WASHINGTON (KNWA/KFTA) — A bill designating the Butterfield Overland Trail as a National Historic Trail has passed both houses of Congress and is headed to President Biden’s desk to be signed into law.
The route was used to transport mail and passengers between Memphis, St. Louis and San Francisco from 1858-1861 and spanned over 3,500 miles. An interactive map showing the trail’s route through Arkansas is available here.
Sen. John Boozman supported the legislative efforts and amended the original bill to “specifically preclude any potential effect on energy development, production or transmission as a result of the trail designation,” according to a media release.
This is a long-overdue recognition for the Butterfield Trail. Designating it as a National Historic Trail will preserve the story of westward expansion and Arkansas’s significant role in the growth and development of our country. This is the result of the vision of Arkansans passionate and determined to achieve this designation. I’m proud to champion this initiative and get it across the finish line,
Sen. John Boozman
The National Park Service conducted a study in 2018, determining that the trail met the requirements for recognition. Four segments of the Butterfield Trail in Arkansas have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The bill passed the U.S. Senate by unanimous consent on December 20, 2022 and passed by voice vote in the House on December 22, 2022. It was presented to President Biden on December 28, 2022.
Sen. Boozman was sworn in and began his third term representing Arkansas in the Senate on January 3.