From the American Profile Magazine "National Historic Trails: Pathways to America's past" by Marti Attoun.
Most of the article was about the Santa Fe Trail, but there was some information on the program as well. It began in 1978 with four trails and now is up to nineteen, with the most-recent addition of the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary National Historic Trail in 2009. I wrote about the 2008's Star-Spangled National Historic Trail in my "Not So Forgotten: War of 1812 Bicentennial Blog."
Altogether, the trails comprise 37,000 miles "trodden by explorers, prospectors, pioneers, soldiers, traders and trappers."
These routes were important to our nation's history and heritage. "whether trade, migration or military campaigns" according to Steve Elkinton, program leader for the National Trails System.
The oldest were used by native Hawaiians in ancient times and Spanish colonizers in the Southwest in the 16th and 17th centuries. Alaska's Iditarod follows a frozen dogsled course from Seward to Nome. The shortest, at 54 miles, follows the 1965 Civil Rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.
Each trail has and organization similar to the Santa Fe one, and are joined in the Partnership for the National Trails System.
Being an Old Highway sort of person, this takes me back one more step into history. The roads before they were mostly paved.
Hit the Road, Er, Trail. --RoadDog