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The route was developed through a partnership between Adventure Cycling Association and the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Minority Health to celebrate "Biking Through Black History."

arrow Download the complete National Trails System Annual Report for FY 2009 (pdf 660 kb)


Actions and accomplishments of National Scenic and Historic Trail partners

Federal Interagency Council on Trails, ""

Fiscal year 2009 started with the 40th anniversary of the National Trails System on October 2, 2008. While a few of us took time out to commemorate this landmark date, dozens of Federal staff, thousands of volunteers, and uncounted members of the traveling public helped build and enjoy the various components of the National Trails System.

The wide variety of innovative actions that are documented for FY 2009 reflects the diversity of the National Trails System and the cooperative spirit of the interagency MOU.

photo of people in shrubs

Surveying vegetation along the Appalachian Trail

Appalachian NST

• Three major electricity transmission projects are the single greatest threat to the preservation of the primitive outdoor recreation experience on the Trail. It is imperative to identify critical “treasured landscapes” where such crossings should not even be proposed. In addition, major pipeline projects have already been constructed and are being constantly monitored by local trail clubs. The cumulative impacts of these projects, plus new wind energy generators, could potentially be devastating to the overall desired “A.T. experience.”

• $789,000 in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding is being applied to significant trail rehabilitation projects to be started early in 2010. In addition, an additional $7.5 million is being sought to address rock fall hazards at the Palmerton Superfund Site in Pennsylvania.

• The successful education and outreach program called A Trail to Every Classroom (TTEC) is finishing up its fourth year. Begun as a pilot in 2006 and brought to scale in 2007, the program expanded from three to four teams of teachers in 2008 and 2009. Club volunteers and staffers of NPS, the USDA Forest Service, state agencies, and others have served as presenters and resources for teachers. By the end of 2009, 175 teachers and community partners were trained, engaging some 7,000 students.

• A business plan for the Appalachian Trail MEGA-Transect has been completed by Dr. Roger Moore of North Carolina State University to generate additional funding for this program of 15 projects. Most notable are the new NASA Decision Support system that will integrate satellite imagery with on-the-ground field measurements and a USGS-led project to assess the recovery rates of soils impacted by acid deposition at high elevations.

• The Trail’s Resource Management Plan was recently completed and is now available at

• An Appalachian Trail Visitor Count Study has been completed by the Forest Service’s Southern Research Station and expert mathematical statisticians and social scientists who identified a process for determining a defendable annual visitation number. Researchers spent a year developing a pilot process and implementing a survey on a “testable” section of the Trail. The selected method includes a stratified random survey design using two survey instruments: exit site tallies and a survey questionnaire to obtain visitation estimates. It identifies three components (non-proxy, proxy, and special days) which can be used to subdivide the sampling frame into estimator types that lead to more efficient sampling and estimation processes. The full report is available at

• Using funding from the Connect-Trails-to-Parks Program, NPS and FWS together hired a designer for a bridge over the Wallkill River in northern New Jersey to eliminate the longest remaining roadwalk along the entire Trail.

photo of African Americans at waterfall

Participants from Dayton, Ohio, learn backpacking skills along the
North Country National Scenic Trail
( Photo courtesy Five Rivers Metroparks, Dayton, OH

California National Historic Trail

• NPS continues a partnership with the Organization for American Historians to conduct a study of the experience of African Americans on the emigrant trails.

• As required in P.L. 111-11, Section 5302, NPS staff started the feasibility study for additional routes associated with the Trail.

• Trail staff initiated a series of tribal listening sessions along the entire length of the Trail.

• Staff also began a multi-agency and partner project to develop a series of 10 wayside interpretive exhibits along the Hastings Cutoff trail in Utah’s West Desert and a new design for Trail highway signs that will first be installed on the Hastings Cutoff in Utah, through central Nebraska, and in southeastern Idaho.

