* Mr. INSLEE. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to introduce the Cascadia Marine Trail Study Act.
* The Cascadia Marine Trail is a unique, 150-mile long water trail stretching from the Canadian border south through the San Juan Islands and Puget Sound to Olympia. It was started in the late 1980s by local kayaking enthusiasts wanting to highlight the 5,000-year old small-boating tradition along the water trail. The trail's popularity with both tourists and local boating enthusiasts is a testament to its grassroots beginnings and extensive local support, making it a valuable economic and natural State resource.
* The Cascadia Marine Trail has been recognized as a significant environmental and tourist resource, including its 1994 designation as a National Recreation Trail and in 1999 as a National Millennium Trail. In 2005, the American Canoe Association (ACA) designated the trail an ACA-Recommended Water Trail. The trail's 55 safe pull-out zones and campsites are managed by a multitude of State and local agencies, despite its extensive length.
* First introduced in 2009, the Cascadia Marine Trail Study Act directs the Department of Interior to study the feasibility of adding the trail to the National Trail system. During the 110th Congress, the bill passed the House with unanimous support but unfortunately, did not make it out of the Senate. Today, with bipartisan support, I am reintroducing the Cascadia Marine Trail Study Act. The trail's designation as a National Scenic or Historic Trail, if recommended by the Department of Interior study mandated by the bill, would raise its national profile, provide for educational and interpretive resources along the trail, and coordinate management and restoration of the trail and surrounding campsites.
* The bill has wide support, including endorsements from several national and statewide recreation and conservation agencies and is the first step toward enhancing the visibility and preservation of this historic water trail. Designation will help encourage tourism across the Puget Sound, which will bolster local economies in the Puget Sound region. According to the Prosperity Partnership, the Tourism and Visitor industry cluster is the region's largest economic cluster with more than 108,000 jobs across the region. Scenic travel to places like the Cascadia Marine Trail can have a significant impact on the economy of surrounding communities. The Cascadia Marine Trail is a State gem that deserves its chance to become a national treasure.