50th Anniversary Opportunities

By Partnership for the National Trails System
Compiled from www.pnts.org and www.trails50.org

Opportunities to participate

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. 2018 is the 50th Anniversary of the National Trails System Act, and we want you to be part of the commemoration! There are many ways you can #FindYourTrail and show support for the national trails.

National Trails Conference

OCTOBER 22-25, 2018

The Partnership for the National Trails System (PNTS) and River Management Society (RMS) will host co-located events in Vancouver, WA from October 22-25, 2018 to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the National Trails and Wild & Scenic Rivers Systems Acts. These side-by-side events will bring together private and public organizations and Federal agencies dedicated to the preservation of the nation’s wild, scenic, and historic places.

Trail conference and river symposium themes and tracks will differ, however, there will be several joint sessions offered. For those interested in attending both events, dual registration will be available at an additional cost. Register before October 2nd to receive the early bird rate of $395. A limited number of exhibitor space, shared with RMS, is available for the conference.

Please note that additional sessions and networking opportunities may be added prior to the conference.


  • Carolyn Finney, Ph.D.—”Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion on National Trails”
  • National Park Foundation—”Love Your Park: Mobilizing the Park Community”
  • Nicole Browning—”For All: REI’s Approach to Equity in the Outdoors”
  • Philip Connors—”A Song for the River”

Multiple agencies will fund scholarships for young leaders to attend the conference. We are pleased to introduce the 2018 Trail Apprentices, who will be an active part of the dialogue about outreach and the future of these trails.

For more details and to register, click on the Trails50 tab and 2018 Conference: www.pnts.org/new/ntsa50/

Trail Stories

Each Saturday you can read a new submitted story about trails within the National Trails System, from stewardship and inspiration to education and history. You can also share yours.

Follow the blog: www.trails50.org/new-blog/
Submit your story: www.trails50.org/tell-your-story/

Event Map

Events are being added to the nationwide 50th anniversary map every week to help build capacity for future activism. Find an event near you, or add your organization’s event today!

Search the map and submit your event: www.trails50.org/find-an-event/

Photo Contest

The Trails 50 photo contest drew 280 entries from trail users across the country. Photos were entered in four categories: The Beauty of Trails, Historic Trails, Multi-Use Trails, and Volunteerism. Winning photos based on public voting feature a wide variety of trails and trail users, and truly reflect the range of activities made possible by trails. We also have a grand prize winner, selected by a panel of judges. Winners will receive prize packages courtesy of the American Hiking Society, American Trails, Back Country Horsemen of America, Partnership for the National Trails System, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, Eagle River Designs, and Crown Trails Headwear. Congratulations to all of our winners, and thank you to all of our entrants and voters!

Ali Morgan (photo featured on Fall 2018 Pathways cover)

1st: Fabiola Torres 2nd: Steve Lutz 3rd: Michael Palko

1st: Kelsey Mader 2nd: Stacey Steggert 3rd: Kevin Kelleher

1st: Tim Stewart 2nd: Jennifer Braun 3rd: Cliff Hardin

1st: Ethan Smith 2nd: Thomas Vaughan 3rd (tie): Jordan Thomas, Mike Needham, Henry Mayo

View the winning photos: www.trails50.org/photo-contest/

Other ways to support the trails


Volunteers are the lifeblood of the National Trails System, helping foster and steward the trails’ amazing experiences through dedication, time, and hard work. Get involved today! www.trails50.org/volunteer/


Consider making a tax-deductible donation to the National Trails System, which will go toward land protection, education, and supporting citizen stewards. www.trails50.org/donate/


Show your trail love with special edition merchandise, such as logo pins, patches, decals, walking stick medallions, magnets, maps, shirts, and four styles of hats. www.trails50.org/shop/


REI Co-op has launched an interactive map of the national scenic trails and merchandise featuring the Appalachian, Continental Divide, and Pacific Crest trails. Items available for purchase include shirts, backpacks, chairs, tents, shoes, socks, blankets, and water bottles. Five percent of these commemorative sales will be donated to support the national scenic trails. This year, REI is investing $643,000 in 17 nonprofits dedicated to stewarding and maintaining the 11 national scenic trails.


The new 50th Anniversary of the National Trails System shirts are now live thanks to a partnership with Seek Dry Goods and artist Daniel Gurwin. The design celebrates the adventuring spirit of the thousands of miles of trails we all have the opportunity to explore in our National Trails System. These T-shirts and sweatshirts will be available throughout the fall. Order by October 15th to get yours in time for the 2018 National Trails System Conference! A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the 50th Anniversary nonprofit planning team partners (American Hiking Society, American Trails, Partnership for the National Trails System, and Rails-to-Trails Conservancy). Shop for shirts and other merchandise here.


Facebook and Instagram: @Trails50

Twitter: @NTSA50

e-Newsletter: www.trails50.org/contact/

Inquiries: communications@trails50.org




Connect your events with #FindYourTrail and the celebration of the National Trails System.  


Learn more about the history of the National Trails System.


Download logos and wordmarks, including a Spanish version.


Ready-to-use social media content, information, and contacts.


Videos, photos, maps, and new photo frames.



Check out our interactive story map, webmap, and event map featuring photos, video, and links.

Webmap: Matt Robinson and Peter Bonsall of the National Park Service developed an interactive webmap, powered by Esri GIS mapping, which allows users to explore the 11 national scenic trails and 19 national historic trails that make up the National Trails System in the United States. The webmap is for general reference purposes only and is not intended for navigational purposes or any sort of detailed planning.

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.