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    Author(s): Lee CervenyMonika Derrien; Anna B. Miller
    Date: 2020
    Source: International Journal of Wilderness. 26(2): 18-33.
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Pacific Northwest Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (7.0 MB)


    National Scenic Trails (NSTs) connect people with the natural and cultural heritage of the United States. These trails also provide important opportunities for agencies to engage partners in trail stewardship and sponsorship. Partnership engagement ultimately promotes trails that provide outdoor experiences and learning opportunities for visitors and trail users. In the founding legislation of the National Trails System Act of 1968, Congress acknowledged the integral role of volunteers and trail groups and set out “to encourage and assist volunteer citizen involvement in the planning, development, maintenance, and management… of trails” (P.L. 90-543). Early partners played a critical role in encouraging Congress to embrace the concept of national trails and identifying trail routes. Today, the National Trails System includes 11 NSTs, as well as 19 National Historic Trails, and nearly 1,300 National Recreation Trails in 50 states. The entire system engages hundreds of stewardship partners working at local, regional, and national scales. Federal agencies and trail organizations work together to plan and maintain the trails, develop outreach programs, and connect with the public.

    Publication Notes

    • Visit PNW's Publication Request Page to request a hard copy of this publication.
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Cerveny, Lee K.; Derrien, Monika M.; Miller, Anna B. 2020. Shared stewardship and national scenic trails: Building on a legacy of partnerships. International Journal of Wilderness. 26(2): 18-33.


    National Scenic Trails, wilderness, stewardship, partnership, co-management.

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