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19 New Trails to Explore as the National Trails System Turns 50

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The Salado Creek Greenway in San Antonio, Texas. dq5studios / CC BY 3.0

This Saturday, the American Hiking Society is celebrating a very special National Trails Day—2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the passage of the National Trails System Act, which created and protected some of the U.S.'s most loved scenic and historic walks.

Now, just in time for Saturday's festivities, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke has announced in a Department of the Interior (DOI) press release Wednesday that he is adding 19 new recreation trails to the national network in 17 different states.


"By designating these new national trails, we acknowledge the efforts of local communities to provide outdoor recreational opportunities that can be enjoyed by everyone," Zinke said. "Our network of national trails provides easily accessible places to exercise and connect with nature in both urban and rural areas while boosting tourism and supporting economic opportunities across the country."

The new trails will add 370 miles to a 2,802 mile system that includes more than 1,000 trails in 50 states. As the weather improves and spring moves towards summer, National Trails Day is a good excuse to go out and explore the trails, new and old, near you.

"As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the National Trails System, I hope everyone will take advantage of a nearby national trail to hike or bike," National Park Service Deputy Director Dan Smith said in the DOi release.

You can also take the day to give back. The American Hiking Society is asking volunteers to pledge to help clean a trail Saturday as a 50th birthday present.

"Join this historic event and leave the trail better than you found it! In honor of the 50th anniversary of the National Trail System, pledge to pack out trash, join a trail work project or clean up a park," the website urges.

If you want to check out one of the new trails, here are some of the highlights:

1. Mt. Umunhum Trail, California

Mount UmunhumDicklyon / CC BY-SA 4.0

Mount Umunhum is one of the highest summits in the Santa Cruz mountains and provides hikers with panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean to one side and the Sierra Nevada mountains on the other, according to the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space website. The trail offers 3.7 miles of moderate hiking to reach one of the few accessible peaks in the Bay Area, with chances to see lizards, birds, butterflies, oaks and pines, the DOI reported.

2. Corona Arch, Utah

Corona Arch Michael Grindstaff / CC BY-SA 3.0

This three mile loop provides striking views of the 140-by-105-foot Corona Arch and the nearby Bow Tie Arch, as well as a canyon and the Colorado River. Utah.com recommends it as one of the best short hikes in the Moab area and says it is especially good for young children, since there is plenty to see.

3. Iron Ore Heritage Trail, Michigan

Michigan officials learn about the history of the Iron Ore Heritage Trail.Michigan Municipal League / Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

In addition to providing 47 miles of trail for hiking, biking and snowshoeing connecting towns in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, the Iron Ore Heritage Trail teaches users about the industrial history of Michigan and the U.S. Specifically, it explains how iron mines in the Marquette Iron Range made a difference in the Civil War, industrial revolution and World Wars I and II.

4. Fort River Birding and Nature Trail, Massachusetts

The boardwalk of the Fort River Birding and Nature TrailU.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Region / Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

The Fort River Birding and Nature Trail is 1.2 miles of boardwalk and flat surfaces built through the Silvio O. Conte National Fish & Wildlife Refuge, making it fully accessible to the blind, wheelchair users and families with strollers, the Kestrel Land Trust explains. It passes through forests, rivers and grasslands, allowing walkers to observe the many birds and animals that live in these diverse habitats. Youth and community groups worked with the Refuge to build the accessible trail, according to the DOI.

5. Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park Trail System, Florida

Shelters at Kathryn Abbey Hanna ParkMgreason

The Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park Trail System provides 20.85 miles of hiking and biking trails to residents of Jacksonville, Florida and visitors. The trails give hikers a chance to walk along the beach, see the dunes and even rest in maritime hammocks if they get tired.

If your home state isn't represented in this list, the new trails also include the Dahlgren Railroad Heritage Trail in Virginia, the Wright's Mountain Trails in Vermont, the Salado Creek Greenway in Texas, the Bays Mountain Park Trail System in Tennessee, the Blackberry Trail in South Dakota, the Jim Mayer Riverswalk Trail in Pennsylvania, the Martin Van Buren Nature Trails in New York, the Guadalupe Ridge Trail in New Mexico and Texas, the Climax Canyon Nature Trail in New Mexico, the River's Edge Trail in Montana, the Wilson's Creek Greenway in Missouri, the Cannon Valley Trail in Minnesota, the North Western State Trail in Michigan and the Fort Larned Historic Nature Trail in Kansas.

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