31 New National Recreation Trails Designated
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar has announced the designation of 31 trails in 15 states as national recreation trails, adding more than 716 miles of trails to the National Trails System. The announcement comes in anticipation of National Trails Day on June 5, when trail dedications and other activities will take place at new and existing trails.
"From coast to coast, the National Trails System helps connect American families with the wonders of the great 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."
In announcing the new designations, Salazar highlighted two important initiatives established by President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama to encourage Americans to enjoy the great outdoors as part of a healthier lifestyle.
Last month, President Obama launched the “America’s Great Outdoors Initiative” to protect special places and to help Americans reconnect to the outdoors. Under his leadership, the administration is reaching out to communities across the country to hear good ideas about conservation and to learn about the efforts that ordinary Americans are making to conserve our land, water, and wildlife. More information on the initiative can be found at www.doi.gov/americasgreatoutdoors.
Meanwhile, the First Lady’s “Let’s Move” initiative is promoting a healthier lifestyle for children by encouraging them to eat healthier foods and become more physically active.
“I hope that millions of Americans will take advantage of the opportunities provided by our national trails to embrace a fuller, healthier lifestyle,” Salazar said.
The national recreation trail designation recognizes existing trails and trail systems that link communities to recreational opportunities on public lands and in local parks across the nation. The first ones were established in 1971.
Each of the trails will receive a certificate of designation, a letter of congratulations from Secretary Salazar, and national recreation trail markers. The trails join a network of more than 1,000 previously designated trails that total more than 12,500 miles.
The national recreation trail program is jointly administered by the National Park Service and the U.S. Forest Service in conjunction with a number of other federal and nonprofit partners, notably American Trails, which hosts the national recreation trails website at www.americantrails.org/nationalrecreationtrails.
The following 31 trails have been designated as national recreation trails:
Canoe and Kayak Trail Limestone County Alabama
The beautiful Elk River is the perfect place for canoeing and kayaking in Limestone County. It is a Class-1 stream, with views of forests, towering bluffs, and rolling meadows. The water is challenging and the scenery is beautiful. The Canoe and Kayak Trail begins at Elkmont and ends at Wilson Lake at Joe Wheeler State Park. The route is 21.9 miles along scenic Elk River with five easy in-and-out points. Since the creation of the water trail, small businesses have emerged to support this recreational resource and increase economic opportunities in surrounding communities.
Doc Hilt Trails
Doc Hilt Trails is a private off road recreational trails area and camping facility located just north of Lineville, Alabama, on the eastern edge of the Talladega National Forest. The Doc Hilt Trails system consists of approximately 15 miles of continuous trails for ATVs, dirt bikes and OHV enthusiasts. The area includes hilly and mountainous terrain with trailside primitive camping. Doc Hilt Trails is dedicated to affordable, rustic and responsible recreational family-oriented trail riding for 4 wheelers and off-road motorcycles. The trail system was created by collaborative efforts between private land owners and the Cheaha Trail Riders Association.
The Eastern Shore Trail
The Eastern Shore Trail is a 36-mile multi-purpose trail for pedestrian and non-motorized vehicle use along the eastern shore of Mobile Bay in Baldwin County, Alabama. The trail traverses waterfront, historic, wilderness and small town areas, both off- road and paralleling roads. Because of the wide variation in grade, elevated boardwalks and high-rise bridges, both wooden and metal, are common components. The most significant product of this trail effort is the demonstrated support garnered by Baldwin County volunteers. As one trailside resident says, “The trail is our front porch... where we connect with friends and neighbors.”
Minooka Park Trail System
Located in central Alabama, Minooka Park features 25 miles of trails. Some are specifically designed and constructed for ATV’s and off road motorcycles. The dirt bike enthusiast looking for more technical trails can check out miles of single track. Horseback riders can choose from trails featuring beautiful views, creeks, and the opportunity to see wildlife. Hikers have wooded nature trails and a one mile walking trail around Lake Minooka. The walking trail around the lake, along with five fishing piers and a large deck overlooking the lake, is handicap accessible.
