Join us for our webinar series aimed at providing relevant information and best practices as they pertain to the work of non-profit and Federal agency partners in sustaining the National Trails System (NTS). These webinars are free to staff, board members, and volunteer leaders of Partnership for the National Trails System member organizations and Federal trail managing partners. Others may participate at the cost of $35 per webinar. 

  • Mark your calendar

    Title:  Managing Your Organizations Finances—Best Practices for End of the Year Accounting and Reporting
    Presenters: Darcy Shepard – Director of Finance and Human Resources, Friends of Nevada Wilderness
    Date and Time:  Tuesday, December 18th at 11AM MST
    Overview: This webinar will help your organization start 2019 off on the right foot fiscally. It will review best financial practices, including advice on building your budget for 2019, tracking your unrestricted funds, and what it takes to prepare for and undergo an audit. Set your organization up for success whether you’ve got a budget of $10,000 or $1,000,000. This webinar is brought to you through a collaborative effort between the PNTS and National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance.

    *This webinar is FREE to attend*


    Are you interested in being a Partnership for the National Trails System presenter or do you have a topic to suggest? Send us an e-mail at admin@pnts.org.


    Title:  50th Anniversary Rivers and Trails Best Practices for Communications
    • Marta Call – Gila National Forest Public Affairs Officer
    • Samantha Haas – Partnership for the National Trail System Communications Coordinator
    • Lisa Ronald – Wild & Scenic Rivers 50th Anniversary Coordinator
    • Amanda Wheelock – Continental Divide Trail Coalition Marketing and Communications Specialist
    • Radha Marcum – River Network Marketing and Communications Director
    Date and Time:  July 19 at 3PM EDT
    Overview:  As we commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the National Trails System and Wild and Scenic River Acts, it’s important to spread the word about related events and projects in the most efficient way. Join rivers, trails, and Federal agency communications experts for this webinar about best practices for traditional and social media. You’ll hear examples of successful marketing tactics, learn how to get your 50th Anniversary media off the ground—even if it’s your first time planning an event and you don’t have a communications staff—and how to use event outreach for broader storytelling to strengthen your organization’s presence in the community.

    Title: Best Practices for Engaging Young Adults: Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s Next Generation Advisory Council
    Presenters:  Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s Next Generation Advisory Council
    Date and Time:  June 15th at 1PM EDT
    Overview:  Did you know that millennials will outnumber baby boomers in 2019, making them the largest generation that the U.S. has ever seen? Have you wondered how to bring younger trail users into your trail organization as volunteers and maintainers? Be sure to join us for a webinar to learn more about the Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s Next Generation Advisory Council and the best practices for engaging young adults! We’ll hear from our young leaders about how trail organizations can reach younger trail enthusiasts and what to expect from this trail-friendly population.

    Title: Best Practices for Recruiting and Engaging Volunteer Board Members
    Presenter:  Sandi Marra
    Date and Time:  May 8th at 3PM EDT
    Overview:  Creating an effective and dedicated Board for your nonprofit is critical to the success of the organization
    and fulfillment of your mission. Achieving this goal requires a clear understanding of needs, good
    recruitment strategies, and well structured and focused board activities to ensure engagement and
    retention. Sandi will share her experience and lessons learned and also facilitate conversation among
    participants so that they can share their stories.

    Speaker Bio: Sandi Marra, Principal Consultant with Marra Consulting Group, LLC, has more than 30 years of experience in both the private and public sectors bringing real life solutions to organizational challenges.
    She has lead organizations in both executive staff and Board Chair roles. She understands the importance of respecting cultural norms and traditions while bringing about needed organizational change. Her experience includes Chief Operating Officer of an $20 million organization supporting educational and service programs for developmentally disabled children and adults. As Board Chair, she leads a $10 million national member volunteer-based organization. In addition to her nonprofit experience, she has worked in the private sector for large-scale government contracting firms providing operational and human resource expertise.

    Title: Trail Safe! 
    Presenter:  Dan Watson
    Date and Time:  March 12th at 1PM EST
    Overview:  Join Volunteer Coordinator Dan Watson for an introduction to Trail Safe! — a series of online safety training videos which provide all core learning objectives found in NPS Operational Leadership. Trail Safe! is an opportunity for everyone to learn about the Human Factor of safety, covering topics such as Effective Leadership, Stress & Performance, Situational Awareness, Mission Analysis, and more. If your local safety program is looking for ways to share information at no cost, and without the logistical hassle of arranging travel and meeting venues, then Trail Safe! may be your answer. Toward the conclusion of the webinar, Dan Watson will review how you can receive a Trail Safe! “starter kit” and begin sharing this safety resource with your staff, partners, and volunteers.

