From the 6/5 BMTA newsletter:

“Earlier this week, the president of the public advocacy and lobbying firm that repre- sents the Benton MacKaye Trail Association (BMTA)—Monument Advocacy— uttered an important truth to our National Scenic Trail Working Group: We can’t get the trail designated as a National Scenic Trail (NST) without a bill being introduced. And, yes, the Benton MacKaye National Scenic Trail Act (BMNSTA) has been rein- troduced in the House of Representatives again this year!
That doesn’t mean the Benton MacKaye Trail (BMT) will be designated a NST by Congress this year, but if there is no bill, there’s no designation. It’s an important first step. If you like numbers, the bill’s number is HR #3683.
Again this year, Representatives Steve Cohen ( Democratic from Tennessee) and Chuck Fleischman ( Republican from Tennessee) joined forces to introduce the bill to designate the BMT as a NST. See Representative Cohen’s press release here.
We are grateful to them and to Representatives Scott Desjarlais (Republican from Tennessee), Lucy McBath (Democrat from Georgia), David Scott (Democrat from Georgia), and Chuck Edwards (Republican from North Carolina), the original cospon- sors of the bill. Along with Representative Fleischman, newly elected Representative Edwards also represents a district that the BMT goes through - we now have repre- sentatives from two-thirds of the districts the BMT goes through actively supporting the BMNSTA.
National Scenic Trails were first authorized by Congress in 1968, with the Appalachi- an Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail being the first to receive that designation. Since then, nine additional NSTs have been designated. It has been 13 years since Congress designated a new NST—past time, I’d say, for number twelve!
The BMT is a most deserving candidate. NSTs must be more than 100 miles long and have exceptional scenic beauty. In addition, a strong nonprofit organization is needed to act as a partner to manage and maintain the trail. The BMT meets these requirements as well as or better than previous trails that have sought and received the NST designation. Ninety-five percent of the BMT’s 288 miles are on federally protected land—either a National Forest or National Park. Since its completion in 2005, the trail’s route is continuous. The BMT was first construct- ed and has been successfully maintained by BMTA’s volunteers for 43 years. The beauty of the southern Appalachian Mountains is unequivocally stunning.
Let’s get behind this—call or write your member of Congress and urge them to support HR 3683, the Benton MacKaye National Scenic Trail Act!”

Direct link: