National Historic Trail Destination

Show Your Support For The National Historic Trail Designation For The Chisholm and Great Western Trails
January 5, 2015 Through March 6, 2015

The Time is Now to Show Your Support for the National Historic Trail 
The National Park Service has completed its comprehensive (170 page) study of designating the Chisholm Trail and the Great Western Trail as National Historic Trails under the National Historic Trails Program.The entire study and invitation for comment is on available on line under "National Park Service - Chisholm and Great Western Feasibility Study". Follow the link below to read the study. You do not have to read the study in it's entirety to make a comment.

National Park Service - PEPC - Chisholm and Great Western NHT Feasibility Study/Environmental Assessment

When you are ready to submit a comment use this link.  

You will find a "Comment Now" button on the page that will take you to the comment form. Please read information below for suggestions for crafting your comments.

Continue to read for talking points to include in your comments.

We are now in a 60 day comment period before the study goes to Congress for possible action. It is critical that we give strong support for the proposal to make these two trails National Historic Trails during this official comment period. 

It is our hope that all organizations and person interested in our cattle-western history and heritage tourism respond to the the invitation for comment by saying the following:

1. I support Alternative B of the study.
2. That you and your organization (if applicable) see great heritage and economic benefits to National Trail designations.
3. Mention that you and your area have strong connections to one of the trails through museums, festivals, events, education programs, historic markers, and history.
4. Thank Congress for authorizing the study, and commend the National Park Service for it's excellent as well as thorough study.
5. You look forward to having Congress implement the National Trail Designations, which might be in time for the 150th Anniversary of the Chisholm Trail in 2017.

This designation will benefit towns both on and off of the trails. We appreciate your support.  

Trail Study News

Chisholm and Great Western NHT Feasibility Study and Environmental Assessment

In March 2009, Congress passed the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 (P.L.111-11), one section of which called for the Secretary of the Interior to Study the Chisholm and Great Western trails for their potential designation as national historic trails.

Some 10 million cattle moved north from Texas to the central plains states on these trails.  After the Civil War, Texas was cash-poor but cattle-rich, and there was no easy or cheap way to bring longhorns from Texas to markets in the mid-western and eastern states.

But trader Jesse Chisholm had pioneered a route that spanned much of that gap, and visionary cattle buyer named Joseph G. McCoy transformed the region’s postwar economy in 1867 when he built stockyards in Abilene, Kansas, and coaxed Texas drovers to head north.  By 1870 a new market had emerged along the so-called Chisholm Trail.  Texas rebounded from its economic depression and the cowboy became an American icon that would prove an enduring symbol of courage, grit, and devil-may-care adventure.

The Chisholm Trail was a major trail through the early 1870s, but westward settlement forced the drovers on to the new Western Trail, which carried the trade well into the 1880s.  Continued settlement and new railroad construction forced the closure of the cattle trails, but as a symbol of the west, these trails and their legacy remain as vivid as ever.

What is a National Historic Trail?

A national historic trail (NHT) is an extended trail that follows as closely as possible the original routes of travel associated with important historic events. 

Examples of other national historic trails include the Oregon trail, Santa Fe Trail, Nez Perce (Nee-Me-Poo), and El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro.  Trail designations are continuous from end to end, but may include sections of lands areas, land or water segments, or other specific sites.

Some historic sites and trail segments are in private ownership, and other sites and segments are in public ownership.  Participation in the national historic trail program is voluntary, and private landowners along the trail retain all legal rights to their property.