WASHINGTON, D.C. – Under President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors program to promote outdoor recreation and reconnect Americans to nature, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Director of the National Park Service Jonathan B. Jarvis today announced the designation of 28 trails as national recreation trails, adding almost 650 miles of trails to the National Trails System.
"From coast to coast, the National Trails System helps connect American families with the wonders of the great outdoors," said Secretary Jewell. "These 28 new national recreation trails, established through partnerships with local communities and stakeholders, connect federal, state and local lands and waters to provide access to inexpensive, enjoyable outdoor activities for all Americans.”
Today’s announcement comes in advance of National Trails Day on Saturday, June 1. The day features hundreds of organized activities including hikes, educational programs, bike rides, trail rehabilitation projects, festivals, paddle trips, and trail dedications all around the country.
A listing of activities is available on the American Hiking Society's webpage.
“Today’s trails span 18 states and join a network of more than 1,200 previously designated trails that total more than 15,000 miles,” said Director Jarvis. “As we get ready to celebrate National Trails Day on Saturday, I encourage everyone to get outside and explore one of these great trails.”
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. Communities and other partners supporting the establishment of the new national recreation trails receive a certificate of designation, a letter of congratulations from Secretary Jewell, and a set of national recreation trail markers.
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.
The following trails are being designated this year as national recreation trails in Alabama:
Harvest Square Recreational Preserve Trail System - At the Land Trust of Alabama’s Harvest Square Recreational Preserve in Northwest Madison County, 2.3 miles of trail invite hiking, biking, running, nature viewing, and service. Boy Scouts cleared trail and installed benches for their Eagle Scout projects. The longest trail was developed and is maintained by the Sparkman High School cross country team. The preserve is home to deer, turkey, raccoon, fox, beaver, and a variety of amphibians and reptiles.
Phenix City Riverwalk - The 1.2-mile Phenix City Riverwalk offers bike riders, fitness enthusiasts, runners, and strollers a variety of settings. From the 3,000-seat amphitheater overlooking the Chattahoochee River, to sections shaded by great tree cover, to open areas, the trail is a great location for enjoying entertainment, viewing wildlife and whitewater, and soaking up southern sunshine.
The Forever Wild Coldwater Mountain Trail System - Located within the Forever Wild Coldwater Mountain Doug Ghee Nature Preserve and Recreational Area in Anniston, 11.5 miles of trail provide beginner, intermediate, and advanced experiences for mountain bikers, trail runners, and hikers. The International Mountain Bicycling Association’s Trail Solutions team designed the trails for maximum interest and long-term sustainable use.
Turkey Creek Nature Preserve Trail System - Three nature trails totaling 2.13 miles showcase the unique beauty of Turkey Creek Nature Preserve in Pinson. The paved Highland Trail provides walkers and bicyclists a moderate climb through the Highland Forest; the easy Boy Scout Trail takes hikers past some of the most scenic reaches along the banks of Turkey Creek; and the Thompson Trace offers some of the best opportunities for wildlife viewing.