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About Us

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) is the nation’s largest trails organization—with a grassroots community more than 1 million strong—dedicated to building a nation connected by trails, reimagining public spaces to create safe ways for everyone to walk, bike and be active outdoors. Founded in 1986, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy's national office is located in Washington, D.C., with regional offices in California, Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania. For more information, visit Connect with RTC @railstotrails on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Job Summary

RTC is a significant player in influencing federal and state transportation and recreation policies to support the development of trail and active transportation networks that promote mobility, health, economic vitality, livable communities, and environmental justice. Our strategy is to focus on making system-wide improvements to create safe, convenient walking and bicycling access to routine destinations so that people of all ages and abilities, regardless of their ZIP code, can get around by foot, bike or wheelchair. Interns working with the RTC Policy team will have the opportunity to learn from some of the most experienced policy professionals in Washington, D.C., and from around the country. This is an opportunity to engage in advocacy on the state and federal level for transformative policy on active transportation and trail infrastructure.

The internship will run from the first week of September to early December (10–12 weeks), up to 24 hours/week.

Job Location

This position is located in our Washington, D.C., National Headquarters and is eligible for a remote or hybrid work schedule in accordance with RTC’s policies. A hybrid schedule is preferred (working 1–2 days per week in the D.C. office). Proof of vaccination is required for all staff.

Job Duties

The Public Policy Intern will assist the Policy Team with creating making the case materials and engaging at the grassroots level to make our vision a reality. Duties will include the following:

  • Researching active transportation plans and projects in key congressional districts, states and regions to support RTC’s ongoing advocacy and TrailNation work
  • Pursuing and tracking support from local partners for the federal policy agenda
  • Supporting RTC staff and assisting with legislative advocacy around the policy agenda, and analyzing the impact of key funding programs to support trail development
  • Conducting background research on key members of Congress to determine their record and previous positions on active transportation and trails
  • Producing project content for the RTC website and handouts
  • Assisting with coordinating meetings with congressional staff
  • Researching active transportation plans and proposals in key states and congressional districts
  • Assisting with TrailNation projects by helping to capture level of investment from federal, state and local sources to help project need and completion timeframe
  • Conducting organization and outreach activities to mobilize partners and grassroots advocates in support of RTC’s state or regional legislative priorities
  • Additional communications and writing tasks, and potential cross-departmental work, as it arises, to assist with legislative advocacy work

Supervisory Responsibilities

This position does not have any supervisory responsibilities.

Basic Qualifications and Personal Attributes

RTC is seeking a graduate or undergraduate student (Junior or Senior preferred) working toward a degree in a relevant field such as urban planning, public policy, environmental studies, economics, social sciences or political science, with an emphasis on American politics, fiscal policy or transportation planning; or an individual with significant coursework or experience in any of these fields.

Candidates should be task oriented and highly organized and possess a strong interest in the topics of health, the environment, sustainable transportation, outdoor recreation, pedestrian issues, bicycling or trails.

Work Environment

Normal office setting with low to moderate noise level.

Employer's Rights

RTC reserves the right to revise, change or reclassify this job description at any time in accordance with RTC’s business needs. This job description is by no means an implied contract.

How to Apply

To apply, please email with the following:

  • The position you are applying for in the subject line

  • A résumé (as a separate attachment)

  • A cover letter that includes a brief statement about your personal background or experiences that demonstrate your potential to contribute to RTC’s commitment to create an inclusive and diverse workplace.​

Commitment to Diversity

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy seeks diverse, passionate and qualified individuals who want to make a difference in the world. RTC is an equal opportunity employer. We evaluate qualified applicants without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, veteran status, age, and other legally protected characteristics.

If you need a reasonable accommodation because of a disability for any part of the employment process, please e-mail and provide the nature of your request and your contact information.