National Trails System: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Signs used along the historic and scenic trails to mark the modern roads and significant points.


The National Trails System was created by the National Trails System Act (Pub.L. 90-543, 82 Stat. 919, enacted October 2, 1968, codified at 16 U.S.C. § 1241 et seq.

The Act created a series of trails "to promote the preservation of, public access to, travel within, and enjoyment and appreciation of the open-air, outdoor areas and historic resources of the Nation." Specifically, the Act authorized three types of trails: the National Scenic Trails, National Recreation Trails and connecting-and-side trails. The 1968 Act also created two national scenic trails: the Appalachian and the Pacific Crest; and requested that an additional fourteen trail routes be studied for possible inclusion.

In 1978, as a result of the study of trails that were most significant for their historic associations, a fourth category of trail was added: the National Historic Trails. Since 1968, over forty trail routes have been studied for inclusion in the system. Of these studied trails, twenty-one have been established as part of the system. Today, the National Trails System consistes of eight national scenic trails, sixteen national historic trails, almost one-thousand national recreation trails and two connecting-and-side trails, with a total length of more than 50,000 miles (80,000 km). These trails are more than just for hiking, many are also open for horseback riding, mountain biking and camping.

As Congressionally-established long-distance trails, each one is administered by a federal agency, either the Bureau of Land Management, United States Forest Service, or National Park Service. Two of the trails are jointly administered by the BLM and the NPS. Occasionally, these agencies acquire lands to protect key sites, resources and viewsheds. More often than not, they work in partnership with the states, local units of government, land trusts and private landowners, to protect lands and structures along these trails, enabling them to be accessible to the public. National recreation trails and connecting-and-side trails do not require Congressional action, but are recognized by actions of the Secretary of the Interior or the Secretary of Agriculture. All of the National Trails and national recreational trails are combined under the Partnership for the National Trails System (PNTS).

The Act is codified as 16 U.S.C. § 12411251. However, it has been amended numerous times since its passage,[1] most recently on October 18, 2004 (Pub.L. 108-342).[2]

National Scenic Trails

National Scenic Trails are established to provide access to spectacular natural beauty and to allow the pursuit of healthy outdoor recreation. The National Scenic Trail system provides access to the crest of the Appalachian Mountains in the east, on the Appalachian Trail, to the Rocky Mountains of the west on the Continental Divide Trail. You can experience the subtle beauties of the southern wetlands and Gulf Coast on the Florida Trail or wander the North Woods from New York to Minnesota on the North Country Trail or experience the vast diversity of landscapes of the southwest on the Arizona National Scenic Trail. There are eleven trails designated in the United States.[3]

National Historic Trails

National Historic Trails are designated to protect the remains of significant overland routes to reflect the history of the nation. They represent the earliest travels across the continent on the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail; the nation's struggle for independence on the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail; epic migrations on the Mormon & Oregon Trails and the development of continental commerce on the Santa Fe Trail. They also commemorate the forced displacement and hardships of the Native Americans, on the Trail of Tears. There are 19 Historic Trails.[4]

National Connecting and Side Trails

The act also established a category of trails known as connecting and side trails. To date, only two national side trails have been designated, both in 1990: The Timms Hill Trail, which connects the Ice Age Trail to Wisconsin's highest point, Timms Hill, and the 86-mile Anvik Connector, which joins the Iditarod Trail to the village of Anvik, Alaska.[5]

  • Timms Hill Trail
  • Anvik Connector

National Geologic Trail

The first National Geologic Trail was established by the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009.

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ Notes on 16 U.S.C. § 1241-1251
  2. ^ The Act, from the National Park Service
  3. ^ National Trails System brochure, National Park Service & Bureau of Land Management, Dept. of Interior; and the Forest Service, Dept. of Agriculture
  4. ^ National Trails System, National Park Service & Bureau of Land Management, Dept. of Interior; and the Forest Service, Dept. of Agriculture
  5. ^ article on National Trails system

External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

The National Trails System, [1] is a system of over a thousand trails throughout the United States administered by the federal government. There are

National Scenic Trails

National Scenic Trails have been established in order to allow public access through areas of "spectacular natural beauty and to allow the pursuit of healthy outdoor recreation." There are eleven of these trails, the most popular is the Appalachian Trail running from Georgia to Maine and American hiking enthusiasts have labeled three of these—the Appalachian, Continental Divide, & Pacific Crest National Scenic Trails—the "Triple Crown" of hiking conquests.

  • Appalachian National Scenic Trail—2175 miles, a Canadian trail continues this another 690 miles into New Brunswick & Quebec and soon (under construction) Newfoundland.
  • Arizona National Scenic Trail—807 miles
  • Continental Divide National Scenic Trail—3100 miles
  • Florida National Scenic Trail—1300 miles
  • Ice Age National Scenic Trail—1000 miles
  • Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail—695 miles
  • New England National Scenic Trail—220 miles, existing trail wasn't recognized as a NST until March 2009
  • North Country National Scenic Trail—3200 miles
  • Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail—2638 miles
  • Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail—1200 miles, existing trail wasn't recognized as a NST until March 2009
  • Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail—700 miles

National Historic Trails

Following historic routes or simply passing through historic regions, these trails are more for historical interest and less hiking/camping demanding than NSTs.

  • Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail—175 miles
  • California National Historic Trail—5665 miles
  • Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail—3000 miles
  • El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail—2580 miles
  • El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro National Historic Trail—404 miles, US segment of the 1600-mile Mexico City-Santa Fe hiking trail following a colonial trade route.
  • Iditarod National Historic Trail—2350 miles
  • Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail—1200 miles
  • Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail—3700 miles
  • Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail—1300 miles
  • Nez Perce National Historic Trail—1170 miles
  • Old Spanish National Historic Trail—2700 miles
  • Oregon National Historic Trail—2170 miles
  • Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail—275 miles
  • Pony Express National Historic Trail—1966 miles
  • Santa Fe National Historic Trail—1203 miles
  • Selma To Montgomery National Historic Trail—54 miles
  • Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail—290 miles
  • Trail of Tears National Historic Trail—2200 miles
  • Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail—?

National Geologic Trail

The first National Geologic Trail was created by the 2009 stimulus package and will be developed over the next few years.

  • Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail
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