SEAtrails originated in 2000 as a regional, community-led, grassroots partnership focused on community trails and economic development. It was founded on the premise that the management of SEAtrails is defined by people in each community or village working with state and federal agency personnel. Each SEAtrails community participates and actively decides which trails are designated SEAtrails.
From 2001 to the present, SEAtrails has continually worked to secure Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) and Resolutions of Support from communities, agencies, associations and others to provide assistance for building and improving trails and boosting business opportunities linked to outdoor recreation and cultural tourism. SEAtrails has grown to include 19 Southeast Alaska communities and became a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation.
After securing $1 million in Public Lands Highway Discretionary (PLHD) funding from Congress for trail projects, planning, and marketing in 2003, SEAtrails awarded almost $120,000 in SEAtrails grants to 10 communities for trail projects, maps, and signs. SEAtrails was awarded the Partners in Stewardship 2004 'Award of Excellence for Building Community Connections.
SEAtrails continues to be a strong coalition helping communities secure funding, provide monitoring of trails and ensure the trail-using public of a high quality trail experience.