Legislation

Sample LetterFull Text of the BillFAQ

The National Discovery Trails Act (H.R. 4878) was introduced in the House of Representatives by Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA) on July 30, 2021.   Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) co-sponsored the bill, signaling that the measure is bi-partisan.

There are now 62 cosponsors for the act – this is great progress – let’s make this happen. Here is a list of the cosponsors. If your representative is on the list please consider writing a thank you email, if not please email them as soon as possible as the act may come up for a vote at any time. It doesn’t matter whether your state is crossed by the trail, this is national legislation.
Another useful activity would be 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.

The bill would achieve two long-standing goals as initially spelled out by the 1994 National Park Service Study:  (1) To make the American Discovery Trail an official part of the US National Trail System, and (2) as part of a new category of national trail, a Discovery Trail.   The bill does not ask for any funds or appropriations.  It does not require the US 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 US trail 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 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 presently oversee and maintain the many existing routes that together link to form the American Discovery Trail.   None of that would be changed.  

The act has been referred to the Natural Resources Committee, and we hope that the relevant Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands will hold hearings in the near future, prior to full passage by the House and also the Senate.

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

It’s easy to email your member of Congress by going to www.house.gov or simply www.(member’s last name).house.gov. Alternatively you can visit this site
www.contactingcongress.org and enter your zip code to find both your state and specific district representatives.

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

Press Release

Full text of the bill

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

Sample Letter to send to your representative – don’t forget to fill in your representative’s name (two places) and your location. If you have personal thoughts or experiences about the American Discovery Trail you should 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 where 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.