Collaborative Work & Funding
America’s historic support for the creation and development of the National Trails System needs to be reinforced with additional, essential investment. Significant investments are needed to fill or connect gaps in trails for resource preservation, public access, continuous travel, and public appreciation and enjoyment opportunities.
Many of the trails were authorized by Congress more than 30 years ago, yet only a few have received funds to assist in acquiring and protecting critical parts of their corridors. The Federal responsibility for protecting most of these trails has long been neglected. Since 2013, the Partnership has successfully coordinated efforts to secure funding from Congress for critical projects that help address the threats (above) faced by the Trails System.
Projects from this investment will address:
- Protects special landscapes
- Enhances recreational access and opportunity
- Ensures resiliency and connectivity of trail corridor landscapes
- Protects Threatened and Endangered species
- Supports working farms, ranches, and forests
Leveraging Investment and Collaboration
A financial investment by any of the partners has the potential to leverage by contributions from other partners (state agencies, local governments, and land trusts). This has been the case repeatedly in the National Trails System.
Federal financial investment does not just help to buy land to protect critical resources; it stimulates citizen and community involvement [Read some of these stories – People and Trails] in national trail stewardship. Along the Appalachian Trail and elsewhere in the System, we have observed:
- Citizen engagement in public resource stewardship and volunteerism,
- Connection of citizens with the Nation’s natural and cultural heritage, and
- Stronger communities across the land.
Each year volunteers more than match the dollar value of Federal trail operations by their contributed hours and dollars.
Overall, the goal of our work on National Scenic Trails, extended protection of the continuous recreation corridors; and for the National Historic Trails, protection of significant historic sites and route segments.
Indicators of success vary from trail to trail and project to project. From our work on the trails, we anticipate:
- increased visitation,
- increased community participation,
- return of rare or endangered species,
- restoration of damaged landscapes,
- increased % of National Register sites and landmarks protected, and
- increased % of physical trail open and available for public use.
To read the most recent and past Collaborative Landscape Planning Proposals, go to the Resources sections of the web site.