    **This webinar will be held in collaboration with American Trails**

    Speaker Bio: Dan Watson has been a career employee of the National Park Service since 1980. He has worked as an Interpretive Ranger and Federal Law Enforcement Ranger at the Upper Delaware Scenic & Recreational River (NY-PA), and Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area (PA-NJ); Supervisory District Law Enforcement Ranger at Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway (WI-MN); Chief Law Enforcement Ranger and Site Manager at Fort Necessity National Battlefield (PA) and Friendship Hill National Historic Site (PA); Volunteer Coordinator and Collateral Duty Safety Officer for the North Country National Scenic Trail (ND-MN-WI-MI-OH-PA-NY) and Ice Age National Scenic Trail (WI). Throughout his career Dan has been active in emergency services responses to events such as Hurricane Katrina, BP Oil Spill, and numerous western wildfires. Dan is a certified facilitator for NPS Operational Leadership, and creator of the Trail Safe! program.

    Title: Working with Local and Regional Land Trusts

    Presenter:  Don Owen – PNTS Consultant, Kevin Thusius – Ice Age Trail Alliance, Megan Wargo – Pacific Crest Trail Association
    Date and Time:  January 24th at 3PM EST
    Overview:  As agency budgets for land protection are being reduced, and trusts are becoming an essential organizational partner for many trail organizations.  Experienced land trust professionals will explain how their programs work, and what they can offer national scenic and national historic trails.

    Speaker Bios:

    Don consults for the Land Trust Alliance, the West Virginia Land Trust, the Maryland Environmental Trust, the Land Trust of Virginia, the Partnership for the National Trails System, and more than a dozen other land trusts and trail organizations. He serves as the Land Trust Alliance’s Circuit Rider for the Potomac River Watershed and Southern Virginia, assisting all-volunteer and small land trusts build capacity and improve operations.

    Kevin works for the Ice Age Trail Alliance, whose mission is to create, promote and protect the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. As the director of land conservation, he is responsible for property acquisitions and the management of more than 120 Alliance-held land interests. Over the last eight years, Kevin has helped the Alliance and its partners complete more than 75 land transactions for the Trail while instituting a volunteer property monitoring program and creating archives for all Alliance-owned lands. He came to the Alliance from a local land trust where he was charged with assessing and prioritizing hundreds of properties along a scenic riverway.

    Megan is Director of Land Protection for Pacific Crest Trail Association, and has more than a decade of experience leading teams and managing landscape-scale conservation projects. She has successfully negotiated land and conservation easement acquisitions to permanently protect over 64,000 acres. Prior to joining the PCTA, Megan worked for the Pacific Forest Trust, the Trust for Public Land, and the Piedmont Land Conservancy. She holds a Master of Environmental Management degree from Duke University and a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies, Economics & Politics from Claremont McKenna College.

  • Title: Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the National Trails System Act – Tips, Tools, and Next Steps
    Presenters:  Chelsea Bodamer – PNTS, Leigh Schmidt – Trails 50 Coordinator, and Kelly Snavely – American Hiking Society
    Date and Time:  November 2nd at 3PM ESTIn his 1965 “Natural Beauty Message” to Congress, President Lyndon B. Johnson inspired a national “system of trails” for the American people. Congress passed the National Trails System Act, signed into law by President Johnson on October 2, 1968. Join us for our second webinar on the anniversary and learn how you can take part in the commemoration of this historic act while encouraging a new generation of trail users and stewards. Topics include: • Trails 50 Merchandise
    • Social Media Campaigns
    • Toolkit updates
    • Trail Story Collection

    PowerPoint (PDF) – Webinar Recording

    Title: Real Estate 101 for National Scenic and Historic Trail Organizations
    Presenters:  Don Owen – PNTS Consultant
    Date and Time:  October 19th at 3PM EST

    Why is protecting land so important for national scenic and historic trails?  What is a conservation easement, and how does it work? What does a title policy do?  How do agencies, land trusts, and trail organizations negotiate land deals?  Learn the basics of real estate from practitioners who have spent years in the trenches.

