Capturing and preserving a 200-year-old slice of history is no easy task, and yet that's part of the task for the folks managing the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail, which ranges nearly 4,000 meandering miles from St. Louis to the Pacific Ocean.
With an eye on finalizing a Comprehensive Management Plan for the trail by the Fall of 2014, National Park Service managers are laying the foundation for developing a sound plan that will guide the trail's management for 15-20 years. Understandably, how visitors view and appreciate the trail are key to that final plan, and so the public's ongoing involvement is critical.
With that in mind, trail managers are asking for answers to the following questions:
1. What do you value most about Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail and is the trail important to you?
2. How do you experience the trail and what experiences would you like to have along the Trail?
3. Imagine you are visiting Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail 20 years from now. What do you think the trail should look like in the future? How can we today relate to this historic event, cultures, the past landscape setting and related stories from over two hundred years ago?
4. Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail is over 3,700 miles long and there may be some segments, or locations that are special to you or that you have concerns about. Please describe those places and your concerns for those places. If you have photographs of these same places please include in your comments, the name, location, and GPS coordinates, if known, of each photo along with a brief description of why this location is special.
5. What do you think are the most important issues affecting the trail and the long term preservation, use and enjoyment of this resource and associated resources?
6. How would you define “where” the trail is located and “what” makes the trail a National Historic Trail?
7. How should the National Park Service administer the trail?
8. Are there any other issues or concerns the National Park Service should address in this plan?
The deadline for your answers is October 30. Once all the comments have been received, managers will compile them and, along with existing data and staff input, develop a range of possible alternative futures for the Trail. Those alternatives are scheduled to be released in draft form next summer, at which point your input will be sought once again.
You can find more detailed information on this planning process, and leave your comments, at this site.