Next Generation

Engaging the next generation of trail stewards and champions is a priority for the Partnership and its member organizations. These programs directly align with the goals of the Decade for the National Trails Outreach, Protection and Capacity building. A variety of programs, scholarships and interns have been offered to help develop an interest in the outdoors and the national scenic and historic trails.

For summaries of some of the programs both for youth and young adults, please review the following reports:

National Trails System Intern Grants

Many young adults exhibit the skills and passion necessary to make a greater contribution to the National Trails System. In an effort to provide greater opportunities, the Partnership for the National Trails System (PNTS)—in partnership with the Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, and U.S. Forest Service—provides mini project grants that will allow for young adults to become involved, or further their involvement, with our national trails.

Specifically, these grants will help to support internships. They will be available to both Federal agency partners and PNTS nonprofit member group organizations and affiliates. Nonprofit and Federal agency partnerships are strongly encouraged, such that the two entities work together to create internship opportunities. Learn more here.

Trail Apprentice program: National Scenic and Historic Trails Biennial Conference

Trail Apprentices have been an important part of National Scenic and Historic Trails Conferences. Trail Apprentices bring valued perspectives to the trails community from introducing new technology and social media to making connections with new audiences to generating new ideas and ways to get things done.

The Trail apprentice program offered in biennial conference years, includes a youth scholarship program funded by our Federal trail partners, networking with other young adults from around the country, opportunities to design and lead sessions or workshops for the rest of the trail community and demonstrate skills such as use of new technology, media and communication, in support of national trail stewardship.

New! 2020 Trail Apprentice Program:

Learn more here.

The deadline to apply for the Trail Apprentice program is September 11th, 2020 So don’t wait! Please fill in this contact form to receive an application form. To learn more about the 2020 program, click this link or contact directly. Use “Trail Apprentice” in your header. 

Young adult programs

In addition to the Trail Apprentice program, programs for young adults range from internships to summer jobs building trail. These programs are characterized by imparting skills (use of tools, media, …), leadership and team building, hands on and experiential learning opportunities. The young adults who participate in these programs take away skill sets that will serve them in future jobs and life in general.

These programs represent an investment in the next generation to develop the leadership with the skill sets to step up and take on the challenges of the National Scenic and Historic Trails in the next 25 years.

Youth programs

Youth programs, developed by the member organizations of the Partnership, engage youth in trail stewardship, historical interpretation, and conservation initiatives in addition to providing an introductory outdoor experience for many of the youth that participate.

Partnering with existing youth organizations and schools has improved the quality of youth programs as well as the participation rates – numbers of youth and particularly diverse youth.

Future youth opportunities may include programs targeted at families. Family programs will help build a long term commitment to the outdoors and are considered a next step for organizations continuing to build their youth trail programming.