Message from the Executive Director Spring 2022

Spring can feel like a new beginning. The temperature warms. People in many parts of the U.S. see blooming flowers and budding trees for the first time in months. As we shed layers of clothing and emerge from our winter routines, a page of our story has turned and adventures await.

Spring brings renewed vigor and excitement to National Scenic & Historic Trails. While the trails are active year-round, the allure of a trek into nature or a day spent walking the paths taken by others before us to learn about the history and heritage associated with trail lands becomes magnetic. Many people embark on the adventure of a lifetime as they set out on thru-hikes of long trails. PNTS members and Federal partners are hard at work to ensure safe trails and engaging programs. As I write this, Barney Mann, the Partnership’s Board President, and his wife Sandy are sharing their home, showers, laundry machine, and delicious home-cooked meals each day with dozens of hikers who are making their way north on the Pacific Crest Trail. Similarly, others are offering hospitality or sharing their knowledge of special places on National Trails to help others find “their” trail. It takes a skilled, coordinated, and friendly community to ensure great experiences on trails. And we are so fortunate that so many trails professionals, volunteers, and enthusiasts are ready, willing, and able to help us enjoy the many experiences National Trails offer.

I, for one, experience a combination of awe and gratitude each year as a new season springs forth. Similarly, I and my colleagues at PNTS are impressed by and grateful for the many people who create vibrant, well-maintained and accessible National Trails. While the work is difficult, PNTS members and partners band together to advance shared goals for the System as a whole, while also ensuring world-class experiences for trail users and important economic and well-being benefits for trail adjacent communities. They dream big and make a true difference, often without recognition. 

Whether you roll up your sleeves to steward or administer a trail, lend your voice as an advocate, or simply love National Trails, the PNTS team thanks you for what you do to create a vibrant, connected National Trails System for all. We encourage you to keep growing the sense of community and camaraderie by recruiting someone to volunteer, sharing your adventures, or encouraging someone to visit a new place on a National Scenic or Historic Trail. And finally, we hope that everyone who spends time on a National Trail this spring, whether it be a few minutes or a few months, will take a moment to appreciate the incredible resource that is the National Trails System and the people who make them great. 

All the best,

Valerie Rupp