    Title: National Trail Intern Grants Overview
    Presenters:   Gary Werner – PNTS, Chelsea Bodamer – PNTS, Deb Salt – BLM, Rita Hennessy – NPS, Jaime Schmidt – USFS, and Kimberly Reaves – Greening Youth Foundation
    Date and Time:  September 21st at 2PM EST

    Title: Planning a National Scenic or National Historic Trail Protection Program

    Presenters: Don Owen, PNTS Consultant and Morgan Sommerville, Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s Southern Regional Director
    Date and Time: 
    Thursday, July 13th 3:00-4:00 PM EDT
    Webinar Overview: 
    There are a number of different approaches to planning a protection program for a national scenic or national historic trail, with each tailoring its approach to its own unique needs and resources.  Learn tips and techniques
    from experts who have decades of experience.   

    Speaker Bios
    Don Owen
    Don consults for the Land Trust Alliance, the West Virginia Land Trust, the Maryland Environmental Trust, the Land Trust of Virginia, the Partnership for the National Trails System, and more than a dozen other land trusts and trail organizations. He serves as the Land Trust Alliance’s Circuit Rider for the Potomac River Watershed and Southern Virginia, assisting all-volunteer and small land trusts build capacity and improve operations.

    Morgan Sommerville
    Morgan has been pleased to put his NC State University degree in natural resource management to use by helping to design, build, conserve and protect the A.T. from the ground up while overseeing the evolution of the Southern Regional Office from a one man operation to four full-time, one half-time and 10 seasonal employees.

    Title: Volunteer Recruitment — Trends and Best Practices (Co-hosted by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy)
    Presenters: Alexandra Brownfield CEO, Volunteer East Tennessee, Emily Lord Stewardship Outreach Coordinator, UNH Extension, The Stewardship Network New England, Jamie Burke Volunteer & Outreach Manager, Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado
    Date and Time: Thursday, June 15 6:30-7:30 PM EDT
    Webinar Overview:  This webinar will include national trends in volunteering and related studies, tips and tools for effective promotion of volunteer opportunities, and a case study of making transition from first-time volunteers to volunteer leaders.

    Speaker Bios
    Jamie Burke A Virginia transplant, studied sports medicine at the University of Virginia, where she spent her free time divided between the rugby pitch and nearby Shenandoah National Park. After graduation, Jamie took her passion for being outdoors across the country to the West Coast where she worked as a Naturalist at an Arts and Ecology Outdoor Education Center, followed by a year with Americorps*NCCC, and several seasons as a Wildland Firefighter in El Dorado National Forest. A few years later, Jamie returned to her East Coast roots to undertake a Masters in Educational Studies at the University of New Hampshire, as well as take on a role as a backpacking and sailing instructor for Outward Bound. She relocated to Colorado in 2013 and has spent the past several years in the nonprofit sector working for the American Red Cross. Up until recently, all her free time was spent playing and training for rugby. She represented the U.S. on the Women’s National Team for over a decade before retiring, following the 2014 Women’s Rugby World Cup. Retirement has offered her much more time to enjoy all the outdoors Colorado has to offer with her partner, dog, and 16-month-old daughter.

    Emily Lord is the Stewardship Outreach Coordinator with UNH Cooperative Extension (UNHCE) and leads digital communications for UNHCE’s the Stewardship Network: New England initiative to create a culture of stewardship in New England through the power of volunteers. An alum of the Student Conservation Association New Hampshire AmeriCorps program, Emily has lead conservation crews performing trail maintenance and restoration work in Alaska, California, Michigan, and New Hampshire. Emily holds a Master’s degree in sociology from Illinois State University and a Bachelor’s in women’s studies and sociology from the University of Maine.

    Alexandra Brownfield, CEO of Volunteer East Tennessee, has the incredible opportunity to lead East Tennessee’s HandsOn Network Volunteer Center. She works with hundreds of local nonprofit organizations to effectively recruit and manage volunteers throughout the greater Knoxville region. Alexandra previously worked at the HandsOn Network affiliate at the United Way of Greater St. Louis. She is a graduate of Saint Louis University’s School of Social Work and holds a Chancellor’s Certificate in Volunteer Management from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. She currently serves on the Tennessee Governor’s Commission for Volunteerism and is a board member of Mountain Tough and Volunteer Tennessee.

