Engaging the Next Generation of Trail Leaders Today

The presentation will include case studies of an established corps program.

by Jeff Parker, Executive Director, Northwest Youth Corps, Gabe Perkins, Executive Director, Mohoosuc Pathways, Steve Buchtel, Executive Director


The Millennial Generation is hungry for work that makes a difference in their communities. Corps programs represent a way to engage these passionate future leaders in trail work and advocacy. This presentation will include analysis of the value of working with youth corps (financial, social, and educational) and techniques for partnering with corps programs in every part of the country. The presentation will include case studies of an established corps program (Northwest Youth Corps) and two emerging corps programs (Illinois Trail Corps and The Oxford County Conservation Corps in Maine).

View This Presentation Online

About the Authors

Jeff Parker is the Executive Director of Northwest Youth Corps, based in Eugene, Oregon. Started in 1984, NYC works throughout a 4 state area, serving over 1,000 diverse youth and young adults each year in outdoor conservation programs that combine education, community, leadership, empowerment, and challenge. NYC operates residential backcountry crews, community based corps programs, a fully accredited alternative high school, and a 2 acre organic farm. Each year, NYC crews and interns complete over 190,000 hours of conservation projects for public land management agencies, including trail construction and maintenance, invasive plant eradication, fuels reduction, and stream restoration. Jeff holds a BA in Political Science from the University of Washington and an MS in Environmental Science from the Evergreen State College. He is a Co-Chair of the Public Lands Service Coalition Steering Committee, a Member of the Corps Network Board of Directors, and served as a member of the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps Federal Advisory Committee. He began his career in conservation work in 1994. He is the proud father of two boys and loves to call the wild places in the Pacific Northwest home.

Gabriel Perkins is at least a fifth-generation resident of Bethel, ME. Since 2014, he has served as theExecutive Director of Mahoosuc Pathways, a trail building and conservation organization. Gabeholds a degree in Environmental Policy and Planning from the University of Maine atFarmington and is a member of the American Association of Geographers. He is a SeniorFellow in the Environmental Leadership Program and on the steering committee for the MaineOutdoor Coalition. Gabe has received a Special Recognition Award and the Bethel AreaNonprofit Leadership Award from the Bethel Area Chamber of Commerce for his work withMahoosuc Pathways projects, including the revival of a cross-country ski center called BethelVillage Trails. He lives in Bethel, with his wife Jessie, where they patiently renovate hisgrandparents home with a little assistance from their pets, Champ, and Indiana Jones.

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Steve Buchtel is the Executive Director of Trails for Illinois, a non-profit advocacy organization that’s turning homes into trailheads statewide. Prior to that, Steve was a community bicycle planner and the south suburban coordinator for Active Transportation Alliance for 17 years. Steve has written community and regional bicycle plans in Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa, and is a founder of the Cal-Sag Trail Coalition and Executive Director of Friends of the Calumet-Sag Trail. In 2010, American Trails named Steve the Illinois State Trail Worker.

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