What is the Trail?

What is the Trail? > Trail Planning

The National Trails System Act directs the National Park Service to prepare a plan for new national trails that describes how the trails will develop and be maintained. The purpose of the plan is to identify trail priorities through a consensus-driven planning process that involves trail partners and stakeholders. The plan describes how and where NPS and its partners will prioritize resource protection, provide education and interpretation, and improve the visitor experience in the future.

Comprehensive Management Plan

In June 2012 NPS, in coordination with Maryland Office of Tourism Development and Maryland State Highway Administration, completed a management plan for the trail and the companion Star-Spangled Banner Byway in Maryland.

Download the Executive Summary.

Download the 2013-2015 Action Plan.

Click on the links below to view sections of the management plan:

Focus Area Studies

Interpretive Themes

The Trail Interpretive Plan provides a foundation for the NPS and trail partners to develop meaningful trail experiences for a range of trail users.  The plan identifies target audiences for developing visitor experiences, provides visitor experience scenarios and goals, and highlights subthemes that cover varied learning motivations and interests. An Action Plan suggests education, orientation, interpretation and access projects that would enable trail users to explore the War of 1812 time period from multiple perspectives.

The plan identifies these target audiences for the trail:

  • Cultural heritage tourists
  • Residents
  • Walkers and hikers
  • Bicyclists
  • Water-based recreational visitors
  • 4th, 5th, 8th and 11th grade students
  • Virtual trail users

The four trail themes are:

  • Almost thirty years after gaining independence, Americans resisted a land and water invasion by Great Britain, and military events in the Chesapeake Bay region became central to the outcomes of a broader three-year struggle that established a foundation for the United States’ economic independence and military strength.
  • During the War of 1812, individuals in the Chesapeake Bay region endured great political, economic and emotional upheaval and faced personal choices that profoundly impacted domestic life, influenced the evolution of U.S. government and commerce, and had ramifications far beyond the battlefield.
  • In the early 1800s, the Chesapeake Bay region – due to its central location on the eastern seaboard, network of navigable waterways, robust natural resources and fertile agricultural lands – served as a hub for trade, industry and government, making it a prime target for the British.
  • The United States flag and “The Star-Spangled Banner” anthem - symbolizing the resilience of the new nation and the American character - inspired a renewed sense of nationalism in U.S. citizens after the War of 1812, and endure today as potent international icons of the United States of America.

Download the Trail Interpretive Plan.

Other Plans

In 2012 NPS, in coordination with Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Baltimore County and local stakeholders completed a concept plan for developing North Point State Battlefield and strengthening connections with nearby Battle Acre and Bear Creek.

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