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re: [pct-l] National Recreation Trails program is dying!!
>Where is the AHS American Hiking Society on this? I imagine they have a web
>site, though I do not have time to look it up right now. Could someone pass
>this on to them.
The Web site for the American Hiking Society is at http://www.orca.org/ahs/.
AHS is not just a hiking organization, as the name implies, but a clearinghouse
organization for diverse trail clubs, including equestrian and motorized users,
all sharing a common belief in trails and trail support. They are located in
Washington D.C. in order to be at the front lines of trail legislation.
Activities of AHS cover everything from corporate sponsorship to volunteers
creating new trail. I am a member and I would encourage people on this list to
consider joining as well - it is one of the many ways you can give back to the
trails that give you so much. As I recall, the difference between a National
Scenic Trail and a National Recreation Trail is one of wilderness, that is, the
Scenic Trail is the purest trail designation, travel being limited to hikers
and equestrians, while the Recreation Trail makes room for multi-use including
mountain bikes (which were not envisioned when legislation was created in the
1960's) and motor users such as off-road motorcycles and snowmobiles. The
Pacific Crest Trail is, of course, a National Scenic Trail and the PCTA is a
member organization of AHS. The proposed American Discovery Trail, of which
the AHS is the main support group, is an good example of a trail that would
qualify as a National Recreation Trail, since bike trails make up a major
portion of the route across America from the Atlantic to the Pacific. The
third designation, National Historic Trail, is generally used to preserve what
little remains of historic trails; most of these "trails" exist on paper only,
having been paved over a long time ago. Here in Alaska, the Iditarod Trail is
such a trail: it has parts that are actually hike-able with a few remains of
the old "roadhouses" rotting away in the forest but generally is a route that
is recreated every winter for the dogsled race, which doesn't always follow the
I do not know the status of National Recreation Trails but have posted the
question to AHS and will share that if/when I get a reply. Although I try to
keep up on this stuff, I admit that I am very rusty on the subject and might be
wrong about the above descriptions. While I support the effort to create new
trails (especially in Alaska, the most perfect place in the USA to build the
ultimate National Scenic Trail...hint, hint, hint), it sometimes seems we are
way overstretched on our ability to simply maintain what we already have,
especially since we cannot count on federal support anymore. All the more
reason to volunteer, I guess.
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