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NATIONAL TRAILS SYSTEM ACT, 1968
AN ACT TO ESTABLISH A NATIONAL
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. This Act may be cited as the "National Trails System Act".
STATEMENT OF POLICY
SEC. 2. (a) In order to provide for the ever-increasing outdoor recreation needs of an expanding population and in order to promote public access to, travel within, and enjoyment and appreciation of the open-air, outdoor areas of the Nation, trails should be established (i) primarily, near the urban areas of the Nation, and (ii) secondarily, within established scenic areas more remotely located.
(b) the purpose of this Act is to provide the means for attaining these objectives by instituting a national system of recreation and scenic trails, by designating the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail as the initial components of that system, and by prescribing the methods by which, and standards according to which, additional components may be added to the system.
NATIONAL TRAILS SYSTEM
SEC. 3. The national system of trails shall be composed of—
(a) National recreation trails, established as provided in section 4 of this Act, which will provide a variety of outdoor recreation uses in or reasonably accessible to urban areas.
(b) National scenic trails, established as provided in section 5 of this Act, which will be extended trails so located as to provide for maximum outdoor recreation potential and for the conservation and enjoyment of the nationally significant scenic, historic, natural, or cultural qualities of the areas through which such trails may pass.
(c) Connecting or side trails, established as provided in section 6 of this Act, which will provide additional points of public access to national recreation or national scenic trails or which will provide connections between such trails.
The Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture, in consultation with appropriate governmental agencies and public and private organizations, shall establish a uniform marker for the national trails system.
NATIONAL RECREATION TRAILS
SEC. 4. (a) The Secretary of the Interior, or the Secretary of Agriculture, where lands administered by him are involved, may establish and designate national recreation trails, with the consent of the Federal agency, State, or political subdivision having jurisdiction over the lands involved, upon finding that—
(i) such trails are reasonably accessible to urban areas, and, or (ii) such trails meet the criteria established in this Act and such supplementary criteria as he may prescribe. (b) As provided in this section, trails within park, forest, and other recreation areas administered by the Secretary of the Interior or the Secretary of Agriculture or in other federally administered areas may be established and designated as "National Recreation Trails" by the appropriate Secretary and, when no Federal land acquisition is involved—
(i) trails in or reasonably accessible to urban areas may be designated as "National Recreation Trails" by the Secretary of the Interior with the consent of the States, their political subdivisions, or other appropriate administering agencies, and (ii) trails within park, forest, and other recreation areas owned or administered by States may be designated as "National Recreation Trails" by the Secretary of the Interior with the consent of the State.
NATIONAL SCENIC TRAILS
SEC. 5. (a) National scenic trails shall be authorized and designated only by Act of Congress. There are hereby established as the initial National Scenic Trails:
(1) The Appalachian Trail, a trail of approximately two thousand miles extending generally along the Appalachian Mountains from Mount Katahdin, Maine, to Springer Mountain, Georgia. Insofar as practicable, the right-of-way for such trail shall comprise the trail depicted on the maps identified as "Nationwide System of Trails, Proposed Appalachian Trail, NST-AT-101-May 1967", which shall be on file and available for public inspection in the office of the Director of the National Park Service. Where practicable, such rights-of-way shall include lands protected for it under agreements in effect as of the date of enactment of this Act, to which Federal agencies and States were parties. The Appalachian Trail shall be administered primarily as a footpath by the Secretary of the Interior, in consultation with the Secretary of Agriculture.
(2) The Pacific Crest Trail, a trail of approximately two thousand three hundred fifty miles, extending from the Mexican-California border northward generally along the mountain ranges of the west coast States to the Canadian-Washington border near Lake Ross, following the route as generally depicted on the map, identified as "Nationwide System of Trails, Proposed Pacific Crest Trail, NST-PC-103-May 1967" which shall be on file and available for public inspection in the office of the Chief of the Forest Service. The Pacific Crest Trail shall be administered by the Secretary of Agriculture, in consultation with the Secretary of the Interior.
