Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Foundation Document

Every unit of the national park system is required to have a formal statement of its core mission that will provide basic guidance for all planning and management decisions—a foundation for planning and management. The development of a foundation document for the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail is necessary to effectively manage the park over the long term and protect park resources and values that are integral to the purpose and identity of the park unit.

by National Park Service


Lecl fd 2012


The Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail is approximately 3,700 miles long, extending from Wood River, Illinois, to the mouth of the Columbia River, near present day Astoria, Oregon, following the historic outbound and inbound routes of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. The trail connects 11 states (Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Washington, and Oregon) and many tribal lands. The trail was established by Congress in 1978 as part of the national trails system (NTS) as one of four original national historic trails. Today, visitors can follow the approximate route of the Corps of Discovery (Lewis and Clark Expedition members) by exploring the trail using a variety of transportation methods and interpretive means.

The goal of the National Trails System Act (NTSA) is to provide for the ever-increasing outdoor recreation needs of an expanding population and promote the preservation of, public access to, travel within, and enjoyment and appreciation of the open air, outdoor areas and historic resources of the nation.

Published September 01, 2012

About the Author


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.

More articles by this author

More Articles in this Category

Mountain Bike Trails Concept Plan for Moose River Plains Wild Forest

IMBA Trail Solutions visited the Moose River Plains Wild Forest for one week in October of 2013 to conduct field research, meet with stakeholders, and to begin the process of developing a conceptual design for mountain bike use in the area. All of the designs presented in this report are conceptual in nature and have not been completely field verified. Additional work will need to be done in the field to finalize the designs of reroutes and proposed trails described in this report.

Standing Boy Creek State Park Mountain Bike Trails Master Plan

This master plan is a result of the entirety of IMBA TS site visits, with greater importance placed on those 2018 and 2019 planning and design site visits. The master plan represents industry best practices, professional expertise and experience, modern trail theory, and insights gained from numerous conversations with GA DNR, CVA-SORBA, and many others.

Gwinnett Countywide Trails Master Plan

Gwinnett County is currently the second most populous county in Georgia with more than 936,000 residents and also has a minority-majority population. By 2050, estimates project Gwinnett could grow to as many as 1.5 million residents, making it the most populated county in the state.

Colorado Parks & Wildlife 2016-2026 Statewide Trails Strategic Plan

This Statewide Trails Strategic Plan and the State Trails Program aim to ensure that program direction and efforts are consistent with other cooperators, funders, stakeholders, and ultimately service the expectations and needs of Colorado’s residents and visitors.