The Trans Bhutan Trail

Restoring an Ancient Pathway During the Pandemic

Join members of the Trans Bhutan Trail team and MyBhutan to learn more about this unique nation (located in South Asia near the Eastern Himalayas) from the perspective of the world’s newest long-distance trekking routes and how they restored an ancient pathway during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Event Details

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May 12, 2022

10:00 AM to 11:00 AM (Pacific Time) {more time zones}

11:00 AM to 12:00 PM (Mountain Time)
12:00 PM to 01:00 PM (Central Time)
01:00 PM to 02:00 PM (Eastern Time)


FREE for members
FREE for nonmembers

Learning Credit Cost: FREE


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Webinar Outline

In May 2019, his Majesty, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, the King of Bhutan made a Royal Command that the ancient trail, which once linked the tiny nation in the Eastern Himalaya from East to West, be restored. The path, which connected nine Dzong fortresses across 12 mountain passes was once a critical part of Bhutan’s defenses against invasion, an important pilgrimage, communications and trade route, and a symbol of national unity.

After over two-year’s work, surveying and restoration of the 403km trail is near completion. Join members of the Trans Bhutan Trail team and MyBhutan to learn more about this unique nation from the perspective of the world’s newest long-distance trekking routes.

Learning Objectives:

  • An introduction to Bhutan including Gross National Happiness, constitutionally protected environment and national commitment to being carbon-negative.
  • Case study on the symbolic importance of trail-building and its contribution to community economic development and eco-tourism.
  • An example of how Covid has impacted trails and tourism, how it is leading to a renaissance for trails during the current crisis.
  • A discussion about why Bhutan is a great outdoor travel destination with unique trail assets for Mountain biking and trekking.


This webinar qualifies as a Health, Safety, and Welfare (HSW) course (via LA CES).

Webinar Resources

  • Trans Bhutan Trail Website
  • Bhutan Canada Foundation
  • Trans Bhutan Trail Social Media



    Webinar Partners


    Matthew R DeSantis, Founder, MyBhutan
    Thimphu, Bhutan

    Matt is one of Bhutan’s longest residing non-natives with a personal relationship with Bhutan that dates back to his childhood. Along with His Royal Highness Jigyel Ugyen Wangchuck, Matt is the founder of MyBhutan; Bhutan’s boutique luxury travel designer and outfitter which allows for select guests to explore deeper into Bhutan. Matt is also the founder of Beyul Labs. Partnered with the Bhutan National Bank and endorsed by the Royal Government, Beyul Labs is leading a digital transformation for Bhutan’s service industries through a series of products that includes Bhutan’s first online payment gateway for foreign customers.

    Matt and his companies also fund and implement various nonprofit projects including a historic national preservation initiative co-led by Princess Kesang T. Choden Wangchuck and Matt to document, digitize and archive Bhutan’s tangible cultural art and religious history, a reforestation project that is estimated to plant over 80,000 tree saplings before EOY 2023, the introduction of baseball in Bhutan and the establishment of it as Bhutan’s 17th national sport, and the founding of The Explorers Club Bhutan Chapter —which Matt still chairs — aiming to cultivate local talent for science and exploration. Unrelated to his work, Matt also serves as the U.S. State Department Warden of Bhutan.

    As an avid explorer, Matt has surveyed some the least traveled regions of the Himalayas. His expeditions have reached beyond Bhutan as well. In 2019, Matt received the Citation of Merit from the Explorers Club for his expedition that covered 1,300 miles of the Gobi Desert with the Mongolian Academy of Sciences in a first to apply NASA imaging and mapping technologies. The expedition made major headlines for discovering 3 new dinosaur species, over 250 new fossil locations and scores of specimens.


    Tsering Dolkar, Marketing Manager, Trans Bhutan Trail
    Thimphu, Bhutan

    Tshering Dolkar is the Marketing Manager for the Trans Bhutan Trail based in Thimphu, Bhutan. She recently completed her MBA from the University of Canberra, Royal Institute of Management Campus, Thimphu, Bhutan. Over a period of ten years, Tshering has worked in both the public and the private sectors and is excited to begin her marketing career at TBT. Tshering focuses on developing our marketing strategy and campaign planning and execution. She enjoys creating content with her team and passionately promoting the historical and cultural importance of the Trail.


    Stephen Couchman, Program Director, Trans Bhutan Trail
    Thimphu, Bhutan

    Stephen Couchman is Program Director with the Trans Bhutan Trail. He and his wife Catherine Smart joined the team and moved from their home in Ontario, Canada, to Bhutan in September 2019. His previous work includes Program Director for Outward Bound Canada and several positions in public and private philanthropy. He was a founding Director and Chair of the Circle on Philanthropy and Aboriginal Peoples in Canada, an advisor to Ashoka Canada and Futurpreneur and is currently a member of the World Trails Network. Stephen is a long-time trail volunteer and adventurer. He holds a degree in International Development and a Masters in Environmental Studies.


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    • American Institute of Certified Planners Continuing Maintenance (AICP CM)
    • Landscape Architecture Continuing Education System (LA CES) (most HSW approved)
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    • CEU/PDH equivalency petition for other accepting organizations

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    5,721 views • posted 02/08/2022