The House voted 409-0 Wednesday to make the Pony Express and California trails - which pass through Utah - an official part of the National Trails System.
The Pony Express Trail stretches 1,900 miles from St. Joseph, Mo., to Sacramento, Calif.The Pony Express operated only between April 1860 and October 1861, but brought Salt Lake City within seven days of mail from Washington, D.C., and within four days of mail from Sacramento. It was quickly rendered obsolete by the telegraph.
The 5,700-mile California Trail extended from Missouri and Iowa to Sacramento and was used by prospectors and immigrants heading West.
Most portions of the trails west of Wyoming are already on federal land. The bill says parts of the trails on private land may be acquired only with the consent of the owner.
The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.
Similar bills were passed last year by both the House and the Senate. But they died when differences could not be worked out between the two bodies.
The National Trails System is administered by the U.S. Department of Interior. The bill was hampered last year by concerns of possible proliferation of costly visitors centers along the two routes.