History Book of the Year”. Travel writer and author Karen Berger provided the copy. The book also features photographs by Bart Smith and a foreward by Ken Burns. A portion of the proceeds go to support PNTS, so pick up your copy today! More info on the award and links to purchase the book can be found here.
  • 2020 Visitor spending in communities near National Parks resulted in a $28.6 billion benefit to the nation’s economy and supported 234,000 jobs.
  • The National Park Service (NPS) established the Forks of the Road site as the newest unit of Natchez National Historical Park with the acquisition of two key parcels donated by the City of Natchez. The site was one of the nation’s primary hubs for the trafficking of enslaved people before the Civil War. The land transfer became official during a Juneteenth ceremony hosted by the City of Natchez on June 18, coinciding with the inaugural Juneteenth federal holiday observance. Read the full story from NPS here.

Scholarships, Grants, and Other Awards

A woman stands in a vast empty field under a clear sky
  • The National Park Foundation has issued a call for proposals for their ParkVentures and Junior Ranger Angler grant programs. The goal of both programs is to provide immersive recreational opportunities in National Parks. Requests for Proposals (RFPs) are open to all units and programs of the National Park Service, as well as partner organizations. Indigenous groups and organizations led by people of color are especially encouraged to apply. Submissions are due Friday, July 23. More information and a link to the RFP for both programs can be found here.
  • Micro-Grants for BIPOC Multi-Day Hikers. Unfilter the Outdoors is offering $400 micro-grants to BIPOC hikers and aspiring hikers aged 18+ to support their efforts to engage in any multi-day hiking excursion. Applications must be submitted by July 3.  More info and the online application can be found here.
  • The National Park Trust has launched its College Ambassador Program, funded by the National Park Service, and is looking for two pairs of college ambassadors to lead initiatives on their campuses that increase outdoor recreation participation and stewardship among the campus community, while also increasing access and awareness of parks and outdoor places. More information here.
  • Justice Outside (formerly Youth Outside) will host three cohorts of the Outdoor Educators Institute (OEI) this summer and fall. Opportunities are available in Oakland/San Francisco, Fresno, and the South Bay beginning August 21 for Oakland/San Francisco and Fresno, and August 28 for the South Bay. This free, three-month program provides young adults the chance to learn the skills and get the necessary experience to become outdoor leaders and advocates for their communities. More information and an online application are available here.
  • Introducing the Rethink Outside™ Fellowship designed to support, connect, and elevate an intergenerational group of leaders and storytellers of color working to connect people with nature and the outdoors. The six-month fellowship is an invitation for Black, Indigenous, and people of color to draw on their own experiences and enhance their communication and leadership skills. Applications will open in early July and the fellowship will run from October 2021–March 2022. Sign up here to receive updates on this opportunity.

Resources, Events, and Calls-to-Action

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

Image courtesy Pacific Northwest Trail Association.

  • Registration is open for the 39th Annual Oregon-California Trails Association (OCTA) Convention. Join the OCTA September 13–16 at the Elko Convention Center in Elko, NV for their annual convention. This year’s theme is “Through the Lens of History—Preserving the Past—Focusing on the Future.” Registration starts at $95 per person. Get more information and sign up here.
  • Register to attend a “Once-in-a-Lifetime” Santa Fe Trail Symposium. Sign up by September 1 to attend the 2021 Santa Fe Trail Bicentennial Symposium at the Trail’s Bent’s Fort Chapter in La Junta, CO on September 23–26. Registration for both days starts at $150 for Santa Fe Trail Association Members. Non-member and single day rates are also available. Guided tours of the trail are also available for an additional fee. More info and registration details are available here.
  • National Wilderness Stewardship Awards Program Now Accepting Nominations. Submit your nominations for outstanding leaders in conservation for the National Wilderness Stewardship Awards through September 30, 2021. Categories include Wilderness Rising Leader Award, Wilderness Stewardship Champion of the Year, Wilderness Stewardship Organization of the Year, and Wilderness Agency Partner of the Year. Awards will be presented this November. More information and the nomination portal can be found here.
  • The Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s Emerging Leader Summit takes place August 11–13. This summer’s Summit (intended for trails enthusiasts age 14–35) 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 is available here.
  • Comments are open for the Pennsylvania State Board of Education’s Science Standards. The current science standards for secondary education in Pennsylvania are currently under review and written comments about what is currently missing from the curriculum are being accepted through July 4. See specific content that was identified as having one or NO connections to the proposed standards here. Find an action alert on this subject from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation here. Then, email your comments to Karen Molchanow, State Board of Education Member, at

