Santa was good to participants in the ARRL National Parks on the Air (NPOTA) program, which gets under way on January 1. On December 23, the National Park Service (NPS) updated its official list of NPS Administrative Units. As a result, 18 new Scenic and Historic Trails and 29 new Wild and Scenic Rivers and have been added to the list of eligible NPOTA Units, increasing the number of NPOTA units from 434 to 481.
“More NPOTA units ultimately mean more fun, and we hope these additions make more activations possible for you or your club,” said ARRL Media and Public Relations Manager Sean Kutzko, KX9X.
Among the new Historic Trails on the NPOTA list are the five major trails associated with the westward expansion of the US in the 19th century: The Santa Fe, California, Mormon Pioneer, Lewis and Clark, and Pony Express National Historic Trails. The list also includes the North Country and Ice Age National Scenic Trails. These new trails represent thousands of miles of additional area from which NPOTA Activators may operate in 2016.
Not all of the trails and rivers added to the NPS Affiliated Areas list have been included on the NPOTA list, however, because many are administered by other federal agencies, such as the US Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management. Because NPOTA celebrates the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, units not administered by the NPS have not been added to the NPOTA list of eligible units.
While the unexpected addition of new NPOTA units is ultimately welcome, it has delayed the release of a TQSL update for Logbook Of the World (LoTW). ARRL staff worked over the holiday weekend to add the new units — and combinations of units — to the update, and this has required additional testing. The TQSL update will undergo final testing this week and be released as soon as possible.
The 11th hour addition of large trails and rivers also has made it necessary to revise some of the ground rules for certain types of NPOTA units. For example, large portions of some new trails are on existing stretches of highway or other roads, raising safety issues for pedestrian Activators.
“We will be reviewing these and other situations Activators may encounter, and update the rules accordingly,” Kutzko said. “Activators will need to be careful only to operate from the portions of rivers and trails that are administered by NPS. It is not uncommon for several agencies to administer different parts of the same unit. In addition, many portions of rivers and trails are on private property, which should not be accessed unless you have permission from the landowner.”
The National Trails System Map & Guide and the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System website provide information on the boundaries of these units. Due diligence on the part of Activators is critical, however, to ensure that they are operating from an NPS-administered portion of these units.
Further updates and additional information will be posted on the ARRL NPOTA page as soon as they are available.
New Trail Unit
MI, MN, NY, ND, PA, OH, WI
ID, KS, MO, NE, OR, WA, WY
IL, IA, NE, UT, WY
ID, IL, IA, KS, MO, MT, NE, ND, OR, SD, WA
NC, SC, TN, VA
CO, KS, MO, NM, OK, TX
AL, AR, GA, IL, KY, MO, NC, OK, TN
CA, CO, ID, KS, MO, NE, NV, OR, UT, WY
CA, CO, KS, MO, NE, NV, UT, WY
AZ, CA, CO, NV, NM, UT
VA, MD, DE, DC, PA, NY
DC, MD, VA
MA, RI, CT, NY, NJ, PA, DE, MD, VA, DC