CONTRA COSTA COUNTY, CA (Feb. 28, 2022) — Trail users in Mitchell Canyon may have seen those little red, white and blue rounded triangles with the U.S. map.
These new additions to the trail signage in Mt. Diablo State Park help guide backpackers traveling on the last few miles of a transcontinental trek on America’s first non-motorized cross-country trail. The American Discovery Trail, at the western end of its 6800-mile American transept crosses Contra Costa County, to reach its terminus at Pt. Reyes National Seashore.
Most folks don’t know that this national resource is in their neighborhoods. So, the American Discovery Trail Society has been working to secure national recognition like its shorter cousins such as the Pacific Crest Trail. That’s why our own Congressman Mark DeSaulnier agreed to introduce H.R. 4878 which would make the American Discovery Trail an official part of the U.S. National Trails System as a Discovery Trail. In fact, in a 1996 study, the National Park Service recommended adding the American Discovery Trail to the National Trails System.
Currently, H.R. 4878 has 59 bipartisan co-sponsors from 24 states. Seven representatives have co-sponsored from the nine California districts transited by the American Discovery Trail except two, Ami Bera and Tom McClintock, plus ten others from around the state. Letters of support from agencies and trail groups from all over the nation have been sent to Congress. Much effort has been made by the American Discovery Trail Society and Congressman DeSaulnier’s staff. The next crucial step is a hearing in the House Natural Resources Committee. What is needed is a solid push to secure this essential next step. We feel that when given this chance to explain the benefits of national designation and show how simple and non-threatening it is, support in the House will follow.
H.R. 4878 does not seek any public funds or appropriations. It is already boosting tourism and promoting economic growth to nearby communities. It promotes physical health and helps to unify the nation. And it encourages access to the outdoors to the many cities and communities through which it passes.
When future generations enjoy and benefit from a robust, well-known, coast-to-coast trail, that forms the backbone linking numerous other trails into the U.S. National Trails System, they will thank current leaders who had the wisdom and foresight to make this possible.
We urge Congressman DeSaulnier to continue his vital support and push for a hearing before the House Natural Resources Committee. It will benefit his district as well as the entire nation.
John Mercurio, Board member, American Discovery Trail Society and California Coordinator
Peter Schoettle, Secretary, American Discovery Trail Society and Maryland Coordinator