A blue sky and a peaceful beach with blue water

The Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail is a growing network that provides visitors the opportunity to bike, hike, or paddle

NPS Photo / Guell

Foundation Document: Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail (October 2014)

The Foundation Document is intended to capture existing practices to administer the federal interest in the Trail, to summarize plans and policies to date, and to serve as a basis for future coordination, site specific planning and Trail corridor-wide decision-making; in particular, the content is intended to serve as a foundation for comprehensive management of the Trail network, and as a reference for NPS staff and Trail management partners, volunteer-based organizations, and others with an interest in the Trail network. Click here to download the full 44-page document (2.5 MB, low-res PDF) and here to download the four-page Overview (4.6 MB).


Potomac Heritage NST Interpretive Concept Plan

A series of meetings and discussions in 2004 led to completion of an "interpretive concept plan," which established a foundation for interpretation, described opportunities and provided some direction for Trail stakeholders.


Plans and Planning

Local, regional and state plans and planning processes address particular sections of the Trail corridor and participation in local planning processes has been and continues to be essential to complete the Trail network. Following are some links to such plans:


More documents

Documents developed over the past 20 years provide additional information about planning for and management of the Trail network, as well as the history and significance of the Trail:


...A Proposed National Scenic Trail

Authorized by Congress in the National Trails System Act of 1968, the former Bureau of Outdoor Recreation, Department of the Interior, published a "feasibility study" for the Potomac Heritage Trail in 1974. Click here to view or download a copy of the study (PDF; 28.5 MB).


The National Park Service Centennial in 2016

The Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail, one of eight national scenic trails within the National Trails System, is also considered a "unit" of the National Park System. While many have come to describe the Trail as a partnership or network, the dual designations suggest roles for Trail partners and projects leading up to the celebration of the National Park Service Centennial in 2016. The attached document, for your information and comment, indicates a "strategy" for Trail administration over the next eight years.

Read the Potomac Heritage NST Centennial Strategy

Centennial Vision

In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service in 2016, America invites the world to discover the meaning of national parks to their lives and inspires people to both experience and become devoted to these special places.

On August 25, 2006–-the 90th anniversary of the National Park Service–-Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne launched the National Park Centennial Initiative to prepare national parks for another century of conservation, preservation and enjoyment. Since then the National Park Service asked citizens, park partners, experts and other stakeholders what they envisioned for a second century of national parks.

A nationwide series of more than 40 listening sessions produced more than 6,000 comments that helped to shape five centennial goals. The goals and vision were presented to President Bush and to the American people on May 31st in a report called The Future of America's National Parks.

Every national park staff took their lead from this report and created local centennial strategies to describe their vision and desired accomplishments by 2016. This is just the first year, and there are many great things to come as the National Park Service prepares to celebrate 100 years!

To keep up with the Centennial Initiative and to experience the interactive version of The Future of America's National Parks and special features please visit the centennial website at


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