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Federal Programs and Legislation

Clinton bids farewell with proclamation on trails

President Clinton issued an Executive Order on Trails for America in the 21st Century.

On January 19, his next-to-last day in office, President Clinton issued an Executive Order on Trails for America in the 21st Century. It encourages federal agencies to cooperate with communities and groups to "protect, connect, promote, and assist trails of all types throughout the United States." It mentions a variety of programs such as "promoting and registering National Recreation Trails,"and "fostering volunteer programs and opportunities." The proclamation also recognizes the Federal Interagency Council on Trails.

Previously, on January 17, Mr. Clinton had honored three members of the Lewis and Clark expedition for their "courage and contributions to our nation's history." A new national monument along the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail was also announced. The Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument in central Montana spans 149 miles of the Upper Missouri River, the only major portion of the river preserved in its natural, free-flowing state. It is also the premier segment of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail.


By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and in furtherance of purposes of the National Trails System Act of 1968, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1241-1251), the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (Public Law 105-178), and other pertinent statutes, and to achieve the common goal of better establishing and operating America's national system of trails, it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1. Federal Agency Duties. Federal agencies will, to the extent permitted by law and where practicable -- and in cooperation with Tribes, States, local governments, and interested citizen groups -- protect, connect, promote, and assist trails of all types throughout the United States. This will be accomplished by:

(a) Providing trail opportunities of all types, with minimum adverse impacts and maximum benefits for natural, cultural, and community resources;

(b) Protecting the trail corridors associated with national scenic trails and the high priority potential sites and segments of national historic trails to the degrees necessary to ensure that the values for which each trail was established remain intact;

(c) Coordinating maps and data for the components of the national trails system and Millennium Trails network to ensure that these trails are connected into a national system and that they benefit from appropriate national programs;

(d) Promoting and registering National Recreation Trails, as authorized in the National Trails System Act, by incorporating where possible the commitments and partners active with Millennium Trails;

(e) Participating in a National Trails Day the first Saturday of June each year, coordinating Federal events with the National Trails Day's sponsoring organization, the American Hiking Society;

(f) Familiarizing Federal agencies that are active in tourism and travel with the components of a national system of trails and the Millennium Trails network and including information about them in Federal promotional and outreach programs;

(g) Fostering volunteer programs and opportunities to engage volunteers in all aspects of trail planning, development, maintenance, management, and education as outlined in 16 U.S.C. 1250;

(h) Encouraging participation of qualified youth conservation or service corps, as outlined in 41 U.S.C. 12572 and 42 U.S.C. 12656, to perform construction and maintenance of trails and trail-related projects, as encouraged in sections 1108(g) and 1112(e) of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century, and also in trail planning protection, operations, and education;

(i) Promoting trails for safe transportation and recreation within communities;

(j) Providing and promoting a wide variety of trail opportunities and experiences for people of all ages and abilities;

(k) Providing historical interpretation of trails and trail sites and enhancing cultural and heritage tourism through special events, artworks, and programs; and

(l) Providing training and information services to provide high-quality information and training opportunities to Federal employees, Tribal, State, and local government agencies, and the other trail partners.

Sec. 2. The Federal Interagency Council on Trails. The Federal Interagency Council on Trails (Council), first established by agreement between the Secretaries of Agriculture and the Interior in 1969, is hereby recognized as a long-standing interagency working group. Its core members represent the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Land of Management and National Park Service, the Department of Agriculture's

Forest Service, and the Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration. Other Federal agencies, such as those representing cultural and heritage interests, are welcome to join this council. Leadership of the Council may rotate among its members as decided among themselves at the start of each fiscal year. The Council's mission is to coordinate information and program decisions, as well as policy recommendations, among all appropriate Federal agencies (in consultation with appropriate nonprofit organizations) to foster the development of America's trails through the following means:

(a) Enhancing federally designated trails of all types (e.g., scenic, historic, recreation, and Millennium) and working to integrate these trails into a fully connected national system;

(b) Coordinating mapping, signs and markers, historical and cultural interpretations, public information, training, and developing plans and recommendations for a national trails registry and database;

(c) Ensuring that trail issues are integrated in Federal agency programs and that technology transfer and education programs are coordinated at the national level; and

(d) Developing a memorandum of understanding among the agencies to encourage long-term interagency coordination and cooperation to further the spirit and intent of the National Trails System Act and related programs.

Sec. 3. Issue Resolution and Handbook for Federal Administrators of the National Trails System. Federal agencies shall together develop a process for resolving interagency issues concerning trails. In addition, reflecting the authorities of the National Trails System Act, participating agencies shall coordinate preparation of (and updates for) an operating handbook for Federal administrators of the National Trails System and others involved in creating a national system of trails. The handbook shall reflect each agencies' governing policies and provide guidance to each agencies' field staff and partners about the roles and responsibilities needed to make each trail in the national system fully operational.

Sec. 4. Observance of Existing Laws. Nothing in this Executive Order shall be construed to override existing laws, including those that protect the lands, waters, wildlife habitats, wilderness areas, and cultural values of this Nation.

Sec. 5. Judicial Review. This order is intended only to improve the internal management of the executive branch. It does not create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable in law or equity by any party against the United States, its agencies, its officers or employees, or any other person.

January 18, 2001.

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