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Representatives DeSaulnier and Fortenberry Introduce Legislation to Expand and Support the National Trails System

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressmen Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11) and Jeff Fortenberry (NE-01) announced the introduction of the National Discovery Trails Act (H.R. 4878) to expand the National Trails System by adding the existing American Discovery Trail (ADT), the nation’s only coast-to-coast multi-use trail, and creating a new category of long-distance trails, known as National Discovery Trails. This bill would help to connect wilderness areas and national parks with rural towns and big cities alike in an effort to promote family-oriented recreation, physical health, and economic development.

“Particularly throughout the pandemic, we have seen the importance of accessible public lands to Americans’ physical and mental wellbeing,” said Congressman DeSaulnier. “As someone who has gone for hundreds of runs on part of the American Discovery Trail, I know just how much benefit it brings to our communities. An expansion of the National Trails System would allow more families to spend time together in nature and stay active, and I am happy to join Congressman Fortenberry in pushing for this goal.”

“I’m pleased to support the National Discovery Trails Act, enabling the creation of the American Discovery Trail (ADT), our nation’s first coast-to-coast, multi-use national trail. The ADT connects urban and wilderness areas to historic, cultural, and scenic sites across the U.S., promoting healthy recreation, historical awareness, and economic growth,” said Congressman Fortenberry.

“The American Discovery Trail Society is thrilled that Congressman Mark DeSaulnier has introduced a bill making the American Discovery Trail an official part of the US National Trail System as a discovery trail. We look forward to rapid committee action and House passage. His leadership will strengthen the nation’s only coast to coast non-motorized trail and help thousands of walkers, bikers and hikers enjoy the nation’s scenery, history, and cultural sites. We hope that linking hundreds of local routes and trails into one national trail will help Americans get to know their country better, appreciate its beauty and history, and strengthen our national unity,” said Peter Schoettle, Congressional Liaison and Secretary on the Executive Committee of the American Discovery Trail Society.  

The ADT stretches 6,800 miles from Delaware to California across 15 states and locally runs through Antioch to the summit of Mt. Diablo, through Walnut Creek. Designating it as part of the National Trails System will ensure the entire trail is accessible, user-friendly, and well maintained.

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