16 U.S. Code § 1241 - Congressional statement of policy and declaration of purpose
In order to provide for the ever-increasing outdoor recreation needs of an expanding population and in order to promote the preservation of, public access to, travel within, and enjoyment and appreciation of the open-air, outdoor areas and historic resources of the Nation, trails should be established (i) primarily, near the urban areas of the Nation, and (ii) secondarily, within scenic areas and along historic travel routes of the Nation, which are often more remotely located.
The purpose of this chapter is to provide the means for attaining these objectives by instituting a national system of recreation, scenic and historic trails, by designating the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail as the initial components of that system, and by prescribing the methods by which, and standards according to which, additional components may be added to the system.
The Congress recognizes the valuable contributions that volunteers and private, nonprofit trail groups have made to the development and maintenance of the Nation’s trails. In recognition of these contributions, it is further the purpose of this chapter to encourage and assist volunteer citizen involvement in the planning, development, maintenance, and management, where appropriate, of trails.
1983—Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 98–11, § 202(1), substituted “The” for “the” before “purpose”.
Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 98–11, § 202(2), added subsec. (c).
1978—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 95–625, § 551(1), (2), inserted “the preservation of,” and “and historic resources” after “promote” and “outdoor areas” and substituted “within scenic areas and along historic travel routes of the Nation, which are often more remotely located” for “within established scenic areas more remotely located”.
Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 95–625, § 551(3), substituted “, scenic and historic” for “and scenic”.
Ex. Ord. No. 13195, Jan. 18, 2001, 66 F.R. 7391, provided:
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and in furtherance of purposes of the National Trails System Act of 1968, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1241–1251), the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (Public Law 105–178) [see Short Title of 1998 Amendment note set out under section 101 of Title 23, Highways], and other pertinent statutes, and to achieve the common goal of better establishing and operating America’s national system of trails, it is hereby ordered as follows:
Section 1. Federal Agency Duties. Federal agencies will, to the extent permitted by law and where practicable—and in cooperation with Tribes, States, local governments, and interested citizen groups—protect, connect, promote, and assist trails of all types throughout the United States. This will be accomplished by:
(a) Providing trail opportunities of all types, with minimum adverse impacts and maximum benefits for natural, cultural, and community resources;
(b) Protecting the trail corridors associated with national scenic trails and the high priority potential sites and segments of national historic trails to the degrees necessary to ensure that the values for which each trail was established remain intact;
(c) Coordinating maps and data for the components of the national trails system and Millennium Trails network to ensure that these trails are connected into a national system and that they benefit from appropriate national programs;
(d) Promoting and registering National Recreation Trails, as authorized in the National Trails System Act, by incorporating where possible the commitments and partners active with Millennium Trails;
(e) Participating in a National Trails Day the first Saturday of June each year, coordinating Federal events with the National Trails Day’s sponsoring organization, the American Hiking Society;
(f) Familiarizing Federal agencies that are active in tourism and travel with the components of a national system of trails and the Millennium Trails network and including information about them in Federal promotional and outreach programs;
(h) Encouraging participation of qualified youth conservation or service corps, as outlined in 41  U.S.C. 12572 and 42 U.S.C. 12656, to perform construction and maintenance of trails and trail-related projects, as encouraged in sections 1108(g) and 1112(e) of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century [23 U.S.C. 133 note, 206 note], and also in trail planning protection, operations, and education;
(i) Promoting trails for safe transportation and recreation within communities;
(j) Providing and promoting a wide variety of trail opportunities and experiences for people of all ages and abilities;
(k) Providing historical interpretation of trails and trail sites and enhancing cultural and heritage tourism through special events, artworks, and programs; and
(l) Providing training and information services to provide high-quality information and training opportunities to Federal employees, Tribal, State, and local government agencies, and the other trail partners.
Sec. 2. The Federal Interagency Council on Trails. The Federal Interagency Council on Trails (Council), first established by agreement between the Secretaries of Agriculture and the Interior in 1969, is hereby recognized as a long-standing interagency working group. Its core members represent the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land of [sic] Management and National Park Service, the Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service, and the Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration. Other Federal agencies, such as those representing cultural and heritage interests, are welcome to join this council. Leadership of the Council may rotate among its members as decided among themselves at the start of each fiscal year. The Council’s mission is to coordinate information and program decisions, as well as policy recommendations, among all appropriate Federal agencies (in consultation with appropriate nonprofit organizations) to foster the development of America’s trails through the following means:
(a) Enhancing federally designated trails of all types (e.g., scenic, historic, recreation, and Millennium) and working to integrate these trails into a fully connected national system;
(b) Coordinating mapping, signs and markers, historical and cultural interpretations, public information, training, and developing plans and recommendations for a national trails registry and database;
(d) Developing a memorandum of understanding among the agencies to encourage long-term interagency coordination and cooperation to further the spirit and intent of the National Trails System Act and related programs.
Sec. 3. Issue Resolution and Handbook for Federal Administrators of the National Trails System. Federal agencies shall together develop a process for resolving interagency issues concerning trails. In addition, reflecting the authorities of the National Trails System Act, participating agencies shall coordinate preparation of (and updates for) an operating handbook for Federal administrators of the National Trails System and others involved in creating a national system of trails. The handbook shall reflect each agencies’ governing policies and provide guidance to each agencies’ field staff and partners about the roles and responsibilities needed to make each trail in the national system fully operational.
Sec. 4. Observance of Existing Laws. Nothing in this Executive Order shall be construed to override existing laws, including those that protect the lands, waters, wildlife habitats, wilderness areas, and cultural values of this Nation.
Sec. 5. Judicial Review. This order is intended only to improve the internal management of the executive branch. It does not create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable in law or equity by any party against the United States, its agencies, its officers or employees, or any other person.
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