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News of the past month and what's ahead

In this edition:

  • Advocacy and Policy Updates
  • Free Information Session on New Hiring Pathway for Environmental Employers at 2 PM ET Today
  • PNTS Signs on to a Collective Statement in Response to Violence Against Asian American Communities 
  • First Virtual Hike the Hill® is a Success
  • 10-Year Trail Shared Stewardship Challenge Update
  • Chainsaw Reciprocity Between USFS and NPS
  • Second Person, and First Woman, Completes Winter Thru-Hike of the Ice Age Trail 
  • Arizona NST New Signage Includes Land Acknowledgements
  • Continental Divide Trail Coalition Receives Funding to Protect 56 miles of Trail in New Mexico
  • Portion of Arizona Trail Reopens After Nine-Month Fire Closure
  • 2021 Bay Paddle on the Captain John Smith Chesapeake NHT to Benefit the Chesapeake Conservancy
  • Comings and Goings
  • Upcoming Webinars
  • Scholarships, Grants, Awards, and Other Opportunities
  • Trails Community Resources
  • Upcoming Events
  • In the News
  • Job Postings

Advocacy and Policy Updates

It is a busy time on Capitol Hill. A  FY22 “skinny” budget is expected this week and the President Biden’s FY22 budget is expected in May or June 2021. The ‘skinny’ budget should provide Congress with information about the President’s discretionary funding priorities.

On March 16, 2021, Deb Haaland took the oath of office to become the 54th secretary of the Department of the Interior. Last week, the nomination of Elizabeth Klein to become the Interior Department’s deputy secretary was withdrawn. Other nominees are being vetted but a new nominee has yet to be announced. 


Free Information Session on New Hiring Pathway for Environmental Employers at 2 PM ET Today

Partnership for the National Trails System is proud to host an information session on Tuesday March 30, 2021 at 2:00 PM EDT, featuring The Bridge Project, an exciting, equitable hiring pathway designed to  help connect a talented, diverse pool of potential employees, including people of color and underrepresented communities, to jobs in the environmental sector. Greening Youth Foundation and Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards are bringing together public land management agencies, conservation nonprofits, and the outdoor industry to connect highly qualified candidates with employment opportunities and to facilitate crucial cross-sector learning about equitable hiring. 

The goal of The Bridge Project is to build a sustainable, replicable bridge for equitable access to conservation careers by bringing together leaders across our sector to learn from one another, building capacity and knowledge through required training, and helping employers to create immediate change by matching them with skilled candidates for full-time jobs. The kickoff event will occur on May 11-12, with a day of peer learning followed by a facilitated hiring event. Pre-event training will be required for all participants. A second window for facilitated hiring will occur in the fall, and will only be open to those who participate in the May event.  

Deadlines are quickly approaching--March 31 if you're hiring through the May 11-12 event, and April 12 to sponsor and gain access to all the training, cross-sector learning, and networking, as well as the fall facilitated hiring event. Come hear from Leandra Taylor, a project lead, and Hannah Malvin, the project manager about the initiative and have a chance to ask questions.

You can learn more and download the information packet at and Register for The Bridge Project Info Session on Tuesday, March 30 from 2 PM to 3 PM EDT at

PNTS Signs on to a Collective Statement in Response to Violence Against Asian American Communities 

The Partnership for the National Trails System (PNTS) signed a collective statement -- A Community-Centered Response to Violence Against Asian American Communities--after the horrific murders in Atlanta on March 16th. The statement was authored by Asian Americans Advancing Justice Atlanta, the first and only nonprofit legal advocacy organization dedicated to protecting the civil rights of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders in Georgia and the Southeast. Asian Americans Advancing Justice Atlanta invites individuals and organizations to sign “stand with them in grief and solidarity against systemic racism and gender-based violence”. Click here to learn more about the work of Asian Americans Advancing Justice and to access resources. Additional resources may be found on the PNTS Diversity & Inclusion Resource Page which includes our Statement of Inclusion.


