Pike National Historic Trail Feasibility Study

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The National Park Service is pleased to announce the commencement of the Pike National Historic Trail (NHT) Feasibility Study to evaluate its eligibility and suitability for inclusion as a national historic trail.

STUDY BACKGROUND:
The proposed Pike NHT represents the route taken by Lieutenant Zebulon Pike during his 1806-1807 expedition into the southern portion of the Louisiana Purchase and the northern provinces of Mexico. The route begins in Fort Bellefontaine, Missouri and ends in Natchitoches, Louisiana. It spans approximately 2,700 miles, intersecting the states of Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, and Louisiana, with an additional 1,000 miles of trail passing through three states in Mexico. The section of trail which traverses Mexico is not eligible for designation as it falls outside of the United States.

The Pike NHT Feasibility Study was directed by Congress in 2019 under the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act (P.L. 116-9).

The purpose of the Pike NHT Feasibility Study is to evaluate the national historical significance of the route, as well as the feasibility, suitability, and desirability of designating the route as a national historic trail. Findings of the trail study will be shared with Congress who has the sole authority to enact legislation to designate new national historic trails.

WHAT IS A NATIONAL HISTORIC TRAIL?
National historic trails are designated by Congress and recognize past routes of travel that are significant in the history of the United States. These historic routes are designated so that the public can enjoy, visit, connect with, and understand them. Examples of other national historic trails include Lewis and Clark, Selma to Montgomery, and Nez Perce (Nee-Me-Poo).

Created by the National Trails System Act of 1968 (P.L. 90-543), national historic trail designations are continuous from end to end, often cross state boundaries, and a variety of types of land ownership.

However, national historic trails are not hiking trails, open to public use from end to end. Rather, discrete locations on public lands and participating private property along the alignment are open to visitation. Designation of a national historic trail does not establish public right-of way or change land ownership or authority over private property. Visit www.nps.gov/subjects/nationaltrailssystem to learn more.


WHAT IS A NATIONAL HISTORIC TRAIL FEASIBILITY STUDY?
Prior to the designation of a national historic trail Congress typically legislates that a national historic trail study be completed. National historic trail studies provide findings to Congress on the national historical significance of potential routes and speak to the feasibility, suitability, and desirability of designating a route as a national historic trail. It is important to note that national historic trail studies are not decision-making documents, nor do they provide management-level decisions for the trail.

National historic trail feasibility studies are undertaken following specific criteria that are provided in the National Trails System Act of 1968, as amended. The National System Act specifies ten study requirements and three eligibility criteria for national historic trail designations.

Based on experience, trail studies typically take approximately two and half years to complete. After a trail study is completed it is transmitted to Congress. Congress has the sole authority to enact legislation to designate new national historic trails. A few additional steps are required should Congress designate a new national historic trail. One requirement is the development of a comprehensive plan for the management and use of the trail.

To add your name to the Study Mailing list click on "Links" on the left hand side menu of this page or visit https://tinyurl.com/ynxdsfrn

Thank you for your involvement!

Contact Information

Lillis A. Urban
Project Manager for the Pike National Historic Trail Feasibility Study
Chief of Planning
National Trails Office
National Park Service
1100 Old Santa Fe Trail
Santa Fe, NM, 87505
505-819-1339
lillis_urban@nps.gov