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The National Trails System
The National Trails System

The National Trails System

An Illustrated History


276 Pages, 6 x 9

Formats: Trade Paper

Trade Paper, $26.99 (US $26.99) (CA $35.99)

Publication Date: May 2020

ISBN 9781641120197

Rights: WOR

Nextone Inc (May 2020)
Vertel Publishing

Price: $26.99


The National Trails System, An Illustrated History richly describes how the National Trails System was established by federal law in 1968. It builds on the conservation history of the mid-20th Century to show how the trails system grew from the same political trends that envisioned the Land and Water Conservation Fund, the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, and the Environmental Protection Act. Once passed, the Trails Act—and the trails it established—evolved as political and public trends shifted. This history portrays these changes to show that what started as an experiment has resulted in a nationwide network of trails for all tastes and abilities involving thousands of volunteers and providing recreational and heritage opportunities for millions. Readers interested in recreation, discovery, history, politics, and conservation will find these themes unfolding around the story of America's national trails. At first, there were only two trails—the well-known Appalachian and Pacific Crest National Scenic Trails. Today, there are thirty national scenic and historic trails creating a network larger than the Interstate Highway System. This is the first comprehensive history of the National Trails System. It is based largely on primary sources and is offered in chronological chapters, with photographs and maps. The 50th anniversary of the National Trails System is an ideal time to document its evolution and progress.

Author Biography

Steve Elkinton grew up in the Philadelphia suburbs and graduated from Kalamazoo College in 1969. After a few years wandering the U.S. (where he had a formative experience along the Pacific Crest Trail) and Europe, he settled down to study landscape architecture, obtaining a degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1976. In 1978 he joined the National Park Service carrying out planning and design projects in the greater Washington, D.C. area and the Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation area (now National Park) in Ohio. Starting in 1989 until he retired 25 years later, Steve served as program leader for National Trails System activities within NPS preparing legislative testimony, developing policy, coordinating with field staff, refining budgets and grants, and strengthening interagency cooperation. Steve now serves on the board of the Partnership for the National Trails System and played a leadership role in the Trails System's 50th anniversary in 2018.