Pennsylvania’s portion of Washington’s Trail could receive national designation under Kelly bill

The U.S. Secretary of the Interior would be directed to conduct a study on the feasibility of designating Washington’s Trail, a driving route through western Pennsylvania and other states, as a national historic trail under a bipartisan bill introduced by U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA).

“By designating Washington’s Trail as a national historic trail, we create an opportunity to preserve this history, to build community pride, to connect communities, promote economic revitalization, and create jobs while telling this story of George Washington and the birth of our nation,” Rep. Kelly said on Monday.

The congressman on Nov. 29 sponsored H.R. 6506 alongside five original cosponsors, including U.S. Reps. Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA), Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA), and Summer Lee (D-PA).

Washington’s Trail traces the steps of America’s first president, George Washington, who during his first military and diplomatic venture in 1753-1754 traveled to Fort LeBoeuf in what today is Waterford, Pa. 

The trail, which includes portions of Maryland, West Virginia, and Virginia, crosses through Butler, Venango, Mercer, Crawford, and Erie counties in Pennsylvania. Today, the route follows major roads, but in some areas there are scenic or alternate historic routes suggested that may more closely align with Washington’s original travels, according to Washington’s Trail 1753, a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation.

On Nov. 30, according to Rep. Kelly’s staff, volunteers with Washington’s Trail installed an information marker in Butler County, Pa., to commemorate George Washington’s visit 270 years to the day.

“I commend the work of local volunteers who have brought George Washington’s journey to life,” said Rep. Kelly. “This legislation builds upon their work for current and future generations to enjoy.”

H.R. 6506 has been referred to the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee for consideration.