Captain John Smith Chesapeake NHT

• The Trail’s Advisory Council was established and more than 75 partner organizations were identified. One special project is an interactive touch-screen kiosk listing trail resources at four Virginia state parks. Another is development and publication on waterproof paper of the Trail route within the Rappahannock National Wildlife Refuge.

Continental Divide NST

• The USDA Forest Service revised the Trail’s Comprehensive Management Plan through a Federal Register notice, based on extensive public review and comment.

El Camino Real de los Tejas NHT

• NPS joined the Texas Historical Commission to a develop 10-property multiple property nomination for the National Register of Historic Places.

El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro NHT

• Coordinated by a Santa Fe-based contractor, NPS joined BLM and the New Mexico State Historic Preservation Office to develop amultiple property nomination form (with historic context statement) for National Register of Historic Places nominations for 19 significant resources. This involved a survey and inventory of 1,280 acres this past year and the development of site documentation files for 10 segments of the Trail.

• NPS has developed trail sign standards. The first “original route” components using these standards were implemented along 8.5 miles in Bernalillo County, NM.

• The BLM office in New Mexico participated in the GeoCorps Internship program, a joint venture between federal agencies and the Geological Society of New Mexico. This enabled New Mexico to field test a viewshed data collection and viewshed model development program on 74 miles of the Trail, including high sensitivity sections on the Jornada del Muerto in southern New Mexico.

photo of group at podium

Congressman John Olver (D-MA) helps celebrate the establishment
of the New England National Scenic Trail on July 13, 2009

Florida NST

• The USDA Forest Service and the University of Florida continue a partnership conducting trailwide user studies. For FY 2009, reports were prepared for each public land managing agency reflecting a total of 350,000 users during the year.

• The Florida Trail Association (FTA), in partnership with the USDA Forest Service and the Northwest Florida Water Management District, constructed a second 80-foot free-span hanging bridge over Econfina Creek. The design reduced environmental impacts during construction and was largely built by volunteers. Some of the funding came through FHWA’s Recreational Trails Program, administered through the Florida Office of Trails and Greenways. Volunteers were provided by the Student Conservation Association.

• A $300,000 state-of-the-art 24-bed Interagency Volunteer Center was established near the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, cost-shared 50-50 by the Forest Service and the FWS. This center houses FTA’s Alternative Spring Break, Student Conservation Association, and Volunteer Vacation young adult crews. It also serves as firefighter housing in case of fire emergencies.

• A boundary marking project, funded by USDA Forests in Florida, for 2,000 acres in three counties has enabled enhanced resource protection and management in partnership with Florida State Parks, the Suwannee River Water Management District, and the Florida Division of Forestry.

Ice Age NST

• Four alternatives for the General Management Plan of the Cross Plains interpretive site were developed and reviewed by the public.

• County trail corridor plans continue in Marathon, Chippewa, Sauk, and Rock Counties, plus trailway protection strategies plans in Kewaunee, Sheboygan, and Manitowoc Counties.

• New training opportunities included an exotic plant management class at the Ice Age interpretive site, a workshop held jointly with the North Country Trail Association for identifying cultural resources, and an interpretation workshop to develop a graphically consistent message for the Trail. All were well received and evaluated.

Iditarod NHT

• With pass-through funding from BLM and other Federal sources, 678 miles of new public easements were established across State of Alaska lands. The lack of easements previously had prevented development of permanent trail-related public facilities along the Trail.

• BLM, the Iditarod Historic Trail Alliance, and two Native villages on the Trail partnered to build the first two public shelter cabins in 15 years.

• BLM, the Iditarod Historic Alliance, and other partners continued Trail Centennial events with the signing of a Governor’s Proclamation establishing Iditarod Gold Discovery, a historic reenactment at the start of the Iditarod Sled Dog Race, interpretive presentations on the historic trail by Iditarod Race finishers to 500 Anchorage school students during BLM Outdoor Week, and a large display at the Alaska State Fair.

