Trail Apprentice Program

A group of young adults smiling and holding a flag with the National Trails System logo on it

Since 2009, the Partnership for the National Trails System, with the support of its federal partners, has brought next generation attendees to its conferences and workshops. Hailing from across the country, these Trail Apprentices have brought valued perspectives to the trails community. A cornerstone of the program has been attending either the PNTS conference or workshops.

Meet the 2023 Trail Apprentices!

View their bios, career aspirations, why they care about trails, and more here

2023 Trail Apprentice Program

I am so thankful to have been a part of this workshop as an Apprentice. Truly, I have learned so much about this industry, the trails community, and about myself, my future, and my purpose. I cannot wait to share my story, newly influenced by the knowledge I've gained here, with the world.

PNTS is accepting applications for the 2023 Trail Apprentice Program through February 28, 2023. This year, a small group of diverse applicants aged 18-28 with strong leadership potential and an interest in exploring a career in National Trails will be awarded Trail Apprenticeships. 

Trail Apprentices will gain real-world experience by working with PNTS staff and volunteer leaders on topical committees to complete a project and participate in leadership development, career exploration, networking and educational opportunities amongst the National Trails community. They will also receive complimentary admission to attend the 2023 National Trails Workshop organized by PNTS in November 2023 as well as a stipend for travel and expenses.

This is a highly competitive program, and only a small group of applicants will be selected. Not every applicant is guaranteed a spot in the program.


  • Applicants must be between the ages of 18–28 with an interest in the National Trails System.
  • Applicants must be able to attend committee meetings during the program. Meetings may occur between once a month and once every few months depending on the committee schedule. Meetings are expected to last for approximately one hour each and will be held via video conference (Zoom or MS Teams). Apprentices will need to complete tasks between meetings, and small group meetings may occur between Committee meetings.
  • Applicants must be available to attend the program orientation on April 18. Applicants must also be able to attend 3 out of the 5 other planned virtual sessions. (see timeline below for more detailed session date and time information)
  • Applicants must be able to commit to developing, completing, and presenting a project with support from PNTS staff and PNTS committee members. 
  • Applicants must commit to attending in-person sessions at the 2023 National Trails Workshop to be held in Orlando, Florida from November 7th through November 9th, 2023. Travel to and from the event will likely include November 6th and November 10th.

Program Timeline

Committee meetings, project tasks, and check-ins with PNTS staff will be ongoing. *Please note that the schedule may be subject to change.

2023 Program Timeline

April 18th, 2023 6:00-8:00pm ET

2023 Trail Apprentice Orientation

The program will kick off with an introduction to the National Trails System and PNTS, an overview of the program and expectations, and time to meet and connect with your fellow Trail Apprentices

TBD: June 13th, 14th, or 15th 5:30-7:00pm ET

Career Exploration Session 1

A panel of professionals working in the nonprofit space will share about their current career, how they got to where they are and receive tips on how to find jobs or pursue similar careers. Panelists will include professionals who work in various trail related disciplines.

July 20th, 2023 3:00-4:00pm ET

Social Media Takeover

Apprentices will work together to develop content about themselves and the National Trails System.

September 19th, 20th, or 21st 5:30-7:00pm ET

Career Exploration Session 2

A panel of professionals that work for government agencies such as Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, Forest Service, and state government will be featured. These professionals will share how you can pursue similar careers.

November 7-9th
(Sessions will take place from 9am to 5pm ET during the 3 day event)

2023 National Trails Workshop
Orlando, Florida

The National Trails Workshop will offer trainings and skill-building opportunities covering an array of topics important to trails such as management and stewardship, land protection, engagement, policy and advocacy and more. Apprentices will be an active part of the workshop dialogue, engaging in sessions and networking amongst the National Scenic and Historic Trail (NSHT) professionals.

November 17th

Workshop Debrief


January 3, 2024

2023 Program Wrap Up



Application Deadline

February 28, 2023 at 11:59pm


Apprenticeships Awarded

Candidates will be notified by March 27, 2023



2023 Trail Apprentice Program Application    



Please reach out to with any questions about the program.


Additional Information & Resources


Special Thanks

We would like to extend a special thanks to our federal agency partners and for their support of the 2023 Trail Apprentice Program