Get ready, get set, go!
The Bureau of Land Management is pleased to announce the commencement of the proposed Alaska Long National Scenic Trail (NST) Feasibility Study to evaluate its eligibility and suitability for inclusion as a national scenic trail.
The proposed Alaska Long NST represents a 500-mile route extending from Seward, Alaska to Fairbanks, Alaska. The proposed routes represent a multi-braid trail. The proposed trail is comprised of existing and proposed routes which covers multiple land management patterns. The proposed trail traverses a variety of landscapes including forest, mountain, river, and valley landforms.
The Alaska Long NST Feasibility Study was directed by Congress in December 2022 under the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2023 (P.L. 117-328).
The purpose of the Alaska Long NST Feasibility Study is to evaluate the characteristics which make the proposed trail worthy of designation as a national scenic trail, as well as the feasibility, suitability, and desirability of designating the route as a national scenic trail. Findings of the trail study will be shared with Congress who has the sole authority to enact legislation to designate new national scenic trails.
What is a national scenic trail?
National scenic trails are designated by Congress and are established to provide for maximum outdoor recreation potential and for the conservation and enjoyment of the nationally significant scenic, historic, natural, or cultural qualities of the areas through which the proposed trail may pass.
Created by the National Trails System Act of 1968 (P.L. 90-543), national scenic trail designations may be located to represent a variety of landscape types including desert, marsh, grassland, mountain, canyon, river, and forests; or other landforms which exhibit significant characteristics of the physiographic regions of the Nation.
What is a national scenic trail feasibility study?
Prior to the designation of a national scenic trail Congress typically legislates that a national scenic trail study be completed. National scenic trail studies provide findings to Congress on the feasibility, suitability, and desirability of designating a route as a national scenic trail. It is important to note that national scenic trail studies are not decision-making documents, nor do they provide management-level decisions for the trail.
National scenic trail feasibility studies are undertaken following specific criteria that are provided in the National Trails System Act of 1968, as amended. The National Trails System Act specifies nine study requirements for national scenic trail designations.
The federal agency assigned to study the feasibility of the proposal has three fiscal years to complete it. Once a trail study is completed, it is transmitted to Congress. Congress has the sole authority to enact legislation to designate new national scenic trails.