(3) The Secretary of the Interior shall establish an advisory council for the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, and the Secretary of Agriculture shall establish an advisory council for the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail. The appropriate Secretary shall consult with such council from time to time with respect to matters relating to the trail, including the selection of rights-of-way, standards, of the erection and maintenance of markers along the trail, and the administration of the trail. The members of each advisory council, which shall not exceed thirty-five in number, shall serve without compensation or expense to the Federal Government for a term of five years and shall be appointed by the appropriate Secretary as follows:
(i) A member appointed to represent each Federal department or independent agency administering lands through which the trail route passes and each appointee shall be the person designated by the head of such department or agency;
(ii) A member appointed to represent each State through which the trail passes and such appointments shall be made from recommendations of the Governors of such States;
(iii) One or more members appointed to represent private organizations, including landowners and land users, that, in the opinion of the Secretary, have an established and recognized interest in the trail and such appointments shall be made from recommendations of the heads of such organizations: Provided, That the Appalachian Trail Conference shall be represented by a sufficient number of persons to represent the various sections of the country through which the Appalachian Trail passes; and
(iv) The Secretary shall designate one member to be chairm an man and shall fill vacancies in the same manner as the original appointment.
(b) The Secretary of the Interior, and the Secretary of Agriculture where lands administered by him are involved, shall make such additional studies as are herein or may hereafter be authorized by the Congress for the purpose of determining the feasibility and desirability of designating other trails as national scenic trails. Such studies shall be made in consultation with the heads of other Federal agencies administering lands through which such additional proposed trails would pass and in cooperation with interested interstate, State, and local governmental agencies, public and private organizations, and landowners and land users concerned. When completed, such studies shall be the basis of appropriate proposals for additional national scenic trails which shall be submitted from time to time to the President and to the Congress. Such proposals shall be accompanied by a report, which shall be printed as a House or Senate document, showing among other things—
(c) The following routes shall be studied in accordance with the objectives outlined in subsection (b) of this section:
SEC. 6. Connecting or side trails within park, forest, and other recreation areas administered by the Secretary of the Interior or Secretary of Agriculture may be established, designated, and marked as components of a national recreation or national scenic trail. When no Federal land acquisition is involved, connecting or side trails may be located across lands administered by interstate, State, or local governmental agencies with their consent: Provided, That such trails provide additional points of public access to national recreation or scenic trails.
ADMINISTRATION AND DEVELOPMENT
SEC. 7. (a) Pursuant to section 5(a), the appropriate Secretary shall select the rights-of-way for National Scenic Trails and shall publish notice thereof in the Federal Register, together with appropriate maps and descriptions: Provided, That in selecting the rights-of-way full consideration shall be given to minimizing the adverse effects upon the adjacent landowner or user and his operation. Development and management of each segment of the National Trails System shall be designated to harmonize with and complement any established multiple-use plans for that specific area in order to insure continued maximum benefits from the land. The location and width of such rights-of-way across Federal lands under the jurisdiction of another Federal agency shall be by agreement between the head of that agency and the appropriate Secretary. In selecting rights-of-way for trail purposes, the Secretary shall obtain the advice and assistance of the States, local governments, private organizations, and landowners and land users concerned.
(b) After publication of notice in the Federal Register, together with appropriate maps and descriptions, the Secretary charged with the administration of a national scenic trail may relocate segments of a national scenic trail right-of-way, with the concurrence of the head of the Federal agency having jurisdiction over the lands involved, upon a determination that: (i) such a relocation is necessary to preserve the purposes for which the trail was established, or (ii) the relocation is necessary to promote a sound land management program in accordance with established multiple-use principles: Provided, That a substantial relocation of the rights-of-way for such trail shall be by Act of Congress.
(c) National scenic trails may contain campsites, shelters related-public-use facilities. Other uses along the trail, which not substantially interfere with the nature and purposes of the trail may be permitted by the Secretary charged with the administration of the trail.
