Planning for the PHT happens at different scales and, most importantly, at local, regional and state levels: When the PHT is included in local and regional comprehensive plans; state comprehensive outdoor recreation plans; pedestrian and bicycle plans; and local, state and federal site plans, trail projects are more likely to be considered in the context of other plans (e.g., transportation planning); to become eligible for regional- and state-based funding (e.g., federally-funded Recreational Trails Program, Land and Water Conservation Fund, etc.); and to help address other goals (e.g., conservation, non-motorized transportation, heritage tourism). Planning processes are often a key to implementation.
At the scale of the PHT corridor, the following serve as guides for NPS staff and partners involved with PHT network planning and management:
- A Foundation Document (2015) captures existing practices to administer the Federal interest in the PHT network; summarizes plans and policies to date; serves as a basis for coordination, site specific planning and PHT corridor-wide decision-making; and acts as a reference for NPS staff, partners, volunteers, and others. You can review the core components of the Foundation and contact us for a four-page overview and/or the full document.
- Based on a series of meetings and discussions in 2004, an "Interpretive Concept Plan" for the PHT network articulated the significance of the PHT corridor; established interpretive themes; and described a set of actions to connect local resources with our national stories through outdoor recreation experiences.
- "A Communications Approach for the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail," a paper by the American Hiking Society, is based on interviews with and discussions among PHT advocates in 1997.
- The Potomac Heritage Trail: A Proposed National Scenic Trail (1974), a "feasibility study" authorized in the National Trails System Act in 1968, is the basis for PHT authorizing legislation in 1983. Completed by the (former) Bureau of Outdoor Recreation, the study was based on a concept for the PHT in Trails for America: Report on the Nationwide Trails Study (1966) and an uppublished "reconnaisance study" in 1965. From the 1974 study: