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                                                      Calendar No. 601
114th Congress      }                                   {       Report
 2d Session         }                                   {      114-328


                  AMERICAN DISCOVERY TRAIL ACT OF 2016


               September 6, 2016.--Ordered to be printed


  Ms. Murkowski, from the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 2608]

    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, to which was 
referred the bill (S. 2608) to authorize the Secretary of the 
Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture to place signage on 
Federal land along the trail known as the ``American Discovery 
Trail,'' and for other purposes, having considered the same, 
reports favorably thereon without amendment and recommends that 
the bill do pass.


    The purpose of S. 2608 is to authorize the Secretary of the 
Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture to place signage on 
Federal land along the trail known as the ``American Discovery 

                          BACKGROUND AND NEED

    The American Discovery Trail (Trail) is our nation's only 
coast-to-coast, non-motorized, multi-use trail, and stretches 
across 6,800 miles and 15 states. Its route links existing 
trails, rail-trails, country lanes, small town sidewalks, and 
big city greenways. It connects rural towns and cities with 
parks and wilderness, and allows people to hike, bike, or ride 
horses for an afternoon or a cross-country adventure.
    The Trail uses existing public lands to connect: five 
National Scenic, 12 National Historic, and 34 National 
Recreational Trails; 14 National Parks; and 16 National 
Forests. It links some 10,000 sites of historic, cultural, and 
natural significance. The Trail is a ``sea-to-shining-sea'' 
showcase of America's scenic, historic, and cultural treasures.
    S. 2608 would authorize the Trail to be fully marked with 
signage. Currently, many federal, state, and local land 
managers will not allow signs to be installed without an 
official federal authorization. The bill would authorize 
signage only and would not change or effect management of lands 
along the Trail.

                          LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    S. 2608 was introduced by Senators Kirk and Coons on March 
1, 2016. The Subcommittee on National Parks held a hearing to 
consider the bill on March 17, 2016.
    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources met in open 
business session on July 13, 2016, and ordered S. 2608 
favorably reported.

                        COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATION

    The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, in 
open business session on July 13, 2016, by a majority voice 
vote of a quorum present, recommends that the Senate pass S. 

                      SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS

Section 1. Short title

    Section 1 provides a short title for the measure.

Section 2. Definitions

    Section 2 provides definitions.

Section 3. Signage along the American Discovery Trail

    Section 3 directs the Secretary to place signage on Federal 
land as soon as practicable, and specifies that no Federal 
funds may be used to acquire such signage.


    The following estimate of costs of this measure has been 
provided by the Congressional Budget Office:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                   Washington, DC, August 19, 2016.
Hon. Lisa Murkowski,
Chairman, Committee on Energy and Natural Resources,
U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.
    Dear Madam Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for S. 2608, the American 
Discovery Trail Act of 2016.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Jeff LaFave.
                                             Mark P. Hadley
                                        (For Keith Hall, Director).

S. 2608--American Discovery Trail Act of 2016

    S. 2608 would require federal land management agencies to 
place donated signage along the American Discovery Trail, a 
6,800-mile trail between Delaware and California. Based on 
information provided by the Department of the Interior (DOI), 
the Forest Service, and the likely donor of the signage, CBO 
estimates that the costs to implement the bill would not be 
significant. Enacting the legislation would not affect direct 
spending or revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do 
not apply.
    CBO estimates that enacting the legislation would not 
increase net direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of 
the four consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2027.
    Based on an analysis of information provided by the likely 
donor of the signage, CBO estimates that, under the bill, the 
Forest Service and agencies within DOI would be required to 
place between 2,500 and 5,000 small signs across the United 
States. Because we expect that the signage would be placed by 
employees performing routine trail maintenance and by 
volunteers supervised by the affected agencies, CBO estimates 
that implementing the bill would cost less than $500,000, 
assuming appropriation of the necessary amounts.
    S. 2608 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and 
would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal governments.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Jeff LaFave. The 
estimate was approved by Theresa Gullo, Assistant Director for 
Budget Analysis.


    In compliance with paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee makes the following 
evaluation of the regulatory impact which would be incurred in 
carrying out S. 2608. The bill is not a regulatory measure in 
the sense of imposing Government-established standards or 
significant economic responsibilities on private individuals 
and businesses.
    No personal information would be collected in administering 
the program. Therefore, there would be no impact on personal 
    Little, if any, additional paperwork would result from the 
enactment of S. 2608, as ordered reported.


