An Open Letter Encouraging Designating New National Recreation Trails

With no new National Recreation Trails (NRTs) designated in 2019, and the deadline for 2020 National Trails Day fast approaching, we are encouraging Secretary Bernhardt to uphold this tradition of honoring and celebrating our nation's trails and designating new NRTs. Please read and share our open letter.

Dear Secretary Bernhardt,

On behalf of American Trails and the trail organizations listed below, we respectfully ask that your office approve the backlog of National Recreation Trails (NRT) designations awaiting your review, so that American Trails can faithfully execute our agreed upon role in coordinating this program.

American Trails is the organizing NGO of the National Recreation Trails Program (NRT). Of the three arms of the National Trails System Act (NRT, National Scenic Trails, and National Historic Trails), only the NRT annually adds new trails, thus offering a unique vibrancy of experience to our national trails system. The National Trails Act is an important legacy for our country and our culture, and the NRT program in particular highlights trails that are accessible, relatable, and current to a nation that needs the “re-creation” provided by trails.

Now more than ever, we as a nation need the sense of community and togetherness created by trails. Furthermore, the nearly 1,300 National Recreation Trails in existence make up an important legacy for all past Secretaries of the Interior since the first designation in 1969, and we are excited for you to put your stamp on this program by designating the trails you want to hold up as exemplary places for outdoor recreation.

Our combined organizations work closely with the Department of the Interior to provide nominations for NRT designation and help to promote and provide for the program as a whole. Our goal is always to provide timely responses to inquiries to all applications. However, the 2019 and 2020 nominations have been held up by your office.

The deadline for the planned National Trails Day announcement of the new slate of NRTs is fast approaching. We would love to work with you to successfully wrap up the process for the 2019 and 2020 applications. Thank you for your prompt attention to this request.

Best regards,

Michael J Passo

Executive Director, American Trails

Co-signed Organizations

If you would like to sign on to this open letter please contact [email protected]

Published May 21, 2020

More Articles in this Category

2020 Annual CRT Achievement Awards

The Coalition for Recreational Trails is pleased to announce the winners for the 2020 Tom Petri Annual Achievement Awards in recognition of outstanding use of Recreational Trails Program (RTP) funds.

30 New National Recreation Trails Have Been Designated

On October 22, 2020 U.S. Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt announced 30 new national recreation trails in 25 states, adding more than 1,275 miles to the National Trails System.

Recreational Trail Program Funds Help Create Sign Language Program

Kartchner Caverns State Park provides tours that see over 150,000 people annually and the information that rangers provide on the tours is crucial to the experience. The Deaf and Hard of Hearing community has been missing out on a vital part of the experience, until now.

Oregon, California, Mormon Pioneer, and Pony Express National Historic Trails Comprehensive Management and Use Plan / Final Environmental Impact Statement

This Comprehensive Management and Use Plan / Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Oregon, California, Mormon Pioneer, and Pony Express National Historic Trails is shaped, in part, by the planning requirements found in section 5(f) of the National Trails System Act. It focuses on the trails’ purpose and significance, issues and concerns related to current conditions along the trails, resource protection, visitor experience and use, and long-term administrative and management objectives. Elements of the proposed plan have been developed in cooperation with federal, state, and local agencies, as well as nonprofit trails organizations — the entities that form the core of any partnership for national historic trails.