50 Years of the PCT as a National Scenic Trail

NTSA Signing

October 2nd, 1968: President Lyndon Johnson examines a map of “Areas Authorized for Establishment as Scenic by Act of Congress.”

The simplest pleasures—and healthful exercise—of walking in an outdoor setting have been almost impossible for the millions of Americans who live in the cities. Our history of wise management of America’s national forests has assisted us in designating the initial elements of the National Trails System. Two National Scenic Trails, one in the East and one in the West, are being set aside as the first components of the Trails System: the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail. —Lyndon Baines Johnson

Throughout 2018, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Pacific Crest Trail’s designation as a National Scenic Trail. The PCT and the Appalachian Trail were our nation’s first National Scenic Trails, designated by an extraordinary, bipartisan act of Congress and signed into law as the NTSA (National Trails System Act) by President Lyndon Johnson on October 2, 1968.

Starting with these two trails, our system of national trails has expanded to 11 National Scenic Trails, 19 National Historic Trails, and over a thousand National Recreational Trails. It is a system admired and envied worldwide, and a pinnacle of American achievement in the 1960’s—a decade that also gave us the Wilderness Act.

To learn more about the National Trails System Act and our National Scenic, Historic, and Recreational Trails, visit the Trails50.org website.

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