U.S. Sen. Chris Coons visited Cape Henlopen State Park in Lewes on Tuesday to announce legislation recognizing the American Discovery Trail.
The 6,800 coast-to-coast trail begins at Cape Henlopen and continues through 15 states and the District of Columbia before ending in Point Reyes, California. The trail, the first east-to-west recreational trail in the U.S., was founded by hiking enthusiasts in 1989.
“It wasn’t marked, there wasn’t a clear route, much of it was on roads, much of it was on trails,” Coons said. “At times, it crossed through national forests and national parks, but this journey from west to east across 4,800 miles of America’s gorgeous history and scenery, they realized ought to be easier.”
In the early 1990s, legislation was created for recognition of the ADT by the National Trail System. While the Senate passed the legislation unanimously, it was never brought up in the House.
The National Trails System currently features eight national scenic trails, 15 national historic trails, and more than 1,000 national recreational trails.
Coons explained that the recognition will help keep the ADT maintained.
“It will help with signage, it will help with coordination, it will help with access and safety,” Coons said.