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 landowner or manager invites staff from the national historic trail's administering agency (the National Park Service or the Bureau of Land Management) 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/her property to daily visitation. Another might prefer to keep his/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?

Certification partners receive many benefits including:

  • Technical Assistance
  • Project Funding and Assistance
  • Recognition

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 trails staff in many specialties. In addition, all trail partners may apply for a variety of funding sources to help protect a trail property, make it accessible, research its history, or tell its story.

Becoming a Certified Partner

The process of becoming a certified trail partner is a collaborative effort between a property owner and the administering agency(s) of the trail. For sites related to the California, El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro, El Camino Real de los Tejas, Mormon Pioneer, Old Spanish, Oregon, Pony Express, Santa Fe, and Trail of Tears National Historic Trails, if you're interested in becoming a certified trail partner, please contact trails staff by emailing or by calling us.

Sites related to the Old Spanish and El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro National Historic Trails can also be certified by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).


Last updated: February 18, 2022