Apply to Be a 2021 NextGen Trail Leader

American Hiking Society (AHS) invites applications for its fourth class of NextGen Trail Leaders. With the goal to welcome all into the hiking community and advance public lands advocacy, we’re seeking five individuals, aged 18-40, from across the country who are interested in gaining advocacy experience and be a voice of young hikers for advocacy and stewardship. 2021 will be an important year in outdoor advocacy, and AHS is looking to support new voices to lead the way! 


Thank you for your interest. The application period for the 2021 NextGen Trail Leader program is now closed.


NextGen Trail Leaders will:

  • Partner with American Hiking Society as a voice for public lands across social media and AHS communications;
  • Receive advocacy and communications training to be effective advocates and leaders;
  • Participate in Hike the Hill® (virtual event), the annual advocacy week for trail users, and meet virtually with members of Congress and agency leaders on public lands and trail issues;
  • Join annual National Trails Day® events (virtually or in-person) in June as a host or participant;
  • Be provided opportunities to attend events and build connections with other professionals in the outdoor industry;
  • Participate in other AHS programs and activities;
  • Be invited to serve on an AHS Board Committee that aligns with their interests.

AHS Support for NextGen Trail Leaders includes:

  • Complimentary registration for Virtual Hike the Hill®  2021 
  • $1,000 professional development stipend to support career advancement (Stipend may be used for conference registration fees, training courses, conservation work, etc.)
  • Advocacy and communications training and support;
  • Introductions/Connections to past NextGen Trail leaders
  • Networking opportunities with leaders and other professionals in the outdoors community; 
  • Swag and gear from AHS and (when available) corporate sponsors; and
  • 1-year membership to AHS (includes a 1-year subscription to BACKPACKER magazine)

Applicants should be:

  • Between the ages of 18 and 40;
  • Passionate about outdoor advocacy and stewardship; and justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion in the outdoors;
  • Excellent, dynamic communicators with an interest in sharing their voice on social media;
  • Available to attend portions of Virtual Hike the Hill®  March 8-26, 2021 (we’ll work with your schedule);
  • Available to attend or host a National Trails Day® event on June 5, 2021;
  • Available to engage quarterly on social media and AHS communications on efforts to advance public lands and support and expand a diverse hiking community.