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[at-l] trail history
SoSloetow writes that "trailway protection efforts were authorized by
Nixon, programmed by Carter, but not funded until Reagan, ..."
The National Trails Act was signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson in 1968. The first
years were devoted to mapping the trail and scouting the best locations for the permanent trail.
Volunteers stood on the trail with white cards as airplanes flew overhead to photograph the
According to the Appalachian Trail Conference, "The National Trails System Act ...
recognized the conference's long volunteer-centered history as managers of the
trail and encouraged NPS, to which it gave the lead administrative role, to engage those volunteers
fully under the new arrangement."
The next critical development came in 1978 during President Jimmy Carter's administration.
Amendments approved then fleshed out the earlier law and approved significant funding. At the
biennial conference held in Maine in 1977, it was predicted that acquisition would be complete by
the end of Carter's term.
Sadly, money to finally complete the acquisition had to wait until 1999 during the term of President Bill Clinton.
Obviously, given the nature of the political process things happened under all administrations, but
in my mind the "heroes" of the trail from a national political perspective are Johnson and Carter.