The Richard Martin Trail
Richard Martin led a 25-year effort with volunteers and various community organizations to establish a continuous 10.2 mile, rails-to-trails bicycle, equestrian, and pedestrian trail in Limestone County, Alabama. The Richard Martin Trail accesses outstanding natural, cultural, and historic resources. Natural features include beautiful wetlands and flora and fauna that are indigenous to the Tennessee Valley. A historic site on the trail marks the bloodiest Civil War battle on Alabama soil, the Battle of Sulphur Creek Trestle.
Smith Lake Park Walking/Bike Trails
Smith Lake Park is a 150-acre park owned and operated by the Cullman County Commission. The park’s 3.5 miles of walking and biking trails give campers, day-visitors, and residents an opportunity to exercise while viewing forested areas and the lake. Single track bike trails are one way to enjoy exercising with safety in mind. A special, short bike trail for children near the main playground allows younger children to ride their bikes while still remaining completely within view of their parents.
Sportsman Lake Trails
Sportsman Lake Park is a scenic destination located in downtown Cullman, Alabama. The shady 5 miles of bike/walking trails provide opportunities for walkers, novice bike riders, in-line skaters, mountain bikers, and participants in bike and cross country events to enjoy the park and its 28-acre lake.
Stony Lonesome OHV Park Trail System
Stony Lonesome OHV Park, located in Cullman County, Alabama, offers 150 miles of trails for hiking, mountain bikes, dirt bikes, ATVs, Rock Crawlers, and horseback riding. The 1500-acre park’s topography includes rolling hills, steep inclines, wetlands, and flowing streams. The trail system has attracted tremendous interest and support from trail enthusiasts. It is the culmination of efforts by the County and community leaders in planning, land acquisition, and trail development.
Veterans Park Trail
The 4.8-mile Veterans Park Trail in the City of Hoover connects a middle school, high school, community college, a 2-acre lake, park amenities, recreation areas, two playgrounds, and a large veteran’s memorial which is the focal point of the 82-acre park. The multi-use nature, running, and boardwalk trail winds though diverse open fields, wetlands and forested areas. A connector tunnel allows use of the full length of the trail without having to cross a road. The trail provides many opportunities for individual fitness programs for all ages and is used as a cross-country running course for major events.
James F. Hall Trail
The James F. Hall Trail is a popular 1.7-mile cross-town pedestrian and bicycle trail in downtown Newark, Delaware. The 8' wide hard surface pathway is lighted for 24-hour use and is equipped with emergency call boxes. The trail passes through three city parks, over two streams, through a pristine wetland area, and by the Old Newark Train Station, the home to the Newark Historic Society. It links residential neighborhoods, University of Delaware student housing, the Delaware Technology Park, and a shopping center. The City of Newark partnered with the University of Delaware, Delaware’s Department of Transportation, and Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control to make the project happen.
Blackwater Heritage State Trail
The Blackwater Heritage State Trail, managed by Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection’s Office of Greenways & Trails, is the westernmost rail-trail in Florida, extending from the historic town of Milton to United States Naval Air Station (NAS) Whiting Field. The 8.1-mile trail passes through pine woods, a cypress/bay swamp and an area of white-topped pitcher plants. The trail offers an enjoyable trip through a quaint North Florida town and out into the countryside where there are creek crossings on wooden bridges. An unpaved equestrian trail parallels a segment of the paved trail.
Nature Coast State Trail
Traversing Florida's Nature Coast Region through the Suwannee River Valley, the 31.7-mile long Nature Coast State Trail, managed by the Department of Environmental Protection’s Office of Greenways & Trails, consists of two primary alignments. Built along abandoned rail lines that intersect at Wilcox Junction, the trail connects the communities of Cross City, Trenton, Fanning Springs and Chiefland. Among the trail’s highlights is an historic railroad trestle crossing the Suwannee River.
Tallahassee-St. Marks Historic Railroad State Trail
The Tallahassee-St. Marks Historic Railroad State Trail, managed by the Department of Environmental Protection’s Office of Greenways & Trails, runs 16 miles from Florida’s capital city to the coastal town of St. Marks. The paved trail provides an excellent workout for bicyclists, walkers and skaters and features a Boundless Playground®. The trail also offers opportunities for horseback riding on the adjacent unpaved trail and access to the Munson Hills Off-Road Trail in the Apalachicola National Forest. The trail is a completed section of the developing 120-mile “Capital City to the Sea Loop” and is a destination along the “Big Bend Scenic Byway”.