Hike the Hill Summary

Partnership for the National Trails System and American Hiking Society concluded another successful Hike the Hill® on March 25, 2021. Over three weeks  more than 50 Federal partners, 115 non federal attendees and dozens of topical experts joined us to discuss and raise awareness for issues important to the National Trails System.

Hike the Hill® 2021 featured eight briefing sessions that prepared participants for individual meetings with members of congress and agency representatives, and included seven meetings with federal agency leaders and five meetings with Congressional Committee staff. Other activities provided networking opportunities and chances for participants to catch up with other trail enthusiasts including a virtual social hour and a NextGen Meet n' Greet Luncheon facilitated by Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s NextGen Advisory Council.

Follow up materials are being sent and meetings are being scheduled over the coming weeks to maintain the momentum created during Hike the Hill® for Trails community priorities. 

If you missed an issue briefing during the first week of Hike the Hill® or you’d like to revisit a session, registered participants may access all recordings on the Hike the Hill Resource page. Please note that this is only for registered participants of Hike the Hill.

Thank you to all of the participants and attendees at Hike the Hill® and our partner American Hiking Society. We look forward to seeing everyone in person at Hike the Hill® next year.


10-Year Trail Shared Stewardship Challenge Update

The US Forest Service recently published Phase 1: Launch and Learn Guidebook for the 10-Year Trail Shared Stewardship Challenge website.  Also available are the previously published Trail Challenge: An Overview and Trail Challenge: Launch & Learn Insert that describe the first phase of the 10-Year Trail Challenge initiative.

Second Person, and First Woman, Completes Winter Thru-Hike of the Ice Age Trail 

On March 6th, after 69 days on trail, 28-year old Emily Ford became the second person to ever complete a winter thru-hike of the 1,200 mile Ice Age Trail. The hike established multiple firsts. Emily is the first woman, the first person of color, and the first member of the LGBTQ+ Community to finish the winter thru-hike. Her traveling companion, Diggins, an Alaskan husky sled dog on loan from a friend, became the first dog known to complete the journey.

Click here for details and an interview with her after her noteworthy hike.

Continental Divide Trail Coalition Receives Funding to Protect 56 miles of Trail in New Mexico

Continental Divide Trail Coalition received a grant from The Conservation Alliance to secure a permanent protected easement along the length of the C Continental Divide Trail through New Mexico State Lands. Fifty six miles of the trail corridor will be newly protected in perpetuity on BLM lands. This will allow the  Continental Divide Trail Coalition to complete improvements such as gates, signage, and trail maintenance, on those lands. It also means one day soon, after the acquisition has been finalized, there will no longer be a State Land permit required to hike the  Continental Divide Trail in New Mexico.

2021 Bay Paddle on the Captain John Smith Chesapeake NHT to Benefit the Chesapeake Conservancy

The 2021 Bay Paddle is an epic 215 mile, 8 day, staged paddle race along the Chesapeake Bay--a section of the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail. The race begins on August 27th where teams depart from Havre de Grace, MD and ends on September 3rd in Virginia Beach, VA. 

The Bay Paddle’s mission is to help protect the Chesapeake Bay by working with Oyster Recovery Partnership--with a goal of planting 200M oysters--and the Chesapeake Conservancy to support their efforts to designate the Chesapeake Bay as a National Park. Learn more about the race, and watch a documentary about its founder, here.

Chainsaw Reciprocity Between US Forest Service and National Park Service

In March 2021, National Park Service and US Forest Service announced that they will accept saw training, evaluation, and certification conducted by the other Agency. Granting reciprocity to saw programs will improve efficiency in program administration, particularly in use of chainsaws and crosscut saws to construct and maintain segments of national trailsl while continuing to ensure competency of those who operate chainsaws and crosscut saws on lands managed by the Agencies.

Click here to learn more.

