Department Of Interior

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Office of the Secretary
Contact: John Wright
For Immediate Release: June 5, 2004
Secretary Norton Promotes Get Fit Opportunities with Designation of 27 New National Trails in 15 States

ST. PAUL, Minn.--Secretary of the Interior Gale A. Norton used National Trails Day (June 5) to launch the "America's Public Lands Get Fit with US" initiative. Norton also announced the designation of 27 new recreation trails in 15 states, as part of the National Recreation Trails System.

"Our efforts to promote trails for health and recreation are part of a larger partnership initiated by President Bush," Norton said. "These partnerships are using the vast interconnected outdoor recreation network of federal, state and local lands and waters as a resource that can help provide inexpensive, enjoyable exercise for all Americans.

The Get Fit with US initiative is a direct result of President George W. Bush's Executive Order, which was issued for the purpose of improving the health of all Americans. It is designed to promote a healthy lifestyle alliance between public health and recreation.

The theme for this year's National Trails Day is "Trails and Health-A Natural Connection." Norton noted that the Interior Department manage public lands and water activities around the country that provide scenic vistas and breathtaking landscapes that attract nearly a half billion visitors per year.

"The Interior Department, which manages one-fifth of the land in the nation - one out of every five acres --- plays an important role in the public land recreation network," Norton said. "By promoting the importance of recreational activities and physical fitness opportunities on our public lands and waters, we encourage Americans to stay active and healthy while enjoying the outdoors."

National recreation trails designation is an honor given to those existing trails that have been nominated and meet the requirements for connecting people to local resources and improving their quality of life. The national trail designation is part of a continuing
campaign to promote community partnerships and to foster innovative ways to encourage physical fitness. The National Trails System Act of 1968, encourages the Secretary of the
Interior to recognize existing community trails that qualify as additions to the National
Trails System. The Act promotes enjoyment and appreciation of trails and greater public access.

Today's announcement of 27 national recreation trails in 15 states totals about 982 miles. Since becoming Interior Secretary in 2001, Norton designated 91 national recreation trails a total of 3,022 miles.

Along with inclusion in the National Recreation Trails System, each of the 27 trails announced today will receive a certificate of designation and National Recreation Trail markers. There are now more than 800 National Recreation Trails throughout the United States, totaling more than 9,000 miles.

The National Recreation Trails program provides technical assistance and support for outreach efforts. The National Park Service and the USDA Forest Service administer the program with help from a number of other federal and nonprofit partners, notably American Trails, which hosts the National Recreation Trails Web site (

Norton designated the 27 national recreation trails listed below as part of the National Recreation Trails System:


The Aspen Spring Trail- Located in Hualapai Mountain Park, this 10-mile, backcountry trail system takes visitors through a variety of natural settings, beginning in a wet canyon at 6,200 feet and ending on mountain peaks rising to 8,250 feet. The trail was built in the 1930's by the Civilian Conservation Corps and passes though a number of vegetative "life zones," including riparian, chaparral, pine/oak, mixed conifer and fir/aspen habitats. In addition to amazing views of both the desert and mountain ranges, this trail provides opportunities for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding.


The Tunstall Riverwalk - Less than one mile long, this trail affords visitors a relaxing, educational stroll along the White River from Jacksonport State Park's campground to the site of the historic Mary Woods No. 2 steamboat. The trail is a naturalist's paradise, hosting vibrant wildflowers and abundant wildlife, including fox and skunks. In addition to its scenic features, this trail is valued for its historic resources and natural history interpretation, which draw school groups from throughout the area.


The Clearwater East-West Trail - Located in Pinellas County, this almost five-mile urban trail and greenway will eventually span 13 miles and provide a critical east-west link between Tampa Bay and Clearwater Beach. The trail serves as an important regional connection, linking area residents with a local nature park, elementary school and nine park facilities. Trail users enjoy a number of recreational activities, including biking, kayaking and swimming.

The Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail - This 106-mile trail system and greenway will span the islands from Key Largo to Key West, utilizing the historic Flagler Railroad Bridges and connecting national wildlife refuges, state and national parks, and underwater recreation areas. In addition to its abundant wildlife, scenic features, and cultural resources, both residents and visitors enjoy activities such as biking, canoeing, horseback riding and fishing.