    Title: North Country Trail Association’s Hike 100 Challenge: Learnings and Best Practices
    Presenters:  Andrea Ketchmark and Amelia Rhodes (North Country Trail Association)
    Date and Time:  Wednesday, May 24th at 3PM EST

    Webinar Overview: The Hike 100 Challenge engaged thousands of people on the North Country Trail, encouraging them to hike 100 miles in 2016 to celebrate the NPS Centennial. With limited staff resources and budget, the North Country Trail Association (NCTA) built a program that was simple to manage and easy to promote. The Hike 100 Challenge proved to be a smashing success, beyond what they could have imagined – including over 4,000 new leads and eventually 400 new members to the organization. In this webinar we’ll uncover the secrets of the Hike 100 Challenge and how to motivate a new group of users to not only enjoy your Trail, but connect with your organization. 

    Speaker Bios:
    Amelia Rhodes is the Marketing/Communications Coordinator for the North Country Trail Association. Her role is to share the story of the NCNST and the NCTA through traditional and new media. She holds a degree in Business Administration and Communications, and has a background in marketing project management.

    Andrea Ketchmark is the Director of Trail Development for the North Country Trail Association.  Her job is to train and empower a diverse group of remote volunteers with the skills, knowledge and attitude needed to build relationships with diverse partners like local governments, land managers and private landowners to build, maintain, and protect the North Country National Scenic Trail.


    Title: Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the National Trails System Act
    Presenters:  Gary Werner (PNTS), Pete Olsen (American Hiking Society), and Chelsea Bodamer (PNTS)
    Date and Time:  Wednesday, April 19th at 3PM EST

    Webinar Overview: In his 1965 “Natural Beauty Message” to Congress, President Lyndon B. Johnson inspired a national “system of trails” for the American people. Congress passed the National Trails System Act, signed into law by President Johnson on October 2, 1968. Join us for our upcoming webinar and learn how you can take part in the commemoration of this historic act while encouraging a new generation of trail users and stewards. This webinar is FREE to attend. Capacity is limited to 100 attendees. Register early to ensure your spot.

    Topics include:

    • The importance of the 50th Anniversary
    • Partners and opportunties
    • How you can take part
    • Available resources and toolkit items


    Title: The Federal Lands Transfer: What It Means and What You Should Know 
    Presenters: Randy Rasmussen Back Country Horsemen of America
    Date and Time: Wednesday, March 8th at 2PM EST

    Webinar Overview
    Some members of Congress remain intent on wrestling control of public lands from the federal government. The idea is not new. Yet transfer proponents continue to perpetuate many myths and half-truths in making their case. One factor driving their push is the claim that the states or local governments are better suited to determine the uses and fate of our public lands. Join us as we discuss the range of values of our federal public lands that are being ignored by land transfer proponents, explore why western public lands differ in many aspects from their eastern counterparts, and speculate how a large-scale federal land transfer might affect public access including management of National Scenic and Historic Trails. We will conclude the discussion with a summary of methods by which your organization might join with others to help “keep public lands in public hands.”

    About the Speaker
    Randy has been Backcountry Horsemen of America’s (BCHA’s) Director for Public Lands & Recreation since 2012. He assists BCHA’s 30 state organizations to advance initiatives and strengthen partnerships that promote the sustained use and enjoyment of the backcountry and Wilderness “by horsemen and the general public commensurate with our heritage.” This includes recognition of the unique national “birthright” enjoyed by all Americans—where every citizen enjoys partial ownership of an unparalleled system of national public lands.

    Randy’s work includes strengthening BCHA’s partnerships with federal land management agencies. He was a key player in BCHA’s effort with The Wilderness Society, regional and national partners—including AHS and PNTS—that demonstrated a groundswell of public support and cultivated bipartisan congressional sponsors for the National Forest System Trails Stewardship Act (H.R. 845 / S. 1110). The bill was signed into law by President Obama in November 2016.

    TitleInnovative Approaches to Recruiting and Tracking Volunteers
    Presenters: Becky Reid Juan Bauista de Anza National Historic Trail Trails and Rails Program, Karl Borton Florida Trail Association, Wendy Lotze Arizona Trail Association
    Date and Time: Tuesday, January 24th at 2PM EST

    Webinar Overview
    This webinar will highlight the various ways that national trail partners are using technology to enhance their volunteer programs. Topics will include Google Apps and MeetUp Groups. Furthermore, tips for overcoming the “fear of technology” barrier will be addressed.

    About the Speakers
    Karl serves as FTA’s Volunteer Program Coordinator, and is responsible for engaging partners and volunteers on the Florida Trail.

