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PNT Blog

Trail Town Internship

Jul 09, 2016

Stanford University student Courtney Pal remembers a 7th grade backpacking trip on a section of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail; “I loved being outside, and close enough to nature to notice the natural rhythm of things. The places I saw and people I met got me hooked on backpacking.” Spending time on the trail became a passion of hers.

That passion led Pal to apply for an internship offered by Stanford University’s Bill Lane Center for the American West. The Colville National Forest, USFS Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail (PNNST) Program, and Tri County Economic Development District (TEDD) developed the internship collaboratively. This summer will focus on how local businesses in three northeast Washington towns that the PNT runs through - Metaline Falls, Northport and Republic - can make the most of hikers and trail users visiting their towns.

Pal’s experience, as a Stanford Outdoor Education instructor and Wilderness First Responder (WFR), along with studies in environmental sciences and their effect on the economy, make her a great fit for the summer internship. She knows first-hand what kind of services a hiker might be looking for when they come into a town, and is eager to help educate local businesses on ways they can take advantage of this customer base. “I want the communities to see themselves as in control of the future of this trail, and stewards of the experiences people can have on the trail.” remarks Pal.  She can be reached at


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