The Great Calusa Blueway - Located in one of the fastest growing areas of the country, this 30-plus-mile water trail acts as an ecological corridor that connects federal, state and local preserves, as well as historic sites, within Lee County. Home of Florida's first "aquatic preserve," the trail allow visitors the opportunity to observe dolphins, manatees, and over 300 species of birds in their natural habitat. In addition to its scenic features, the trail allows for recreational opportunities, including kayaking, fishing and swimming.

The Jacksonville-Baldwin Rail Trail - Located in Duval County, this almost 15-mile rail-trail acts as an important ecological corridor, traversing creeks, pine flatwoods, and upland forests. Trail users have the opportunity to visit Camp Milton, a documented Civil War site, and can participate in a variety of activities, including hiking, biking and wildlife observation. Resulting from a partnership among the City of Jacksonville, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, and various other organizations, this trail is recognized as a key part of the statewide greenways and trails efforts.


The Danada & Herrick Lake Regional Trail - Located in the western suburbs of Chicago, this five-mile regional trail is a haven for area residents and promotes educational, recreational and health benefits. The trail allows for a variety of outdoor activities amidst prairie, woodland and marsh habitats within the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County. Interpretive trail signage helps visitors better understand the region's native flora and fauna. Bicyclists, equestrians, cross-country skiers and wildlife enthusiasts are just some of the groups who enjoy what this trail has to offer in a densely populated setting.

The Hennepin Canal Parkway - Spanning almost 173 miles across three counties, this multiuse trail system takes users through the rolling agricultural land of the western north central part of the state. The parkway allows for a variety of recreational activities along a historically significant resource, the nation's first canal constructed of concrete and the model for the Panama Canal. Within this unique setting, the parkway provides opportunities for biking, hiking, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, horseback riding and canoeing.

The Springbrook Prairie Trail - Located in a 1,800-acre oasis amidst the western suburbs of Chicago, this nine-mile loop trail system provides for a variety of recreational opportunities while protecting meadows, prairies, wetlands and three state-endangered bird species. In addition to its rare ecological features, the trail allows for outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, cross-country skiing and horseback riding.


The Beyer Farm Trail - Although less than one-mile long, this greenway promotes the educational, recreational, and health benefits of trails. The trail begins at the county hospital's campus and runs to Pike Lake Park, taking visitors along a boardwalk through a 60-acre urban wetland. This wetland supports a variety of flora and fauna, and the interpretive trail signage helps trail users to understand the significance of this habitat during their walk or bike ride.

The Delphi Historic Trails - Running more than 7 miles throughout the city, this multi-use trail system offers Delphi residents a unique setting for a variety of outdoor activities, such as hiking, biking and canoeing. These trails have been integrated into this historic community using canal towpaths, stream corridors and abandoned railroads. The trails also include a section of the Wabash Heritage Trail, which is envisioned to follow along the Wabash River and span 19 counties.

The Pigeon Creek Greenway Passage - Located in Vanderburgh County, this three-mile trail and greenway is part of a planned 42-mile greenway trail system that will encircle the county and serve the entire city of Evansville. Bicyclists, hikers and kayakers are just some of the groups who enjoy what this trail has to offer in an urban setting. The project has inspired thoughts of a multicounty regional trail plan in the future.


The Annapolis Rock Hiker Campground and Trail - Located in South Mountain State Park, this one-mile backcountry loop trail offers a variety of recreational opportunities, including hiking, camping, rock climbing, and hang gliding. This camping area used to be known as the second worst campground along the Appalachian Trail, but due to efforts of several groups, including the Department of Natural Resources, Appalachian Trail Conference, and Virginia Tech, this area has been rejuvenated.


The Longleaf Trace Trail - Extending from Hattiesburg to Prentiss, this 41-mile rail-trail and linear park offers residents from nearby cities a haven to enjoy a variety of natural features. In addition to opportunities for biking, hiking, and horseback riding, this trail provides economic benefits for local communities.


The American Tobacco Trail - This 14-mile rail-trail will eventually span more than
22 miles from downtown Durham to New Hill in Wake County. The trail provides the fastest growing portion of Durham with a key community connection to area schools, parks, businesses and places of worship. Trail users enjoy a number of recreational activities, including biking, rollerblading and horseback riding.


The Lower Macleay Trail - Although less than one-mile long, this urban trail offers a wealth of opportunities to interpret nature and history, while providing a safe haven for Portland residents. The trail connects to other area trails and serves as a major access route into Forest Park, the nation's largest forested urban park and home to a Douglas fir that is recognized as the tallest urban tree in the country. The trail also passes through Balch Canyon along Balch Creek, which supports a healthy aquatic habitat and is home to a population of native cutthroat trout. Given its resources and the setting, it provides for a spectacular hike or leisurely stroll.