Reasonable efforts shall be made to provide sufficient access opportunities to such trails and, to the extent practicable, efforts shall be made to avoid activities incompatible with the purposes for which such trails were established. The use of motorized vehicles by the general public along any national scenic trail shall be prohibited and nothing in this Act shall be construed as authorizing the use of motorized vehicles within the natural and historical areas of the national park system, the national wildlife refuge system, the national wilderness preservation system where they are presently prohibited or on other Federal lands where trails are designated as being closed to such use by the appropriate Secretary: Provided, That the Secretary charged with the administration of such trail shall establish regulations which shall authorize the use of motorized vehicles when, in his judgment, such vehicles are necessary to meet emergencies or to enable adjacent landowners or land users to have reasonable access to their lands or timber rights: Provided, further, That private lands included in the national recreation or scenic trails by cooperative agreement of a landowner shall not preclude such owner from using motorized vehicles on or across such trails or adjacent lands from time to time in accordance with regulations to be established by the appropriate Secretary. The Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture, in consultation with appropriate governmental agencies and public and private organizations, shall establish a uniform marker, including thereon an appropriate and distinctive symbol for each national recreation and scenic trail. Where the trails cross lands administered by Federal agencies such markers shall be erected at appropriate points along the trails and maintained by the Federal agency administering the trail in accordance with the standards established by the appropriate Secretary and where the trails cross non-Federal lands, in accordance with written cooperative agreements, the appropriate Secretary shall provide such uniform markers to cooperating agencies and shall require such agencies to erect and maintain them in accordance with the standards established.
(d) Within the exterior of areas under their administration that are included in the right-of-way selected for a national recreation or scenic trail, the heads of Federal agencies may use lands for trail purposes and may acquire lands or interests in lands by written cooperative agreement, donation, purchase with donated or appropriated funds or exchange: Provided, That not more than twenty-five acres in any one mile may be acquired without the consent of owner.
(e) Where lands included in a national scenic trail right-of-way are outside of the exterior boundaries of federally administered areas, the Secretary charged with the administration of such trail shall encourage the States or local governments involved (1) to enter into written cooperative agreements with landowners, private organizations, and individuals to provide the necessary trail right-of-way, or (2) to acquire such lands or interests therein to be utilized as segments of the national scenic trail: Provided, That if the State or local governments fail to enter into such written cooperative agreements or to acquire such lands or interests therein with two years after notice of the selection of the right-of-way is published, the appropriate Secretary may (i) enter into such agreements with landowners, States, local governments, private organizations, and individuals for the use of lands for trail purposes, or (ii) acquire private lands or interests therein by donation, purchase with donated or appropriated funds or exchange in accordance with the provisions of subsection (g) of this section. The lands involved in such rights-of-way should be acquired in fee, if other methods of public control are not sufficient to assure their use for the purpose for which they are acquired:
Provided, That if the Secretary charged with the administration of such trail permanently relocates the right-of-way and disposes of all title or interest in the land, the original owner, or his heirs or assigns, shall be offered, by notice given at the former owner's last known address, the right of first refusal at the fair market price.
(f) The Secretary of the Interior, in the exercise of his exchange authority, may accept title to any non-Federal property within the right-of-way and in exchange therefor he may convey to the grantor of such property any federally owned property under his jurisdiction which is located in the State wherein such property is located and which he classifies as suitable for exchange or other disposal. The values of the properties so exchanged either shall be approximately equal, or if they are not approximately equal the values shall be equalized by the payment of cash to the grantor or to the Secretary as the circumstances require. The Secretary of Agriculture, in the exercise of his exchange authority, may utilize authorities and procedures available to him in connection with exchanges of national forest lands.
(g) The appropriate Secretary may utilize condemnation proceedings without the consent of the owner to acquire private lands or interests therein pursuant to this section only in cases where, in his judgment, all reasonable efforts to acquire such lands or interests therein by negotiation have failed, and in such cases he shall acquire only such title as, in his judgment, is reasonably necessary to provide passage across such lands: Provided, That condemnation proceedings may not be utilized to acquire fee title or lesser interests to more than twenty-five acres in any one mile and when used such authority shall be limited to the most direct or practicable connecting right-of-way: Provided further, That condemnation is prohibited with respect to all acquisition of lands or interest in lands for the purposes of the Pacific Crest Trail. Money appropriated for Federal purposes from the land and water conservation fund shall, without prejudice to appropriations from other sources, be available to Federal departments for the acquisition of lands or interests in lands for the purposes of this Act.
