Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke chose this National Trails Day, June 2, to designate 19 new national recreation trails. These newly designated trails, but not newly built trails, are in 17 different states and add more than 370 miles to the national recreation trails system, which spans over 1,000 miles in each of the 50 states.
National scenic trails and national historic trails must be designated by an act of Congress. What’s great about national recreation trails is that the secretary of the interior or the secretary of agriculture can designate them. The trail’s managing agency or organization simply applies for the designation and waits.
“By designating these new National Trails, we acknowledge the efforts of local communities to provide outdoor recreational opportunities that can be enjoyed by everyone,” Zinke said in a news release. “Our network of National Trails provides easily accessible places to exercise and connect with nature in both urban and rural areas while boosting tourism and supporting economic opportunities across the country.”
National recreation trails range from under a mile to 485 miles in length, and are currently on federal, state, municipal and even privately owned land. The designation provides benefits, such as increased visibility, staff training and funding opportunities. It’s a chance for these trails to gain national significance.
“We applaud designating these trails, which shows commitment by the administration to outdoor recreation,” said Kathryn Van Waes, executive director for the American Hiking Society. “While the new designations are great, we would like to see the funding to back them up.”
The designations don’t automatically set trails up for more funding, but they are eligible to apply for the National Park Service Challenge Cost Share Program or the Bureau of Land Management and USDA Forest Service Challenge Cost Share Programs. Some state funding programs also consider the designation in allocating Recreational Trails Program, Transportation Enhancements and other funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration. However, none of it is guaranteed.
Visit one of the newly designated trails near you today:
California: Mt. Umunhum Trail, 3.7 miles
Florida: Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park Trail System, 20.85 miles
Kansas: Fort Larned Historic Nature Trail, 1.1 miles.
Massachusetts: Fort River Birding and Nature Trail, 1.1 miles
Michigan: Iron Ore Heritage Trail, 47 miles
Michigan: North Western State Trail, 32 miles
Minnesota: Cannon Valley Trail, 19.7 miles
Missouri: Wilson Creek Greenway, 5 miles
Montana: River’s Edge Trail, 53 miles
New Mexico: Climax Canyon Nature Trail, 3 miles
New Mexico and Texas: Guadalupe Ridge Trail, 100 miles
New York: Martin Van Buren Nature Trails, 3.7 miles
Pennsylvania: Jim Mayer Riverswalk Trail, 3.1 miles
South Dakota: Blackberry Trail, 1 mile
Tennessee: Bays Mountain Park Trail System, 40 miles
Texas: Salado Creek Greenway, 15 miles
Utah: Corona Arch, 1.5 miles
Vermont: Wright’s Mountain Trails, 7.2 miles
Virginia: Dahlgren Railroad Heritage Trail, 15.7 miles