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The purpose of the legislation is to address the endless trail maintenance problem on federal public lands by finding ways to increase volunteer involvement.

 

 

National Discovery Trails Act to designate cross-country trail

 

National Discovery Trails Act of 2013 (H.R. 3022 and S. 2346)

To amend the National Trails System Act to include national discovery trails, and to designate the American Discovery Trail, and for other purposes.

 

From the American Discovery Trail Society

Objectives

-- Get co-sponsors for H.R. 3022, the “National Discovery Trails Act of 2013”, and S. 2346 and persuade Congress to pass the bill.

The American Discovery Trail:

-- The American Discovery Trail is our nation’s only coast-to-coast, non-motorized, multi-use trail, and stretches across 6,800 miles and 15 states.  Its route links existing trails, rail-trails, country lanes, small town sidewalks, and big city greenways.  It connects rural towns and cities with parks and wilderness, and allows people to hike, bike, or ride horses for an afternoon or a cross-country adventure. 

-- The route uses existing public lands, connecting five National Scenic, 12 National Historic, and 34 National Recreational trails; 14 National Parks; and 16 National Forests. It visits some 10,000 sites of historic, cultural and natural significance.  It is a “sea-to-shining-sea” showcase of America’s scenic, historic, and cultural treasures.

-- Officially designating the American Discovery Trail would allow the American Discovery Trail Society to fully mark the trail.  Many federal, state and local land managers will not allow signs to be installed without an official designation.

-- Since the route already exists on a variety of public lands, the bill does not ask for acquiring any additional land, and HR 3022 and S.2346 specifically prohibited any acquisition.

-- Designation does not mean federal control over the lands on the trail.  The many state and local jurisdictions along the trail would own and maintain their trails as they do now.   

Legislative Background

-- The1968 National Trails System Act created a framework for a national system of trails.  Currently there are 11 National Scenic Trails, 19 National Historic Trails, more than a thousand National Recreational Trails, but no trail linking the network from coast to coast.

-- In 1994 a National Park Service study recommended adding the American Discovery Trail to the National Trails System, as the first of a new class of “National Discovery Trails.”

-- In 1998 the Senate passed the National Discovery Trails Act, S.1069, introduced by Sen. Frank Murkowski (R-AK); the Senate again passed S. 734 in 1999 and S. 498 in 2001.  Rep. Doug Bereuter introduced HR 2339, which passed the Natural Resources Subcommittee, but died in full Committee.

-- In 2010 Reps. John Sarbanes (D-MD) and Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) introduced H.R. 4671, winning 30 co-sponsors. There was no committee action on the bill.  In Aug. 2013 Fortenberry introduced HR 3022, co-sponsored by Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO), and in May 2014 Senator Chris Coons, (D-DE), co-sponsored by Senator Mark Kirk, (R-IL), introduced S.2346.

Benefits

-- It will cost the federal treasury nothing for maintenance or land acquisition

-- It is already boosting tourism and bringing economic growth to nearby communities.

-- It promotes physical health and exercise, and psychologically helps to unify the nation.

-- The American Discovery Trail is a great example of a public-private partnership.

More background information is at www.discoverytrail.org/about/background.html
 

Contact Information:

-- Peter Schoettle, Maryland Coordinator and Congressional Liaison: pgschoettle@gmail.com
   (301) 984-9664;  cell: (301) 254-2030

-- Ellen Dudley, VP, Government Affairs, emdudley@nexet.net;

-- Eric Seaborg, President, American Discovery Trail Society, Seaborg@nexet.net

 

arrow Read more about the American Discovery Trail at www.discoverytrail.org

arrow Track the progress of this bill (H.R. 3022):

 

arrow Track the progress of this bill (S. 2346):

 

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