On America’s Trails

September 30, 2016

stelprdbLet’s talk briefly about two American legends celebrated on screen and page. One stretches 2,160 miles from Mount Katahdin, Maine to Springer Mountain, Georgia. The second covers 2,665 miles from America’s southern and northernmost borders along the mountain ranges of Washington, Oregon, and California.

They’re the Appalachian and Pacific Crest Trails, respectively—the first scenic trails designated by the Federal government nearly a half-century ago. On October 2, 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the National Trails System Act into law. It established a network of scenic, historic, and recreation trails. You can read the original act on GPO’s govinfo.

Until 1968, the Federal government simply built and maintained trails on Federal lands. The National Trails System Act expanded that role by providing funding and support for interstate coordination and volunteer partnerships. Today, the National Trails System includes 20 national scenic and historic trails traversing nearly 40,000 miles.

In addition to making the National Trails System Act available on govinfo, GPO makes available these trail-related resources:

024-005-01277-0National Trails System: Map and Guide

This National Park Service full-color map depicts eight national scenic trails and nine national historic trails. The National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, and Bureau of Land Management work in concert to keep trails well-marked and well-monitored. Check out the NPS website for the complete list of scenic and historic trails.

The Iditarod National Historic Trail (Poster)

024-011-00198-1_01On one side of this U.S. Forest Service poster is a timeline and map.  On the other side is a photo of a 1913 dog sled mail team. Together, they commemorate a historic 1,500 miles stretch of winter travel tracks connected to form America’s last gold rush trail.

Upon throwing his support behind a national system of trails, President Johnson said, “The forgotten outdoorsmen of today are those who like to walk, hike, ride horseback, or bicycle. For them we must have trails as well as highways…In the back country we need to copy the great Appalachian Trail in all parts of our country…”


Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov.

Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the author: Blogger contributor Chelsea Milko is a Public Relations Specialist in GPO’s Public Relations Office.

A Portrait of America in Maps

December 2, 2010

When I was a kid, I was fascinated by geography.  I liked to pore over the maps of the various continents, with their bright colors and exotic place names. Later, as a history major, I was even more taken with historical maps – those that showed countries that arose, changed their boundaries, or sometimes vanished altogether. I guess it’s a sort of progression from the simple to the complex, but now I’m often drawn to maps that reveal the social and economic makeup of a state, a region, or a nation. I’m more verbal than visual, but an image does make these intangible influences on our world more concrete for me.

That brings me to the Census Bureau’s Census Atlas of the United States. Through my work at GPO, I had an inside view of the various stages of development that converted raw data from the 2000 census of population into the really incredible profusion of maps that fill this huge (about 12.25 x 15.25 inches), colorful, (I know from personal experience the diligence and talent that went into producing these huge full-color maps) and (dare I say it?) unique publication.

It’s unique because this atlas, more than any publication I can think of, visually portrays the key trends in American life at the turn of the century – age and sex, ethnicity, work life, education, income and poverty, housing – that comprise everyday reality for all of us in this country. For example, I’m Scottish on my father’s side and Polish on my mother’s side. I can look at the Ancestry section, see maps depicting the distribution of those Americans who self-identify as either, and learn that there are a lot of both in the Northeast. It also tells me where in the country I’m more likely to find kielbasa or mince and tatties if I get a craving (experts say that when self-conscious ethnicity fades, food is the last thing to go!)

Seriously, though, the Atlas covers virtually every longer-term social and economic trend you can call to mind, all illustrated by maps that make it easier to grasp those trends. You can look at this outstanding book here, get a personal copy here, or find it in a library. Meanwhile, I’ll be planning my ethnic food trip…

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