Other Opportunities and Events:

National Wilderness Workshop (Nov. 15-18) Information Now Available; New Resources on the American Conservation Easement Program-Agricultural Land Easement (ACEP-ALE) from the Land Trust Alliance 


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.

  • Race, Slavery, and Freedom in the Midwest
    Thursday, July 8 & Wednesday, July 9 at 3 PM EDT; Virtual
    Free to attend.
    From the time Europeans arrived in the late 17th century, the Midwest was a site of dispossession and enslavement. Even when the region became part of a new nation founded on the democratic principle that “all men are created equal,” racist attitudes and laws persisted and proliferated. Yet the region has also been a site for crucial struggles for freedom and equality that transformed communities and the nation as a whole. This two-day virtual event will explore the history of race, slavery, and freedom in the early Midwest, with a focus on the experiences of people of African descent in the decades before the Civil War. Panel 1: Disrupting Historical Erasures; Panel 2: Contending with History on the Ground.
    Hosted by the National Wahington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route Association.
    Get More Info and find a registration link here.

  • Urban Park Grant Opportunity (ORLP) Technical Assistance Webinar
    Wednesday, July 14 at 4:30 PM EDT; Virtual
    Free to attend.
    The City Parks Alliance, and their partners at the National Recreation and Park Association and the Trust for Public Land, are hosting an Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership (ORLP) Program technical assistance webinar in partnership with the National Park Service. National Park Service staff will provide tips on how to write a strong ORLP application, go over the suggested formats for the forms, and answer questions.
    Hosted by City Parks Alliance
    Get more info and find a registration link here.

  • LWCF Coalition Webinar Series: LWCF On The Ground
    Thursday, July 15 at 12 PM EDT; Virtual
    Free to attend.
    Join experts in LWCF and learn some key ins and outs from projects to programs. On the heels of the one year anniversary of passage of the Great American Outdoors Act, this series will break down some of the new ways in which LWCF will deliver conservation and outdoor recreation across the country by delving into the details of projects and programs.

    Hosted by LWCF Coalition.
    Get more info and find a registration link here.

Other events:

Using Wildlife Fright Distances to Inform Trail Planning (Thurs., July 1); Rising Generation Workshop Series (Every Wed. in July); Outdoor Retailer Conference Pre-Show Education (Every Tues. in July); Pennsylvania Association of Environmental Educators Professional Development Series (July 6 & 8); USDA Forest Service Pacific Northwest Region's Innovative Aquatic Restoration Peer Learning Session (Wed., July 7); Racial Justice, White Philanthropy’s Shortcomings and Liberated Paths Forward (July 13 & 22 + Aug. 5)Encore Presentation & LIVE Panel Discussion “The Sum of Us: A Conversation with Heather McGhee and Dr. Gail C. Christopher” (Wed., July 14)Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s Ed-Venture Series: Nature Journaling (Wed., July 21)


Comings and Goings

  • Randy Moore, Regional Forester in the Pacific Southwest Region, was announced as the 40th Chief of the Forest Service by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
  • Laurie Potteiger retired from her role as Information Services Manager after 33 years with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.
  • Roger Peterson is retiring from his role as the USDA Forest Service Public Affairs Specialist for the Nez Perce (Nee-Me-Poo) National Historic Trail after 35 years of service.
  • Lindsey Steinwachs was announced as the new PCT Administrator for the USDA Forest Service.
  • George Liffert was named Superintendent of Prince William Forest Park.
  • Darrell Echols was named Superintendent of Gulf Islands National Seashore.
  • Ann Honious was named Superintendent of Chattahoochee River National Recreational Area.
  • Greg Dudgeon was selected as Mount Rainier National Park Superintendent.

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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