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

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.

The 2009 Continental Divide National Scenic Trail Comprehensive Plan

In order to achieve the objective of establishing a continuous trail of the magnitude and quality of the CDNST, it is necessary to establish a formal process for integrating the CDNST requirements into the long-range land and resource management programs of the various Federal and State agencies. Such a process should be both faithful to the intentions and requirements of the National Trails System Act and compatible with the regulations and procedures under which the agencies must work.

Hollow Rock Access Area Master Plan

The planned Hollow Rock Access Area is a multi-jurisdictional project to conserve significant natural and cultural resource lands along New Hope Creek and to make portions of the site available for low-impact recreational uses.