Heading out to a National Trails Day event tomorrow (June 2) event on National Forest Service land? Good news: No day-use fees will be collected, meaning you can park for free at trailheads. Nice.
With the hope that many of you will be participating in a National Trails Day service project, we thought we'd offer up some fun facts to know and tell about trails in these here United States:
The NTS consists of 4 types of trails:
11 National Scenic Trails:
Appalachian National Scenic Trail (established in 1968; estimated mileage: 2,181)
Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail (1968; 2,650)
Continental Divide National Scenic Trail (1978; 3,100)
North Country National Scenic Trail (1980; 4,600)
Ice Age National Scenic Trail (1980; 1,200)
Florida National Scenic Trail (1980; 1,400)
Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail (1983; 700)
Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail (1983; 695)
Arizona National Scenic Trail (2009; 807)
Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail (2009; 1,200)
New England National Scenic Trail (2009; 220)
National Scenic Trails must:
• exceed 100 miles
• link superb resources in a continuous corridor for nonmotorized recreation (usually hiking and sometimes horseback)
• be created via an act of Congress
Item of interest: Only 3 of the 11 NSTs (Appalachian, Potomac Heritage and Natchez Trace) are considered one of the 397 official "units" of the National Park Service. Why? Because the NPS was directly involved with land-acquisition efforts for those 3 trails.
19 National Historic Trails:
Oregon Trail (established 1978; 2,170 miles)
Mormon Pioneer Trail (1978; 1,300)
Lewis and Clark Trail (1978; 3,700)
Iditarod Trail (1978; 2,350)
Overmountain Victory Trail (1980; 275)
Nez Perce Trail (1986; 1,170)
Santa Fe Trail (1987; 1,203)
Trail of Tears (1987; 2,200)
Juan Bautista de Anza Trail (1990; 1,200)
California Trail (1992; 5,665)
Pony Express Trail (1992; 2,000)
Selma to Montgomery Trail (1996; 54)
El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro Trail (2000; 404)
Ala Kahakai Trail (2000; 175)
Old Spanish Trail (2002; 2,700)
El Camino Real de los Tejas Trail (2004; 2,580)
Captain John Smith Chesapeake Trail (2006; 3,000)
Star-Spangled Banner Trail (2008; 290)
Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route Trail (2009; 690)
National Historic Trails must:
• be nationally significant
• have a documented route (usually through maps or journals)
• provide for significant outdoor recreation
11,000+ National Recreation Trails (54 were added to the list Thursday, in fact):
NRTs are different from National Recreational Trails, which are funded by the Federal Highway Administration. This is purely a recognition program for trails of local and regional interest. They are nominated for designation as National Recreation Trails by a trail's managing agency or organization. Recognition is granted by the Secretary of Interior or the Secretary of Agriculture.
2 Side and connecting trails, both created in 1990:
• Anvik Connector in Alaska (86 miles) which links to the Iditarod NHT.
• Timm's Hill Trail in Wisconsin (14 miles) which connects to the Ice Age NST.
Side and connecting trails link to any other trail types created in the National Trails System.
The combined mileage of National Scenic Trails and National Historic Trails (approximately 55,000 miles) exceeds the distance covered by the U.S. Interstate Highway System (estimated at 47,000+).
What a great country. Have a terrific National Trails Day.