U.S. Department of Agriculture Designation Process

For trails on National Forests, National Grasslands, and National Recreation Areas and associated land


Application Process

Regional Foresters of the Forest Service have been delegated authority to designate NRTs on lands administered by the Department of Agriculture including National Forests, National Grasslands, and National Recreation Areas.

The application process is outlined in the Forest Service Handbook section 2353.33a. The recommended format based on this guidance with detailed direction can be found here.

Designation Outline

  • Check to ensure trail is eligible and meets NRT designation criteria
  • Prepare Application Package and submit to local District Office
  • District review and receive District Ranger support
  • Forest review and receive Forest Supervisor support
  • Regional Trail Program Manager and Washington Office Trail Program Review
  • Submit final application package to Regional Forester for approval
  • Once approved submit the application package and trail info to American Trails for addition to the NRT Database


Proposals managed by the Forest Service can be submitted to the local unit at any time throughout the year. However, designation must be approved prior to February 1 to be included in press releases and National Trails Day announcements.

Additional Information or Help

Contact Washington Office National Trail Program Manager, Brenda Yankoviak, at [email protected].