The National Park Service (NPS) was created in 1916 and today manages over 390 units found in all 50 states and some of the U.S. territories. NPS supports and operates trails in three interlocking arenas: trails in parks, technical assistance to States and communities, and administration of much of the National Trails System.

 

The National Park Service (NPS) was created in 1916 and today manages over 390 units found in all 50 states and some of the U.S. territories. NPS supports and operates trails in three interlocking arenas: trails in parks, technical assistance to States and communities, and administration of much of the National Trails System.

Trails in Parks: The National Park Service maintains over 18,000 miles of trails in most of its park units across America. These trails can be found in all types of settings (back-country, urban, shoreline, desert) and accommodate all types of users, depending on the conditions (hikers, horseback riders, mountain bikers, strollers, snowmobilers, and even skate boarders). Some are paved; most are natural surfaced.

Information about park trails can be found on the websites and brochures for individual park areas. All official park websites, mapping, and travel information can be found through the portal at http://www.nps.gov/.

Rivers & Trails Conservation Assistance program works with communities and local groups

The Rivers & Trails Conservation Assistance program (RTCA) works with communities and local groups. RTCA works in urban, rural, and suburban communities with the goal of helping communities achieve on-the-ground success for their conservation projects. Program staff help communities help themselves by providing nationwide expertise and experience. Assisted projects vary widely from urban promenades to trails along abandoned railroads, from wildlife corridors to river protection, from greenways to blueways.

National Trails System

Created in 1968, the National Trails System today is comprised of five types of trails: national scenic trails, national historic trails, national recreation trails (NRTs -- see above), connecting and side trails, and rail-trails. The National Park Service has full or partial administrative responsibility for 23 of the 30 national scenic and historic trails. Details on individual trails, partners, maps, and related subjects can be found at http://www.nps.gov/nts/.

All three areas of NPS trail work help achieve these goals:

  • Trails that embody America's values of diversity, community, and volunteerism
  • Trails that make our communities more livable
  • Trails that showcase the preservation of open space and wildlife habitat
  • Trails that bring nature to those with disabilities
  • Trails that teach creativity and problem solving
  • Trails that celebrate America's history and future
  • Trails that celebrate freedom and the great outdoors

National Recreation Trails (NRTs): a celebration of America

Trail groups, states, and Federal agencies agree that National Recreation Trails are a great way to celebrate America's diverse network of trails and greenways. More people than ever before are using trails, and more are volunteering to help care for parks and public lands. NRTs provide a trail recognition tool. Healthy trails systems can benefit from this publicity to attract volunteers, community support, and agency assistance.

Trail managers can nominate their project for NRT designation using the NRT designation process.

Featured NRTs in many states are highlighted with photos and details about the projects.

Eppley Institute for Parks and Public Lands provides online courses and onsite programs designed for those in the parks, recreation and tourism professions. The e-Courses listed below offer continuing education through the convenience and flexibility of the Internet.

  • Universal Design: An introduction to the concept of Universal Design, the creation of structures and programs that can be used by all people.
  • Working as a Park Board Member: The importance of park and recreation boards, how the board originates and functions, and how it is structured and governed.
  • Being Effective Working as a Park Board Member: What one needs to know to be an active participant in a board, and how to work cooperatively on behalf of the community.
  • Understanding American Wilderness: The evolution of the wilderness idea beginning with the early history and philosophy of the wilderness concept.
  • Foundations of Interpretation: This introductory course provides a basic understanding of the theory and practice of interpretation concepts.
  • Informal Visitor Contacts: Informal visitor contacts are key to providing enjoyable visitor experiences. They provide the most personalized service in a park.
  • Interpretive Talk: The Interpretive Talk is purposefully designed and delivered to provide visitors the chance to connect to what the site means to them.
  • Training and Coaching Interpreters: Interpretive trainers and coaches support interpreters in connecting people to parks. Trainers and coaches amplify their impact and enhance visitor experiences.

National Park Service



http://www.nps.gov

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