Great Lakes states lead the way in designation of new national recreation trails

The announcement comes just days before National Trails Day, to be celebrated Saturday, June 2.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke designated 19 national recreation trails in 17 states Wednesday, May 30, adding more than 370 miles to the national recreation trails system of more than 1,000 trails in all 50 states.

Two of the trails are in Michigan, with one each in Minnesota, New York and Pennsylvania.

The announcement comes just days before National Trails Day, to be celebrated Saturday, June 2 with hikes, educational programs, bike rides, trail rehabilitation projects, festivals, paddle trips, and trail dedications across the country. Trails of the National Recreation Trails system range from less than a mile to 485 miles in length and have been designated on federal, state, municipal and privately owned lands.

Michigan was the only state to have two trails solely within its borders (New Mexico and Texas also had two, but each shared one with the other). Michigan trails designated were the Iron Ore Heritage Trail and North Western State Trail.

The Iron Ore Heritage Trail is a 47-mile, multi-use, year-round trail that connects the sites and stories of the Marquette Iron Range, a significant historical area where iron mines operated to serve the country during the Civil War, the Industrial Revolution, World War I, and World War II. The rail-trail connects Marquette to Republic in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

The 32 miles of the North Western State Trail connect the resort communities of Petoskey, Harbor Springs, Alanson, Pellston, and Mackinaw City in northern Michigan. Most of the universally accessible trail is located on the former Grand Rapids and Indiana line of the Pennsylvania Railroad. It is open year round to non-motorized users and to snowmobilers in winter.

Other Great Lakes region trails designated:

Cannon Valley Trail, Minnesota: Paralleling the Cannon River, this 19.7-mile trail runs through diverse and spectacular scenery on a former Chicago Great Western Railroad line connecting the cities of Cannon Falls, Welch, and Red Wing in southeastern Minnesota. The trail is open in all seasons for bicycling, in-line skating, skateboarding, hiking, walking, and cross-country skiing.

Martin Van Buren Nature Trails, New York: This 3.7-mile system of trails is on 70 acres of land across from the Martin Van Buren National Historic Site. The trails are ideal for hiking, walking, families, dog walkers, environmental education, and youth activities. Features include meadow, stream, marsh, forest, farm, rolling hills, and historic right of way.

Jim Mayer Riverswalk Trail, Pennsylvania: Named for a local conservationist, the Jim Mayer Riverswalk Trail is a 3.1-mile urban rail-trail on the east end of the City of Johnstown. The trail offers views of the Stonycreek River, abundant bird-life and wildflowers, picturesque Buttermilk Falls, and serenity within an urban setting. As part of the local vision to make recreational trail use more accessible in the Greater Johnstown area, the trail provides opportunities for wellness, enhanced recreational experiences, and connections to other trail systems.

Other trails designated were Mt. Umunhum Trail, California; Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park Trail System, Florida; Fort Larned Historic Nature Trail, Kansas; Fort River Birding and Nature Trail, Massachusetts; Wilson’s Creek Greenway, Missouri; River’s Edge Trail, Montana; Climax Canyon Nature Trail, New Mexico; Guadalupe Ridge Trail, New Mexico and Texas; Blackberry Trail, South Dakota; Bays Mountain Park Trail System, Tennessee; Salado Creek Greenway, Texas; Corona Arch, Utah; Wright’s Mountain Trails, Vermont; and Dahlgren Railroad Heritage Trail, Virginia.

While national scenic trails and national historic trails may only be designated by an act of Congress, national recreation trails may be designated by the Secretary of the Interior or the Secretary of Agriculture in response to an application from the trail’s managing agency or organization.

The National Recreation Trails Program is jointly administered by the National Park Service and the U.S. Forest Service, in conjunction with a number of Federal and not-for-profit partners, notably American Trails, which hosts the National Recreation Trails website.

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