National Recreation Trail applications are processed on an annual cycle. For the designation to be announced for the following National Trails Day (celebrated first Saturday each June), applications to the Department of the Interior must be submitted by November 1.
This is a preview of the online NRT application process, to inform trail managers of the information and documents required. You may use this as a checklist to gather data for the online application. Basic information is entered on the database website, and supporting materials (maps, photos, etc.) in standard electronic formats can then be uploaded.
This application process is for trails on state, local, or private land, OR on federal land (outside the US Department of Agriculture). If your trail is on National Forest, National Grassland, or other land managed by the Department of Agriculture, see the USDA Application Process for NRTs.
Please note: This preview is for your own information only. All applications for NRT designation through the Department of the Interior must be made online through the Online Application Process.
Best Practice: in addition to the stated requirements we strongly recommend at least one high-resolution photo, centerline data, at least one support letter, and, in addition to applicant confirmation of land owner concurrence, provide a list of landowners.
BASIC TRAIL INFORMATION
Directions to Trail
City(ies) / Township(s) crossed by the trail:
Short Description of Trail
Long Description of Trail
Length of Trail Open to Public Use:
USES AND ACTIVITIES
Allowed Uses - Check all that apply:
Width of Tread
Grade of Trail
Accessibility Information if available
PRIMARY AND ADDITIONAL SURFACE MATERIAL
Primary Trail Surface
Additional Surfaces - Check all that apply
VISITING AND FEES
Times of Operation
Fees - Yes or No:
If the trail is designated as an NRT, the Trail Managing Agency or Organization will appear on the NRT certificate, along with the trail's name.
You will be given the opportunity to add additional contacts if there are multiple agencies or organizations that manage the trail. You will also designate a public information contact.
APPLICANT CONTACT INFORMATION
Trail Managing Agency or Organization
Trail Manager's Name
Phone and Fax
If the trail is designated as an NRT, a letter of designation will be delivered along with the NRT Certificate to the street address of the managing agency/organization. The Trail Manager's name will be on the letter. However, if you would like a different name (e.g. department head, mayor, president of the organization, etc.) and/or address to appear on the letter, please enter the information below.
Directions: Upload the appropriate documents to address the following requirements if they apply to your trail:
1. All public and private property owners of trail lands or waters must give written consent to this application. (*Not required if the applicant is the sole owner of the property).
2. Trails on State, local government, or private land (anything other than Federal) must have a statement of support from the State Trails Administrator/Coordinator.
Documents must be in one of these formats: .pdf, .doc, .docx
Best Practice: in addition to confirmation of land owner concurrence, it is recommended to provide a complete list of all affected landowners.
Directions: In this section, please upload the appropriate documents to enable reviewers as well as the public to find the trail.
Please Note: When you upload a photo you affirm that you have secured the rights for the photo to be used for publicity and promotion of National Recreation Trails and are giving us permission to do so. This includes use on the websites of the NRT Program, American Trails, and cooperating agencies and organizations, as well as their noncommercial publications. This also includes use by Trails.com and ViewRanger in promotion of National Recreation Trails through agreements with American Trails. You retain all other rights to your photos.
The photo must be a .jpg, and will be resized to 500 pixels wide. A horizontally-oriented photo will look best.
The map must be a .pdf or .jpg
Best Practice: We strongly recommend at least one high-resolution photo (at least 2,000 pixels wide).
Directions: In this section you may upload more photos and maps, brochures, letters, or resolutions of support, and additional websites. Photographs especially help convey a sense of the trail experience, the setting, and special facilities.
Materials to be uploaded must be in one of these formats: .pdf, .doc, .docx, .jpg, .kml, .kmz, .gpx
Best Practice: in addition to the stated requirements we strongly recommend uploading centerline data for the entire trail section to be designated.
To complete the application process you must submit a signature page.
Step 1. Download the signature page here:
Step 2. Print, Sign and Scan the Signature page.
Step 3. Upload the signature page using the form on this screen of the online application screen