A rugged, whitewater river flowing northward through deep canyons, the New River is among the oldest rivers on the continent. New River Gorge National River in West Virginia encompasses over 70,000 acres of land along the New River, is rich in cultural and natural history, and offers an abundance of scenic and recreational opportunities.
Big Southern Butte is one of two domes rising from a sea of basalt near the center of the eastern Snake River Plain in Idaho. The butte is one of the largest volcanic domes in the world, but at 300,000 years old it is also one of the youngest. Hikers who trek to the 7,550-foot high summit are rewarded with spectacular panoramic views. Photo by Devin Englestead, BLM Upper Snake Wildlife Biologist.
First light at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico. Established in November 22, 1939, the refuge has provided a critical stopover and wintering spot for thousands of sandhill cranes, geese and other waterfowl for 75 years. Bosque del Apache's sandhill crane population has multiplied from 18 birds in the 1840s to more than 20,000 birds today. Photo by Kim Hang Dessoliers (www.sharetheexperience.org).
AMERICA'S GREAT OUTDOORS: Salazar Designates National Water Trails in Alabama, Georgia and Missouri
WASHINGTON -- Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today designated three National Water Trails in Alabama, Georgia and Missouri, committing to work with state and local partners to increase water-based outdoor recreation, encourage community stewardship, and promote tourism that fuels local economies.
“Restoring our nation's rivers and expanding outdoor recreational activities on them is one of the major goals of President Obama's America's Great Outdoors Initiative,” Salazar said. “Through a national network of National Water Trails, we are not only connecting people to the outdoors and supporting conservation efforts for our scenic rivers, but also supporting tourism and the recreation economy in nearby communities.”
The three new National Water Trails include:
The Alabama Scenic River Trail: The water trail begins at the point where the Coosa River enters Alabama just northeast of Cedar Bluff, and continues down the Coosa River to its confluence with the Tallapoosa near Wetumpka. From this conjunction, the trail follows the Alabama River to its junction with the Tombigbee/Warrior system just north of Mobile. It then proceeds through the Mobile River and the Tensaw-Mobile delta, along the Tensaw River and its tributaries to Mobile Bay. The trail, managed by the Alabama Scenic River Association, includes beautiful stretches of seven rivers, two creeks and one bay.
Okefenokee Wilderness Canoe Trail: This 120-mile water trail is located in Georgia near the towns of Folkston, Waycross, and Fargo. Managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the trail allows visitors to canoe past alligators, black bears, egrets, sandhill cranes, and many other species in the cypress swamps and open watery "prairies" of the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge.
The Mississippi River Water Trail: Great River Water Trail: This 121-mile water trail begins in Saverton, Missouri at mile marker 301, and ends at St. Louis, Missouri Riverfront at mile marker 180. The water trail, managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, is lined with majestic bluffs, steeped in history, features abundant wildlife, and provides plenty of places to stop and relax whether it be a remote island or a river town.
On Saturday, Secretary Salazar was in Kansas with Governor Sam Brownback to designate the Kansas River Trail as a National Water Trail. The 173-mile trail follows the Kansas River, one of the longest prairie rivers in the world. It is managed by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism.
Earlier this year, Salazar established the National Water Trails System as a class of national recreational trails under the National Trails System Act of 1968. The designation acknowledges not only the recreation values of the trails but also the excellent stewardship of the state, local communities and other partners who maintain their natural beauty and integrity.
With the designation, the National Park Service will work with the state and local partners to provide resources and technical expertise to promote the development and recognition of the trail.