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CSU, Chico News

Student Awarded Coveted Trails Scholarship

Date: 12-11-2013

Sarah Langford
Public Affairs

California State University, Chico student Camilo Rios Sanchez presented original mapping research at the National Scenic and Historic Trails Conference in Tucson, Ariz., last month as part of a fully funded scholarship.

The conference is hosted by the Partnership for the National Trails System (PNTS), which comprises federal agencies and nonprofits responsible for stewardship of the 30 trails in the National Trails System. The PNTS’s Trail Apprentice scholarship is awarded to just 15 applicants each year and covers recipients’ travel and lodging expenses and registration costs related to the annual conference.

Sanchez, who is majoring in economics and minoring in geography, was the only apprentice from California at the conference, held Nov. 3-6.

On a panel at the conference, Sanchez shared his recent work mapping the Juan de Anza National Historic Trail, a 1,200-mile path winding from the Sonora region in Mexico to the San Francisco Bay Area. His work helps preserve the trail’s rich history: On the eve of the American Revolution, Lt. Colonel Juan Bautista de Anza led more than 240 men, women and children on an epic journey across New Spain to establish a Spanish outpost in Alta California. Known as Yerba Buena, the settlement would eventually become the town of San Francisco and include the Presidio and the Mission Delores.

As an employee of the CSU, Chico Research Foundation, Sanchez worked with the National Park Service (NPS) and GreenInfo Network, a public-purpose mapping firm, to map the historic trail using geographic information systems (GIS) technology. Working with public agencies in California and Arizona, he pieced together the trail’s location and loaded the data into an online, interactive map available to the public.

In addition to his work with the Anza Trail, Sanchez is also working on several mapping projects that support the local community’s access to trails and parks, serves as a mentor to first-year students and works at the CSU, Chico call center.

“Camilo is a terrific young man and a great ambassador for campus,” said recreation and parks management professor Emilyn Sheffield. “Very quickly he has become one of our go-to leaders. He’s smart, capable and personable; in short, an outstanding ambassador for CSU, Chico.”

The PNTS’s Trail Apprentice scholarship is open to people aged 18 to 25. Trail apprentices gain access to peer-to-peer networking, training from mentors and leadership opportunities at the conference. Conference organizers, in turn, gain valuable insights and perspectives from the young leaders.

“Camilo’s energy has been a real asset in sharing the story of the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail,” said Nathan Sargent, interpretive specialist for the NPS. “The National Park Service administers the 1,200-mile Anza Trail, which commemorates the first overland colonizing expedition to California and the Spanish settlement of the San Francisco Bay Area. It’s a complicated story, but one that Camilo has helped us share with a new generation.”

Sanchez’s work on the Anza Trail map may be viewed at www.anzahistorictrail.org/visit/explorer. To learn more about CSU, Chico’s Department of Recreation, Hospitality and Parks Management, visit www.csuchico.edu/recr/.