Arizona NST New Signage Includes Land Acknowledgements

Hikers on the Arizona National Scenic Trail arriving at trailheads within the Four Peaks Wilderness on the Tonto National Forest are now greeted with beautiful interpretive signs. These signs feature a full color map with side and connecting trails, water sources, geographical features, and information about local wildlife. The signs also include this land acknowledgement: You are standing on the ancestral lands of the Apache, Hopi, O’odham, Piipaash, Yavapai and Zuni people.

 “Land acknowledgement is a simple, powerful way of showing respect, and a step toward correcting the stories and practices that erase Indigenous history and culture,” said Arizona Trail Association Executive Director Matthew Nelson. “Trail organizations are dedicated to stewardship of the trail and the lands through which they pass. This is an indigenous value. Acknowledging the stewards of the past and their present-day descendants is an important part of our mission, responsibility, and we hope will foster a more meaningful connection between people and the land.”

Portion of Arizona Trail Reopens After Nine-Month Fire Closure

On March 2, the Coronado National Forest rescinded the Fire Closure Order for a portion of the Arizona National Scenic Trail that has been in place since the Bighorn Fire started in June of 2020. Thanks to Arizona Trail Association staff, stewards and volunteers, as well as the crews at Arizona Conservation Corps and staff from the Santa Catalina Ranger District, the AZT is now open through the Pusch Ridge Wilderness (Passage 11)…just in time for thru-hiking season.

Portions of Passage 11B (Pusch Ridge Wilderness Bypass) that are popular among mountain bikers and day hikers remain closed due to public safety concerns from the wildfire’s impacts.

When hiking and camping in recently burned areas, please be aware of falling trees, unstable soils, and the increased possibility of flash floods during storms.


Comings and Goings

Felicita Wight recently joined the PNTS team as Operations Coordinator. She has a background in conservation biology and has a master's in environmental science. She previously worked at the National Wildlife Refuge and Nature Center, where she focused on community education and grassroots engagement - as well as getting to handle alligators, snakes, and raptors. She later worked for the American Geophysical Union heading their award-winning Centennial initiative.

To elevate her passions and interests, she runs a nonprofit, Wild Tiger, dedicated to persevering Bengal tigers and their habitat. The current focus is on the tiger pet trade here in the US and organizing an eco expedition for 2022. Felicita also is a volunteer campaign manager for a habitat connectivity initiative with the Endangered Species Coalition. As an outdoor enthusiast, she loves spending time in nature, and as a history and trail fan, she is excited to contribute to the PNTS mission.

Anne O’Neill will serve as the acting Superintendent of the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail (POHE) for 120 days (her assignment began on March 1).  Over the next four months, as National Park service works to fill the position permanently, Anne will work to re-energize relationships and foster continued collaboration with committed partners and stakeholders by developing an annual workplan to support a shared partnership vision for POHE. Anne can be contacted at: Anne_O'

Dave Moore Named Superintendent of Fort McHenry National Monument & Historic Shrine, Hampton National Historic Site, Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail. Moore comes to Baltimore with a great deal of experience in the National Park Service. In the last decade Moore has served in a number of positions: Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island chief of Administration, associate regional director of the Region 1 - National Capital Area in Administration and Business; acting deputy superintendent of Yosemite National Park in California; deputy associate director for Workforce and Inclusion for the NPS; associate regional director in Administration for the Northeast Region; and acting superintendent at Valley Forge National Historical Park. In 2013 he was named a senior executive fellow at the Kennedy School of Government. Dave can be contacted at


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


The Future of Landscape Conservation: Pathways to a Just and Equitable Future
Wednesday, March 31, 2021 at 1:00 – 2:30 pm ET
Host: Network for Landscape Conservation
The purpose of this forum is to explore opportunities (and examples) for building a broad-based and enduring constituency for landscape conservation, and for the many essential services nature provides for all people, in all places. Click here to register.

