The Info List - National Trails System

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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 National 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 consists of 30 National Scenic and Historic Trails and over 1,000 National Recreation Trail
and two connecting-and-side trails, with a total length of more than 50,000 miles (80,000 km). These National 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
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 are supported by private non-profit organizations that work with the various federal agencies under the Partnership for the National Trails System (PNTS). The Act is codified as 16 U.S.C. §§ 1241–1251. However, it has been amended numerous times since its passage,[1] most recently on October 18, 2004 (Pub.L. 108–342).[2]


1 National Scenic Trails 2 National Historic Trails 3 National Connecting and Side Trails 4 National Geologic Trail 5 See also 6 Notes and references 7 External links

National Scenic Trails[edit] Main article: National Scenic Trail 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
Appalachian Mountains
in the east, on the Appalachian Trail, to the Rocky Mountains
Rocky Mountains
of the west on the Continental Divide Trail. These provide access to viewing the subtle beauties of the southern wetlands and Gulf Coast on the Florida Trail, wandering the North Woods from New York to North Dakota
North Dakota
on the North Country Trail, or experiencing the vast diversity of landscapes of the southwest on the Arizona National Scenic Trail. Of the eleven national scenic trails,[3] Appalachian, Natchez Trace, and Potomac Heritage are official units of the NPS.

Appalachian National Scenic Trail Arizona National Scenic Trail Continental Divide National Scenic Trail Florida National Scenic Trail Ice Age National Scenic Trail Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail

New England National Scenic Trail North Country National Scenic Trail Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail

National Historic Trails[edit] Main article: National Historic Trail National Historic Trails are designated to protect the remains of significant overland or water 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] Most of them are scenic routes instead of non-motorized trails.

Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail California National Historic Trail Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro
El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro
National Historic Trail Iditarod National Historic Trail Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail Nez Perce (Nee-Mo-Poo) National Historic Trail

Old Spanish National Historic Trail Oregon National Historic Trail Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail Pony Express
Pony Express
National Historic Trail Santa Fe National Historic Trail Selma To Montgomery National Historic Trail Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail Trail
of Tears National Historic Trail Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route
Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route
National Historic Trail

National Connecting and Side Trails[edit] 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
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
Timms Hill
Trail Anvik Connector

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

Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail

See also[edit]

Environment portal

Timeline of environmental events National Park Service U.S. Forest Service Bureau of Land Management Recreational Trail
Program Protected areas of the United States

Notes and references[edit]

^ Notes on 16 U.S.C. § 1241-1251 ^ The Act, from the National Park Service ^ National Trails System brochure, National Park Service
National Park Service
& Bureau of Land Management, Dept. of Interior; and the Forest Service, Dept. of Agriculture ^ National Trails System, National Park Service
National Park Service
& Bureau of Land Management, Dept. of Interior; and the Forest Service, Dept. of Agriculture ^ About.com article on National Trails system Archived 2015-04-05 at the Wayback Machine.

External links[edit]

About the Partnership for National Trails System PNTS Find a Trail Historic Trail
Facts National Trails System Text of the National Trails System Act

v t e

U.S. National Trails System

National Geologic Trail

Ice Age Floods Trail

National Historic Trails

Scenic motor routes

California Trail El Camino Real de los Tejas Trail El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro Juan Bautista de Anza Trail Mormon Trail Nez Perce Trail Old Spanish Trail Oregon Trail Pony Express
Pony Express
Trail Santa Fe Trail Selma to Montgomery Trail Trail
of Tears

Natural surface trails

Ala Kahakai Trail Iditarod Trail

Water trails

Captain John Smith Chesapeake Trail


Lewis and Clark Trail
(motor & land & water) Overmountain Victory Trail
(motor & land) Star-Spangled Banner Trail
(motor & water) Washington–Rochambeau Revolutionary Route
Washington–Rochambeau Revolutionary Route
(motor & water)

National Scenic Trails

Appalachian Trail Arizona Trail Continental Divide Trail New England Trail Florida Trail Ice Age Trail Natchez Trace Trail North Country Trail Pacific Crest Trail Pacific Northwest Trail Potomac Heritage Trail

National Water Trails

Alabama Scenic River Trail Bronx River
Bronx River
Blueway Chattahoochee River Water Trail Hudson River Greenway Water Trail Island Loop Route Kansas River
Kansas River
Trail Mississippi National River and Recreation Area
Mississippi National River and Recreation Area
Water Trail Mississippi River Water Trail
(MRWT) Great River Water Trail Missouri National Recreational River
Missouri National Recreational River
Water Trail Okefenokee Wilderness Canoe Trails Red Rock Water Trail Rock River Water Trail Waccamaw River
Waccamaw River
Blue Trail Willamette River
Willamette River
Water Trail

National Recreation Trails

National Park Service United States
United States
Forest Service Bureau of Land Management


Triple Crown of Hiking

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Federal Protected Areas in the United States

Park System

Parks Preserves Lakeshores and Seashores

Forests Grasslands Monuments Marine Sanctuaries Recreation Areas Landscape Conservation System Estuarine Research Reserves Trails Wild and Scenic Rivers Wilderness Preserves Wild