Hulet Hornbeck Lifetime Service Award, Hulet Hornbeck Award

This award is for an individual that, like Hulet Hornbeck, exemplifies long-standing vision and wisdom in support of trails.


Tom Ross

The FIRST Hulet Hornbeck Awardee is Tom Ross.

Tom has served in various capacities since 1988 to offer leadership for the National Trails System in the National Park Service's Washington Office.

Since 1997, Tom had served as the NPS Assistant Director for Recreation and Conservation. In this capacity, he provided national leadership for the Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program (RTCA), Land and Water Conservation Fund state assistance (LWCF), Urban Park and Recreation Recovery (UPARR), National Trails System, Federal Lands-to-Parks, and the Wild & Scenic River programs. Previously Tom spearheaded the NPS Trails and Greenways Division. Under his patient leadership and guidance, the NPS National Trails System function prospered. In February 2006 he retired from the National Park Service to work as Executive Director for the Maryland Recreation and Parks Association, based in Wheaton, MD.

As a believer in grass-roots empowered community-based conservation, Tom saw early the potential of the National Trails System and helped craft a central role in it for the Park Service. He encouraged and helped sustain long-term partnerships with such groups as American Trails, the American Hiking Society, the Rails to Trails Conservancy, and the Partnership for the National Trails System. His guidance, common sense, broad-ranging vision, and charm have graced the National Trails System "community" for over 16 years.

Tom has been a true friend to American Trails over the years and also helped save the National Trails Symposium several times. Tom is missed already, but we look forward to working with him in his new capacity. Tom has been a pioneer and a visionary, and we can't think of anyone more fitting or deserving to receive the 1st "Hulet Hornbeck Award!"

Tom Ross has shouldered many responsibilities during his long career; photo by Stuart Macdonald

Tom Ross has shouldered many responsibilities during his long career; photo by Stuart Macdonald

About Hulet Hornbeck

Hulet was a key player in organizing the first National Trails Symposium in 1971, and was a founding board member of the National Trails Council, predecessor to American Trails. He actively served on the Board of Directors for American Trails for over 16 years.

The Emerging Leader Scholarship Program was named in honor of Hulet to inspire young adults to choose a career path so they, too, can leave a lasting legacy on the world – as Hulet did. Learn more about Hulet Hornbeck's life and accomplishments.

More winners of this award

2015: Steve Griswold

2015: Mel Huie

2013: Steve Elkinton

2013: Pat O’Brien

2010: Kurt Loheit

2010: Carroll Vogel

2008: Ronald G. Strickland

2008: Leff Moore

2006: Bill Blass

2004: Deb Schnack

773 views • posted 12/18/2017