PNTS Welcomes Two Communications Coordinators

By Gary Werner, Executive Director of the Partnership for the National Trails System

Greetings from the Partnership for the National Trails System! We now have the services of two new experienced and skilled women to help further and amplify the good work we are all doing to build and sustain our National Trails. Both of them want to know about the many creative projects and activities that your organizations are undertaking, so don’t hesitate to contact them.

Samantha Haas is going to carry on the creative work that Julia Glad Pooler has done for nearly a decade to help tell our various stories and share useful information within our National Trails System (NTS) community by taking over Pathways Across America magazine. Leigh Schmidt is going to help us all share our stories with the wider world throughout our NTS 50th Anniversary Year in 2018. She will be coordinating the work we do in this realm within the PNTS with the complementary efforts undertaken by The American Hiking Society, American Trails, the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, and our Federal agency partners.

Samantha Haas, PNTS Communications Coordinator

Samantha Haas

Samantha Haas joined PNTS as its part-time Communications Coordinator in July 2017. She will connect with the partner organizations and agencies within the national trails community to compile articles and photos for the quarterly Pathways magazine and the monthly e-Newsletter.

She studied English and art at St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wisconsin, and spent the last decade in the journalism field as a community reporter and photographer. She’s thrilled to transition into the nonprofit realm with PNTS to learn more about the trail partners and their dedicated volunteers. Samantha lives near the Ice Age National Scenic Trail in Madison. She enjoys spending time outside and hitting trails throughout the state to hike, bike, birdwatch and take photos. If you have any story ideas, she’d love to hear them. And if your organization’s leadership changes, let her know so she can update the contact and mailing lists, too.

Contact Samantha: (No longer use

Leigh Schmidt, Trails 50 Communications Coordinator

Leigh Schmidt

Leigh Schmidt joined PNTS in 2017 as the Trails 50 Communications Coordinator. She will be bringing together trail partners from across the country to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the National Trails System Act of 1968.

Leigh studied English and journalism at James Madison University in the Shenandoah Valley, where she first discovered a love of the outdoors. She has worked with a variety of nonprofit organizations, with roles including event coordination, education, marketing, and community outreach. She is excited to bring that experience to the National Trails System. In her free time she can be found volunteering, hiking, and planning her family’s next National Park trip.

Contact Leigh:

Farewell Note

By Julia Glad Pooler, former PNTS communications coordinator and Pathways Across America editor

Julia Glad Pooler

Dear Pathways Readers:

I want to express my heartfelt appreciation to all of you trails volunteers, staff, and enthusiasts for all that you have been doing to protect, build, promote, and bring to life the national scenic and historic trails. Over the last eight plus years of working with the Partnership for the National Trails System, I have been continually inspired by the enthusiasm, collaboration, and commitment that everyone I have worked with in this trails community has shown.

Because of your involvement, the next generations will be better able to celebrate their heritage and discover the beauty of the land. As a parent of three young daughters and as a Girl Scout leader, I treasure the opportunity to build on all of your success in making the trails outdoor classrooms and playgrounds. Thanks to all of you, pristine wilderness experiences will continue to be available, and the legacy of our nation’s history stays vibrant and relevant to today.

I want to thank Gary Werner, the executive director of the PNTS. His decades of steadfast dedication to trails and building community speak on their own of his vision. He somehow manages to be a gentle fighter, a philosopher-builder, and an unassuming champion. He loves and appreciates the people he works with and the places he endeavors to protect with a warm intensity, and he continually walks the talk of building understanding, cooperation, and respect.

Although I will miss working with so many of you to share your many contributions and trails innovations as editor of Pathways Across America, I look forward to continued involvement with trails through special projects when the opportunity arises. I wish Samantha Haas, the new editor of Pathways, as much fun in sharing your successes as I have had! It has been such an honor working with all of you in stewardship of the National Trails System.

Hope to see you on a trail!

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.