These Are 9 New Trails Joining the National Trails System This June
As the sun comes out and temperatures rise across the country, June is the time to celebrate the wonders of nature in the U.S.A. The month is recognized as Great Outdoors Month and hosts National Trails Day on its first Saturday.
In honor of both occasions, the Biden Administration’s Department of the Interior announced that it was adding nine new national recreation trails to the National Trails System.
“The National Trails System, which includes national scenic, historic and recreation trails, offers an abundance of opportunities to experience the breathtaking landscapes of our country, all while supporting outdoor recreation activities and boosting local economies,” Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland said in a press release emailed to EcoWatch. “These new trails will help expand community connections to green spaces where children can play, families can connect, and a love and appreciation for the outdoors can be nurtured.”
The new trails add almost 600 miles to the more than 1,300-mile system, which covers every U.S. state as well as Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico. The new trails are located in seven states. They are:
- The Seven-Mile Loop Trail in Florida: This loop, which is actually 7.25 miles, is located in the Crystal River Preserve State Park. It gives bikers and hikers the chance to cross three tidal creeks, pass saltwater marsh flats and pine flatwoods and observe estuary animals like minnows and otters, according to the park website.
- The Fulbright Spring Greenway Trail in Missouri: This 6.98-mile trail is sometimes called the “emerald necklace” because it links green areas near Springfield, Missouri. It begins in Ritter Springs Park, passes beneath a highway and ends up in an elementary school, according to the website.
- The Inwood Hill Park Orange Trail in New York: People don’t usually go to Manhattan for hiking, but this unique trail defies expectations. The trail tracks 1.43 miles through Manhattan’s only forest. “Take a step back in time and imagine Manhattan as a forest grove of tulip trees, oaks, and maples,” the website invites.
- The New York State Canalway Water Trail: This trail can only be experienced by boat. It connects 450 miles of both land-cut canals and natural lakes and rivers including the Erie, Cayuga-Seneca, Oswego and Champlain canals, according to the website. You can wander the water via kayak, canoe or paddleboard, launching from one of more than 140 access points.
- The Conotton Creek Bike Trail in Ohio: This 11.4-mile rail trail passes through wetlands, forests, farms and over five covered bridges constructed on railway bridge platforms.
- The Little Miami State Park in Ohio: This is another rail trail that runs for 50 miles, mostly following the Little Miami River, which is both a state scenic river and a national wild and scenic river. You can see wildlife including deer, song birds and wildflowers in the summer and cardinals in the winter, according to the website. The hillsides are forested and present a good opportunity to see colorful foliage in the fall.
- The South Carolina Revolutionary Rivers Trail: This 60-mile trail allows you to step into history and imagine yourself as Revolutionary War hero Francis Marion, who used this swampland to hide from the British. His escapades earned him the nickname the Swamp Fox, according to the website. You can paddle through the cypress-and tupelo-studded swamp or camp along its banks.
- The Bob Woodruff Park and Oak Point Park and Nature Preserve Trails in Texas: This 9.9-mile trail network connects two parks and covers 1,100 acres. There are a number of recreational opportunities along the trail including grills for cooking, a sand volleyball court and a treetop adventure course.
- The Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge Trail System in Virginia: This 2.7-mile system links seven trails that pass through a variety of ecosystems including ocean, beach, marsh, shrubs, grassland, maritime forest and freshwater bay. The refuge was established in 1938 to protect migratory water birds and now provides habitat for hundreds of species of birds, reptiles, amphibians, mammals and fish, according to the website.
“National recreation trails are community-based pathways that provide quick, easy and affordable access to the benefits of spending time outdoors,” National Park Service Director Chuck Sams said in the press release. “They are sources of civic pride that support options for recreation and alternative means of transportation. Whether you are an equestrian or pedestrian, paddler or peddler, we invite you to explore these trails.”
The National Trails System is run by the National Park Service and the U.S. Forest Service with help from other federal or non-profit partners. If the entity responsible for a trail wants their trail added to the system, they can submit an application by November 1. The new trail can be officially designated by either the Secretary of the Interior or the Secretary of Agriculture.
The tradition of designating June as Great Outdoors Month grew out of a Great Outdoors Week instituted by former President Bill Clinton in 1998, according to the National Park Service. President Joe Biden officially issued a proclamation honoring the month on May 31.
“During Great Outdoors Month, we celebrate our Nation’s vast array of parks, wildlife refuges, forests, monuments, marine sanctuaries, waters, national conservation lands, and other natural treasures,” he wrote. “Every day, Americans across the country draw inspiration and pride from the beauty of our magnificent outdoor spaces.”
National Trails Day is a day of service to advocate for and maintain U.S. trails that is organized by the American Hiking Society. If you want to participate this year, you can find an event on the society website or take the 2022 National Trails Day Pledge.
“In honor of #NationalTrailsDay, I’ll leave the trail and the outdoor community better than I found them,” the pledge states.