    S. 2608, as ordered reported, does not contain any 
congressionally directed spending items, limited tax benefits, 
or limited tariff benefits as defined in rule XLIV of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate.

                        EXECUTIVE COMMUNICATIONS

    The testimony provided by the National Park Service at the 
March 17, 2016, Subcommittee on National Parks hearing on S. 
2608 follows:

  Statement of Peggy O'Dell, Deputy Director for Operations, National 
             Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior

    Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, thank you for 
the opportunity to present the views of the Department of the 
Interior on S. 2608, a bill to authorize the Secretary of the 
Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture to place signage on 
Federal land along the trail known as the ``American Discovery 
Trail'', and for other purposes.
    The Department would not oppose S. 2608, if amended to make 
the authority to place signage discretionary rather than 
mandatory, as explained later in this testimony.
    S. 2608 would direct the Secretary of the Interior and the 
Secretary of Agriculture to place signage denoting the American 
Discovery Trail, which is not part of the National Trail 
System, on Federal land at points along the trail, as soon as 
practicable after signage acceptable to the respective 
Secretary is donated. The bill also prohibits the use of 
Federal funds for the acquisition of this signage.
    The American Discovery Trail (ADT) was proposed in 1990 as 
a continuous mid-continent, coast-to-coast trail to link 
metropolitan areas to the nation's major long-distance trails, 
as well as to shorter local and regional trails. In October 
1992, through P.L. 102-461, Congress directed the Secretary of 
the Interior to study the feasibility and desirability of 
adding the ADT to the National Trails System. This study was 
completed in December of 1995, and submitted to Congress in 
1998. The over 6,000-mile route of the ADT, as described in 
this legislation and mapped in the feasibility study, extends 
from Cape Henlopen State Park in Delaware to Point Reyes 
National Seashore in California.
    The study found that the ADT could be appropriate for 
designation as a new class of national trails--National 
Discovery Trails--separate from National Scenic Trails or 
National Historic Trails. One of the primary reasons for 
proposing the establishment of National Discovery Trails would 
be to address a potential conflict with National Scenic Trails 
following roads. When the ADT was initially proposed, a guiding 
principle in identifying the trail's route was that it be 
located on public lands and rights-of-way to avoid the 
acquisition of private land. This meant that the proposed trail 
often was routed along roads. The National Trails System Act 
specifically prohibits the use of motorized vehicles along 
National Scenic Trails. This new class of trails could be 
located along roadways, if necessary, to make the trails 
    Congress has not taken action to authorize a new category 
of national trails within the national trails system or to 
designate the American Discovery Trail as part of that national 
system as the first National Discovery Trail.
    In addition, the Department is concerned that the 
requirement in S. 2608 to place signage denoting the American 
Discovery Trail on Federal land at points along the trail could 
compromise Federal land managers' ability to exercise their 
discretion with regard to the location of signage and the 
protection of sensitive resources.
    Individual Federal land managers may allow the signage of 
non-Federal trails upon Federal lands, where appropriate, and 
in accordance with existing Federal laws, regulations, and 
policies. However, Federal land managers also may decline a 
request to allow signage of a non-Federal trail in instances 
where they believe the signage may have a detrimental impact 
upon visitor safety or resource protection.
    Furthermore, significant portions of the American Discovery 
Trail are located along roadways. While existing Federal laws 
and regulations related to the signage of hiking trails along 
roadways could potentially preclude some conflicts, there are 
other instances in which the signage of a hiking trail is not 
specifically prohibited in law, but the Federal land manager 
may determine that the siting of signage in a particular 
location is inappropriate.
    The Department believes that Federal land managers should 
retain the ability that they have under current law to 
determine the appropriateness of signage on Federal lands. For 
that reason, the Department would not oppose the legislation if 
it is amended to allow individual Federal land managers the 
discretion to make the final determination regarding the 
location or inclusion of signage on Federal lands, consistent 
with Federal laws, regulations, and policies. We would be happy 
to provide suggested language to the committee.
    Mr. Chairman, this concludes my statement. I would be happy 
to answer any questions that you or other members of the 
subcommittee may have.

                        CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW

    In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee notes that no 
changes in existing law are made by the bill as ordered