Sample Letter to the SenateSample Letter to the HouseFull Text of the BillFAQ

Help the American Discovery Trail join the National Trails System

The American Discovery Trail could become an official part of the National Trails System if Congress passes the National Discovery Trails Act.

A new bipartisan bill to do so was just introduced in the Senate—and you can help by asking your senators to co-sponsor that act, S. 4693.

There is already a version in the House of Representatives (H.R. 4878). A house subcommittee held a hearing on this bill earlier this year, and the subcommittee chair Rep. Joe Neguse of Colorado said, “This is a bill whose time has come.”

The chances for this legislation have never been better.

The House bill was introduced by bipartisan team of Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (D-Calif.) and Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.) Thanks to your work, there are now an impressive 64 cosponsors for the act. Here is a list of the cosponsors. We are now working to have the subcommittee pass the bill.

We now need to get as many co-sponsors as possible in the Senate, It’s easy to email your senator by going to www.senate.gov or simply addressing a message to www.(member’s last name).senate.gov.

You can also help by getting letters of support from local governments, tourist organizations, local businesses, etc. along the trail, plus any business or club involved in outdoor activities that might be related to trails.

Here is a list with links to the letters we have received.

Purpose of the Legislation

The bill would achieve two long-standing goals as initially spelled out by a National Park Service feasibility study of the ADT:  (1) To make the American Discovery Trail an official part of the U.S. National Trails System, and (2) create a new category of National Discovery Trails. The bill does not ask for any funds or appropriations.  It does not require the U.S. treasury to spend any public monies. 

The American Discovery Trail already exists, and countless persons are walking, hiking, or biking it daily. The bill would merely recognize that reality, and by making the American Discovery Trail an official part of the U.S. national trails system would facilitate public knowledge of and access to the many local routes combined in the American Discovery Trail, the nation’s sole non-motorized, coast-to-coast national trail.  The American Discovery Trail also would not increase the maintenance burden of the National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service, or the Bureau of Land Management. The bill would not shift the ownership or jurisdiction of any lands or local trails. Numerous local, state, and federal authorities already oversee and maintain the many existing routes that together link to form the American Discovery Trail. None of that would be changed.  

We strongly encourage you to contact your local authorities and congressional representatives and encourage them to co-sponsor and support H.R. 4878 and S. 4693.  

If you have time to take additional steps, the most effective way to influence your member of Congress is to call the local office and request a personal meeting. And please ask your friends, business owners, and politicians such as your mayor to join in urging your representative to co-sponsor and support the bill.

If you would like more information or help, please send Carole an e-mail at info@discoverytrail.org. If you know a member of Congress or a staffer personally, it would be a big help if you could let us know.

Frequently Asked Questions about H.R. 4878 and S. 4693

Press Release on House Bill

Press Release on Senate Bill

Full text of the bill

Please take just a few minutes today to contact your member of Congress.

Sample Letter to submit to your senators and sample letter for your house member – don’t forget to fill in your representative’s name and your location. If you have personal thoughts or experiences about the American Discovery Trail please edit the letter to include those (near the top). Customized letters are more influential than form letters. If you don’t live in a state which the trail passes through you can and should still ask for sponsorship, you should probably change or remove the paragraph about local businesses benefiting.

Since you are requesting a response you must include your printed name and address below your signature, traditionally the House of Representatives only replies by postal mail whereas the Senate uses email as well. Email is the preferred delivery method for a letter like this, postal letters have to go through a lengthy security procedure.