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Jan 20th
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Home Travel Trails Six Western States Add Trails to National Trails System

Six Western States Add Trails to National Trails System

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Twelve trails in six Western states have been designated as new National Recreation Trails, a decision made by Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne to help mark the 40th Anniversary of the National Trails System.

The Western states, Arizona, Iowa, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota and Texas, are among a total of 16 states that had 24 trails selected for inclusion in the National Trails System. The inclusion of the 24 trails adds more than 1,100 miles of trails to the National Trails System.

"One of my priorities at Interior is to reconnect American families to nature," said Kempthorne. "The National Trails System, including these additions, provides an excellent link to the outdoors, particularly for children. National Recreation Trails exemplify partnerships and are providing a path to fitness and stewardship for Americans of all ages."

Kempthorne designated the following 12 trails in the West as National Recreation Trails:


Black Canyon Trail
- Located in the Bradshaw Mountain foothills of central Arizona and managed by a diverse partnership led by the Bureau of Land Management, this world-class hiking, mountain biking and equestrian trail system stretches over 62 miles, benefiting both residents of the Black Canyon Corridor and visitors from metropolitan Phoenix.


Great Western Trail - A key connection between urban Des Moines and the surrounding rural landscape, this 16.5-mile scenic rail-trail offers trail users the opportunity to journey through Iowa history while hiking, biking, or enjoying other recreational activities.

Mines of Spain State Recreation Area Trails System - Located just south of Dubuque along the Mississippi River, this approximately 20-mile trail system offers a wealth of opportunities for recreation, environmental education, human history interpretation, and wildlife observation.

Summerset Trail
- Stretching almost 12 miles through rolling hills, river bottom wetlands, and remnant prairies, this rail-trail allows for hiking, biking, or cross-country skiing through some of the best of central Iowa's natural scenery.


Funk Peterson Wildlife Trail - Situated in Funk Waterfowl Production Area, this 3-mile backcountry loop trail is a bird watcher's paradise, providing habitat for millions of birds, including endangered whooping cranes and least terns that migrate biannually through the area.

New Mexico

Canyon Trail - Located in Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, this 2.2-mile interpretive trail offers school groups and visitors year-round the ability to study tracks in the shifting sands, evidence of kangaroo rats, box turtles, and a host of other wildlife that call the refuge home.

Chupadera Wilderness Trail - Traversing the Chupadera Wilderness Area of the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, this 9.5-mile backcountry trail is rich in wildlife and wildflowers, and takes hikers through a range of landscapes culminating in a 360-degree view of several mountain ranges.

North Dakota

Arrowwood National Wildlife Refuge Leg of the Historic Fort Totten Trail - This 9-mile backcountry trail is undergoing improvements to provide enhanced wildlife-dependent recreational opportunities and allows for a variety of uses, including hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding.

Scout's Trail - Situated within Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park, this 4.6-mile multi-use trail offers environmental education and interpretive opportunities on Native American culture amid scenic vistas and native prairie.

Sullys Hill Nature Trail - Located in one of only four units of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service managed to preserve bison, this 1.5-mile scenic loop trail provides visitors the opportunity to observe a diverse sampling of native wildlife whether jogging or snowshoeing.


Heritage Trail Loop - Serving as the backbone of the city's trail system, this 3.1-mile rail-trail and bikeway links area residents to numerous recreational facilities, historical sites, and a local renewable energy demonstration project.

Lions Park Nature Trail - Given its artistic features, hilltop vistas, and recreational facilities, it is easy to see why this 2-mile walking trail is so popular with Temple residents of all ages.

Celebration of National Trails Day

The announcement in June coincided with the 16th annual celebration of National Trails Day. The theme for this year, "Join Us on the Trail," encourages people of all ages to get outside and use trails for exercise and exploration. Thousands of trail enthusiasts participated in hikes, educational programs, bike rides, volunteer repair projects, festivals, paddle trips, and trail dedications across the country.

National Recreation Trails (NRTs) have been a touchstone of the National Trails System since the first designations in 1971. The NRTs recognize existing trails that connect people to local resources and improve their quality of life.

Each of the new trails will receive a certificate of designation and trail markers. They join a network of more than 1,000 trails encompassing more than 12,000 miles.

The NRT Program is jointly administered by the NPS Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program 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 Trail website at www.american trails.org/nationalrecreationtrails.

The Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program (RTCA) is a community resource of the National Park Service. RTCA staff provide technical assistance to community groups and local, state, and federal government agencies so they can conserve rivers, preserve open space, and develop trails and greenways. More information is available online at http://www.nps.gov/rtca.