As required by the National Trails System Act, a study completed by the National Park Service in 2004 demonstrated that the proposed Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail met three eligibility criteria:
- Be a trail or route established by historic use and must be historically significant as a result of that use. A designated trail should generally follow the historic route but may deviate somewhat on occasion of necessity to avoid difficult routing or for more pleasurable recreation.
- Have national significance with respect to any of several broad facets of American history, such as trade and commerce, exploration, migration and settlement, or military campaigns.
- Have significant potential for public recreational use or historical interest based on historic interpretation and appreciation.
The 2004 study also determined that the Trail’s national significance lay in two areas -- the Campaign’s significance to the outcome of the War of 1812, and the Campaign’s impacts on the structure, policies, priorities, and identity of an evolving nation with a newly defined Federal government.
The study also identified the following potential interpretive themes based on the region’s resources and significance:
- International Political Framework
- Test of Democracy
- Myths, Stories and Legends
- Nationalism and patriotism
- National Capital
- National Flag
- Defense Policy
- Trade and commerce
- Role of civilians and free blacks
- Role of the First Lady
These themes will be explored during the comprehensive management planning process, and refined or expanded based on discussions with Trail partners and comments from the public.
The study also confirmed that the Trail can encourage preservation, interpretation and recreation activities that enhance awareness of and protect threatened resources through land and water conservation, interpretation, managed access, and stewardship.
Click here to read the 2004 feasibility study.