National Park

Nearly 600 Miles Added to the National Trails System: Here’s Where

(NEXSTAR) – Nine newly designated trails in seven states will add nearly 600 miles to the national trail system, which already includes more than 1,300 trails across the United States and Puerto Rico.

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland announced the designations in celebration of Great Outdoors Month and National Trails Day on June 4.

National Recreation Trails are jointly overseen by the National Park Service and the U.S. Forest Service, often alongside federal and nonprofit partners. Unlike national parks, trails may be designated by the Secretary of the Interior or the Secretary of Agriculture on existing local or regional trails. National Recreational Trails are locally managed but “recognized for their contribution to the national system of public trail access and outdoor enjoyment,” according to the NPS.

Among the new trails is Florida’s Seven Mile Loop Trail in Crystal River Preserve State Park about 85 miles north of Tampa. Mostly on limestone, the trail takes hikers, runners, and cyclists over three tidal creeks, which come and go with the ocean tides.

To the north is another new recreational trail, the South Carolina Revolutionary Rivers Trail. Located in the state’s Florence County, the 60-mile trail follows the Lynches River Scenic to the “cypress- and tupelo-laden grounds of Revolutionary War hero General Francis Marion.” Visitors can paddle through the swamp as Marion and her fellow soldiers might hide from the British.

Further up the east coast is Virginia’s Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge trail system. Comprised of seven interconnected trails covering just under three miles, the system is home to seven habitats to explore. Originally established in 1938, the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge is located on the southeast corner of Virginia Beach.

Two trails in New York have received national recognition – the Inwood Hill Park Orange Trail and the New York State Canalway Water Trail. The former traverses 1.43 miles through Manhattan’s forest alone while the latter spans 450 miles of upstate New York river flows.

Ohio also has two nationally recognized trails: the Conotton Creek Bike Trail and Little Miami State Park. About 73 miles south of Akron, the Conotton Creek Bike Trail stretches 11 miles along an old rail line. Little Miami State Park spans 50 miles of an old railroad along the Little Miami River in southwestern Ohio.

To the west is Missouri’s Fulbright Spring Greenway Trail, a nearly seven-mile-long loop commonly referred to as “the Emerald Necklace.” Located near Springfield, it connects four parks, a school, housing estates and other trail systems. Rounding out the newer trail facilities are Bob Woodruff Park and Oak Point Park and Nature Preserve Trails in Texas. The nearly 10-mile-long trail connects two parks, covering 1,100 acres.

Haaland’s announcement of nine new trails is part of the Biden-Harris administration’s ‘America the Beautiful’ initiative, which aims to ‘conserve, connect and restore’ one-third of the land and waters of the United States of America. 2030 “for the good of our economy”. , our health and well-being.

Agencies, state entities and local communities can designate a trail for national recognition. To receive status, trails must meet established criteria. This includes that the trail be open for public use for at least 10 consecutive years, in compliance with land use plans and applicable laws, and supported by a letter from its respective state trail administrator.