• BLM solicited and participated in an interview about the Iditarod Trail Centennial with Public Radio International’s program “The World”, which is heard on 200 stations nationwide.

• BLM and the Iditarod Historic Trail Alliance provided technical and financial support to an independent film-maker who received a National Endowment for the Arts grant for a 1-hour production on the Nome Serum Run.

Juan Bautista de Anza NHT

• A new Outdoor Recreation Planner position will focus on trail protection and take a proactive approach to developing and certifying recreational trail segments.

• The new Anza Trail Foundation is now formally established as a 501(c)(3) organization.

• The Teacher-Ranger-Teacher program continues with two rangers at San Juan Bautista, CA, partnering with the San Benito County YMCA summer youth programs. The rangers conducted five on- and off-site visits with local youth and an Anza Trail Reading Literacy session at the San Benito County School District teacher workshop. One ranger was also located at Santa Monica Mountains NRA near Los Angeles.

Lewis and Clark NHT

• NPS revised the Trail’s Challenge Cost Share program to make it more competitive and accountable, with announcements now available on NPS moved away from third-party grants processed through one non-profit partner to a model where partners report directly on project concerns and successes, fostering closer relationships with multiple partner organizations.

• Trail staff developed critical data sets for resource inventories, mapping, and condition assessments by developing critical base layers. Approximately 98% of the identified data sets (6.5 terabytes, or 6,500 gigabytes of spatial and attribute data) have now been acquired. Data sets include a variety of eco-region data layers as a first step to begin developing management zones for the Trail. Phase I of the Inventory and Assessment Project was contracted to the University of Wyoming through the Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Units (CESU) network. All field work was completed and the data was recently transferred to trail staff.

• Trail staff developed archeological project maps for sites associated with Lewis & Clark and the Omaha tribe. The project identified existing archeological sites in relation to proposed NPS archeological project sites.

• Alert networks identifying potential threats along the Trail were expanded, including ER2000, a news clipping service, the USACE mailing list for notices, internet searches and alerts, the USDA Forest Service SOPAs and mailing lists, and interagency and partner contacts. NPS expanded links among regions to increase their awareness of the Trail and areas of potential concern. Comment letters submitted by Trail staff have encouraged other parks in those regions to review and comment on Environmental Reviews that they had not done previously. Trail staff now receive USACE e-mail notifications of all public permit notices in certain regions. They have compiled contact information for appropriate FWS officials in State Ecological Services offices within the FWS regions along the Trail.

• New outreach to state and tribal agencies includes contacting State Historic Preservation Officers (SHPOs) in the 11 Trail states, alerting them to the Trail’s new Resources Stewardship function and solicited information about Trail-related cultural resources. Also, trail staff met face to face with four of these SHPOs and held face-to-face meetings with six tribal council members and 16 resource officers representing 14 tribes.

• The Trail’s GIS specialist has actively sought to create new partnerships with resource staff at the USDA Forest Service in Montana, BLM in Montana, Omaha District of the Army Corps of Engineers, the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, The Nature Conservancy, the University of Missouri Geographic Resources Center, and worked to develop strong partnerships within NPS at the Midwest Archeological Center, NPS National Soils Program, and the Midwest Region GIS Technical Support Center.

Nez Perce (Nee-Me-Poo) NHT

• The western end of the Trail is now protected as Iwetemlaykin (“At the Edge of the Water”) State Park, dedicated by the Governor of Oregon at the north end of Wallowa Lake. Forest Service staff advocated for Oregon’s purchase of the property and set up a challenge cost-share agreement with the Nez Perce Tribe and Oregon State Parks for an interpretive panel about the Trail.

• A summer institute for teachers at Yellowstone National Park brought 16 junior high school history teachers from California to study the Park and the story of the Nez Perce crossing it in 1877. Institute partners included the Nez Perce Trail Foundation, the Yellowstone Association, the University of San Diego, and park staff.

