Broken Promise

About the Book

Over 50 years ago the 90th Congress and President Lyndon Johnson did something great for outdoor recreation in America. In 1968 they passed the National Trails System Act. It enabled the remaining 700 miles of the Appalachian Trail to be purchased, making it continuous from end to end and secure for posterity. It also created the structure for a system of national trails. It was clear in the Act that the A.T. was to be a prototype, which other trail associations could copy and then seek National Scenic Trail status. The second trail chosen to be part of this new trail system was the Pacific Crest Trail. The legislation requirement to add each new trail was similar. With one exception. The first trail had been granted eminent domain by Congress. None of the other 10 trails since 1968 was provided with this critical provision, and none is complete today. This book spotlights the dilemma created by this omission and other failings of the act to preserve and protect the original concept: a system of national footpaths, continuous and secure for posterity, that all Americans and foreign visitors can enjoy forever. First things first. Congress needs to schedule another oversight hearing to deal with this and other issues. It’s been 42 years since the last one, much too long.

*The Outdoor Foundation, a creation of the Outdoor Industry Association, provides research for its members. By their definition, a hiker is one who takes 14 or more outings a year.

Broken Promise
Hardcover and Softcover: 146 pages
Language: English
Dimensions: 5 x 0.34 x 8 inches

Hardcover: $21.95
Softcover: $14.95

Book Type

Praise for Jim Kern’s Broken Promise: The Plight of Our National Trails

There is only one Jim Kern. Visionary, bold, passionate about the hiking community, Jim looks at the current unappealing limbo in which the half century old National Trail System finds itself. Unwilling to see these national treasures lost to inertia, Jim, with unassailable logic, proposes an ambitious yet practical course of action. Future hikers will be grateful if we heed his clarion call and complete this important mission that directly touches the lives of millions of Americans.

– Larry Luxenberg, A.T. thru hiker; founder, Appalachian Trail Museum

The explosion of millions of hikers on the Appalachian Trail is an urgent call for Congressional action. Founder of the Florida National Trail, Jim Kern, spells out here in excruciating detail the aid needed by other National Hiking Trails similar to what Congress did for completion of the Appalachian Trail in 1978.

– Bill Kemsley, founder of Backpacker magazine and Appalachian Trail Hall of Fame inductee

Dangerous road walks, overcrowded trail heads, and disheartening gaps currently define most of our National Scenic Trails. Jim Kern’s book provides us with a blueprint of how Congress should fix America’s inadequate long trails network.

– Ronald Strickland, founder, Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail

When Jim Kern voices his concern for the future of the National Trails System, he speaks from the heart—and from experience. In attendance at the first oversight hearings that Congress called a decade after the National Trails System Act was established in 1968, Kern remains resolute about the need for the federal government to properly fund and guide the program to ensure that these trails are completed. This volume speaks to the root of the problem and offers solutions.

– Sandra Friend, author, 10 books on the Florida Trail, plus 30 others

America has abandoned one of its greatest recreational resources, its federally designated trails. Jim Kern has made the appeal with passion for the ‘plight’, no, ‘scandal’ that must be addressed if we are going to have these special places.

– Paul Pritchard, In 1968, President of the Appalachian Trail Conference

Help Close the Gaps, Please Tell A Friend!