National Trails System Gets 37 New Trails
Located on the eastern edge of Arivaca, Arizona, a wheelchair accessible, backcountry trail extends over a mile in the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge. The Arivaca Cienega Trail takes its name from the Cienegas it skirts–Spanish for 100 waters. These spring fed marshes are rare in the deserts of Arizona, and they attract subtropical birds such as tropical kingbirds, green kingfishers, and the yellow-billed cuckoo.
The Arivaca Cienega Trail is one of 37 new National Recreation Trails in 23 states designated by the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) as part of the National Trails System.
In 1968, Congress established the National Trails System and designated the first national trails. But once national trails are designated, they must be maintained or they will never survive to become historic trails.
Inaugurated under the Clinton administration in 1993, this year National Trails Day attracted an estimated one million people nationwide to events such as guided hikes, bike rides, and volunteer trail clean up projects.
Said Norton, “National Trails Day has become an important event each year for promoting trails nationwide, especially National Recreation Trails and other components of the National Trails System.”
National Recreation Trail designation is an honor given to existing trails that have been nominated and meet the requirements for connecting people to local resources and improving their quality of life. 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.
In Alaska, DOI designated the Perseverance Trail, a three mile backcountry trail located in Juneau, that started as the first road in Alaska, linking the Gastineau Channel with mines and mills in the Silverbow Basin.
In Florida, a designation was applied to the Big Bend Saltwater Paddling Trail, a 105 mile water trail along Florida’s Gulf Coast that winds through one of the longest and wildest publicly owned coastal wetlands in the United States.
In Pennsylvania, the Oil Creek State Park Multi-Use Trail located within a two hour drive of Pittsburgh, is now designated as part of the National Recreation Trails system. This trail extends more than nine miles through the heart of Pennsylvania’s Oil Heritage Region and links to the oldest producing oil well in the world.
Provided by the Environmental News Service.