On October 2nd 1968, President Johnson signed the National Trails System Act, recognizing the Appalachian and Pacific Crest Trails as the first two National Scenic Trails.</big?
Since then, 9 other National Scenic Trails, 19 Historic Trails and hundreds of National Recreation Trails have been designated across the county. The North Country National Scenic Trail was added in 1980.
2018 is the 50th anniversary of this historic act.
Join NCTA, the Partnership for the National Trails System, American Hiking Society and our Federal Agency partners in celebrating the National Trails System.
The story of the creation of a national strategy to create and manage trails in modern America begins with President Lyndon Johnson’s speech on the “Conservation and Preservation of Natural Beauty” in February, 1965. In his address to Congress, the President focused attention on many areas affecting the conservation and restoration of natural beauty in America. His address focused on clean water, parks in urban areas, the establishment of certain national seashore and national recreation areas – and of particular note – trails.
In his speech, President Johnson stated, “The forgotten outdoorsmen of today are those who like to walk, hike, ride horseback, or bicycle. For them we must have trails as well as highways…Old and young alike can participate. Our doctors recommend and encourage such activity for fitness and fun.” He continued, “I am requesting, therefore, that the Secretary of the Interior work with his colleagues in the Federal Government and with State and local leaders and recommend to me a cooperative program to encourage a national system of trails, building up the more than hundred thousand miles of trails in our national forests and parks.”
In response to the President’s request, then Secretary of the Interior, Stewart Udall, formed a committee led by the Bureau of Recreation (then an agency within the Department of the Interior) to study existing trails in the U.S., how well they served the American public, and to recommend federal legislation that would bring into existence a cohesive national trails system. This committee’s work resulted in a report entitled, Trails for America, which was published in December, 1966.
Read more at www.trails50.org and learn how you can celebrate next year.