Historical and Interpretation Study, Trail of Tears National Historic Trail

The purpose of this study is to provide baseline historical information pertaining to those portions of the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail that cross onto lands managed by the FWS at the White River National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in Arkansas, the Wheeler NWR in Alabama, and the Tennessee NWR in Tennessee.

by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service


The Trail of Tears refers to the removal of the Creek, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Cherokee and Seminole tribes from their lands east of the Mississippi River and their relocation to the Indian Territory in the 1820s and 1830s. Because of the loss of life and suffering during the removal, this event in the nation’s history has been termed the “Trail of Tears” and research and documentation of its history has increased significantly in recent decades.

This study documents the historic events occurring along the trail within the boundaries of FWS lands and recommends interpretation and management alternatives of the trail. This project was completed as part of the National Trails System Act which established the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail. The Act recommends that where the trail crosses land administered by Federal agencies, appropriate markers shall be erected at appropriate points and maintained by the Federal agency administering the trail according to standards set by the Secretary of the Interior. As part of this project, the FWS sought to develop information pertaining to the history of the trail at these points in order to determine its impact, if any, on the existing environmental habitat and ecology.

Published September 01, 2007

About the Author

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the oldest federal conservation agency, tracing its lineage back to 1871, and the only agency in the federal government whose primary responsibility is management of fish and wildlife for the American public. The Service helps ensure a healthy environment for people by providing opportunities for Americans to enjoy the outdoors and our shared natural heritage.

More articles by this author

More Articles in this Category

Making the Trail Visible and Visitor Ready: A Plan for the James River Segment

The Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail joined the National Trails System following designation by Congress in 2006. The trail helps visitors experience, envision, understand, and protect what the explorers and inhabitants of the region encountered 400 years ago.

Trail Tales Educational Outreach & Interpretive Plan

Trail Tales is a community-focused educational outreach and shoreline interpretive program centered in the City of Anacortes in Skagit County Washington.

Interpretive Planning Tools for Historic Areas, Historic Trails and Gateways

This toolkit was designed to assist managers in developing and implementing regional or site-specific interpretive plans. It describes each step in the process from the early planning stages through implementation to evaluation.

Continental Divide National Scenic Trail Interpretive Plan

The Continental Divide National Scenic Trail (CDNST) Interpretive Plan guides the development and implementation of information, orientation and interpretation for the CDNST. Specifically, this plan includes interpretive goals, objectives, themes, exhibit recommendations, and design guidelines for interpretive efforts associated with the trail.