Emerging Trail Leader Scholarship Recipient


Montana Napier

Oak Harbor, Washington, United States

I became a steward of public lands once I saw the direct impact my feet had on the landscape; during my thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail, I felt intimately acquainted with the environment and began to “see” nature for the first time since childhood. It inspired me to share my love and curiosity of the outdoors with others, and to help protect our public spaces. This November I attended the PNTS Scenic Trails workshop as a Trail Apprentice and discovered the complexity of our trails from “behind-the-scenes.” I learned that the Trail, which supported me through my thru-hike, is supported by an entire community of passionate and devoted, trail advocates. I want to find my place within that community and dig in.

Attending the American Trails 2017 International Trails Symposium is the next step in establishing myself in this field of work. I am interested in networking, learning, pushing myself beyond normal boundaries, and focusing on trails from a multidimensional perspective. Although my main focuses are interpretation, environmental education and outreach, I find it beneficial to engage with tangible aspects of trails and land, i.e. planning, policy, maintenance, to better understand the resource. My current career goals revolve around two questions: “How do we make public lands relevant and inclusive to everyone?” and “How do people connect with our environment in a way that inspires stewardship?”

This experience is a great opportunity to continue the discussion, and learn more on how I can help support our public lands.

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2019: Alivia Acosta

2019: Alyssa Wentz

2019: Bonnie Ricord

2019: Cody Arana

2019: Elyse Peters

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2019: Greg Grierson

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189 views • posted 12/13/2022