    Wendy has been the Volunteer Coordinator for the Arizona Trail Association since 2015, a dream job by any standard.  She believes that she owes her good luck to the karma developed over years of volunteering at trail maintenance events and as a Segment Steward for the Arizona Trail. Wendy also teaches introductory backpacking seminars and founded the Arizona Backpacking Club to encourage responsible backcountry adventures and volunteerism among the hiking community.   She has organized countless trail events and still manages to maintain a contagious enthusiasm for living outdoors.

    Becky coordinates, trains and supervises Trails and Rails volunteers for the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail. She has been a Trails and Rails guide for 6 years, interpreting the Anza trail between Santa Barbara and San Jose on Amtrak’s Coast Starlight. A long-time educator with a specialty in online teaching and learning, she is always looking for ways to make technology accessible to all.

  • Title: Telling Our Stories
    Presenters: Javier Folgar and Jordan Bowman Appalachian Trail Conservancy and Steve Gonzales El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail Association
    Date and Time: Wednesday, December 14th at 2PM EST

    Webinar Overview
    With the number of organizations competing for the attention and support of the public, engaging your audience through effective storytelling has become an essential tool for organizations of every size. Join us as we discuss ways to craft your organization’s own stories, how to reach and engage new audiences, and methods for influencing individuals to contribute their own experiences to your cause.

    About the Speakers
    Javier is the Director of Marketing and Communications for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. Javier oversees and coordinates the messaging of the organization, helping to provide clarity and direction for all ATC departments, its volunteer organizations, and the public.

    Jordan is the Public Relations and Social Media Specialist for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. Jordan oversees the messages transmitted to the public via traditional and new media interfaces, ensuring that both the organization and its membership have a voice in the protection and celebration of the Appalachian Trail.

    In addition to serving as executive director of El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail Association, Steven is on the board of directors for the Partnership for the National Trails System; serves on the steering committee for the Texas Alliance for Geographic Education at Texas State University; is a member of the advisory committee for the Connecting Trails to Parks project between the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, National Trails System Intermountain Region office, and the Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance program; and is an advisory committee member for the Texas Historical Commission’s Hispanic Heritage Guide for Texas.

    Title: Effective Strategies for Advocacy
    Presenters: Mike Wollmer Ice Age Trail Alliance and Pete Olsen American Hiking Society
    Date and Time: Wednesday, November 30th at 3PM EST

    Webinar Overview
    This webinar will focus on effective advocacy when meeting with elected officials – particularly at the federal level. After a brief overview on presenting your strongest case, we will use a case study to highlight some effective techniques that anyone can use. In addition, we’ll discuss overcoming the challenges of creating presentation materials that engage elected officials, or even more challenging, their staff.

    About the Speakers
    Mike Wollmer is the Executive Director and CEO of the Ice Age Trail Alliance.  Mike spent 35 years in his family’s business with specialty outdoor retail stores in the Milwaukee market.  Beginning in the early 1990’s, his history as an Alliance member includes on-the-ground trail work, crew leadership, and a few years as a member of the board of directors.  In recent years he has served as a director of the Partnership for the National Trails System.

    Peter Olsen is the Vice President for Programs & Government Relations at American Hiking Society (AHS). Leading AHS’s advocacy efforts, Mr. Olsen works with Congress and federal agencies to shape public policy and legislation affecting trails, public lands, and the hiking experience.

    Title: Best Practices for Motivating and Training Volunteers
    Presenters:  Eric Sherman, Ice Age Trail Alliance, and Karl Borton, Florida Trail Association
    Date and Time: October 27th, 2016 at 3PM EST

    Webinar Overview
    Learn best practices to invigorate your volunteer program, whether it supports a national historic or national scenic trail. Eric Sherman will give a general overview of the Ice Age Trail Alliance’s (IATA) Volunteer Trailbuilding program. He will also delve into the ways they are building and maintaining the Ice Age National Scenic Trail while also rewarding volunteers through skills-building. Karl Borton will speak about the Florida Trail Association’s Volunteer Recognition Program. This includes both traditional and non-traditional recognitions and awards. Join us to learn more about motivating and rewarding volunteers!

    About the Speakers
    Eric serves as the Alliances Membership and Grants Coordinator, and is responsible for administering the Alliance’s awards program and volunteer-hours tracking program.

    Karl serves as FTA’s Volunteer Program Coordinator, and is responsible for engaging partners and volunteers on the Florida Trail.

    Are you interested in being a Partnership for the National Trails System presenter or do you have a topic to suggest? Send us an e-mail at admin@pnts.org