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The National Trails Systems Act is Waived for Border Wall

2018 marks the 50th Anniversary of the National Trails System Act (NTSA), enacted to preserve and promote public access by foot, bicycle, or horseback to our nation’s scenic, historic, and recreational areas not accessible by road. Today 30 scenic and historic trails and over 1000 recreational trails are protected by this legislation.

The NTSA protects three types of national trails. National Scenic trails must be over 100 miles long, land-based, and provide access to nationally significant areas. The Appalachian Trail is an example of a National Scenic trail. National Historic trails must be long (but they can be shorter than 100 miles), may be water-based, and must follow routes of historical significance to our country, like the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail in Maryland. No length is required for designation as a National Recreational trail, and these trails are typically found in and around urban areas.

What are the consequences to the Sonoran Desert of waiving the NTSA to expedite the construction of a border wall? Several National Scenic or Historic trails crisscross the Sonoran Desert. The Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail runs 1,210 miles from Nogales, Arizona through the California desert to coastal southern California. The Arivaca Cienega and Arivaca Creek trails in the Buenos Aires Wildlife Refuge lie in proximity to the proposed border wall. And the Arizona National Scenic Trail begins at the Coronado National Monument on the Mexican border. Waiving the NTSA means that trails we have protected for 50 years, that provide public access to areas of great scenic, historic, or recreational significance, are no longer protected from damage, disturbance, or destruction when they lie in the vicinity of proposed border wall construction. Click here for a list of all 48 federal laws waived for the border wall.

Please contact your U.S. Senators and Representatives ( and let them know that you oppose waiving the National Trails System Act to expedite construction of a border wall. Click here if you would like to make a donation to help us fight the border wall.

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