October 1, 2020

Shared Stewardship & National Scenic Trails: Building on a Legacy of Partnership

National Scenic Trails, such as the Pacific Crest Trail pictured above, provide important opportunities for agencies to engage partners in trail stewardship and sponsorship. Public land management agencies increasingly rely on partnerships to achieve mission-critical goals and to engage in shared stewardship of public lands and natural resources. Today, the National Trails System engages hundreds of stewardship partners working at local, regional, and national scales. Federal agencies and trail organizations work together to plan and maintain the trails, develop outreach programs, and connect with the public.

New research by Lee Cerveny, Monika Derrien and IORT's assistant director Anna Miller examines this roll of shared stewardship in the system. They had conversations with key informants to learn more about the benefits and challenges of partnering, emerging and ongoing issues in NST stewardship, and visions of the ideal stewardship model.

"The importance of this unique relationship is paramount to the long-term success of this huge trail system," said Miller. "Trail organizations with a healthy volunteer base bring volunteer labor, technical expertise, and local knowledge to projects that enhance what federal agencies can provide on their own."