History of the Foundation

The Nez Perce Trail Foundation exists to promote the development of the trail on the ground and to further the interpretation of events of this most significant journey.

In 1965 the Nez Perce National Historical Park was established by law; a year later the National Historic Preservation Act was passed, followed by the National Trails System Act in 1968. On October 6, 1986 the Nez Perce National Historic Trail Act amended the National Trails System Act to create the NPNHT. On July 19, 1991 the Nez Perce National Historic Trail Foundation was formed. On August 2, 2003 the name became the Nez Perce Trail Foundation.



  • Nez Perce National Historical Park established by Public Law 89-19.


  • National Historic Preservation Act, as amended, Public Law 89-665.


  • National Trails System Act. Public Law 90-543, 82 STAT. 919 as amended; 16 U.S.C. 1241 (note), 1241-1249. This law defined the process for planning National Trails.


  • Nez Perce (Nee-Me-Poo) National Historic Trail Study. Public Law 94-527 authorized a joint study by the Forest Service and the National Park Service to determine whether the Nez Perce flight route of 1877 would qualify as a National Historic Trail.


  • American Indian Religious Freedom Act, Public Law 95-341.
  • Public Workshop information packet on the Nez Perce (Nee-Me-Poo) National Historic Trail, Forest Service and National Park Service.
  • October. Nez Perce (Nee-Me-Poo) Trail Study, a cooperative study by the National Park Service and the Forest Service for the purpose of determining whether the trail should be added to the National Trails System.


  • Archaeological Resources Protection Act, Public Law 96-95.


  • March. Nez Perce National Historical Park established by Public Law 89-19.


  • State of Idaho Indian Grave Law, Idaho Code Sec. 18-7027 and Sec. 27-501.


  • July 1. “Nez Perce (Nee-Me-Poo) Trail: Decision Notice & Environmental Assessment.” Peter C. Myers, Assistant Secretary of Agriculture, adopts the joint Forest Service/National Park Service Alternative C-1: Designate the entire 1,170-mile route. Mark along highways and other connecting roads. Develop only specific portions of the 306 miles of identified high potential route segments on federal lands or lands managed by the states.


  • October 6. The Nez Perce National Historic Trail Act, 99th Congress, Public Law 99-445, 100 STAT. 1122. This law amended the National Trails System Act to create the NPNHT.


  • May. Advisory Council was formed, as required by Sec. 5d of the NTS Act, to assist with the preparation of the NPNHT Comprehensive Plan. Regional Forester John Mumma served actively as Advisory Council Chairman. The purpose of the council was to advise the Secretary of Agriculture on the development and management of the NPNHT. Its continuing role was to comment on and make appropriate recommendations about specific trail segments as they were considered for formal additions to the NPNHT system, and to monitor the development and concerns of specific user groups or governmental entities on a state-by-state basis.
  • August 29. Advisory Council renewed by Clayton Yeutter, U.S. Department of Agriculture.


  • October 5. Comprehensive Management Plan for the NPNHT was approved by the Forest Service (John W. Mumma, Regional Forester), the National Park Service (Jack Neckels, Acting Regional Director), and the Bureau of Land Management (Marvin LeNoue, State Director of Montana). The purpose of the Comprehensive Plan is to establish and provide guidelines for planning, development, management, and protection of the Nez Perce National Historic Trail with sensitivity to its historic significance.


  • July. Advisory Council is disbanded to make way for the formation of the Foundation. The Foundation assumes the role of the Advisory Council.
  • July 19. Nez Perce National Historic Trail Foundation is formed. First meeting of the Board of Directors, Holiday Inn Parkside, Missoula, Montana. Foundation Bylaws drafted by Merle Wells and adopted unanimously. First officers elected: Harry Fritz, President; Richard L. Adams, Vice President; Sandi McFarland, Secretary; Leroy Anderson, Treasurer; Cheryl Wilfong, Editor.


  • May 15. Meeting of the Board of Directors, Kamiah Ranger Station, Kamiah, Idaho. The following committees were formed: Executive, Finance, Membership, Education. The president was given authority to appoint Ad Hoc committees.


  • October. The Foundation published its first newsletter, and the board of directors met in November in Missoula, Montana. The board has met annually since then, and published regular progress reports and newsletters.


  • November 14. The Foundation Bylaws were adopted.


  • August 2. Foundation name changed to Nez Perce Trail Foundation.


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