Message from the Executive Director Summer 2022

Photo of Valerie Rupp near a fenced infield backed by a stone wallWhen I read an issue of Pathways Across America, I’m often struck by the uniqueness of each National Historic and Scenic Trail, as well as the Trails’ connectedness both as parts of the National Trails System and as parts of the communities they traverse.

Across the National Trails System, young professionals and emerging leaders are exploring careers and taking on diverse projects to meet the needs of different trails such as some that are featured in this issue that involve venturing into nature to construct trails or putting writing and public relations skills to use to engage local businesses and communities. 

Partnership for the National Trails System (PNTS) member organizations are actively working to recognize Indigenous ancestral lands and partner with Tribal and Indigenous communities. As you’ll read, the Chesapeake Conservancy, purchased and donated 465 acres of waterfront property in what is now Richmond County, Virginia, to the Rappahannock Tribe, who restored its original name of Pissacoack while the New England Trail its partners are conducting an Indigenous Site Survey Project along the Trail corridor. Cross sector partners are coming together to make the Trails more accessible and engaging as you’ll see when reading about binational collaborations and a challenge that retraces historic wagon paths in solar powered vehicles. While the collaboration and creativity results from the work of the people involved with each individual National Historic or Scenic Trail, the examples and lessons learned are shared across the National Trails System.

Trails are as diverse as the places they traverse and stories they interpret yet, the National Trails System stitches together trails and the landscapes and communities they connect, as well as the stories of past and present and opportunities for the future they present. The multitudinous experiences and cross-disciplinary nature of the National Trails System enables people with different interests and abilities to enjoy trails or share their talents to benefit trails and the people who appreciate them. This summer, I hope each of you enjoy some of the wonderful trail experiences highlighted in this or previous issues of Pathways Across America.

All the best,

Valerie Rupp