Navigating times of change for the Partnership – by Barney Mann

by Barney “Scout” Mann, Board President, Partnership for the National Trails System

Barney “Scout” Mann

Greetings from Washington, D.C. That is no typo. I live in San Diego, but one of our daughters needed help with our two-year-old grandson while preparing for the arrival of their new baby. We found ourselves on an empty plane hours before the California governor issued his stay at home order. My wife and I typically host Pacific Crest Trail hikers in the day or two before they start the trail. This year over 1,200 signed up. We went through a series of changes: first adopting a robust set of practices to keep everyone safe, then canceling the first two weeks, and finally canceling the season. We then spent five days scrambling to take care of hundreds of packages already at our house, making runs to the post office, and comforting hikers from at least six feet away. Miraculously, the night before we flew to D.C. we had everyone squared away.

All of us are adjusting plans, and here at the Partnership that is certainly true. I can’t tell you how proud I have been of our Partnership staff, our members, our committees, the Board and Trail Leaders Council. In the midst of the building crisis, Kathy DeCoster, Morgan Sommerville, the Advocacy and Policy Committee, and so many Partnership members rallied around an opportunity for full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. A bipartisan bill was introduced in the Senate, and the Partnership was one of the lead groups that helped secure 59 cosponsors.

So many of us were set to visit Ghost Ranch in New Mexico for the Spring National Trails Workshop in May, and there too, our leadership team, including Teresa Martinez, RG Absher, Karen Crossley, and Andrea Ketchmark, decided the safest and best course was to cancel. A survey is being taken to decide the next best steps for future training opportunities, including the Fall Workshop. I can also report that the Partnership leadership transition remains on track. We are seeing a wide range of qualified applicants for the permanent Executive Director. More than ever, this is a time for each of us to pull together, to advance the interests of the trail closest to your heart, and to advance all of them as a whole via the Partnership.

Barney Scout Mann

Unless otherwise indicated, all material in Pathways Across America is public domain. All views expressed herein are perspectives of individuals working on behalf of the National Trails System and do not necessarily represent the viewpoint of the Federal agencies.