America’s first coast-to-coast trail could soon receive a huge upgrade, thanks to legislation that just passed the U.S. Senate. The Natural Resources Management Act of 2019 directs federal land managers to allow the American Discovery Trail Society to place signs marking the American Discovery Trail (ADT) on the lands they oversee.
The bill passed the Senate by 92 votes to 8 on February 12th and now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.
“The American Discovery Trail Society is thrilled that the Senate has passed this bipartisan bill,” said ADT Society congressional liaison Peter Schoettle. “We laud the leadership and assistance of Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware and Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia for sponsoring the section of the act regarding ADT signage.”
The Act directs the Secretary of the Interior, overseeing the National Park Service and Bureau of Land Management, and the Secretary of Agriculture, overseeing the U.S. Forest Service, to “place signage on the federal land.”
Placing signage marking the American Discovery Trail will help thousands of hikers and bikers find the route, from Cape Henlopen in Delaware on the Atlantic to Point Reyes in California on the Pacific. Previous National Park Service policy allowed each park superintendent to decide on their own whether to allow signs. Some did; others didn’t.
Allowing trail markers, paid for by the American Discovery Trail Society, is a common sense, safety issue. Proper signs help trail users to avoid getting lost. Staying on the trail can be a life and death issue, particularly in vast desert and mountain stretches out West.
“I’m pleased this provision will expand access to the American Discovery Trail, which connects trails from coast to coast, giving more Americans the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors while supporting tourism and economic development for local parks and communities. This will expand recreational opportunities and improve quality of life in our state and around the country. We commend the American Discovery Trail Society for their dedication in pushing this provision forward, and we hope to see it signed into law soon.”
Senator Chris Coons, Delaware.
The American Discovery Trail is the nation’s only coast to coast, non-motorized trail connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. It provides the backbone of the national trail system, linking numerous other national scenic and national historic national trails, and countless state and local recreational trails in one national system. It facilitates countless Americans enjoying nature and the outdoors not only in remote wilderness locales, or national parks and forests, but also in numerous cities and urban environments.