California National Historic Trail


Management Documents

Challenge Cost Share Program and Forms

The purpose of the Challenge Cost Share Program (CCSP) is intended to increase participation by qualified partners in the preservation and improvement of National Park Service natural, cultural, and recreational resources; in all authorized Service programs and activities; and on national trails. NPS and partners should work together on projects with mutually beneficial, shared outcomes.

The CCSP is a matching fund program. An equal amount of eligible and matching share (minimum 50%) of cash, goods, or services from non-federal sources is required. The maximum CCSP award is $30,000. Projects selected should generally be able to be completed within one year.

One-third of the CCSP pot is earmarked for National Trails System Projects. Thus supporting work under the National Trails System Act (16 U.S.C. 1241-51), such as: National Scenic and Historic trails, National Scenic and Historic Trails in parks, National Recreation Trails, and rail-trail projects.

For additional information about this program and the application process, please follow this link to the Challenge Cost Share Program Application and Forms.

Certifying a National Historic Trail Site

National Historic Trails cross thousands of miles of public and private lands. Along those miles are physical traces of trail history, such as wagon ruts, graves, inscriptions, and campsites - places that tell about that history, such as museums and visitor interpretive centers. Many such traces and places are found on state lands, in nature preserves, in city parks, on private ranches, and even in suburban back yards.

These important pieces of trail history can be publicly commemorated and protected through the National Park Service (NPS) site certification program.

As the owner or manager of a certified trail site, segment, museum, or interpretive center located near a congressionally designated National Historic Trail, you can request guidance from NPS experts in many specialities. In addition, all trails partners may apply for Challenge Cost Share Program matching funds to help protect a trail property, make it accessible, research its history, or tell its story.

Trail Management & Planning

National Trails System Program

In 1968, Congress enacted the National Trails System Act and in 1978, National Historic Trail designations were added. The National Historic Trails System commemorates these historic routes and promotes their preservation, interpretation and appreciation.

This Comprehensive Management and Use Plan / Final Environmental Impact Statement is shaped, in part, by the planning requirements found in section 5(f) of the National Trails System Act (see appendix A). It focuses on the trails' purpose and significance, resource protection, visitor experience and use, and long-term administrative objectives.

Elements of the proposed plan have been developed in cooperation with federal, state, and local agencies, as well as various nonprofit trail organizations — the entities that form the core of any partnership for national historic trails.

This plan serves as a coordinating document that provides broadbased policies, guidelines, and standards for administering the four trails in such a manner as to ensure the protection of trail resources, their interpretation, and their appropriate public use.

The plan, finalized in 1999, is available either in printed form or as an Acrobat Reader digital document. It includes not only the California NHT, but also the Oregon, Mormon Pioneer, and the Pony Express trails as well.

Other Historic Trails Administered by the Salt Lake City Office

The California Trail closely followed the route taken by emigrants heading to the Oregon and Utah territories in the 1840s - 60s.

In the early 1860s, the Pony Express mail service basically followed the Great Platte River across Nebraska and the Sweetwater River in Wyoming, until it reached the Salt Lake Valley where it continued across the deserts of the Great Basin.

The Mormon Pioneer, Oregon, California, and Pony Express are all designated as national historic trails. Although the Mormons tried hard to avoid contact with other emigrant travelers, at times they all crossed paths - sometimes by chance and sometimes out of necessity. You may find it interesting to look at these other trails and the stories and experiences they shared.