Sustain Our Nation's Forests and Grasslands

Forest Service announces National Trail Strategy, selection of 15 trail maintenance priority areas

Volunteers and employees hit the trail, removing debris and restoring the trail-way and erosion-control structures on the Pacific Crest Trail on the San Bernardino National Forest in California. Forest Service photo.

WASHINGTON D.C. — The USDA Forest Service announced publication of the Forest Service’s “National Strategy for a Sustainable Trail System” and Secretary Perdue’s selection of 15 Trail Maintenance Priority Areas. The strategy asks employees and partners to leverage the 50th anniversary of the National Trail System Act in 2018 and the National Forest Service Trail Stewardship Act of 2016 to inspire a different way of thinking—and doing—to create sustainable change in achieving collaborative stewardship of the more than 158,000 miles of National Forest System trails we manage.

All employees, organizations, communities and partners are encouraged to lean in and leverage the momentum of this convergence of opportunity for trails:

  • 50th Anniversary of the National Trail System Act: Oct. 2, 2018, marks the 50th anniversary of the National Trails System Act, which established the system of National Scenic and Historic Trails. Commemorative activities throughout the year are aimed to increase awareness, support, and improve trails and trail management. Learn more on our partner Web site (also available at
  • National Trail Strategy: The National Strategy for a Sustainable Trail System was developed with the input of hundreds of agency employees, partners, and volunteers. It establishes a bold vision for achieving a sustainable trail system through collaborative stewardship and outlines 26 strategic actions to address our trail maintenance backlog. Download the new publication and accompanying overview pamphlet on the agency’s new trails Web page (also available at
  • Trails Stewardship Act: The National Forest System Trails Stewardship Act of 2016 emphasizes the importance of National Forest System trails and requires the agency to implement a series of actions including:

       - Studying opportunities to use fire crews to conduct trail maintenance

       - Implementing 9 to 15 national trail maintenance priority areas

       - Establishing an outfitter and guide trail stewardship credit pilot program on at least 20 forests

       - Publishing a strategy to double the role of volunteers and partners in trail maintenance

More information about the priority areas and other implementation activities can be found on the new trails Web page (also available at