Weiser River Trail
The Weiser River Trail is an 85-mile long rail-trail located between Weiser and New Meadows. It offers a variety of experiences for non-motorized trail users as it passes through desert canyons, evergreen forests, alpine meadows, and small towns. Highlights of the trail are the historic trestles and abundant wildlife. A notable annual group activity is the four-day “Wagon Train Ride,” covering 60 miles between Weiser and Council.
Kaskaskia River Confluence Trail
The highlight of the .4-mile Kaskaskia River Confluence Trail is access to the shoreline at the confluence of the Kaskaskia and Mississippi Rivers. This is the only public river access site on the banks of the Mississippi River for 100 miles in the State of Illinois. The trail traverses a high quality bottomland forested area and is used for walking, bicycling, jogging, and educational and interpretive programs on river history, navigation and shipping.
Des Moines River Water Trail - North Section (Cottonwood to Birdland Park Access)
This 8.8 mile section of the 19-mile Des Moines River Water Trail is a scenic, historical and natural experience with multiple access points between the Saylorville Dam in Johnston and Birdland Park in Des Moines, Iowa. Beautifully constructed informational kiosks stand at each access point providing information, maps and safety messages. The river corridor is on a major migratory flyway for numerous species and exhibits tremendous bird and wildlife viewing opportunities during all seasons.
Des Moines River Water Trail - South Section (Harriet Street to Yellow Banks)
This 10.25 mile section of the 19-mile Des Moines River Water Trail stretches between the Harriet Street Access and Yellow Banks County Park in central Iowa’s Polk County. The trail serves a diverse group of trail users and connects rural and urban populations. Interest in the Des Moines River Water Trail has spawned many unique community involvement and stewardship activities. Partnerships amongst government agencies, clubs and organizations have provided recreation opportunities, a critical healthy community feature, and links with other trails.
Gary L. Haller Trail – Mill Creek Streamway Park
The Gary L. Haller Trail within the Mill Creek Streamway Park in Johnson County, Kansas, begins in Olathe and continues north through Lenexa and Shawnee. The scenic, multi-use, 17.5-mile trail was one of the first major trail facilities completed in the Kansas City metropolitan area. It has become a model for other communities in the region and has become a major regional attraction. In 2009, an innovative integrated system of addresses printed on signage was installed to provide a more rapid response for first responders within the 911 system.
Spyglass Hill Trail
Spyglass Hill Trail is a 17-mile multi-purpose trail located at Enid Lake, Mississippi. The trail offers many recreational opportunities including camping, wildlife watching, equestrian riding, and scenic views. Visitors can step back into history and taste a sample of therapeutic water from the old Ford’s Well. The diverse terrain offers visitors a chance to become physically fit and relax their minds from the everyday hustle and bustle while viewing the many plant and wildlife species that inhabit the area.
Black River Hike & Bike Trail
The Black River Hike and Bike Trail is a 3.25-mile paved and gravel trail that winds through the bottomland hardwoods and pines along the Black River below Clearwater Dam. The trail offers a great diversity of scenery. The 10-foot wide trail with five entry points is perfect for biking, jogging or taking a leisurely stroll.
South Creek Greenway
South Creek Greenway is an 8-mile paved linear park running through the middle of Springfield, Missouri. It is the quintessential urban trail, set in a natural landscape that’s been carefully preserved within a heavily developed city. The trail provides numerous community benefits with its opportunities for bicycling, walking, running, skating, alternative transportation, environmental preservation and economic stimulus. It serves a range of income levels, ages, ethnicities and physical abilities. Innovative design features include native prairie restoration areas, a footbridge made of rumber (recycled tire lumber), and a 900-foot long highway overpass.
Drinking Horse Mountain Trail
A unique covered bridge serves as a beautiful gateway for this 2.2 mile trail near Bozeman, Montana. Climbing 700 feet from Bridger Creek through diverse vegetation and terrain to the summit of Drinking Horse Mountain, the figure-eight loop trail has a steep route for those who desire more intense aerobic exercise and an easier path for those who seek a leisurely stroll. Eight memorial benches and one memorial picnic table offer scenic vistas of the Gallatin Valley, Bridger Canyon, and surrounding mountain ranges.
