To Become Part of the National Historic Trail
Certification is a partnership that helps landowners protect and preserve their historic trail properties, and share them with others. The certification process begins when a landowners or manager invites National Park Service trails staff to evaluate a property's historical significance and condition. If the site has played a role in trail history and the owner will allow at least occasional public access, the partners together prepare a certification agreement. The owner/manager can establish visiting times, say where visitors may go on the property, and set other reasonable conditions. Next, the partners might begin planning for site protection and any other needs, such as walkways, signs, and exhibits.
The partnership allows plenty of room for choice and flexibility. For example, one owner might choose to install exhibits and sidewalks and open his property to daily visitation. Another might prefer to keep her land undeveloped and limit visits to an occasional school group or researcher. The needs of both owners can be met.
Why certify your site? The National Park Service offers many benefits to its certification partners:
Protection and Site Development Guidance
Project Funding and Assistance
As an owner or manager of a certified trail site, segment, museum, or visitor center located near a congressionally designated National Historic Trail, you can request guidance from National Park Service experts in many specialities. In addition, all trails partners may apply for Challenge Cost Share matching funds to help protect a trail property, make it accessible, research its history, or tell its story.
A guidebook, Guide to Partnership Certification Along National Historic Trails (April 2009) is available for viewing and printing. This guidebook provides information about the program.
A brochure, How to Certify Your National Historic Trail Property October 2010 (345 KB pdf) is available for viewing and printing.
A sample certification agreement is available for viewing and printing. Please consider this agreement to be an example, only.
The process of becoming a certified trail partner is a collaborative effort between a property owner and the National Park Service. So if you're interested in becoming a certified trail partner, please contact trails staff historian Frank Norris and describe the property that you would like to have considered for certification. He may be reached at: Frank_Norris@nps.gov or (505) 988-6005.
Did You Know?
Opened in 1821, the Santa Fe Trail became the lifeline for protection and communication between Missouri and Santa Fe. Military forts opened along the route to protect trail travel and trade, and freighting and merchant operations boomed.