Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar recently designated 22 trails in 13 states as newly recognized National Recreation Trails, adding more than 525 miles of trails to the National Trails System.
“From coast to coast, the National Trails System helps connect American families with the wonders of the outdoors,” said Salazar. “These new National Recreation Trails, built through partnerships with local communities and stakeholders, will create new opportunities for fitness and stewardship, while creating a lasting legacy for our children and grandchildren.”
This announcement is timed to coincide with the 17th annual celebration of National Trails Day on Saturday, June 6, 2009. The theme for this year, “Take In the Outdoors,” encourages people of all ages to get outside and use trails for exercise and exploration. Thousands of trail enthusiasts will participate in hikes, educational programs, bike rides, volunteer repair projects, festivals, paddle trips, and trail dedications across the country. A complete schedule of activities is available on their Web site.
National Recreation Trails (NRTs) have been a touchstone of the National Trails System since the first designations in 1971. The NRTs recognize existing trails and trail systems that connect people to local resources and improve their quality of life.
NRTs link communities to recreational opportunities on public lands and in local parks across the Nation. These designations contribute to “A Decade for the National Trails, 2008-2018,” commemorating the 50th anniversary of the National Trails System in 2018.
Each of the new trails will receive a certificate of designation, a letter of congratulations from Secretary Salazar, and NRT trail markers. These trails join a network of more than 1,050 previously designated trails that total more than 12,500 miles.
The NRT program is jointly administered by the National Park Service and the USDA Forest Service in conjunction with a number of other Federal and nonprofit partners, notably American Trails, which hosts the NRT Web site. For 2009, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has designated the following 22 trails as National Recreation Trails, listed by state:
- Alabama Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail – This 7.5 mile multiuse, handicapped accessible asphalt and boardwalk trail winds through the pristine coastal forests within the City of Orange Beach and Alabama’s Gulf State Park.
- California San José Trail Network – Three connecting trails – the Guadalupe River Trail, the Highway 237 Bikeway, and the Coyote Creek Trail North – provide 16.4 miles of recreation opportunity in San Jose.
- Illinois Moraine Hills Trail System – The four components of this trail system in Moraine Hills State Park total 10.2 miles for cycling, mountain biking, hiking, jogging, and cross-country skiing.
- Indiana Rivergreenway – This 23-mile linear park in Fort Wayne and New Haven is located along the banks of the St. Marys, St. Joseph, and Maumee Rivers.
- Kansas Pioneer Nature Trail – This 1.3-mile trail at Council Grove Lake is managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Two trail loops features upland woodlands, tallgrass prairie, and the remnants of buffalo wallows.
- Massachusetts Great Barrington Housatonic River Walk – Volunteers built and maintain this half-mile of artfully crafted riverside walking trail and canoe access in downtown Great Barrington.
- Nebraska Niobrara Scenic River, Ft. Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge Section – This 5.6 mile river segment offers visitors a unique scenic recreational floating experience. The river cuts a deep canyon in the limestone rocks that underlie Nebraska’s famed Sand Hills.
- New Jersey Hackensack River Greenway through Teaneck – This pedestrian walkway and nature trail connects three parks and offers views of the river, cityscape, and mountains. Award-winning interpretive signs designed by local artist Richard Mills are found along its 3.5-mile length.
- New York Chenango Canal Towpath Trail – This 6-mile trail is ideal for walking, jogging, horseback riding, bicycling, and cross-country skiing along the placid waters of the historic Chenango Canal in and near the town of Madison.
- Feeder Canal Towpath Trail – This 9-mile linear park adjoins one of the last surviving in-use portions of the original New York Canal System, the Glens Falls Feeder Canal, joining Queensbury and Kingsbury.
- Historic Champlain Canalway Trail – An approximately 1.75-mile segment of the projected 58-mile long Canalway Trail corridor, this trail in Halfmoon appeals to bird watchers, history buffs, and health-conscious recreationists.
- Pennsylvania Greater Hazleton Rails to Trails – This 4-mile multiuse rail trail in Hazleton forms the core of a future metro area-wide trail system. It features scenic views, rare plant communities, picnic areas, and interpretive signs. Numerous partners have provided park benches, bike racks, exercise stations, and flower beds.
- Pittsburgh to Harrisburg Main Line Canal Greenway – 6 to 10 Trail – This 7.75-mile trail follow the remnants of the Allegheny Portage Railroad, an engineering landmark that lifted canal boats over the Allegheny Mountains in the mid-1800s.
- Pittsburgh to Harrisburg Main Line Canal Greenway – Juniata River Water Trail – For 184 miles this water trail parallels the route of the Pennsylvania Main Line Canal which operated primarily in the 1830s through 1850s.
- Pittsburgh to Harrisburg Main Line Canal Greenway – Lower Trail – The 16.5 mile multi-use Lower (rhymes with “flower”) Trail features many historic canal era remnants with interpretive signs telling the history of the Pennsylvania Main Line Canal. It is the center link in the Pittsburgh to Harrisburg Main Line Canal Greenway.
- Pittsburgh to Harrisburg Main Line Canal Greenway – Path of the Flood Trail – This 6.5 mile trail follows the path of the Great Johnstown Flood of 1889. For part of its length, the trail joins the 2.5-mile Staple Bend Tunnel Trail which follows the remnants of the Allegheny Portage Railroad to the first railroad tunnel built in the U.S., the 901-foot long Staple Bend Tunnel.
- Pittsburgh to Harrisburg Main Line Canal Greenway – Roaring Run Trail – Following the Western Division of the Pennsylvania Main Line Canal along the Kiskiminetas River, this 4-mile trail is rich in historic transportation themes and recreational opportunities.
- Pittsburgh to Harrisburg Main Line Canal Greenway – West Penn Trail – The 12-mile West Penn Trail offers many scenic, natural and historic assets, including 100-year old stone arch railroad bridges and parts of the Pennsylvania Main Line Canal. Forty interpretive signs enrich this trail experience.
- Susquehanna River Water Trail – North Branch Section – Paddlers along the 181 miles of the North Branch of the Susquehanna River enjoy mountain views, river towns, remnant structures, as well as birds and other wildlife, fish, and camping at 17 river campsites.
- Texas Cameron Park Trails – This 20-mile system of trails in Waco features handcrafted bridges, varying terrain, views of the Brazos and Bosque Rivers from 100-foot cliffs, bamboo forests, and cedar groves. It is home to mountain bike races, community events, and weekly walks, bringing more than $1 million per year to the local economy.
- Virginia Occoquan Water Trail – The 40 miles of the Occoquan Water Trail offer an unparalleled opportunity for boating adventure and exploration only 20 miles southwest of Washington, DC. Visitors are invited to discover ancient hemlock groves, granite cliffs, Civil War sites, relic structures, the historic port Town of Occoquan, remnant settlements, and wildlife sanctuaries.
- Wisconsin Kohl Park Hiking Trail – The Milwaukee Conservation Leadership Corps constructed this 2-mile long trail. Partnerships with local scout troops have improved the trail. Local residents volunteer to keep it litter free. It connects people to green space in densely populated Milwaukee County.