“The National Trails System—An Illustrated History” by Steve Elkinton

by Steve Elkinton, 2020, Vertel Press

by Steve Elkinton, Author

The National Trails System: How did it happen?

Steve Elkinton’s book, “The National Trails System—An Illustrated History,” traces the origins of long-distance trails across America, ties them to the cutting-edge conservation legislation of the 1960s and Earth Day, and explains how this remarkable trails system has evolved over the past 50 years.

Steve served in the National Park Service for 25 of those 50 years helping to build this system of trails. He uses oral history interviews and archived documents to fill in hitherto undocumented gaps in this uplifting story. Citizen dedication, community building, and interagency public-private cooperation are key themes of this story. 

At first, there were only two trails—the well-known Appalachian and Pacific Crest National Scenic Trails. Today, there are 30 national scenic and historic trails creating a network larger than the Interstate Highway System. This is the first comprehensive history of the National Trails System. It is based largely on primary sources and is offered in chronological chapters, with photographs and maps. What started as an experiment has resulted in a nationwide network of trails for all tastes and abilities involving thousands of volunteers and providing recreational and heritage opportunities for millions.

If you enjoy America’s great trails—both for recreation and retracing history—this book is a must for your library! Once publishing expenses are met, all additional proceeds will be donated to the Partnership for the National Trails System.