Pine, Colo. (May 14, 2009) – By inspiring young people through the vast network of the more than 40,000 miles of National Trails, the Continental Divide Trail Alliance, the Partnership for the National Trails System and the Interagency Council on Trails will elevate the voice of youth and create a new generation of conservation leaders and public lands stewards. The youth initiative scholarship program is designed to bring up to 40 young people ages 18-25 to the 12th Conference on National and Historic Trails being held July 12-15, 2009 in Missoula, Montana. This youth initiative program is being generously funded by federal land manager partners including the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service and Federal Highway Administration, The 12th Conference will launch the Decade for the National Trails, a plan to raise awareness and increase completion and protection of the National Trail System before its 50th anniversary in 2018. The conference will feature presentations, workshops, and field trips to bring numerous stakeholders together and expand the Trail community. A major focus will be the involvement of youth in our National Historic and Scenic Trails. The scholarship recipients and other young people in attendance will inform the discussion by describing their experience with Trails and inform ways to increase youth leadership roles. They will be invited to assist in the development and launch of a Youth National Trails Council to expand ways in which the trails reach out to young adults nationwide. The Conference will also offer a Youth Mentorship Program matching youth participants (ages 18-25) with more experienced members of the National Trails community. Youth initiative scholarship applications are available for download on CDTA’s website: www.cdtrail.org
The Continental Divide National Scenic Trail was established by Congress as a National Scenic Trail in 1978. When complete, the “King of Trails” will be the most significant trail system in the world. Stretching 3,100 miles along the backbone of America from Canada to Mexico, it accesses some of the most wild and scenic places left in the world while conserving the environment and promoting personal well being. Since 1995, the Continental Divide Trail Alliance has played a central role toward the completion, management and protection of the Trail and it is the voice for unity in the diverse story of the Trail. For more information about the Continental Divide Trail, call (303) 838-3760 or toll-free (888) 909-CDTA (2382). Or visit www.cdtrail.org.