(h) The Secretary charged with the administration of a national recreation or scenic trail shall provide for the development and maintenance of such trails within federally administered areas and shall cooperate with and encourage the States to operate, develop, and maintain portions of such trails which are located outside the boundaries of federally administered areas. When deemed to be in the public interest, such Secretary may enter written cooperative agreements with the States or their political subdivisions, landowners, private organizations, or individuals to operate, develop, and maintain any portion of a national scenic trail either within or outside a federally administered area.
Whenever the Secretary of the Interior makes any conveyance of land under any of the public land laws, he may reserve a right-of-way for trails to the extent he deems necessary to carry out the purposes of this Act.
(i) The appropriate Secretary, with the concurrences of the heads of any other Federal agencies administering lands through which a national recreation or scenic trail passes, and after consultation with the States, local governments, and organizations concerned, may issue regulations, which may be revised from time to time, governing the use, protection, management, development, and administration of trails of the national trails system. In order to maintain good conduct on and along the trails located within federally administered areas and to provide for the proper government and protection of such trails, the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture shall prescribe and publish such uniform regulations as they deem necessary and any person who violates such regulations shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and may be punished by a fine of not more than $500, or by imprisonment not exceeding six months, or by both such fine and imprisonment.
STATE AND METROPOLITAN AREA TRAILS
SEC. 8. (a) The Secretary of the Interior is directed to encourage States to consider, in their comprehensive statewide outdoor recreation plans and proposals for financial assistance for State and local projects submitted pursuant to the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act, needs and opportunities for establishing park, forest, and other recreation trails on lands owned, or administered by States, and recreation trails on lands in or near urban areas. He is further directed, in accordance with the authority contained in the Act of May 28, 1963 (77 Stat. 49), to encourage States, political subdivisions, and private interests, including nonprofit organizations, to establish such trails.
(b) The Secretary of Housing and Urban Development is directed, in administering the program of comprehensive urban planning and assistance under section 701 of the Housing Act of 1954, to encourage the planning of recreation trails in connection with the recreation and transportation planning for metropolitan and other urban areas. He is further directed, in administering the urban open-space program under title VII of the Housing Act of 1961, to encourage such recreation trails.
(c) The Secretary of Agriculture is directed, in accordance with authority vested in him, to encourage States and local agencies and private interests to establish such trails.
(d) Such trails may be designated and suitably marked as parts of the nationwide system of trails by the States, their political subdivisions, or other appropriate administering agencies with the approval of the Secretary of the Interior.
RIGHTS-OF-WAY AND OTHER PROPERTIES
SEC. 9. (a) The Secretary of the Interior or the Secretary of Agriculture as the case may be, may grant easements and rights-of-way upon, over, under, across, or along any component of the national trails system in accordance with the laws applicable to the national park system and the national forest system, respectively: Provided, That any conditions contained in such easements and rights-of-way shall be related to the policy and purposes of this Act.
(b) The Department of Defense, the Department of Transportation, the Interstate Commerce Commission, the Federal Communications Commission, the Federal Power Commission, and other Federal agencies having jurisdiction or control over or information concerning the use, abandonment, or disposition of roadways, utility rights-of-way, or other properties which may be suitable for the purpose of improving or expanding the national trails system shall cooperate with the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture in order to assure, to the extent practicable, that any such properties having values suitable for trail purposes may be made available for such use.
SEC. 10. There are hereby authorized to be appropriated for the acquisition of lands or interests in lands not more than $5.000,000 for the Appalachian National Scenic Trail and not more than $500,000 for the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail.
Approved October 2, 1968.