National Recreation Trails benefit from the prestige and increased visibility of being a part of the National Trails System. New designations are announced annually by the Secretary of Interior and recognized every two years at the National Trails Symposium.
Other national publicity includes such events as the annual NRT Photo Contest, sponsored by American Trails, which has attracted hundreds of entries from across the country.
Successful applicants receive a letter and certificate, designating their trail as an NRT. Trail managers are entitled to use the NRT logo in appropriate settings and trail publications. Plastic NRT logo signs (3.5” x 3.5” small or 8” x 8” large) are also available free of charge (thanks to generous funding from the National Park Service) and shipping is complimentary. Plastic signs can be obtained by filling out this form and emailing to [email protected]. You may also choose to purchase metal signs for a nominal fee via the American Trails Online Store. Before signs are shipped, American Trails will confirm your trails are designated NRTs.
Successful National Water Trails also receive a letter and a certificate, but they are entitled to use the NWTS logo and signs in appropriate settings and trail publications.
All NRTs will be included in the online searchable database of trails (sponsored by www.AmericanTrails.org) includes descriptive information, maps, and pictures for trail users. Trail managers provide information about their NRTs for the site. Keep it up to date by sending corrections and additions by e-mail to [email protected].
A web page for each state highlights Featured Trails with links to more information. For trails without a website, we are providing a page with photos, history, and useful facts about the project.
The Recreational Trails Program, which provides funding for trails to each state through the Federal Highway Administration, provides this guidance on NRTs: "In consultation with the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture through the Federal Interagency Council on The National Trails System, States are encouraged to give extra project evaluation credit to projects on National Scenic Trails, National Historic Trails (provided the project provides a recreational purpose), and trails designated as National Recreation Trails."