The Allegheny River Trail - Bordered by the river on one side and woodlands on the other, this 30-mile rail-trail is rich with wildlife, history and scenic vistas. In addition to the beauty of its natural setting, this trail allows for a variety of recreational activities, including hiking, biking, camping and horseback riding. The trail also provides connections to Venango County's larger trail network, intersecting with the Sandy Creek Trail and linking to the recently designated Samuel Justus National Recreation Trail.

The Lebanon Valley Rail-Trail - Located across three counties, this 12-mile rail-trail serves as a key community connector, linking to area parks, trails, historic sites, and schools (which use the trail for cross-country training). The trail serves a wide range of users, including hikers, bikers, skiers, equestrians, wildlife enthusiasts and snowmobilers.

The Montour Trail - Located near Pittsburgh, this approximately 30-mile, multiuse rail-trail system will ultimately extend 47 miles from Coraopolis to Clairton. The trail takes users through a variety of settings - from urban and suburban areas to picturesque undeveloped landscapes. The trail's smooth limestone surface makes it ideal for non-motorized uses, including biking, jogging and cross-country skiing.

The Sandy Creek Trail - This 19-mile scenic rail-trail winds through a pristine area of Venango County, with abundant wildlife (such as bald eagles) and native vegetation. Following the trail, visitors pass through a tunnel and along several bridges, including the spectacular Belmar Bridge, which provide unobstructed views of Penns Woods, the Allegheny River and Sandy Creek. In addition to its natural beauty, this trail allows for a variety of recreational activities, including mountain biking, hiking, ice skating and horseback riding.


The Kings Highway Community Park Trail - This almost three-mile backcountry trail system runs through historic Stateburg and consists of an environmental education trail, a running/walking trail, and an equestrian/off highway vehicle trail. The trail system has been instrumental in providing trail experiences for underserved communities in the area.


The George S. Mickelson Trail - Spanning 114 miles across four counties and through the heart of the Black Hills utilizing numerous bridges and tunnels, this rail-trail brings to life the area's rich history with stories of American Indians, miners, railroad workers, and many others. In addition to its scenic and historic features, the trail allows for a range of outdoor activities such as, hiking and biking and has provided an economic boost for communities throughout the region.

The Spirit Mound Summit Trail - Although less than one-mile long, this scenic prairie trail offers a wealth of opportunities for recreation, human history interpretation, and wildlife observation. This loop trail provides a glimpse of the Lewis and Clark expedition and includes Spirit Mound, one of the few remaining sites where visitors can stand where these famous explorers once stood. In addition to opportunities for hiking and cross-country skiing, this section of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail offers an amazing, panoramic view of the state.


The Angel of Goliad Trail - Following along the San Antonio River, this two-mile multiuse trail is rich with historical and natural treasures. The trail is named in honor of a heroine of the Texas Revolution, Panchita Alavez, who is responsible for saving at least 28 people. This trail offers a haven for bird watchers and butterfly enthusiasts, while providing a key connection between historic downtown Goliad, Goliad State Historical Park, and the Presidio La Bahia. In addition to its scenic features, the trail provides opportunities for hiking, biking and natural history interpretation.

The Brushy Creek Regional Trail - This three-mile urban trail and conservation corridor was originally part of a planned eight-mile system, but the trail's initial success has led to a vision of expanding the system to 30 miles. Located along Brushy Creek in the Hill Country, the trail serves as a key community connector to local parks, wetlands, businesses and neighborhoods. Trail users enjoy a variety of recreational activities, including walking, hiking and biking.


The Algonkian Regional Park Sanctuary Trail - Located in Sterling, this two-mile loop trail runs through more than 30 acres of wetlands on Lowe's Island along the Potomac River. These wetlands support a variety of flora and fauna, and allow trail users to observe wildlife, such as Bald Eagles in a unique setting. This trail is a spur of the Potomac Heritage Trail and will eventually include observation platforms and interpretive signage to enhance the trail user experience.


The Hatfield-McCoy Trails - Spanning over 400 miles across eight counties, this backcountry trail system provides a safe recreational experience for a variety of trail uses, including all-terrain vehicle use, mountain biking, hiking and horseback riding. In addition to linking cultural resources, this trail system attracts tourism dollars and has provided

For additional information regarding America's public lands and waters recreational opportunities check out the following Web sites:


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