• Trail staff and partners provided critical support to ensure the success of the 12th Conference on National Scenic and Historic Trails in Missoula, MT. Thanks to this involvement, Nez Perce and Salish-Kootenai tribal speakers, performers, and cooks impressed everyone involved. An additional benefit for the conference was a day-long Tread Lightly! Workshop offered by trail staff for the youth scholarship recipients.

• Trail staff also helped sponsor an annual Preparation for Academic Excellence (PACE) math and science camp for middle-schoolers.

North Country NST

• Five Rivers MetroParks in Dayton ,Ohio, partnered with NPS to provide backpacking workshops in 2008 and 2009, culminating with weeklong adventures along the Trail at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Funds were provided by NPS’s Connect-Trails-to-Parks program.

• Challenge Cost Share funds with the North Country Trail Association funded seven “Volunteer Adventures” projects, similar to AHS’ “Volunteer Vacations,” at sites from New York to North Dakota. Volunteers built a 400 foot-long bridge in Michigan, constructed stone steps and new trail in Pennsylvania, and maintained or re-constructed trail segments in New York, Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, and North Dakota.

Old Spanish NHT

• BLM developed a six-state program of trail resource identification, condition assessment, and documentation that will be carried out by a contractor in FY10. This is part of a multimillion dollar ARRA project to establish innovative protocols for describing NHT resources, associated landscapes, and associated visual resources. Field experiments with data collection in support of this larger initiative were carried out under a GeoCorps Internship program sponsored by BLM and the Geological Society of America.

• NPS hosted a Tribal Listening Session in Las Vegas, Nevada. It was attended by representatives from 10 tribes: Jicarilla Apache, Kaibab Paiute, Colorado River Tribal Council, Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah, Northern Ute, Las Vegas Paiute, Ute Mountain Ute, Agua Caliente Band of Indians, San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, Chemehuevi Tribal Council, and the Navajo Nation.

Oregon National Historic Trail

• A new series of route signs is being developed to distinguish between the actual tour route and the local tour route.

Overmountain Victory NHT

• A $50,000 “Active Trails” grant from the National Park Foundation supports 2009 and 2010 programming to attract more visitors to Trail segments and increase resource protection. NPS is partnering with the Overmountain Victory Trail Association to coordinate increased programming during the annual march in the fall and hire a graduate student to promote the Trail through storytelling. So far, more than 12,000 public contacts have been made at sites and pathway sections along the Trail, including almost 9,000 students of all ages.

• Trail staff are conducting a feasibility study to determine the location of a permanent headquarters and visitor center. Four public meetings were attended by more than 600 people.

Pacific Crest NST

• Trail staff continue planning and discussions with the Tejon Ranch in southern California to relocate 37 miles of the Trail from the desert floor to the Sierra Mountain crests.

• The “Trail Skills College,” funded by Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI), at Cascade Locks, OR, trained more than 100 volunteers.

Pony Express National Historic Trail

• The NPS trails office in Santa Fe participated in several Sesquicentennial planning meetings throughout the year with the National Pony Express Association for technical guidance and development of a number of media projects for these events. The Trail as a mail run existed from 1860 to 1861.

• The interpretive guide booklets for Nevada and Utah are nearing completion.

Potomac Heritage NST

• Trail staff, with assistance from a national park area non-profit partner, launched a travel promotion network to develop continuity of experience throughout the Trail network by promoting travel itineraries. See

• Virginia recently conducted a comprehensive “gap analysis” report on its long-distance trails, including this trail. See

• Trail staff are initiating a “foundation document” for planning, management, interpretation and coordination in partnership with a CESU (Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit) partner to analyze and expand GIS resources and capacity.

Santa Fe NHT

• NPS produced a 22 x 28 Trail poster featuring the four national parks (Fort Larned NHS, Bent’s Old Fort NHS, Fort Union NM, and Pecos NHP) along the Trail.

