Secretary Haaland Promotes Outdoor Recreation, Designates Ten New National Recreation Trails
Date: Friday, June 4, 2021
WASHINGTON — In celebration of National Trails Day on June 5, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland today announced 10 new national recreation trails in eight states, adding more than 160 miles to the National Trails System. The newly designated trails join a network of more than 1,300 existing national recreation trails, which can be found in every U.S. state.
“As COVID-19 vaccination rates increase and our nation takes a collective and cautious sigh of relief, we need recreational resources now more than ever to strengthen physical, social and mental health across our country,” said Secretary Haaland. “National recreation trails boost local economies and provide communities with safe, equitable access to the outdoors. This National Trails Day, I hope everyone finds time to enjoy the great outdoors.”
The national recreation trails program is jointly administered by the National Park Service and the U.S. Forest Service, in conjunction with multiple federal and nonprofit partners. The designation of a national recreation trail can be done by either the Secretary of the Interior or the Secretary of Agriculture on an existing local or regional trail with the consent of the federal, state, local, nonprofit, or private entity that has jurisdiction over the trail. The trail's managing agency or organization must apply for the distinction.
Today’s trail designations are consistent with the principles of the Biden-Harris America the Beautiful initiative, a decade-long campaign to support locally led conservation efforts across the country.
“Trails connect neighborhoods, literally and figuratively,” said National Park Service Deputy Director Shawn Benge. “These newly designated national recreation trails recognize the incredible efforts of local trail stewards and enthusiasts to provide the public with close to home outdoor access for strolling, pedaling or paddling.”
The National Trails System, which includes national scenic, national historic and national recreation trails, offers an abundance of opportunities to experience the majestic landscapes of the country and build awareness of historic events that have shaped the nation. A database of recreation trails across the United States is maintained through American Trails, a national, nonprofit organization working on behalf of all trail interests, including hiking, bicycling, mountain biking, horseback riding, water trails, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, trail motorcycling, ATVs, snowmobiling, and four-wheeling.
“American Trails applauds this new slate of Secretarial designations from the Department of the Interior and is excited to continue to promote our country’s national recreation trails,” said Mike Passo, Executive Director, American Trails. “These trails connect the gems of our National Trails System to the places where Americans live, work, and play. The national recreation trail program uniquely highlights trails that are accessible, relatable, and serve a wide diversity of our nation's public.”
Secretary Haaland has designated the following as national recreation trails. Each will receive a certificate of designation, a set of trail markers, and a letter of recognition.
Bethel Spring Nature Preserve is a 360-acre property on Keel Mountain with 200 acres open to the public for outdoor recreation. The preserve currently offers hikers 1.8 miles of free trails to explore from dawn to dusk daily, including upland forest, working farmland, historic sites, an environmentally significant spring and creek, as well as one of Madison County’s largest waterfalls.
Chapman Mountain Nature Preserve is a 459-acre property located just to the east of Huntsville, AL. With 3.28 miles of trails for visitors to explore, the preserve offers hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails, open from dawn to dusk daily. An 18-hole disc golf course offers another way to play outside and a large open-air pavilion at the trailhead provides space for gatherings.
Green Mountain Nature Preserve offers 4.9 miles of trail varying from easy to difficult. The trail system offers the opportunity to explore natural features like streams and waterfalls, and interesting historic features.