River Mountains Loop Trail
The River Mountains Loop Trail is a 35-mile paved multi-use, multi-jurisdictional trail surrounding the River Mountains. It connects Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Hoover Dam, Boulder City, and Henderson to the rest of the Las Vegas Valley. The trail’s success is due to collaboration and community involvement among an active coalition of public agencies, community groups, businesses and individuals. The trail is completely separated from highway traffic. Vistas along the trail are outstanding, and interpretive wayside exhibits provide educational opportunities.
Highlands Plateau Greenway
The Highlands Plateau Greenway is located in Highlands, North Carolina, the highest incorporated town east of the Mississippi. The 5-mile network of continuous walking trails connects natural areas and historic sites for educational and recreational opportunities. Straddling the Eastern Continental Divide in a temperate rainforest, the area boasts the highest floral and faunal diversity in North America. Because of this unique environment, landscaping along the trail with plants native to the southern mountains is a major focus.
Cumberland Valley Rail Trail
The Cumberland Valley Rail Trail follows the old Cumberland Valley Railroad rail corridor for 9.5 miles, from Shippensburg to Newville, through the rich, rolling, picturesque farmlands of western Cumberland County in south-central Pennsylvania. Wooded stands of native trees shade much of this historically significant route. Trail enthusiasts can enjoy walking, jogging, bicycling, horseback riding and other non-motorized recreational uses. A grassy bridle path parallels the pedestrian path along the entire length.
This 30-mile section of the 193-mile Mason-Dixon Trail is a hiking trail that follows the lower Susquehanna River from Wrightsville to the Norman Wood Bridge. There are beautiful views, deep ravines with waterfalls, and several big climbs and descents to where streams have carved out canyons in the river hills.
Three Rivers Heritage Trail
The Three Rivers Heritage Trail is an urban rail-trail paralleling the riverbanks in the Pittsburgh area for about 21 miles, often on both sides of the rivers. The trail is part of the Great Allegheny Passage, the Erie to Pittsburgh Trail, and the Pittsburgh to Erie Mainline Canal and Greenway. It offers spectacular views of the city. Recent surveys indicate diverse use of the trail for recreation and commuting purposes.
Three Rivers Water Trail
The Three Rivers Water Trail is a series of public non-motorized access points within the 90 riverfront municipalities of Allegheny County. It is an urban water trail which follows the Three Rivers in the Pittsburgh area for about 75 miles. The trail extends to Sewickley on the Ohio River, Harrison on the Allegheny River, and Elizabeth on the Monongahela River, and is easily accessed from the Three Rivers Heritage Trail. The Three Rivers Water Trail is part of the statewide water trail system, connecting to the Youghiogheny River Trail and the Kiski-Conemaugh River Water Trail.
Knob Hills Trail
Located on the west end of Grapevine Lake, near the City of Flower Mound, Texas, the 5.43-mile Knob Hills Trail is a natural surface trail that traverses the prairies and bottomland on the north bank of Denton Creek. Hikers and bicyclists share the trail with equestrians for part of its length
Lacy Point Nature Trail
The Lacy Point Nature Trail is a multi-use trail located on the west shore of Waco Lake. This is the only public interpretive trail in the region to offer signed access to horse riders, cyclists, bank fishermen and hikers between Fort Worth and Georgetown, Texas, on the busy I-35 corridor. The 19 miles of trail feature interpretive trail markers, directional maps at junctions, and picnic table access along the shoreline. Much of the trail is in the bottomland hardwood area (a greatly reduced ecosystem in Texas) with its year-round springs, old-growth Eastern Red Cedar, and much-needed shade from summer heat.
Spokane River Centennial Trail
The Spokane River Centennial Trail follows the beautiful, historic Spokane River for 37 miles from the Idaho state line to Nine Mile Falls, Washington. The paved trail is used both for commuting to work and for pleasure. Annually, more than two million people walk, run, bike, in-line skate, enjoy nature, observe wildlife, picnic on the river’s edge, launch canoes, or just sit and contemplate the rhythmic flow of the river. It is an unusual and rare community asset, a free resource for the community, and a destination location.