Apply to Be a 2022 NextGen Trail Leader

American Hiking Society (AHS) invites applications for its fifth 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. 2022 will be an important year in outdoor advocacy, and AHS is looking to support new voices to lead the way!


Deadline to apply is December 13, 2021.

Apply Below


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;
  • Join quarterly community calls to meet with fellow NextGen participants and members of the AHS community;
  • 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 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:

  • $2,500 professional development stipend to support career advancement goals (Stipend may be used for conference registration fees, training courses, trips, conservation work, etc.);
  • Complimentary Volunteer Vacation week long trail stewardship trip participation, including travel, lodging, and meals (up to $860 value);
  • $500 Gear Scholarship for outdoor recreation needs
  • Complimentary registration for Virtual Hike the Hill® 2022;
  • Advocacy and communications training and support;
  • Introductions/Connections to  NextGen Trail leader alumni;
  • Swag and gear from AHS and (when available) corporate sponsors

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 a virtual Hike the Hill®  January 24-28 and February 14-18, 2021 (we’ll work with your schedule);
  • Available to attend or host a National Trails Day® event on June 4, 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.

Apply Now

Please rank your interest level in each of the program components below: (10 being highest interest)


At American Hiking Society (AHS), we envision a world where everyone feels a sense of belonging in the hiking community and has lasting access to meaningful hiking experiences, be that in urban, frontcountry, or backcountry settings. To ensure we are truly moving toward our vision where everyone feels a sense of belonging in the hiking community, it is our responsibility to understand and address historic and current barriers, disadvantages, and mistreatment experienced by people as they hike or consider hiking. It is our responsibility to serve as a catalyst for positive change in service of a more just, equitable, diverse, and inclusive (JEDI) hiking community. 

It's imperative that our NextGen Trail Leaders share and encourage this sentiment and are supportive of our full commitment to hikers.  By submitting this application you are confirming you have read AHS's commitment to hikers and will share in these efforts for positive change in service of a more just, equitable, diverse, and inclusive hiking community.