In 1987, Congress passed Public Law 100-192, designating two of the routes taken by the Cherokee people in their removal as a national historic trail within the National Trails System. The Trail of Tears National Historic Trail
is administered by the National Park Service.
In 1993, through the efforts of the National Park Service
and the Trail of Tears Advisory Council, the Trail of Tears Association was created and incorporated in Missouri as a non-profit organization. The corporation papers were signed by the Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation and the Principal Chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.