Online Adaptation Planning and Practices for Recreation
Weekly from April 5 - May 28, 2021

The USDA Climate Hubs, US Forest Service Western Wildland Environmental Threat Assessment Center, Society of Outdoor Recreation Professionals and The Northern Institute will present a recreation-focused Adaptation Planning and Practices training in seven virtual sessions. There is no fee thanks to support from the US Forest Service and the USDA Climate Hubs. Applications are being accepted until March 15, 2021. This training 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. For more information, click here or contact Leslie Brandt at

Mapping Indigenous Place Names
Tuesday, April 13, 2021 at 10AM MDT
Host: American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association
A partnership between AIANTA and the National Park Service will result in a guide of tribes located along the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail and the tribal and Native attractions found along the route. To accompany the guide, cartographer Margaret Pearce (Citizen Potawatomi Nation) is creating a one-of-a-kind map showcasing traditional Indigenous place names, tribal lands and sites of cultural and historic significance along the Trail.

In this webinar, Margaret is joined by Carol Dana, language master for Penobscot Nation. Margaret and Carol will talk about Indigenous place names from the perspective of a mapmaker and a language teacher. They will discuss how place names have figured in their projects, consider the role of protocols and permissions, explore how to restore names to their corrected forms and meanings, and weigh in with advice for others interested in starting their own place names projects. 

Click here to register.


Scholarships, Grants, Awards, and Other Opportunities

  • Deadline - March 31st: The National Park Service’s (NPS) Underrepresented Community Grant Program (URC) is intended to diversify the nominations submitted to the National Register of Historic Places to include communities that are currently underrepresented. URC grants are funded by the Historic Preservation Fund (HPF), and are administered by the NPS. 
  • Deadline - April 23rd: The National Park Service has announced the 2021 Challenge Cost Share Program. The program is intended to support specific NPS mission-related projects that align with goals of local project partners. 
  • Deadline - April 26th: The National Park Service, Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program announced it is offering a cost-share grant season in 2021. These grants can assist with a range of activities related to the preservation of Route 66, including preservation planning, National Register nominations, preservation and rehabilitation work on eligible historic sites, as well as research and educational outreach initiatives. 
  • Deadline - April 30th: The National Park Service Historic Preservation Fund is now accepting applications for Tribal Historic Preservation Offices (THPO). The Historic Preservation Fund provides annually appropriated funding to Tribes that have signed agreements with the National Park Service designating them as having an approved Tribal Historic Preservation Officer (THPO) to protect and conserve important Tribal cultural and historic assets and sites.
  • Deadline - May 7, 2021: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced the availability of up to $6 million in grant funding under The Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem-Solving (EJCPS) Cooperative Agreement Program and The Environmental Justice Small Grants (EJSG) Program. These grants are intended to provide support to vulnerable and overburdened communities disproportionately affected by environmental health risks. Applicants should plan for projects to begin on October 1, 2021.Click here for more information. 

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 Event

Outdoor Classroom series, Iditarod Historic Trail Alliance  •  April 6, 2021
River Management Symposium • April 12-15, 2021
Ice Age Trail Alliance (Virtual) Annual Conference and Membership Meeting •  April 15-17, 2021
Continental Divide Trail Coalition Trail Days 2021  •  April 22 - May 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:

  • Continental Divide Trail Coalition Executive Direct and TLC member, Teresa Martinez, wrote an op-ed published in Colorado Newsline countering opinions that a pause on new oil and gas leases would curtail LWCF funding.
  • PNTS Board Member Kristin Murphy was featured in A.T. Journeys in an Inspired Leadership article. Kristin was an inaugural member of NextGen since 2015 and served on NextGen’s leadership team as Liaison for three years. Click here to view the rest of the feature and learn more about Kristin’s incredible accomplishments.

Job Postings:

Statewide Advocacy Senior CoordinatorWashington Trails Association Outdoor Leadership Training Senior CoordinatorWashington Trails Association 
Trail Crew Leader - Mount Rainier National ParkWashington Trails Association
Trail Crew Leader for Pro-CrewWashington Trails Association
Assistant Leader for Pro-CrewWashington Trails Association
Trail Crew Member for Pro-CrewWashington Trails Association 


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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