• The “Santa Fe Trail Rediscovery Project” was completed as a GIS-based database linked both to an internal staff website and a public website (still to be released). This work included: 1) compiling and generating an 800- page report detailing visited sites, 2) collaboration with the University of Utah DIGIT Lab to continue the production and development of a website repository of Trail data, 3) development of parallel data repositories for the other 8 NHTs administered by this NPS region, and 4) production and development of an interactive map to display Trail point data.

• NPS provided technical assistance to the Village of Cimarron, NM, for Trail projects, including construction cost estimates, interpretive exhibit cost estimates, working with fabricators, and developing sign fabrication cost estimates.

• NPS has been exploring with the Boy Scouts of America to establish a partnership fostering mutually beneficial Trail projects.

• A two-day meeting was organized in Dodge City, KS, for representatives from six SHPOs, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, and the Santa Fe Trail Association to talk about common issues and goals for the amendment to the existing Santa Fe Trail Multiple Documentation Form and subsequent National Register nominations to be prepared under it.

• NPS hosted a Tribal Listening Session in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, which was attended by representatives from eight tribes: Otoe-Missouri, Pawnee, Osage, Fort Sill Apache, Comanche, Kaw, Mescalero Apache, and Southern Cheyenne.

Selma to Montgomery NHT

• The Tuskegee Multicultural Center has developed a partnership with the Trail for developing a new Voting Rights March Interpretive Exhibit at nearby Tuskegee Institute.

• Two additional Travel Information Station antennae will be placed along the Trail for a wider broadcast range.

• The Annual Bloody Sunday Jubilee event in March featured “foot soldiers” who lived just after the 1965 March at Tent City (where the Trail’s major visitor center is now located).

Star-Spangled Banner NHT

• Trail staff started a trailwide interpretive plan and developed the Trail’s website. This interactive website will complement and , providing users with information to plan visits to 1812 sites in Maryland.

• The NPS Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network (which administers the Trail) was awarded funds by Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine and Maryland’s Bladensburg Waterfront Park to develop school curricula and interpretive programming for those sites.

• A grant from the Chesapeake Bay Gateways and Watertrails Network -- and building on work completed for the Captain John Smith Chesapeake NHT -- will help complete a Water Trails Plan next June. This plan, which will be incorporated into the Trail’s CMP, will identify priority actions and investments for developing new and enhanced water trails.

• NPS is providing funding to the Baltimore National Heritage Area for the development of a travelling exhibit on the War of 1812 in the Chesapeake that will travel to schools, libraries, sites and parks throughout Maryland and the country to promote Maryland’s War of 1812 stories and places to visit.

• The Friends of Chesapeake Gateways is developing a geo-caching trail connecting more than 30 sites with a War of 1812 connection and providing a coin for the first 400 geo-cachers to visit at least 20 sites, to inspire visitors of all ages to visit the places in Maryland that tell a piece of the Star-Spangled Banner story.

• NPS is working closely with Maryland Office of Tourism Development to develop signage, wayside exhibits, public art, and other media that will help bring the Trail to life. These projects are funded through a $1.8 million grant from the Federal Highway Administration for the development of the Star-Spangled Banner Byway.

• NPS is participating in locally-initiated discussions among sites, municipalities and organizations in Baltimore City, the Upper Bay, Southern Maryland, North Point peninsula, and National-Capital region to identify and prioritize projects and programs with sufficient local capacity and interest to be developed and incorporated into the Trail in anticipation of the Bicentennial.

Trail of Tears NHT

• NPS assisted in the site development at the Crabb-Abbot Farm in Pope County, IL, working with the landowner and the USDA Forest Service to facilitate their help in implementing the plan and providing a trail crew to clear trail damaged by an ice storm. They also provided development and construction for visitor retracement opportunities on the farm and contiguous Shawnee National Forest lands.

• NPS has finalized Trail sign standards and used them along an 8.5 mile segment of original route in Pope County, IL.

arrow Download the complete National Trails System Annual Report for FY 2009 (pdf 660 kb)

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