Hosted by AmericanTrails.org
National Recreation Trail designation is an honor given to existing trails that have been nominated and meet the requirements for connecting people to local resources and improving their quality of life. The National Trails System Act of 1968 authorizes the NRT designations, which are now part of a continuing campaign to promote community partnerships and to foster innovative ways to encourage physical fitness.
For year-by-year details of the annual designations and links to featured trails, please visit the NRT Annual Designations Index.
There are two procedures for National Recreation Trail applications— if your trail is on land administered by and associated with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (National Forests, National Grasslands, and National Recreation Areas and associated lands) follow that process; if not, follow Department of Interior process. Details on designated trails are included in the online NRT database.
of the Interior
For trails on private, city, county, or state land, or on Federal land NOT overseen by the Department of Agriculture
Nominations for NRT designation for the Department of the Interior is done through the Online NRT Application Form. For examples of the kinds of trails that are eligible, see the trails designated as NRTs in the Annual Designations Index since 2001.
November 1: Deadline for submittal of current year's online NRT applications to DOI NRT Coordinator in Washington, DC.
December 15: DOI NRT Coordinator reviews each application for completeness and forwards to Regional NRT Contact or Federal agency NRT Manager.
February 15: Regional NRT Contact or Federal agency NRT Manager sends additions or amendments to application(s) and a letter of concurrence/endorsement to the DOI NRT Coordinator.
March 15: DOI NRT Coordinator completes the review and processing of applications. The applications are forwarded for approval by the Secretary of the Interior.
June: New NRT designations announced
U.S. Department of Agriculture
For trails on National Forests, National Grasslands, and National Recreation Areas and associated land
NRT applications (establishment report) with local support of District Rangers and Forest Supervisors are sent at any time to USDA Forest Service Regional NRT Coordinator (reference FSM 2353), (however applications should be submitted prior to February 15th to allow processing and designation prior to National Trails Day, annually).
USFS Regional NRT Coordinator forwards application to Regional Forester.
Designations approved by Regional Forester.
New NRT designations announced with copy of signed NRT Designation and Establishment Report sent to National NRT Coordinator in Washington DC.
June – New NRT designations announced
Search over 1,000 National Recreation Trails in the online database
See the state-by-state index of Featured National Recreation Trails
The National Recreation Trails program is jointly administered by the federal land management agencies (National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) in conjunction with nonprofit partners, notably American Trails, which hosts the National Recreation Trails website at www.americantrails.org/nationalrecreationtrails.