Paved Trail Plan
The NPS is a leader in connecting people to the great outdoors and to our national heritage. Within the National Capital Region, the NPS paved trail network spans more than 95 miles and links together some of our nation's most significant cultural heritage, natural resources, and outdoor recreational assets. In addition to the five NPS park units, the NPS paved trail network travels through two state, the District of Columbia, five counties, and the City of Alexandria - making it one of the most complex trail networks in the nation.
The challenges of providing a high quality trail experience are complex and divers. Trails on NPS land often traverse cultural landscapes, scenic viewsheds, or along historic roads, and trail improvement or enhancement projects must be designed to minimize impacts on park resources and values. This study is based on a comprehensive examination of NPS regional trail network conditions and a literature review of NPS and other federal regulations and policies that guide trail planning. Stakeholder outreach and an assessment of local government trail plans and priorities informed the study, including the identification of major trail gaps and areas for potential partnership and collaboration.
The purpose of this study is to assess current trail and trail system conditions, and recommend steps the NPS and/or other agencies can take to improve existing trails and to create an integrated, inter jurisdictional network of urban trails for recreation, multi-modal transportation and education.
Chief of Planning