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A trail winds past the ruins of a rock wall in a desert landscape

Butterfield Overland National Historic Trail Comprehensive Plan

National Trails System » Butterfield Overland National Historic Trail Comprehensive Plan » Document List

Dear friends and colleagues,

The Butterfield Overland National Historic Trail (NHT)was added to the National Trails System on January 5, 2023. The NHT is 3292 miles long, crosses seven states, and was designated to commemorate the impact the Butterfield Overland Mail service had on the shaping of the nation. The NHT is administered by the National Park Service (NPS), National Trails office Regions 6, 7 & 8 (NTIR). NTIR would like to invite you to join in developing the comprehensive plan for this newly designated NHT.

An important first step in this process is meeting with those that live and work along the trail to meet stakeholders, build partnerships, gather ideas for how to promote and develop the trail, and to answer questions about what it means to have a Congressionally designated National Historic Trail in a community. Starting on November 13, 2023, a total of eighteen public meetings will be held across the seven trail states. Meetings will be held in communities from Missouri to California. For information about the meetings and to find one close to you, please click on the "meeting notices" tab. Online meetings will be held in March to accommodate those that could not attend in person. Details for these meetings are forthcoming.

The plan will provide a framework for the administration of the trail and a vision to be fulfilled through future, more specific resource studies and development plans which will be created with individual sites and communities that are interested in seeing the trail promoted. The comprehensive plan will be developed in consultation with other federal partners, state and local government agencies, and interested parties, including landowners; federally recognized American Indian tribes; area residents; trail user organizations and the general public. Federal land management agencies with trail resources under their jurisdiction would continue to manage those resources in accordance with their respective agency policy guidance, laws and authorities.

National Historic Trail designation has no effect on the rights of private landowners. As an administrative document, the comprehensive plan does not obligate, direct, or require that any land owner or land manager follow the suggestions presented in the plan. The intent of the comprehensive plan is to present a vision for how the public can interact with the remnants and stories of the trail and the important role it played in American history.

This is an exciting opportunity to provide input into the development, protection, and promotion of a new national historic trail. We encourage participation and welcome the input of everyone along the route that has knowledge of the sites, stories, and possibilities this trail holds. National historic trails are by nature partnership driven. Your participation is important, and we urge you get involved in helping to administer the trail.


Carole Wendler
Acting Superintendent
National Trails office

Contact Information

Jill Jensen, Lead Planner