Lake Michigan Water Trail Joins National Network
CHICAGO, IL — Deputy Secretary of the Interior David J. Hayes and U.S. Senator Dick Durbin today announced the designation of 41 trails as National Recreation Trails, adding almost 650 miles of trails to the National Trails System. Spanning across 17 states, the land and water trails provide opportunities for communities to connect with nature and enjoy the great outdoors as part of a healthier lifestyle, the core principles behind President Obama's America's Great Outdoors and First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move Outside! initiatives.
“From coast to coast, National Recreation Trails help connect Americans with the wonders of America's Great Outdoors," said Deputy Secretary Hayes. "Today's new National Recreation Trails, built through partnerships with local communities and stakeholders, provide great opportunities for people to get outside, get active and have fun. The trails establish a strong link in our urban and rural communities alike to a conservation legacy for future generations to build upon."
Today's announcement took place on the Lake Michigan waterfront where Deputy Secretary Hayes and Senator Durbin designated the new Lake Michigan Water Trail – Chicago to New Buffalo Section, which is the first leg of an ambitious shoreline trail around the entire Lake. The designation of the Lake Michigan Water Trail is part of President Obama's larger vision, as outlined through the America's Great Outdoors report, to create connected water trails along America's waterways with a network of public access points.
“The Lake Michigan Water Trail's official designation will make it easier for local residents and visitors alike to find and visit Lake Michigan shorelines,” said Senator Durbin. “There's no better way to take in urban landscapes like the Chicago skyline than from a canoe or a kayak. And as more people have this opportunity to enjoy this wonderful treasure on Chicago's lakefront, more people will share in our resolve to protect the health of the Great Lakes.”
Today's announcement comes in advance of National Trails Day on Saturday, June 4, when hundreds of organized activities including hikes, educational programs, bike rides, trail rehabilitation projects, festivals, paddle trips, and trail dedications will take place around the country.
The following 41 trails have been designated as National Recreation Trails. For more information on each trail, please click here.
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. Each of the new National Recreation Trails will receive a certificate of designation, a letter of congratulations from Secretary Salazar, and a set of trail markers. These trails join a network of more than 1,100 previously designated trails that total more than 13,000 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 http://www.americantrails.org/nationalrecreationtrails.